This entire review of the BMW i4 eDrive35 is predominantly based on my personal preferences, evaluating the pros and cons according to how well they align with my current needs. It’s important to note that different individuals have varying preferences, so your experience might differ. I’ve also detailed the thought process that guided me to choose a BMW i4 eDrive35 as my new daily driver, taking over from my previous Tesla Model 3 Performance.
BMW i4 eDrive35 Exterior
While not the most aesthetically pleasing car on the road, I find BMW i4 eDrive35’s side, rear, and even front design appealing. The front has grown on me over time and is no longer off-putting. Initially, I found the silver color boring, but now I appreciate its sleek appearance, especially since my Porsche is already quite flashy. The build quality surpasses that of my previous F30 BMW 335i, conveying a premium feel. The paint quality is excellent, exceeding that of my old Tesla Model 3. I also have an affinity for small details like the light carpet.
BMW i4 eDrive35 Performance
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that BMW i4 eDrive35 is notably slower than my Tesla Model 3. However, it’s still worth considering its performance as the slowest electric car in BMW’s lineup. Officially, BMW states figures of 282hp, 295lb-ft, and 5.8 seconds for the 0-60 mph sprint. In typical BMW fashion, these numbers likely underestimate its capabilities. The car feels impressively quick up to around 50 mph, with a more exhilarating sensation when stomping the throttle at 30 mph rather than launching from a standstill.
This might be attributed to rear-wheel drive and traction control. In the range of 50-80 mph, it’s as swift as a combustion-powered BMW 330i or 430i, appearing even quicker due to the immediate throttle response and smooth power delivery. However, beyond 80 mph, the acceleration loses its vigor and becomes merely sufficient. While it might not astonish those accustomed to faster EVs, it still outpaces most vehicles on the road, boasting effortless and responsive performance, well-suited for daily driving.
The Efficiency of the BMW i4 eDrive35
According to EPA ratings, BMW i4 eDrive35 offers a range of 260 miles. When traveling at approximately 75 mph with the air conditioning on, I manage to achieve an average of 3.8-4.3 mi/kWh. This equates to a range of over 260 miles at highway speeds with the air conditioning active. Thus, the highway range aligns with or even slightly surpasses my Model 3, which had an EPA rating of 310 miles.
Nevertheless, during local driving, the efficiency is notably inferior to my Tesla Model 3 Performance. The constant speed changes likely penalize the additional weight of the i4. Local efficiency drops to around 3 mi/kWh, translating to an actual range of about 200 miles. Fortunately, this discrepancy doesn’t concern me much, as I primarily charge at home and my longest trips are within a 150 to 180-mile radius. It’s worth mentioning that I have two years of free charging with Electrify America, which has proven to work efficiently during the occasional usage. Perhaps they are well-maintained in my vicinity.
A significant advantage of the BMW i4 eDrive35, despite its shorter range, is its lighter weight. It’s approximately 500 lbs lighter than the BMW i4 M50, and this weight reduction is particularly welcomed since it’s primarily from the front end. The steering closely resembles that of an ICE BMW 3 or 4 Series. Although the car is considerably heavier than its ICE counterpart, the low center of gravity compensates enough that the additional weight isn’t too noticeable during regular daily driving. Overall, it’s a highly capable and sporty sedan, though it doesn’t quite measure up to the finest ICE sports sedans like the M340i or Alfa-Romeo Giulia.
Interior Design and Tech
The primary reason I opted for BMW i4 eDrive35 over competing models is its superior interior technology. BMW’s interior tech is truly impressive, especially when equipped with all the available options, as I did. iDrive 8 stands out as the most exceptional system among all German OEMs, with BMW’s Head-up Display offering unparalleled quality and functionality. The driver assist tech is on par with Enhanced Autopilot, with lane-keeping performing comparably to the Model 3, although it might not handle sharper turns as smoothly.
Unlike my experience in the Model 3, I haven’t encountered phantom braking even once. The self-lane-changing feature functions as effectively as EAP. The highlight is Traffic Jam Assist, which becomes genuinely hands-free via attention monitoring at speeds of 40 mph and below. It’s particularly effective in navigating Pacific Northwest traffic.
Higher Quality Interior Than Model 3
While the interior materials are satisfactory (I’m not particularly fond of SensaTec), the build quality is excellent. However, the standout feature of the interior is its remarkable sound insulation. Although not as eerily quiet as the BMW iX, it ranks among the quietest cars I’ve driven or ridden in, even quieter than my parents’ 2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (aided by the 18″ wheels). This sets BMW i4 eDrive35 apart from the Model 3, with third-party tests showing 4-6 dB quieter at highway speeds (significant as decibels are logarithmic). This translates to a genuinely premium highway experience that my Model 3 Performance lacked, and which I consider a notable improvement. In my Model 3, I often turned up the music to counteract road noise, but in BMW i4 eDrive35, I occasionally play music just to stay alert.
Considering its electric powertrain, impressive cabin technology, and premium interior, I believe BMW i4 eDrive35 stands as one of the top choices for daily use, particularly for those who share similar priorities. While other EVs might excel in various areas and some are even more cost-effective, BMW i4 eDrive35 aligns perfectly with what I sought. It’s essential to note that my experience might not apply to everyone, especially those with distinct preferences. Despite its areas for improvement, I am genuinely satisfied with my early ownership experience of BMW i4 eDrive35.
Story by CB, a member of the r/cars Reddit. The guest writer shared the story with us.