BMW's new Tesla fighter delivers the goods and much more.
The next stage of BMW's evolution has arrived. Introducing the 2022 BMW i4, the slick-looking all-electric four-door coupe that represents the future of BMW sedans. Those concerned that future fully-electric BMWs won't deliver the goods should relax. Not only has the German automaker unveiled the entry-level i4 eDrive40 (shown in silver and white) but also the high-performance i4 M50 (featured in blue). The latter will receive a majority of the attention because it's the first fully-electric model to come from BMW's acclaimed M performance division.
BMW emphasizes both i4 variants focus heavily on sustainability, elegant design, craftsmanship, and cutting-edge technologies. The zero-emissions ultimate driving machine is here. The i4 rides on a modified version of the CLAR platform, which underpins all of BMW's current sedans, including the 3 Series. BMW won't launch its first fully dedicated EV platform until 2025 but the i4 is fully capable of bringing the fight to Tesla.
It's impossible to mistake the i4 for anything other than a BMW. The kidney grille design lives on and like the latest 4 Series, it's massive here. Only now instead of a radiator, there are ultrasonic and radar sensors integrated into its surface. The slim full-LED headlights provide a nice contrast to the bold grille.
BMW opted for a fastback design instead of the traditional three-box sedan style. This allows for a large tailgate. Other traditional BMW styling hallmarks include short overhangs and slim pillars. The rest of the body is adorned with large and smooth sculpted surfaces. Without the need for an exhaust system, BMW was able to alter the lower section of the rear bumper as an aerodynamic-enhancing tool. A backup camera is integrated into the rear BMW badge.
The M50 model features a number of M brand styling elements like Cerium Gray kidney grille surround and vertical trim around the air curtains. The side sills and rear bumper are painted in high-gloss black while an M-specific rear spoiler reminds us all of the car's performance nature. A set of 18-inch wheels are standard on the eDrive40 and while the M50 gets 19-inch M light-alloy wheels.
The interior design does a good job of blending futuristic styling with modern touches. As always with BMW, the cockpit is driver-focused with a slim and low instrument panel. The frameless, single-piece glass curved display screen combines the driver's 12.3-inch information screen and 14.9-inch control display into a single unit. A head-up display provides the driver with additional information such as navigation assistance. Over-the-air updates require no more than 20 minutes to complete.
Other features include standard sport seats, sports steering wheel, and tri-zone automatic climate control. The M50 tacks on raised knee pads on the center console. Another interesting feature is the standard tilting glass sunroof with a transparent surface. Occupants can adjust the cabin's LED lighting up front and rear and even in the glovebox. Available ambient lighting gives the cabin LED fiber-optic lights along the contour lines of the instrument panel and door paneling.
BMW Live Cockpit Professional is standard kit, as is the latest version of iDrive that comes with Intelligent Personal Assistant. A 16-speaker Harmon Kardon surround sound system is optional.
The i4 eDrive40 is rear-wheel drive with a total of 335 horsepower coming from its electric motor that receives its own juice from an 81.5-kWh battery pack that'll provide an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles. Zero to 62 mph happens in 5.7 seconds with top speed set at 118 mph.
The M50, meanwhile, has a dual electric motor set (one at each end) for a total of 536 hp. A Sport Boost function temporarily increases both motors' maximum power and increases torque by 48 lb-ft to 586 lb-ft. Performance is impressive with a 0-62 time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 140 mph.
BMW says the battery can be fully recharged in less than eight hours when connected to a Level 2 Wallbox and using an AC power charging rate of 11 kW. A 200-kW DC fast-charging station can tack on 90 miles of driving in only 10 minutes. Buyers don't have to worry about range anxiety or recharging because BMW has joined forces with the EVgo charging network. A total of 38,000 Level 2 chargers and more than 800 fast-charging stations will be accessible throughout the country.
BMW has confirmed the i4 eDrive40 will begin at $55,400 while the M50 can't be had for less than $65,900. Neither price includes the $995 destination fee. Sales are due to begin the first quarter of 2022.
The 2022 BMW i4 will face off directly against the Tesla Model 3. Neither Audi nor Mercedes-Benz currently offer a mid-size all-electric sedan but that'll soon change. Even Volkswagen will jump into the fight with its upcoming ID.6. The Tesla Model S is classified as a full-size sedan, meaning it's challenged by the Mercedes EQS, Audi e-tron GT, and Porsche Taycan. However, Porsche is supposedly working on a smaller all-electric sedan aimed directly at the i4.
The BMW i4 is new territory for the automaker but it's not alone. It's joined by the iX all-electric SUV and, in the near future, additional battery electrics. M brand enthusiasts are also getting the first preview, thanks to the M50, of what pure battery-powered high-performance will be like.