[TEST DRIVE] BMW’s i4 is sporty and sleek but lacks in navigation system
The BMW i4 is the German automaker’s first all-electric Gran Coupe-styled sedan. The EV is offered in two powertrains, the BMW i4 eDrive 40 and BMW i4 M50.
The Korea JoongAng Daily recently got behind the wheel of the BMW i4 eDrive 40 and took it for a test on a 110-kilometer (48-mile) course around BMW's driving center on Yeongjong Island, Incheon, which offers straight and empty roads, perfect conditions to test out the coupe’s powerful acceleration.
The iconic horizontal kidney grille and slim headlamps stood out from the exterior, giving the car a luxurious look. The interior is simple, with minimal buttons. A 12.3-inch dashboard and 14.9-inch center display is connected, which allows drivers to control almost every function through a touchscreen.
Despite the high-end look, the mid-sized sedan EV surprised this reporter from the beginning and not in a good way. There was no automatic car seat adjustment system, so drivers and passengers have to adjust their seats manually, which reminded this reporter of cars from the early 2000s. BMW Korea explained that it is due to the global shortage of auto chips, and vehicles that will be released in the second quarter will have the automatic system.
The driving was extremely smooth, even at speeds above 100 kilometers per hour. The reporter felt no discomfort when hitting sudden speed bumps.
With a maximum 340 horsepower and 43.85 kilogram-meters of torque, the luxury sedan EV only takes 5.7 seconds to reach 100 kilometers per hour.
With the quick response time, it seemed like the regenerative braking system works very well. Regenerative braking, which is widely known as one-pedal driving, allows the vehicle to slightly charge itself from the car's kinetic energy when it slows down.
The reporter drove around 10 kilometers during the test drive with the one pedal driving mode, and found that the available kilometers actually increased by two kilometers.
The most notable part of the BMW i4 was that it offers an Iconic Sounds Electric system which makes a similar engine sound to sports cars when driving in sport mode. BMW said it co-developed the system with world-famous film composer Hans Zimmer.
Equipped with an 84-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery made by Samsung SDI, the electric sedan can travel 429 kilometers per single charge, which is longer than the range of latest cars from other brands. Volvo's C40 Recharge is able to run 356 kilometers per charge while Genesis' Electrified GV70 can go 400 kilometers.
However, the in-car navigation service was quite disappointing. The map on the display was very hard to navigate and while it doesn’t offer a voice recognition system, BMW Korea said it has upgraded the service. This reporter eventually gave up on using the navigation service and just ended up using the TMAP app on a smartphone instead.
The sticker price of the BMW i4 eDrive 40 starts from 66.5 million won ($54,600). That is cheaper than in Germany, where the vehicle with similar features retails for 58,300 euros ($64,800).
The sedan is eligible to receive 50 percent of the EV subsidy from the Korean government.
BMW Korea launched the model in Korea on March 28 and has already received more than 3,700 orders.
BMW sold a total of 11,206 units in Korea in January and February, becoming the No. 1 imported car brand in terms of sales, beating Mercedes-Benz, according to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.
BY SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]