Entry-Level BMW I4 Electric Car Scores 301 Miles Of EPA Range

Entry-Level BMW I4 Electric Car Scores 301 Miles Of EPA Range

BMW has confirmed a 301-mile United States EPA range for its base eDrive40 electric sedan, and BMW has pulled its debut forward by three months, so the i4 will now make its US debut in the first quarter of 2022.

Using an 83.9kWhlithium-ion battery across its model range, the rear-drive BMW i40 is powered by a 250kW synchronous electric motor on the rear axle, which surges it to 60mph in 5.5 seconds.

It is due to land with an MSRP of $55,400 for the eDrive40 i4, plus a $995 destination, though the full federal $7500 EV tax credit should pull it down to an effective $48,895.

The i4 range tops out with a muscular, twin-motor, all-wheel drive i4 M50 at an MSRP of $65,900, which comes down to $65,900 after the tax credit.

The M50 i4 has 400kW of power and made its debut in Europe in October alongside the iX electric SUV, with deliveries starting from November.

An all-electric version of the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe, it uses the in-house CLAR hybrid architecture, which has been designed for both combustion- and EV-power.

The core of the technology in the BMW i40 M50 is the same as it is in the convincing (if visually challenging) iX, which means two electrically excited synchronous motors to drain (and recharge) the battery pack.

BMW retains the rear-drive feel for the M50, with a 230kW/365Nm electric motor at the rear and a 190kW/430Nm version at the front, ripping it to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and up to its limiter at 225km/h.

Light on rare-earth minerals (using 10% of the cobalt of the industry average), the motors can also regenerate braking energy at 195kW (or about 90 percent of all braking, according to BMW), and the battery itself can cope with 205kW charging at high-speed stations.

BMW claims the motors run at 93 percent efficiency, using around 19kWh of energy on the WLTP city cycle, while the prismatic batteries are 97.1% usable, with 81.5kWh of charge available.

It has a combined system power of 400kW and a combined torque figure of 795kW, and if that sounds familiar it’s because it’s almost the same as the fastest iX, which has 395kW and 765Nm.

It’s also an astonishing 295kg lighter than its big brother, too, which is how it ekes out around 420km of range out of a battery pack that is so very much smaller (84kWh versus 111.5kWh).

It charges at 11kW at a wallbox on mains power, bringing it to a full charge from empty in 8.5 hours. It’s much quicker out and about, with 140km of range pouring in in ten minutes from a high-speed charger.

While the entry-level i4 slips beyond the 300-mile barrier on EPA range, it falls considerably below it, to 282 miles, when it moves from 18- to 19-inch wheels.

The stronger M50 version uses 19-inch wheels as standard equipment and has an EPA range of 270 miles (which drops 16% to 227 miles on 20-inch rubber), which is actually higher than the European WLTP claim.

The i4 Gran Coupe range will help leapfrog BMW from having a one-car EV range (the i3) to four EVs in a matter of months, including the i3, the iX3 SUV, the iX SUV and now the i4 Gran Coupe.

BMW will follow this up with pure EV variants of the 5-Series, the 7-Series and the X1 in 2022 and plans to have 12 EVs, covering 90% of its market segments, on sale by the end of 2023.

It also plans to for EVs to make up half of BMW’s sales volume by 2025, which would take around two million BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce cars.