by Seth Weintraub
The BMW i4 eDrive40 delivered to my door by BMW looks almost indiscernible from a 4-series internal combustion engine vehicle. It even has what appear to be exhaust pipes out the back.
I imagine the pitch for this car in some Bavarian BMW corporate office was something like: Look, Tesla is eating our lunch, let’s please just make an EV version of the 4 series to take on the Model 3. It will take almost no effort, we’ll just rip out the ICE components and throw in a battery and some electric motors. It will barely appear on the balance sheet. How bad could that be?
Yet somehow this is still a very compelling EV, and I’d argue a lot better than the 4-series it is masquerading as. It is even better than the Model 3 in a bunch of ways…
First the BMW i4 eDrive40 specs: • Motor: 335-hp and 317 lb-ft of torque, rear wheel drive (M50 version is AWD 536hp) • Battery: 81 kWh • Charging: 11 kW AC, 190kW CCS L3, 109 miles in 10 mins • Range: 301 Miles but <240 shows up • Weight: 4800lb
BMW’s Background in EVs BMW debuted its “i” sub-brand in 2011 under “Project i,” and debuted the prototype and purpose built i3 the same year.
It sold the BMW i3, built from the ground up as an EV, starting in 2013. It also launched the plug-in hybrid i8 super sports 2-seater soon after.
BMW i4 is a 4-series The first thing I noticed when the car was dropped off was how much it looked like a standard 4-series BMW. It has the same beaver tooth grille in the front, the same huge bonnet, the same rear end, including what look like ducts for exhaust upon first glance.
Even the charge port is where the gas tank door is. It has a F#%$ driveshaft tunnel basically making the 5th seat legroom nonexistent. Uncanny. As an EV purist, all of this is painful to look at. As a car enthusiast it doesn’t look bad, though I’m not in love with the gray color version I received.