The BMW i4 is a great all-rounder, and feels like a *real* BMW
Managed to borrow the i4 off Jack for a spot of camping – it wasn’t quite as useful as the same trip last year when Andy had that nice electric Berlingo I could chuck everything into, but my alternative at home is a VW e-Up, so everything looks good in comparison on a roadtrip.
Truth be told, I’ve always hankered desperately after an i3, but the 4 doesn’t quite have the same desirability about it. In fact, dare I say it, it might even be a bit too stealthy, which just goes to show you how weird things are at BMW these days.
I was surprised and delighted by the i4 though – it has a lovely ride. The kind of ride that vindicates you having a go at everything else when you get in and it goes nicely. Those chunky old tyres probably help. I’m so glad that someone managed to resist the urge to stick it on obnoxiously oversized alloys when they were putting it all together.
The i4 feels like a BMW, which is a great bar for an electric model to reach – it handles well (like a BMW saloon should), with an assertive turn-in. It obviously has the explosive go if you put it in the right mode, but it can also move along with that restrained urgency you appreciate in a nice German saloon. What it doesn’t do is what many electric vehicles have done so far and confuse excessive acceleration with personality.
Perhaps I’m the silly billy for not expecting anything else in the middle of August than blazing sunshine, because it rained most of the week and even offered up gale force winds somewhere in the middle. The camping might have been dank and disheartening, but at least the drive there was fun. I tell a lie, I did cheer myself up greatly at one point when I found an empty field, turned off the traction control and tried a few cheeky donuts – the i4 was well up for it, Mrs Burnett less so.
Another surprise the i4 had in store was how much we could fit in – the combination of hatchback rear opening and folding seats make the i4 more practical than you might otherwise think. Still, I did have some cause for minor disgruntlement during the week and it all focuses on the boot.
Despite it looking like a cavernous space, the boot is actually quite shallow – not a problem in the good old days when you would repeatedly slam the tailgate down until everything fit nice and snugly, but the i4’s powered effort is surprisingly delicate about such matters. It really didn’t like anything being too close when it tried to close, it would stutter and hang in the middle of the air before giving up and beating a retreat back to a safe altitude.
I wasn’t too keen on the way the tailgate dribbled water over the contents of the boot when it lifted up in the rain, either – the guttering around the opening is quite flat and doesn’t offer much in the way of shielding. Perhaps i4 owners mostly use the boot for their golf clubs, and that’s not the sort of thing you do when it’s raining. Seems like a sensible approach to me.