The i4’s interior is effectively a straight translation of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé’s. EV-centric changes include small adaptations to the switchgear on the transmission tunnel (and it is a transmission tunnel, even though the i4’s has nothing to fill it), but that’s about it.

There’s also the vast array of the new BMW iDrive 8 infotainment system and integrated digital instrument display. It’s an impressive-looking set-up – if sparkling displays appeal to you – though for anyone in the passenger seat, the ‘floating’ effect of the screen is undermined by the visible and inelegant strut that supports it.

Elsewhere, it’s mostly good news. Perceived quality is very high indeed and the driving ergonomics are best in class, with plenty of adjustability in the steering column and seats. Slide aboard and you become aware that you’re sitting a little higher than you would in a 3 or 4 Series, but that’s on account of the battery pack.

That BMW hasn’t scalloped the pack to preserve the ICE models’ low driving position is hardly cause for complaint. However, it might have found some way to remove the central hump in the second row. Back-seat passengers are already limited in terms of head room, and the redundant propshaft housing only makes space tighter.

Passenger space is one area where the Tesla Model 3 comfortably outperforms the i4, though in terms of boot space, the BMW is back on top. At 470 litres with the back seats in place, it betters not only the Tesla but also the Porsche Taycan and the SUV-style Ford Mustang Mach-E.

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BMW i4 infotainment and sat-nav

BMW has taken a leaf from Mercedes’ book with the i4’s huge, anti-reflective curved display, which unifies the 12.3in instrument panel and the 14.9in central infotainment hub. It will divide opinion, and marks the starkest departure to date from the simplicity of BMW’s traditional orange-tinged roundels.

The software itself is that of BMW’s eighth-generation iDrive, and the graphics are ultra-sharp, which is just as well because there is an awful lot of information and icons that can be shown at any given time. Fortunately, the rotary controller familiar to owners of all modern-era BMWs remains, and it makes short work of navigating between maps, multimedia and charging information. With a little practice, iDrive 8 quickly becomes the slickest infotainment experience in the class.

However, there is also the option of linking your smartphone, either via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Both programmes are well integrated, making use of the entirety of the display, and navigation instructions can also be sent to the car’s head-up display.