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The 2024 BMW i4 xDrive40.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail

For fans of the BMW 3 and 4 Series, which both share a platform with the i4, there’s never been a better time to try an electric vehicle.

The i4 Gran Coupe, which isn’t actually a coupe, swaps its gasoline engine for electric motors and gets a large battery pack instead of a fuel tank. In every other way, it’s a standard four-door BMW sedan.

Customers have always praised these sedans for their sports-car-like driving manners contained within a sensible four-door layout. It’s the best of both worlds, delivering fun and practicality in one package, and few have done it better than BMW. They’ve stuck by a simple formula since the 1970s: compact proportions, rear-wheel drive, smooth and powerful powertrains, and a suspension that balances agility with ride comfort. The i4 retains all of this.

Some BMW fans might consider the loss of the inline-six-cylinder engine in a top-of-the-line 3 or 4 Series sacrilege and that’s understandable. The 3 Series and the straight-six have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for decades, but the move to electric motors has had virtually no downsides. In fact, the i4 shows us how good EVs can be.

I’ve owned a few iterations of the 3 Series with the inline-six. The engine was a selling feature with its turbine-smooth operation and torquey power delivery. But EV motors are superior, even I have to admit that, especially in a luxury-forward vehicle like the 3 and 4 series, where quiet and smooth are desirable characteristics.

The xDrive40 trim is a new dual-motor variant of the i4 and the cheapest way to get all-wheel drive in an i4. Starting at $69,000, it’s $10,000 cheaper than the range-topping i4 M50. While the M50 is a great vehicle, not everyone needs (or wants) 536 horsepower. The xDrive40 produces a more sensible 396 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, but it’s probably still quicker than any gasoline version of the 3 or 4 Series.

The xDrive40 still gets the same large and colourful screens, intuitive iDrive infotainment system, snug sport seats and the same high-quality cabin experience.

It’s also just as fun to drive. With 443 lb-ft of instant torque, the xDrive40 will squeeze your torso firmly into the seat under acceleration and keeps pulling well past highway speeds. It feels more alive than other EVs with better steering, road feel and braking, while giving you the confidence to tackle corners despite it weighing as much as a conventional pickup truck.

Weight is an issue with most EVs but the i4′s suspension masks it well. Its 81.1-kilowatt-hour (usable) battery pack is rated to deliver 494 kilometres of range (with 18-inch wheels) on a full charge. It can also charge quickly, at up to 205 kilowatts if connected to a fast charger capable of delivering it. That means charging to 80 per cent from 10 per cent in about 30 minutes.

There aren’t many competitors. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range is the obvious one and it’s cheaper after big price drops recently, but the BMW is better built, more enjoyable to drive and better to look at. The Polestar 2 is also good in its own right, but doesn’t have the fun factor of the BMW. A Kia EV6 actually starts out more expensive than a base i4, and a Kia just doesn’t have the same badge prestige.

For those who might have normally considered a gasoline version of the 3 or 4 Series, the i4 almost sells itself. With similar pricing (not even considering government rebates), there are few reasons not to go electric. And with i4 xDrive40 offering a cheaper way than the M50 to get all-wheel drive, it’s an even better proposition for Canadian shoppers.

Tech specs

2024 BMW i4 xDrive40

  • Base price/as tested: $69,900/$85,200 plus $2,480 for freight and predelivery inspection, plus tax
  • Powertrain/battery: Dual, electrically excited synchronous motors; 396 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque combined / 81.1-kilowatt-hour battery
  • Transmission/drive: One-speed/all-wheel drive
  • Energy consumption/range: (Litres equivalent per 100 kilometres): 2.4 city, 2.3 highway, 2.4 combined; 449 kilometres (19-inch wheels), 494 kilometres (18-inch wheels)
  • Alternatives: Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, Kia EV6
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The i4 is a sedan that cleverly hides the fact it is a hatchback.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail


The i4 is a sedan that borrows styling from the 4 Series coupe, including its controversial grille that you either like or don’t. There are no obvious clues that the i4 is an electric car; it looks just like its gasoline counterpart and cleverly hides the fact that it’s actually a hatchback.

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The rear seats of the 2024 BMW i4 are spacious enough for two adults.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail


The i4 has great seats, excellent ergonomics, and one of the best infotainment systems in the business. The rear seats are comfortable for two additional adults (three in a squeeze) and everything feels high quality. Compared to the Tesla Model 3, the i4 is in another league.


It’s not the king of the i4 hill – the M50 takes that crown – but most people aren’t going to mind because 443 lb-ft of torque means the xDrive40 is more than fast enough without entering ludicrous territory. It also has the braking and handling to complement its power. It’s a BMW sport sedan, of that there’s little doubt.

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The front seats and dash of the 2024 BMW i4. Everything about the i4's interior feels high quality.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail


The i4 has an air suspension system on the rear axle that will keep the car level, even when loaded with cargo. All i4s also get a heat pump that works for heating and cooling the cabin. Even with cool late-fall temperatures, the i4 consumed energy at a rate of just 20 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometres. An excellent figure for a heavy, luxury sedan. There’s also adaptive brake regeneration that decides when and how much regeneration to use, automatically saving even more energy.

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The trunk of the 2024 BMW i4 xDrive40 has 470 litres of space that expands to 1,290 litres by folding the rear seats.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail


Under the hatch, there’s 470 litres of space that expands to 1,290 litres by folding the rear seats. Strollers, groceries and IKEA flat-packs will fit with ease.

The verdict

With better ride quality than the M50 and more than enough power, the xDrive40 is the most balanced version of the i4. Its price point is attractive whether coming from a 3 or 4 Series BMW or another premium EV. The i4 offers all the benefits of an electric vehicle, but still feels like a BMW sports sedan. It’s exactly the type of vehicle that will convince more people to drive EVs.

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The 2024 BMW i4 borrows styling from the 4 Series coupé with no obvious clues that it is an electric car.Kunal D'souza/The Globe and Mail

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