BMW recently revealed the i4, a sedan that focuses on driving dynamics while still being a decent EV. Together with the release of the iX crossover, this represents a major leap toward BMW’s goal of selling 50% EVs by 2030.
The company made the BMW i3 to get into electrification, but wanted to wait until it felt it could build a vehicle that handles and acts like a BMW before it went into more mainstream products.
The big thing BMW didn’t want to sacrifice was handling. It got there by making things efficient enough to reduce the pack size while not losing range, and then focused on making things as light as possible in other areas. BMW then used its suspension experience to end up with a vehicle that handles like it wanted.
The cheaper rear-wheel-drive version has 335 horsepower, while the all-wheel-drive version of the vehicle has 536 horsepower. The front drive unit is where this extra power comes from. The rear-drive version is going to have a rated range of 300 miles, while the performance version with two motors is going to be able to go 240 miles between charges. Charging at home will be 11 kW maximum, while the DC fast charging can do up to 200 kW.
“The i4 showed little body roll and a fair amount of compliance to the suspension’s motions in Normal and Comfort drive modes. In the more aggressive Sport and Sport+ settings, the heavy i4 danced with an agility similar to that of a 3-Series. All i4s feature front coil springs and rear self-leveling air springs, with the M50 adding adaptive dampers. The electrically assisted steering is a bit quiet on feedback but always precise in its responses, regardless of the selected driving mode.”
Car and Driver also noticed that regenerative braking was a little weak for one-pedal driving, but was still strong. However, BMW said that this would be adjustable, so drivers can choose their favorite regenerative braking strength.
Differentiation Will Be Good For EVs
Before I get into this, let’s keep in mind that flowery press releases with things like “… BMW’s fabled sporting prowess and a range that also convinces over long journeys with the elegant design, spaciousness and practicality of a four-door Gran Coupé” are easy to write, but these things harder to actually build. Until more people (including ourselves, hopefully) get some wheel time with the i4, we can’t say that they’ve achieved what they claim.