Unlike Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo, BMW has so far elected not to publicly declare that it is set to go ‘all in’ when it comes to electric cars. This makes it all the more impressive that, in the i4, the company has built the most broadly desirable mainstream EV to date, at least in terms of everyday appeal.
The range-topping, Porsche Taycan-baiting M50 derivative tested here might not even be the sweetest i4 in the line-up – that accolade probably goes to the less expensive, less serious and longer-legged eDrive40 – but its small victories over various rivals in terms of refinement, performance, handling security and usability add up to make it an obvious front runner for anyone who wants a premium EV that isn’t an SUV. Only Tesla’s Supercharging network and Porsche’s handling mastery give pause for thought when it comes to serious alternatives, those being the Tesla Model 3 and Taycan respectively.
Something lighter, more feelsome and with greater range would cement the i4 M50’s position as a true alternative to higher-level 3 and 4 Series saloons, but those attributes will surely come in time. For now, though, this car is some statement of intent by BMW.