2022 BMW i4 Review: 4 Series 4 The Future

“Normal” probably isn’t the word BMW wants me to use to describe the 2022 i4. But I mean it in the best way possible.

Passengers only cotton onto the i4’s electric nature after a few miles of near-silent smoothness. Unless they clock the discreet badging on the trunk, or that the contentious front grille is all filled in, there’s not much to give it away outside, either.

The 2022 BMW i4 blends in well. This all-electric sedan doesn’t shout its enviro-friendly credentials from the rooftops. Same goes for the ample punch it packs, too. The i4 is a great all-rounder, the latest proof that EVs can be good, understated fun. It also just might be the best 4 Series you can buy, period.

Get a Quote on a New 2022 BMW i4

What’s new?

The i4 is the first in a new wave of BMW electric cars. While the iX flagship rides on a wholly unique platform, the i4 uses the brand’s uber-adaptable CLAR platform, same as the ICE-powered 4 Series models. Its an approach that the brand is taking with the upcoming i7 and 7 Series as well. BMW chairman Oliver Zipse says this is to give buyers more choice: if you want a 4 or 7, but would prefer it gulped down electrons instead of liquified dinos, then that’s what you’ll get. No slightly different car that may or may not measure up exactly to its ICE sibling (cough cough EQS).

SEE ALSO: 2023 BMW i7 Hands-On Preview: 5 Stand-Out Features of the EV Limo

Okay, not all the choices: the i4 comes only in Gran Coupe form right now, no coupe or convertible. That’s fine by me: the GC looks better than the coupe to these eyes, not to mention it’s more useable. In Canada, outside of a handful of gas-powered M440is that have all been spoken for, this will be the only 4 Series Gran Coupe you can buy. The market continues to wait for an all-electric convertible …

For now, there are two flavors of i4, both of which use an 81.5-kWh battery pack. The starting-level i4 eDrive40 is a single-motor affair, sending 335 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. On the stock 18-inch alloys, BMW says it’s good for 300 miles (483 kilometers) on a single charge. Buyers craving more power and AWD can move up to the i4 M50. With an extra motor powering the front axle, the M50 throws down 469 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. A limited-use boost mode bumps those figures even further, to 536 hp and 586 lb-ft.

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2022 BMW i4 driving impressions

My tester is the i4 M50. It’s the first electric BMW to carry an M badge, so expectations are high. The German brand is quick to point out that this isn’t a full-fat M, however; think of it more as filling the space between M440i and M4.

SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW M4 Competition Review: Smells Like Success

In action, the i4 leans much closer to the latter than the former. Actually, scratch that—it doesn’t do much leaning at all. Like most electric cars, the M50 carries its substantial weight (5,018 pounds / 2,276 kilograms) low down in the chassis, making for a composed, level ride. Standard adaptive dampers (optional on the eDrive40) take the sting out of all but the largest potholes. The steering is tight, thanks to a quicker 14.1:1 ratio compared to 15.5:1 in the eDrive40, but it’s still numb, like most modern BMWs.

BMW’s penchant for conservative performance estimates seems alive and well in the i4. Officially, it’ll do the 62 mph (100 km/h) run in 3.9 seconds. Unofficially, and without a timer, it feels easily that quick. What’s more, the shove doesn’t let up, meaning no on-ramp is too short. It’s all accompanied by a cool spaceship whir crafted by composer Hans Zimmer. I know some folks are on the fence or even against these noises, but I find them fun.

There are four levels of regenerative braking available. By default, the i4 uses an adaptive approach, that can automatically apply more regen when the car senses another vehicle in front of you, or that it’s approaching an intersection. A full one-pedal driving mode is my preferred setting, which recoups a huge amount of otherwise lost kWh. The other options are off, and a moderate setting.

Speaking of energy recuperation, the i4 is capable of charging at up to 200 kW. That’s good enough to go from 10 to 80 percent charge in 31 minutes. In practice that took longer, usually averaging 40 or so. A Level 2 home charger will provide a full charge in 8 to 9 hours. During a cold week, our first range test consumed 88 percent of the battery across 218 miles (351 km). That’s a little down on the official figure, but the end of the week saw an average consumption of 3.25 miles per kWh (19.1 kWh / 100 km), which is pretty much bang-on.

SEE ALSO: 2022 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe First Drive Review: Function and Form

2022 BMW i4 interior and comfort

From the steering column down, the i4’s interior design is nearly identical to that in the regular 4 Series. The angular center stack is super-familiar, though BMW hasn’t resisted the urge to cut down on the physical buttons here. All you’ll find here are track skip and defrost buttons, plus a volume knob. Climate controls now occupy a permanent space on the infotainment screen—more on that later—but it’s goodbye media presets. I tend to be a set-it-and-forget it media consumer, but your mileage may vary.

The seating position is excellent, with good lateral support and comfortable enough to spend hours in. Space is okay for adults in the back, though the retained transmission tunnel means going three-wide is best left for little ones or good friends. The curved roofline does eat into rear headroom a little over the equivalent 3 Series, but only a bit.

In keeping with its electric nature, the i4 nets a handful of bright blue accent pieces, most notably the start/stop button, and the contrast stitching on the leather seats. Fit and finish is typical BMW goodness, with soft-touch materials and tight panel gaps. Only the large expanse of plastic below the B-pillar feels unnecessarily penny-pinching. The i4 interior lacks the wow factor of that in the iX, specifically that car’s adventurous use of textures. Sure, the SUV costs more—but the i3 didn’t.

What the i4 lacks in interior wow-factor, it makes up for with honest-to-goodness practicality. The combination of liftback shape and 40/20/40 folding rear seat makes this car capable of swallowing large items that a regular sedan can’t. Turn off the Zimmer soundtrack, and the i4 is whisper-quiet, even in the middle of a sleet storm. Ask me how I know.

SEE ALSO: Kia EV6 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5 Comparison: Sibling Rivalry

2022 BMW i4 technology and features

Back to that big curved glass display. The i4 combines a 14.9-inch instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen, all unified under the iDrive 8 operating system. It’s the same setup I tested and enjoyed in the iX last month. The menus are easy to navigate, managing that fine balancing act of aesthetically pleasing and functional. The system allows for multiple driver profiles, and a favorites menu for the most-used apps. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is amongst the easiest I’ve ever set up. Best of all, BMW is one of the few automakers to allow third-party navigation to run within its main instrument cluster. So you can still get easy-to-see directions directly ahead of you, straight from your phone.

SEE ALSO: 2022 BMW iX xDrive50 Review: Flagship For a New Era

While it’s angled towards the driver, the i4’s infotainment is still easy enough to use from the passenger side. There’s also the rotary controller in the center console, and BMW’s accurate voice assistant.

Other standard tech includes adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring. In Canada, heated seats and steering wheel are included too; they’re optional in the US. This tester also picks up the head-up display, lane assists, Harman/Kardon sound system, front cross-traffic alert, and Traffic Jam Assistant for full stop-and-go use. BMW’s sweet Laserlight headlights are supremely effective at night, and worth the money if you’re regularly in the country. There’s also Parking Assistant Plus, which includes a 360-degree camera. The camera isn’t as high-res as that in the iX, but it gets the job done. The BMW Drive Recorder, which allows up to 30 second recordings, uses the same camera.

2022 BMW i4 pricing and competition

Pricing for the 2022 BMW i4 M50 starts at $66,895 ($75,470 CAD), including destination. Our Canadian-spec tester saw the typical option-ladling add roughly $10,000 to the bottom line, though there are subtle equipment differences between the US and Canada. The final tally was $89,515 CAD.

That is a serious chunk of coin for something that isn’t even a full-fat M car. It does drop the M50 between the ICE M440i and M4, however, which is appropriate. A loaded-up Polestar 2 with the Performance Pack is slightly over $70,000 ($82,000 CAD), though it isn’t as fun to drive as the Bimmer. Same goes for the Tesla Model 3 Performance, which undercuts them both.

SEE ALSO: 2021 Polestar 2 Review: Stuck in the Middle With 2

If AWD and 500 hp is more than you need, check out the i4 eDrive40. The single-motor variant still sends a healthy 335 hp and 317 lb-ft to the rear wheels, and has a range as far as 300 miles (483 km). Pricing starts from $56,395 ($57,470 CAD). For reference, an M440i Gran Coupe runs $59,195 ($68,580 CAD for the two-door), making the M50 $7,700 ($6,890) dearer.

Verdict: 2022 BMW i4 Review

There’s no other way to say it: the 2022 BMW i4 is the best everyday-driver 4 Series you can buy.

Those who want an added level of involvement and track capability should still seek out the basic, manual-transmission M4. For the rest of us, the i4 captures much of that car’s point-and-shoot prowess, and dollops added practicality and hush-hush highway manners on top. There aren’t a lot of fun-to-drive compact EV sedans out there on the market, but in this segment, the i4 sets the bar.


FAQs

  • How much does the 2022 BMW i4 cost? 
    • The i4 M50 xDrive you see here starts at $66,895 ($75,470 CAD), including destination. A single-motor, rear-drive i4 eDrive40 begins at $56,395 ($57,470 CAD). 
  • Does the BMW i4 qualify for tax credits?
    • Yes, it qualifies for up to $7,500 in credits in the USA.
  • How fast is the 2022 BMW i4?
    • BMW says the i4 M50 will dash to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds.

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2 Comments

Car Hamro says:

Wow, such great detail. I like your article. I want to read more about your blog. Thank you for sharing an amazing post.

Robert C Lewis says:

In the same priceperformance range as the Tesla 3. Tesla 3s are butt ugly; give me the BMW. Tesla is about to have real competition, and their models are dated and clunky looking.