Update: ‘Design,’ ‘BMW i4 Price & Release Date’ and ‘BMW i4 sales’ sections updated.
Last decade, BMW impressed the world with the i3 EV and the i8 PHEV, which were quite ahead of their time. After making an early foray into the electrified vehicles space, the brand has played catch-up to other EV makers. The BMW iX SUV arrived after the competition had already spruced up in late 2020, and the BMW i4 only made its debut in mid-2021.
Here’s everything we know about the 2023 BMW i4, the company’s electric gran coupe.
After witnessing a barrage of two-box SUVs with in-your-face designs, the i4’s low-slung three-box styling has a sanitizing effect on the eyes. The i4 appears traditional and futuristic in equal measure. Upfront, there’s the latest iteration of the BMW kidney grille, which is closed off with a glossy black finish. There’s a lower air inlet to cool the battery and vertical vents on the side of the bumper to cool the brakes. The sleek full-LED headlamps are standard. Unlike the 2022 i4, the 2023 i4 is available with BMW M 50 Years emblems optionally.
In addition to the eDrive40 and M50 variants, the 2023 BMW i4 comes in a new eDrive35 variant. The new base variant features 18-inch aero wheels. The eDrive40 variant also has 18-inch wheels as standard, but it is available with 19-inch units optionally.
The i4 M50 comes with 19-inch rims as standard and can be upgraded to 20-inch units. However, note that larger wheels usually reduce the range. With the MY2023 update, BMW has deleted the 18-inch M Bi-color Midnight Grey style 858M wheel option that came with non-runflat tires. Head to the specifications section to check the range of the i4 with different wheel sizes.
The door handles on the BMW i4 sit flush with the bodywork but are not pop-out units. The window line flows neatly into the Hofmeister kink while the roof slopes gently into the rear in a coupe-like fashion. The taillamps are incredibly sleek, and with no need for an exhaust, BMW has tweaked the rear bumper to improve aerodynamics.
The rear bumper houses a diffuser and sharply cut vertical aero vanes on the sides of both versions. The front bumper on the M50 gets a signature U-shaped design and additional side intakes to cool the brakes. The kidney grille surround is finished in Cerium Gray, as is the vertical trim around the air curtains. The window surrounds feature ‘M high-gloss Shadowline’ trim as standard on the i4 M50 variant, while the rest get standard gloss black treatment. The rear bumper appears very aggressively styled, and there’s also a spoiler on the tailgate.
Interior & Features
BMW iDrive 8
The cabin matches the sporty appeal of the exterior design with many driver-focused elements. The i4 has a free-standing curved display that integrates two screens – a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch infotainment screen – and tilts towards the driver. The screens are integrated with BMW’s latest-generation iDrive 8 software. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also on offer.
BMW says the new system gets more processing power, and the OS has been optimized for more efficient and easier human-machine interaction. The BMW Personal Assistant uses new graphics to communicate. At the same time, the Natural Dialogue feature is now more accurate, allowing drivers and passengers to use voice, gestures, and gaze in various combinations to communicate with the BMW i4.
Lots of physical controls
The i4 comes standard with sports seats and a sports steering wheel. BMW hasn’t eliminated physical controls, and there are a visible amount of buttons in the cabin. The start/stop button is on the center console, which also houses the rotary iDrive controller and buttons for the e-parking brake, drive modes, traction control, auto start/stop assist, cameras, and parking sensors. Secondary music and climate control buttons are positioned under the central air-con vents.
Additionally, there’s a 23-inch-long panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting with pulsating function, and a standard 10-speaker sound system with a 205 W amplifier. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a 464 W amplifier is optional.
Hans Zimmer’s acoustic contributions
What’s more, Hans Zimmer has developed artificial sounds for the BMW i4 to alert pedestrians and road users. The sound can be altered using the infotainment, and there’s different output in Comfort and Sport driving modes. For the M50, there’s a unique energetic tone to bode well with its performance-oriented powertrain. In collaboration with Hans Zimmer, BMW has tuned the sound to the minutest precision – the brand claims there’s an authentic output even to the slightest tap on the throttle pedal.
5G-enabled with eSim
The i4 and the iX are the first BMWs to benefit from 5G supports with the help of an eSim. Users can add the eSim to their existing mobile plan and benefit from the EV’s 5G antenna to activate an in-car WiFi hotspot. Moreover, American telecom giant T-Mobile has introduced a dedicated eSim plan called Magenta Drive for BMW. The eSim gets liked to the customer’s BMW user ID and hence is available anytime users sign into their account.
How does this benefit the user? Well, they can stream their favorite songs or movies from their preferred platforms (Spotify or YouTube for example) and access a wealth of information online at unhindered 5G speeds.
BMW offers an optional Premium Package for the i4 in the U.S. Originally, this package included a heated steering wheel, lumbar support, heated front seats, interior ambient lighting, and Iconic Sounds Electric. With the MY2023 update, BMW is deleting Iconic Sounds electric from this package.
Euro NCAP safety rating
BMWs usually achieve the highest, 5-star rating in Euro NCAP (pdf report), but the BMW i4 is an exception. It has received a 4-star rating in the safety tests. The electric four-door coupe scored 87% in adult occupant protection and child occupant protection, but not so well in road user vulnerability – 71%.
An average safety assist score of 64% affected the i4’s Euro NCAP rating the most. According to the final report, the car is not good with lane support, in which it scored just 1.8 points out of the maximum 4. The i4’s Lane Departure Warning system, which is operational from 70 km/h (43 mph), is good with steering the car back into the lane normally but performs marginally in emergency situations. In Autonomous Emergency Braking car-to-car, the i4 scored 3.8 points out of the maximum 6. The car’s front collision warning with brake intervention, operational from 5 km/h (3 mph) needs improvement. The lack of occupant detection for the driver seat and the rear seats also affected the safety assist score and effectively the star rating.
BMW i4 Specifications
The eDrive35 and eDrive40 are single-motor RWD variants, while the M50 is a dual-motor AWD variant. The i4 eDrive35 produces 281 hp (preliminary figure) and 295 lb-ft of torque (preliminary figure), with which BMW expects a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.8 seconds.
The i4 eDrive40 sports a more capable motor that develops 335 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and attain a top speed of 118 mph. A a self-leveling rear air suspension is standard on this variant, and BMW says that it greatly reduces body pitch and roll.
The i4 M50 is for enthusiasts who can cough up the extra bucks, get more horsepower. Its two motors churn out 469 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque. The driver can increase the combined power and combined torque for over ten seconds by 67 hp and 48 lb-ft, respectively, to 536 hp and 586 lb-ft, respectively, using a Sport drive mode. A fuel gauge-style icon in the instrument cluster shows how much boost power is available and for how much time. The M50 takes just 3.7 seconds for a 0-60 mph sprint, and it can attain a top speed of up to 140 mph.
The i4 M50’s powertrain only sends torque to the front wheels when the driving conditions demand more grip. The M50 also comes standard with adaptive M suspension for dynamic handling. Like the i4 eDrive40, the i4 M50 comes with a self-leveling rear air suspension as standard.
The i4 eDrive35 has a 66 kWh battery pack, while the i4 eDrive40 and i4 M50 share an 81.5 kWh battery pack. BMW expects the 2023 i4 eDrive35 to receive an EPA-est. range certification of about 260 miles. The 2023 i4 eDrive40 will likely deliver an EPA-est. range of 301 miles (with 18-inch wheels)/282 miles (19-inch wheels). The 2023 i4 M50’s EPA-est. driving range should be 270 miles (19-inch wheels)/227 miles (20-inch wheels).
The eDrive35 variant has the same maximum AC charging power as the eDrive40 and M50 variants – 11 kW. We don’t know how long it will take to charge its 66 kWh battery pack with an 11 kW AC charger, but fully charging the other two variants’ 81.5 kWh battery pack takes 8.25 hours.
The eDrive35 variant supports DC charging at up to 180 kW, and at that rate, based on early testing, customers can expect the 10-80% charging time to be 32 minutes. The eDrive40 and M50 variants support a slightly higher maximum DC charging power – 200 kW. Charging their battery pack from 10 to 80% SoC on direct current takes 31 minutes.
Lower center of gravity than the 3 Series
The BMW i4 is based on the same platform as the iX, a modified version of BMW’s Cluster Architecture (CLAR). The brand says the i4 M50’s center of gravity is 1.3 inches lower than the BMW 3 Series sedan. The eDrive40’s center of gravity is 2.1 inches lower than the gas-powered sedan, thanks to the battery module positioned between the axles. The low center of gravity certainly improves handling and ride quality.
|BMW i4 Specifications||i4 eDrive35||i4 eDrive40||i4 M50|
|Length||188.5 inches||188.5 inches||188.5 inches|
|Width (without mirrors)||72.9 inches||72.9 inches||72.9 inches|
|Height||57.0 inches||57.0 inches||57.0 inches|
|Wheelbase||112.4 inches||112.4 inches||112.4 inches|
|Motor||Single (RWD)||Single (RWD)||Dual motors (AWD)|
|Power||281 hp (preliminary)||335 hp||536 hp|
|Torque||295 lb-ft (preliminary)||317 lb-ft||586 lb-ft|
|Battery (net capacity)||66 kWh||81.5 kWh||81.5 kWh|
|Maximum Range (BMW-est.)||~260 miles||Up to 300 miles||Up to 245 miles|
|0-60 mph||5.8 seconds (preliminary)||5.5 seconds||3.7 seconds|
BMW AR Experience
In March 2022, BMW introduced the augmented reality experience for its customers, created in association with Google Cloud. The AR feature can be experienced on bmwusa.com, where fans or potential buyers can digitally place the car into real-life conditions and play around with paint and lighting permutations and combinations. BMW has used Google Cloud’s prowess in the AR domain, and users can even take a deeper look at the materials used in the i4’s and iX’s cabins.
BMW i4 Price & Release Date
BMW Group says that the i4 and iX are in high demand internationally. In the U.S., the German automaker started delivering the i4 and iX in late March 2022, with the i7 going on sale in the fourth quarter of 2022. In total, BMW sold 15,584 units of its BEVs in the U.S. market in 2022.
U.S. deliveries of the base eDrive35, mid-spec eDrive40, and top-spec M50 variants are underway. The 2023 BMW i4 costs USD 51,400 (excl. USD 995 destination and handling fee) onwards in the new eDrive35 variant.
The base price of the 2023 i4 eDrive40 is USD 500 higher than that of the 2022 i4 eDrive40 – USD 55,900 (excl. USD 995 destination and handling fee). The 2023 i4 M50’s starting price is USD 1,400 higher than that of the 2022 i4 M50 variant – USD 67,300 (excl. USD 995 destination and handling fee). Prices of raw materials have increased because of the weak global economic cues and the impact of geopolitical events, prompting carmakers to hike prices.
Further price hike reported
By way of a leaked internal memo that surfaced on i4Talk on November 30, 2022, it has become quite apparent that the premium compact electric sedan will become pricier. Starting March 2023, the i4 eDrive35 variant will be priced from USD 52,000, reflecting a price hike of 1.2% or USD 600.
The starting price of the i4 eDrive40, which is currently USD 55,900, will go up by 2.1% and thus become dearer by USD 1,200. As for the i4 M50, it will cost USD 68,700 – a hike of 2.1% or about USD 1,400 over its current price tag of USD 67,300, as per the forum posting.
The Tesla Model 3 may be leading the pack in the mid-size segment, but the i4 is showing that it has what it takes to give it a run for its money. Several credible publications have found the Bimmer impressive, especially in the main aspects that truly matter in the purchase decision, such as build quality, driving dynamics, practicality, and interior quality. The German car is a more refined product overall and has what it takes to make EV every home’s reliable daily driver. However, challenging the Tesla Model 3 would be possible only if the Germans produce locally and adapt the i4 to further suit American customers.
Featured Image Source: BMW