BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport - long-term review 2023 | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Tuesday 26th September
Long-term review

BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport - long-term review

£54,075 / £63,975 as tested / £773pcm
Published: 27 Jul 2023

Can an electric BMW look, feel and drive... like a BMW?

The i4 feels like the exit point of a 10-year U-turn from BMW. From the swashbuckling audacity of the i3 (launched in 2013) and i8 (a year later) – both of which totally reimagined car design, materials and powertrain layout to stride boldly into our electric future – to this, a 4 Series Gran Coupe with its oily giblets removed and replaced with batteries. It hardly feels like progress, does it?

And yet, this is BMW listening to what the people want. Yes, the i3 and i8 were and still are wonderful cars, snapped up by a handful of early adopters and still cherished by ‘those in the know’, but they never sold in sufficient numbers to justify the colossal R&D input. What the mass market wants, it seems, is cars a lot like our old cars that just happen to run on electrons, not hydrocarbons.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Fair enough, but this presents BMW with a new problem. Whereas the i3 and i8 were allowed - no, needed - to feel new and unusual from behind the wheel, an i4 needs to slip into the established pack without so much as a ripple. A bit like the pure-electric Taycan had to drive ‘like a Porsche’ to be deemed a success, the i4 needs to drive ‘like a BMW’ to be doing its job properly. That’s to say it needs to be built like a Swiss bank safe, work faultlessly, and offer just enough driver engagement to elevate it beyond the other Germans… and the Koreans snapping relentlessly at its heels.

Whether BMW has achieved this subtle but important task, we’ll be investigating thoroughly over the next few months. But first, allow me to introduce our BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport, resplendent in Brooklyn Grey (£695) and Tacora Red with Black Contrast Stitching Vernasca Leather (£1,300) which smells fantastic, for now at least.

Also bundled in we have the Technology Pack (£1,900) with the Harman/Kardon audio and wireless charging pad, the Comfort Plus Pack (£1,950) with heated steering wheel and electric seats and the M Sport Pro Pack (£2,500) which adds M Adaptive suspension, variable sport steering and a 19-inch Y-spoke alloys. We also have a towbar (£1,000) for some reason. We can have fun trying to get use out of that. All-in £63,975 including options… dare I say that feels quite reasonable? What’s happening to me.

Advertisement - Page continues below
compare car finance
Powered byZuto Logo
more on this car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Powered byRegit Logo

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5