In terms of electrification, the 2022 BMW i4 is the opposite of the company's all-electric iX SUV. i4 is a vehicle with a power system suitable for the existing 4 series frame, which extends the limits of the architecture, rather than a brand-new vehicle designed to be battery-powered from the ground up.
The key here is that no matter which method the Bavarian car manufacturer adopts, the truth is the same. Both iX and i4 are very good cars. period. Electric cars are not good. There is no qualifying round. Good car.
After the i4 M50 level test, this car has all the typical design signs of electric vehicles, and incorporates the fashionable styling of the 4 series. The controversial grille takes a new form, such as a thick shield. Traditionally, there is a rear diffuser where the exhaust pipe is located. Working in a frozen Portimão blue metallic paint, this car is a stunner.
Under the floor is an 81.5 kWh lithium-ion battery (net). It is only 4.3 inches tall, but it significantly increases the weight of the model. Note that the location of the floor-standing battery and the absolute amount of power the model has made up for the 5,018-pound metal mound (1,500 pounds more than the 4 series base model).
The front motor of the high-end i4 M50 outputs 255 horsepower and the rear output 308 horsepower. The car provides the driver with 538 pound-feet of torque. This is more than enough, especially considering that all these power sources can be used online.
However, if you want more, there are more available. Using the Sport Boost function to push the car to provide 536 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque, it is reminiscent of the pulling force of an airplane when it takes off.
Its lower center of gravity and standard all-wheel drive also improve the car’s performance factors. The traditional 4 series variants offer radical driving possibilities, while the i4 M50 makes the driver want to go one step further, and it can do it.
The car’s top speed with an electronic limit of 140 mph on the highway is as comfortable as when driving at 30 mph on winding country roads in southern Germany. However, at high speeds, something pleasant happened: BMW's engineering was shown.
The body of the car is firmly wrapped around the driver, and its pillars begin to work, providing fine-tuned performance, making it easy for you to forget how much you like the V8. For drivers who pay attention to performance, this is a quiet and happy experience.
Unlike traditional cars, the Eco Pro mode of the i4 M50 is not slow to respond to normal use. Turning the car from a "comfortable" driving mode to a "sports" driving mode can fix multiple components and tighten the steering to achieve a pleasing response.
Using B drive mode allows single pedal drive. Just like in iX, it can descend smoothly, especially on long and winding country roads, where people are more likely to slow down temporarily rather than stop. BMW's B-mode learning curve is not as steep as some other models.
The powerful features of the i4 M50 have their disadvantages. It is estimated that this car has a cruising range of only 245 miles. However, regenerative braking does help solve the problem.
But what if you want to use the i4 M50 every day and live in a place where you can't drive normally at 140 mph? The car has the same shortcomings as the traditional 4 series, including its A-pillar and side mirror positions making it difficult to see in sharp turns.
If you are looking for a gorgeous, stylish or modern interior, i4 will disappoint. It is as luxurious as the traditional 4 series.
BMW won by installing the new iDrive 8 system when it went on the market. The curved display dual-screen system is head and shoulders above the current iDrive system and can be found in most other BMW product lines. However, it does have a disadvantage.
Crowded menus make it take longer than ideal for drivers to take their eyes off the road when performing certain functions (such as adjusting climate control).
This has prompted drivers to use voice control to implement simple functions, and many drivers are still not interested in this prospect.
Most of iDrive 8's technologies are excellent, such as adaptive navigation, which now uses cloud-based technology for faster calculations. Nevertheless, the navigation system still lags behind Google Maps and Apple Maps in terms of ease of use, which can be used when iDrive is paired with a smartphone.
There is no doubt that the BMW i4 M50 is an excellent car. Its $65,900 starting price tag and impressive engineering technology will make it immediately competitive in the electric high-performance vehicle market when it arrives on the coast of the United States next summer.
You have 4 free articles this month
Enjoy Newsweek’s free newsletter with 5 million readers