I had the privilege of driving a well-optioned i4 M50 today here in Portland. The car is making its way through the dealer circuit in the Pacific Northwest and I happened to pick the right day to inquire about my spot on the waitlist!
I’m ordering the eDrive40, so it was reassuring to feel how agile this substantially heavier vehicle felt. Clicking through the drive modes, I felt that Comfort was a bit vague, but perfectly suitable for daily needs. And Sport didn’t ruin the steering, it just firmed it up to what you would expect and gave the boost that right amount of pluck. Torque steer is a thing, but it never felt out of control. This is the right config for some people, but I will be happy to trade the absolute max boost for a lighter car and the playfulness that RWD should encourage.
Seating position is spot on, the Hans Zimmer soundtrack does add to the ambience and gives the context of driving that a Tesla omits. It is so whisper quiet under all pavement conditions, I don’t know how other more luxurious BMW model lines can improve upon it. I did not have a strong impression either way on the HUD, though I did find myself turning it off, along with a number of other warning systems that were on by default. I’m no purist, per se, but I did think these detracted from the driving experience and this does have driver’s car sensibilities. A brief test of the lane-keep and other auto-cruise functions though tells me that this will be a brilliant antidote to interstate drudgery.
Back seat is larger than I had expected given other reviews, but I am coming from an A5 cabriolet so my bar for back seat space is low. I felt that the sunroof, while not a panorama, gives a decent amount of cabin levity that would be even more pronounced with a lighter interior. After driving with a black interior, I am considering changing spec to Canberra Beige or Cognac Brown.
Having just come off a few days with a Tesla Model 3, the future for electric BMW is bright. Playing in a similar price range, the BMW is clearly going to win people over who value a more connected driving experience and refinement. The i4 is one car that is not necessarily cheap but, if spec’d with restraint, seems like a strong value.