BMW i4 Gran Coupé eDrive35 – electric avenue.

BMW i4, the Bavarian manufacturer’s electric four-door coupe, is eye-catching and exciting.


Think of this BMW i4 as an electric 4 Series four-door coupé and BMW’s tagline “the first-ever fully-electric Gran Coupé” makes sense. What you see here is the “entry-level” model called eDrive35, with the i4 M50 sitting above it. So, what does this i4 Gran Coupé (GC in short from now on) compete with in the Singapore market?

Nothing.

Nothing from Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Nothing from the Swedes. Nothing from the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese. Nothing. All the other electric vehicles (EVs) in its price segment are SUVs, leaving the i4 GC in a very unique position both in terms of market positioning and vehicle type.

outside.

The enlarged (some might say engorged) kidney grille has been debated ad nauseam both online and in print. Truth be told, I never once noticed it during my test drive, only in pictures while writing this review. I guess it’s offset by the design elements around it such as the sculpted front bumper, grilles and slim headlights to where one knows it’s there but doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb – even when outlined in electric blue. Naise!

245/40R19 and 255/40R19 Hankook Ventus S1 evo 3 tyres wrap 19-inch rims in a staggered configuration front and rear respectively, and do a good job of both gripping well and remaining quiet over most types of tarmac.

Even though the test car did not come with adaptive dampers, this was still fine since the fixed-rate items – though noticeably sportily sprung – did a bang-up job of keeping the ride relatively smooth and soaking up most bumps very well. You won’t hear a peep outta me about how smaller rims with thicker-sidewall’d tyres would ride better.

Further espousing its green credentials is an electric blue hockey-stick motif on either side of the i4 GC which plays well with the test car’s darker grey colour and accentuates the side profile’s appearance cohesively.

Add to that the sloping roof line of the “Gran Coupé” and you have one very sharp-looking EV indeed.

The electric blue accents carry on to the rear diffuser, surrounding the area where exhaust pipes would be present in an internal combustion engine vehicle, further calling out the i4 GC’s green credentials.

blue is green

Its rump is certainly a sight to behold. Curves play with chiselled edges and swooping taillights to combine into one gorgeous-looking package. Mmmmm…..

inside.

Click a button on the key fob or the boot lid and the liftback-type tailgate electrically swings open to reveal a very usable 470-litres of luggage capacity.

Need more? Drop the rear seatbacks and up to 1,290-litres of load-lugging space is made available.

One needs to take note of the sloping roofline while getting into the rear seats. With the driver’s seat in my preferred seating position (at 1.82-meters tall with longer limbs and shorter torso) I can just about sit behind myself but for shorter journeys of up to 30 minutes. Headroom is fine as well, and most people back here shouldn’t have an issue with needing to slouch.

The seats themselves are comfy and supportive, and three-zone climate control means that rear occupants can set their preferred temperature. Two USB Type-C ports are available to keep mobile devices charged. A fold-down centre armrest features two cupholders for refreshing beverages on longer journeys.

The front sports seats are electrically adjustable, with memory on the driver’s side. BMW sure knows how to make supportive sports seats, for the driver’s seat cosseted and supported me very well during my 500+km test drive.

I did, however, find myself wishing that the i4 GC came with a sunroof, for natural light streaming into the cabin would have helped it feel more airy.

The leather-wrapped sports steering wheel is of a good size and feels natural to hold, being adjustable for reach and rake. Physical buttons and thumbwheels allow adjustments to the standard cruise control, and audio, telephony and instrument cluster functions on the left and right spokes respectively. They’re logically laid out and easy to get to grips with.

The instrument screen forms part of BMW’s Curved Display. Measuring in at 12.3-inches, it can be customised to display myriad information from navigation to energy consumption.

At first glance, it may appear busy, but after a few minutes, one finds that it is bright, intuitive and easy to read.

headlight controls with auto function
driver’s seat-memory function

Follow the swoop of BMW’s Curved Display to the left and one finds the 14.9-inch infotainment screen featuring iDrive 8. Again, at first glance, it may appear busy and somewhat daunting, but spend a few minutes playing with it and I promise you’ll find it intuitive to use. The main screen can be customised with widgets to display various information from the weather to the chosen audio source. Further customization such as the mood lighting’s colour and brightness is also done from iDrive 8.

And yes, it has touchscreen climate control. I found that by setting the system to Auto, and simply adjusting the temperature through the lower bar on the touchscreen, things worked really well. Voice commands can also be issued to adjust the climate control.

The BMW i4 GC comes with Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, and this too can be tinkered with and EQ’d via the respective screen in iDrive 8. It sounds very decent and was able to handle a variety of audio, from Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire to Prodigy’s Smack My B***h Up to a nearly four-hour-long podcast.

Harman Kardon Surround Sound System
wireless charger, USB-A & cupholders
physical volume, seek, hazard lights and defrost controls
iDrive, drive & drive mode controls, and auto-hold brakes

driving.

Visibility out of the BMW i4 GC is good, and it was easy to place this EV in one’s desired direction. Steering is a bit on the sharp side, so take it easy the first time out. The turning circle was also a little wider than expected, meaning the i4 GC had to be placed further outside to U-turn onto the up and down ramps in my estate’s multistorey carpark, which was a little surprising.

Reversing into parking spots is also easy with BMW’s Parking Assistant displaying the reverse camera and distance markers on the infotainment screen with audible beeps.

On the move, things are calm and serene.. until one puts their foot down. 286hp and 400Nm of torque may not sound like much, but with pretty much instant availability, point and squirt manoeuvres become a cinch for overtaking and merging onto highways.

plastic abounds underhood

Speaking of the latter, the BMW i4 GC was given a proper squirt to merge onto a highway in damp conditions, and the rear end went slightly squirrely for a split second while traversing lane markings. Traction control, however, quickly and seamlessly got things back in shape.

In other words, it drives like a BMW should. It’s pretty keen to take corners and will work with you to rotate the rear end to get the nose pointed in the intended direction of travel.

Not only is the i4 GC quick, but relatively frugal as well. Over a test-driven 521.8km, the calculated average energy consumption was 14.3kWh/100km or 7.0km/kWh, which handily beat BMW’s claimed 19.3kWh/100km or 5.18km/kWh figure.

Naturally, your mileage may vary based on use-case and driving conditions, but it appears that one simply needs to drive smoothly and sensibly, not slowly, and good economy is possible to achieve.

general commuting
pure street
mostly highway
mixed-drive Tour de Singapour

Charging the i4 GC’s 67kW battery pack is also a straightforward affair, be it with AC or DC.

A maximum of 180kW DC charging is supported, and BMW says that the 10-80% DC charge time is 32 minutes. My own experience with a 100kW DC charger suggests that this is pretty accurate.

All in all, the BMW i4 GC is a unique EV that makes a statement that, currently, no other car manufacturer does. It’s sleek, sharp-looking, enjoyable to drive and pretty easy to live with.

It can be frugal during the daily doldrums of road travel and put a smile on one’s face when the loud pedal is prodded to the metal. Folks, it’s seriously worth a good look.

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

technical specifications.

BMW i4 Gran Coupé eDrive35
Power: 286hp
Torque: 400Nm
Drive: Rear wheels
Battery: 67kW
Estimated Range (WLTP): up to 483km (claimed)
0-100km/h: 6.0 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 190km/h (claimed)
Energy Economy: 19.3kWh/100km or 5.18km/kWh (claimed)
Price: S$342,888 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: BMW Singapore


Check out more green rides here!

vivek max r.

Vivek is an automotive enthusiast, future-tech explorer and has just started getting into bikes. He believes that because science is always evolving and never settled, we should never stop looking for better ways to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

you may also like

Hyundai Kona Electric review – plug into the matrix.

Tesla Model 3 Highland review – still the pioneer.

compact controversy – launch of the Alfa Romeo Junior

Audio House supports NEA’s climate voucher programme.