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.