2023 BMW i4 - Overview
Sliding into the world of electric vehicles, BMW came drew blood early with the i3 and i8 (the latter is a hybrid). But with a renewed EV onslaught, the i4 took centre stage as their first ‘proper’ EV taking the form of a ‘proper’ BMW. That said, it is based on the existing 4 Series Gran Coupe much like the iX3 is an electric version of the existing X3.
BMW knows that their sporty saloon cars are the brand’s bread and butter, and what better showcase of this than the i4 to demonstrate how the brand’s DNA translates into a zero emissions powertrain. All eyes will be Munich to see where this experiment goes and whether the core of BMW as a ‘ultimate driving machine’ can survive and EV transplant.
2023 BMW i4 - Variants and Specs
In Malaysia, the i4 was previewed a number of times before its official availability, teased to be one of the headliner vehicles to usher in the government’s ambitious (almost) tax-free status on electric vehicles.
This came in the form of the i4 eDrive40 M Sport that kicks off the range, which uses a single electric motor at the rear axle (RWD) to deliver 340hp and 430Nm. Despite weighing over 2 tonnes thanks to a large 83.9kWh lithium ion battery, it can sprint to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and manage 590km on a single charge (WLTP).
Stepping up ladder we find the i4 M50, a sub-M variant that’s more focused on performance and thrills. They are essentially the same car, but the M50 is equipped tauter suspension and a dual-motor all-wheel drive configuration for 544hp and 795Nm of combined system output.
That century sprint is shaved to 3.9 seconds but, as it retains the same battery capacity of the lower-rung eDrive40, maximum range dips to 520km on the WLTP cycle that simulates real world driving. Both variants support DC fasting charging up to 200kW (CCS2 connector) and AC charging at 11kW (Type 2 connector). BMW says a rapid charge to 80% can be done in as little as 31 minutes.
2023 BMW i4 - Exterior and Interior
From the outside, i4 doesn’t exactly shout about being an EV as most would be hard pressed to find overt differences with the G26 4 Series Gran Coupe on which it’s based. It’s a handsome car to look at overall though opinions are split about BMW’s front end treatments and exaggerated kidney grille.
Besides, the badges, the two variants can also be distinguished by its wheels with the eDrive40 sporting 19-inch rollers and the M50 wearing larger 20-inch alloys, both in two-tone finishes.
Like the combustion-powered 4 Series, the i4 is a 5-door liftback meaning its boot hinges at the roof for a larger hatchback-like loading aperture that grants additional practicality and a generous 470-litre cargo capacity. However, due to its coupe-like sloping roofline that mirrors the G26, headroom is slightly compromised.
Inside, the i4 seeks to cocoon its occupants (the driver especially) with a purposeful but plush cabin with a nice mix of premium materials though the layout and ergonomics isn’t much altered over the 4 Series and 3 Series.
Blue trim accents are used throughout the interior to serve as a reminder that this is an electric model, such as on the start/stop button and shift selector, but buyers can choose from multiple colour combos for the leather upholstery. As expected, top tier build quality and overall finish is trait expected in all BMWs and the i4 is no different.
2023 BMW i4 - Tech and Safety
It makes sense that BMW’s line-up of electric vehicles are also their most technically dense, so the i4 packed to the gills with electronic goodies. The biggest alteration here pertains to the combination 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and 14.9-inch iDrive control infotainment system, both powered by BMW’s Operating System 8, that mimics the iX. Where before the digital gauges were framed within a binnacle to resemble analogue clusters in the past, the twin screens are now part of a single curved panel that is more of a design choice than a technical upgrade.
As expected there are BMW’s Laserlight front illumination, ambient interior lighting, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless smartphone charging, and a Harman/Kardon audio system.
BMW has also furnished the i4 with their Driving Assistant Professional package, a suite of active safety features that include Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
2023 BMW i4 - Rivals and Competitors
On the international stage, the i4 is not lacking in worthy rivalries ranging from the obvious Tesla Model 3, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and the non-Audi Sport variant of the e-tron GT as examples.
Because Malaysia’s EV market is still in its infancy, the i4 remains a large fish in a not-so-large pond. The nearest direct rival, at least to the i4 M50, is the Porsche Taycan 4S, which boasts similar performance figures and a sporty saloon profile.
However, perhaps due to its brand cachet, it is considerably more expensive than the BMW. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz’s local EV offering currently consists of the EQA, a compact electric model based on the GLA-Class.
Oddly, Hyundai poses the largest (though indirect) threat via its IONIQ 5. Sister brand Kia will also be fielding the sportier EV6 in 2022-2023 that, should the price gulf be sufficiently large, could sway buyers away from i40 and even the iX3. As the market expands, though the BMW will have to work harder to protect its corner of the market.
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- Body Type: Electric Vehicle (EV)
- Transmission: Automatic
- Fuel Type: electric
- Seat Capacity: 4
- Price: RM 399,800 - RM 445,800
User Review of BMW i4