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BMW i4 eDrive35 M Sport Review

More affordable entry-level model joins the BMW i4 line-up

eDrive35 has a smaller battery, which means a reduced driving range

Driving experience still excellent

Cabin design is focused around the driver

Design & Powertrain

BMW i4 eDrive40

The BMW i4 is an electric 4 Series Gran Coupe, with a practical five-seater hatchback body style and a 470-litre boot. The i4 eDrive35 model has a smaller 67 kWh (net) battery compared to the 80.7 kWh (net) battery of the i4 eDrive40 model. The electric motor, mounted on the rear axle, has a slightly reduced power output of 282 hp (compared to 340 hp for the 40) and torque of 400 Nm, compared to 430 Nm.

Driving Experience

If you’re looking for an electric car that’s also a rewarding driver’s car, the BMW i4 should meet your brief. Although the i4 eDrive35 variant has slightly less power and torque than the 40 model, it still has a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds, which should be enough performance for most people if they’re not driving on a racetrack. And the i4 eDrive35 has an advantage: at 2,065 kg, it’s lighter than the 40, only by 60 kg, but this helps to make the 35 model feel more agile.

The i4 eDrive35 has a rear-wheel drive chassis, which means that it has the right foundations for a driver’s car. And it’s not an SUV, so it sits low down, resulting in rewarding handling. But the i4 also has excellent ride quality; these two attributes don’t always go together, however BMW appears to be increasingly successful in pulling off this trick.

Another key quality of a good driver’s car is having car controls that are user-friendly rather than annoying. The i4 also ticks this box. The dashboard features what BMW calls its ‘Curved Display’, consisting of a large central touchscreen which merges into the instrument display directly in front of the driver. There’s also a head-up display. The effectiveness of this system is demonstrated when using satnav. The central screen provides a high definition map, which the driver can easily zoom in or out of using the iDrive rotary dial between the front two seats. There’s also a simple version of the map in the instrument display in front of the driver. And then there’s the head-up display, which projects clear satnav directions onto the windscreen.

This is one of the best systems in the business, and it contrasts sharply with the Tesla Model 3, which just has one screen in the middle of the dashboard containing all vehicle and driving information.

BMW i4 eDrive40
BMW i4 eDrive40

As well as the screens, the i4 retains BMW’s excellent iDrive system, with the rotary controller and a set of shortcut buttons between the front seats. Using the iDrive controller while driving is easy, and is much safer than having to look for buttons, menus and sub-menus on a central touchscreen.

The i4’s Eco, Comfort and Sport drive modes are another example of the benefit of physical controls; buttons for these drive modes sit next to the driver, which, again, is much more user-friendly than having to delve into a touchscreen for such controls.

We’d love to report similar good news about BMW’s traditional heating and ventilation controls being retained, allowing you to instantly change the cabin temperature and fan speed by turning a dial. However that brilliantly simple system has disappeared, replaced by small buttons at the bottom of the touchscreen. As an example of how, in our opinion, this is a backward step, in a BMW iX3 there are still physical buttons on the dashboard for the heated front seats; however in the i4 there’s a small button on screen for the seats, which, sandwiched between other buttons, is very fiddly to press.

BMW doesn’t do steering wheel-mounted paddles to adjust brake regeneration; instead the small gear selector switch has the option of a ‘B’ setting for more regen.

Range & Charging

BMW i4 eDrive40

The BMW i4 eDrive35 M Sport has a combined WLTP electric driving range of 276 − 288 miles. Real-world range is likely to average around 220 miles.

The i4 eDrive35 has a maximum ultra-rapid DC charging rate of 180 kW, which should give a 10% to 80% charge in 32 minutes. This is a slightly lower charge rate than the 205 kW of the eDrive40, but it’s still better than many rivals.

AC charging is possible at up to 11 kW using three-phase workplace charging, which should give a 0% to 100% charge in 7 hours. A 0% to 100% charge at a 7 kW home wall box should take around 12 hours.

The BMW i4 eDrive35 has a heat pump which is designed to minimise any reduction in range from heating the cabin in winter.

Price and Model range

The BMW i4 eDrive35 is available in Sport or M Sport trim. The i4 eDrive35 Sport is priced from £50,755 and the eDrive35 M Sport from £52,255. For comparison, the i4 eDrive40 M Sport price is £60,270, so there’s a useful saving by opting for an i4 eDrive35.

Standard equipment on the i4 eDrive35 Sport includes LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, black cloth/Sensatec upholstery and front heated seats.

The i4 eDrive35 M Sport adds M aerodynamic exterior styling, high-gloss Shadowline exterior, 18-inch M Aerodynamic alloy wheels, M Sport leather steering wheel and Alcantara/Sensatec interior upholstery.

As well as the i4 eDrive35, there’s also the i4 eDrive40, and the all-wheel drive, performance-focused i4 M50.

Equipment Highlights

  • LED headlights

  • M Aerodynamic exterior styling

  • High-gloss Shadowline exterior

  • 18-inch M Aerodynamic alloy wheels

  • M Sport leather steering wheel

  • Alcantara/Sensatec interior upholstery

  • Front heated seats

Conclusion

The BMW i4 eDrive35 should appeal to drivers who want an electric car but also want a rewarding BMW driving experience. The i4’s rear-wheel drive handling is combined with comfortable ride quality, and the eDrive35 feels as though its agility is enhanced thanks to the slight weight saving from the smaller battery. Performance is slightly down on the 40 model, but it’s still impressive. The i4’s cabin is a lesson in how to design a user-friendly, functional and high-tech dashboard, and the i4 offers a practical hatchback body style. Of course the big selling point of the eDrive35 is the cost saving compared to the eDrive40 – you’ll just need to decide if the reduction in driving range will work for you.

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