The 2022 BMW i4 might just be the next big turning point that changes the EV landscape in a way nothing else has since the Model S.
The 2022 BMW i4 might be the most important new car coming to the market next year. That’s because it’s shaping up to be the very first sincere shot at the Tesla Model 3. It’s similarly priced, it’s similarly sized, and it’s similarly capable. What’s most important though is that it’s more attractive to so many that have held off from buying a Tesla because they feel that that they’re not luxurious enough. The BMW i4 might just be the next big turning point that changes the EV landscape in a way nothing else has since the Model S.
Unlike the iconic BMW i8 and its smaller city car sibling the i3, the i4 is a true EV and features no petrol power at all. Two models will be available upon launch in early 2022. They include the base model, deemed the i4 eDrive40, and the more powerful and sporty i4 M50. BMW calls the latter its first ever all-electric M car. Let’s take a quick look at what we know about each.
The BMW i4 eDrive40 will come with a single electric motor fitted to the rear axle. BMW says it will produce 335 horsepower and offer a range of 300 miles. They also tell us that it’s powerful enough to reach 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.5 seconds. Optional 19-inch wheels will be available, but standard 18-inchers will be fitted to most. Pricing for the i4 eDrive40 starts at $55,400.
The BMW i4 M50 uses a second electric motor on the front axle to provide all-wheel-drive and boost horsepower to 536. With all four tires clawing at the pavement, BMW says it’ll reach 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. At a starting price of $65,900, it fits in between the Tesla Model 3 Performance and the Audi eTron GT. Range drops to 245 miles. Expect 19 and 20-inch wheel options. BMW has also announced that the i40 M50 will use what they’re calling an adaptive M chassis in concert with a sport tuned suspension and variable sport steering to provide the athletic driving experience the M brand is known for.
Charging times might be a sincere concern though for anyone familiar with the competition from Audi, Porsche, and Tesla. BMW offers only Level 2 charging to buyers who want to charge their BMW i4 at home, which will limit them to gaining just 30 miles of range per hour of charge time. Level 3 fast charging can be achieved, but BMW says that drivers will need to find a public charger to take advantage of that speed. Still, once at such a public fast charger, the i4 will indeed charge quickly with up to 108 miles of range added in just ten minutes to the eDrive40 and 88 miles added in the same time to the M50.
One thing buyers won’t have to worry about is interior comfort. The inside of the BMW i4 perfectly blends futuristic technology with classic luxurious design cues. The infotainment system is sleek, stylish, and refined. The driver information center is massive at 12.3-inches and only outdone by the even larger center screen that measures 14.9-inches. Both are bright and can be configured to the drivers liking as well. Seating is exactly what you’d expect, highly configurable and attractively designed. Expect it to feel much like a 3-Series with hopefully just a tad more space. We really like how much the i4 fits into the rest of the BMW family. Yes, it’s special, and yes we’re glad that they kept that giant infotainment system, but it’s not brutalist modernity in here. It’s all about simple elegance.
Expect the BMW i4 to ship with the newest version of BMW’s iDrive system, now in its eighth iteration. BMW has released a great deal of information on the system and it’s dazzling on paper. Aside from being able to use typical controls like the iDrive wheel or simply touching the screen, BMW says that the system will use machine learning to adapt and improve your personal experience with the i4.
The system knows each of its regular drivers and adapts settings like climate, ambient light coloring, and seating position automatically. The voice control can be given a name and spoken to just like many digital assistants we’re all familiar with. Of course Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and 5G will be included as well. We can’t wait to test it to see if it’s as good in person.
No word yet on exactly how much safety tech the BMW i4 will ship with, but it’s a safe bet to expect it to come standard with forward collision mitigation, a backup camera, and lane-keeping assist. Adaptive cruise, blind-spot monitoring, and a heads up display will likely be optional extras.
BMW will deliver the i4 with a 4-year or 50,000-mile limited warranty in addition to an 8-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. They’ll also cover all maintenance for up to 3 years or 36,000 miles. Not a bad deal at all.
When BMW announced the BMW i4 it seemed like Tesla would have more than ample time to adjust and leave this Bavarian sedan in the dust. That’s not happened though and we think that the combination of luxury and performance is going to make a major dent in the market. This might just be the car that pushes EV adoption much further into the mainstream.