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      05-04-2022, 04:22 PM   #1
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Test drove the i4 m50i today (m340i owner's comparison impressions)

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So I guess a lot of dealers have the i4 and iX as demo cars not for sale. I took this opportunity to visit my local dealer and test drive the i4 m50i.

My impressions:

- It looks REALLY good in person. The proportions are great, the stance is good, and it's just a generally very attractive car in person. Granted I have a G80 on order so the grill has never bothered me anyway.

- It's fast. Definitely quicker than my m340i. And of course the typical instant torque of EVs is very noticeable.

- Handling is pretty good especially for such a heavy car. Under 90% of driving it corners pretty flat and holds a great line. It's in the last 10% of hyper aggressive driving where you really begin to see the negative impacts of all that extra weight... It'll begin to understeer at points where my m340i will continue turning.

- The interior is great. I know there's a huge debate going on about iDrive 8, but I like it. Although I wish there was better integration into the dash, I thought the interior was overall a really nice place to be.

- One thing I thought was going to be gimmicky and a bit stupid were the Hans Zimmer sounds. In reality I found them to be awesome. Under hard acceleration in sport mode, the sounds it makes go a very long way to giving this EV a bit of character where other EVs fall short.


Overall I feel it's a huge step up from the Model 3 performance. The model 3 in comparison feels sterile, lacks an interior, and just doesn't look as nice.

All this being said, as soon as I stepped back into my m340i and fired it up... hearing the roar of the engine and then the explosion of the transmission on upshift... I can say I'm definitely still partial to ICE cars. The Hans Zimmer sounds help, but they're no substitute for the joys of internal combustion. But at least now I can say I've finally driven an EV I wasn't disgusted by.

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      05-05-2022, 07:44 PM   #2
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Nice review. I agree it’s a great looking car.
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      05-05-2022, 08:02 PM   #3
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+1 - agree 100%
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      05-07-2022, 12:35 AM   #4
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I can honestly say that after living with the i4M50 a period that’s approaching 2 months I wouldn’t go back to an ICE car by choice and this from a person who’s last car was a 2020 M5 Competition.

When you move beyond that instant acceleration that frankly nothing short of a supercar can mimic you start to appreciate just how buttery smooth the drivetrain is on an EV.
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      05-07-2022, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
I can honestly say that after living with the i4M50 a period that’s approaching 2 months I wouldn’t go back to an ICE car by choice and this from a person who’s last car was a 2020 M5 Competition.

When you move beyond that instant acceleration that frankly nothing short of a supercar can mimic you start to appreciate just how buttery smooth the drivetrain is on an EV.
YES, YES, YES!!! 100% perfectly said. I cannot agree with you more
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      05-07-2022, 07:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
I can honestly say that after living with the i4M50 a period that’s approaching 2 months I wouldn’t go back to an ICE car by choice and this from a person who’s last car was a 2020 M5 Competition.

When you move beyond that instant acceleration that frankly nothing short of a supercar can mimic you start to appreciate just how buttery smooth the drivetrain is on an EV.
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Originally Posted by deutsch100 View Post
YES, YES, YES!!! 100% perfectly said. I cannot agree with you more
And until they have driven it, they won't ever fully understand.

I cant tell you how many people I have tried to talk into an EV, and they are like yeah, its not for me. Then they get one and say why didnt you tell me?!

I DID! You didnt believe me!

Well over 130k miles of EV driver between a Tesla Model 3, Fiat 500e, and Chevy Volt.
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      05-08-2022, 11:06 AM   #7
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Torque is crazy. One foot driving is interesting (autonomous braking). It doesn't feel as fast as a tuned m340i to me, but has much more torque.
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      05-08-2022, 11:37 AM   #8
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would you be able to share which dealer that is?

bill jacobs doesn't have the i4 apparently (or they won't let me drive it, idk), and i've been wanting to test it and/or the iX
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      05-08-2022, 12:12 PM   #9
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Great review and agree 100%. Is the weight difference between this and a model3 performance 750 lbs?
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      05-08-2022, 01:05 PM   #10
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Even as a transitional vehicle, BMW got i4 M50 right as your review suggests. Thanks for sharing!
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      05-08-2022, 01:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkish Pickle View Post
would you be able to share which dealer that is?

bill jacobs doesn't have the i4 apparently (or they won't let me drive it, idk), and i've been wanting to test it and/or the iX
This was at Laurel Westmont. They also have an iX demo but I didn't have time to try that out.
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      05-08-2022, 01:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rastainna View Post
Torque is crazy. One foot driving is interesting (autonomous braking). It doesn't feel as fast as a tuned m340i to me, but has much more torque.
Coming from a close to FBO and heavily tuned N54 the M50 power and speed is deceptive.

It doesn't feel like it's going fast because power delivery is effortless, smooth and above all, silent. This is deceptive on how we perceive speed

The M50 would leave my N54 in the silent dust.

There is no shifting of gears and no changing of revs and no exhaust note.

I was doing 110 mph before I looked down when entering the freeway. It's crazy fast.
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      05-08-2022, 01:18 PM   #13
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Does it come with inline 6 and stick? If not, nah 😂
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      05-08-2022, 01:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Does it come with inline 6 and stick? If not, nah 😂
Got my G80 6mt on order for that!

It's no replacement for ICE... but this has been the most impressive and complete package EV I've driven so far. Wouldn't mind one as a daily, as long as I can have my inline 6 and 6mt for the weekends.
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      05-08-2022, 01:29 PM   #15
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I agree with you.

I am a car enthusiast and this is how I look at electric V ICE. Don't get me wrong I will own electric at some point after first model years and kinks worked out and see how they all settle down a bit, but I'm not a hater of electric just not thrilling to me. But sure would use one for the boring commutes.

ICE has a soul and character.

Electric is making the car become an appliance...
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      05-08-2022, 01:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtwo3 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
Does it come with inline 6 and stick? If not, nah 😂
Got my G80 6mt on order for that!

It's no replacement for ICE... but this has been the most impressive and complete package EV I've driven so far. Wouldn't mind one as a daily, as long as I can have my inline 6 and 6mt for the weekends.
We are seriously contemplating EV for wife. She makes 5k a year, so fine. Right now iX is the most serious contender or maybe PHEV X5 45e.
My 6MT E90 takes kids to daycare and school, ski once week, track on summer and it will keep doing that
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      05-08-2022, 01:56 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
We are seriously contemplating EV for wife. She makes 5k a year, so fine. Right now iX is the most serious contender or maybe PHEV X5 45e.
My 6MT E90 takes kids to daycare and school, ski once week, track on summer and it will keep doing that
We've also got an X7 on order, but if BMW offered a 3 row EV SUV that definitely would have been a serious consideration. The smoothness of the EV powertrain makes it perfect as a comfortable family hauler around town. I may go back and check out thr iX at some point but everything I've seen/read about it has been glowing.
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      05-08-2022, 02:41 PM   #18
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Pretty much spot on with my opinions, also being a M340i owner. I autocrossed the i4 M50 at the NY UDE event and it was pretty fun. The instant torque off the line balanced out the worse handling due to the weight. I still am trying to get over the grill (on the G80 it has grown on me though) but I do thing the rear quarter angle is the best. Love how wide the rear end looks. However like you mentioned after finishing the UDE I started up my M340i and just thought to myself that I'll just stick with my car for a bit longer before jumping ship lol
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      05-08-2022, 03:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
I can honestly say that after living with the i4M50 a period that’s approaching 2 months I wouldn’t go back to an ICE car by choice and this from a person who’s last car was a 2020 M5 Competition.

When you move beyond that instant acceleration that frankly nothing short of a supercar can mimic you start to appreciate just how buttery smooth the drivetrain is on an EV.
Interestingly, you don't need an EV to get the low-speed benefits of an EV. A PHEV like the X5 45e can give you instant torque from 0 and assist the ICE in ways that make it just about faultless without losing the character of an ICE at WOT.

The thing that is present in the best of supercars now, and soon coming to the next generation of ICE based ///M cars is electric assist to tide over all the low-rev and gear-shift-time shortcomings of ICE cars, while retaining what makes these cars so desirable.

In non-///M cars, this means that you can have the benefits of electric in even more use cases without worrying about things like range and stopping for charging. This is already true for a large number of people with the 45e given its range covers most daily driving with a nightly charge.

And to share my frame of reference fully, my other car is a 2022 M4 Comp M xDrive. I'd only take a full electric car as a third car in my garage, because it side-by-side long-distance drives with a Tesla Model Y (vs. X5 45e), I was able to gap it to the destination by an hour and a half in a 6 hour drive because I'm able to hold much higher speeds without losing range, and I didn't have to stop to charge for half an hour in the middle of the night (in fact, I didn't even have to get gas).
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      05-08-2022, 03:31 PM   #20
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Great review indeed! I currently have one on order and finally got to drive a dealer demo and now it just makes me want the i4 here even sooner!

Looks great in person and overall it's an awesome car!
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      05-08-2022, 03:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjx View Post
Interestingly, you don't need an EV to get the low-speed benefits of an EV. A PHEV like the X5 45e can give you instant torque from 0 and assist the ICE in ways that make it just about faultless without losing the character of an ICE at WOT.

The thing that is present in the best of supercars now, and soon coming to the next generation of ICE based ///M cars is electric assist to tide over all the low-rev and gear-shift-time shortcomings of ICE cars, while retaining what makes these cars so desirable.

In non-///M cars, this means that you can have the benefits of electric in even more use cases without worrying about things like range and stopping for charging. This is already true for a large number of people with the 45e given its range covers most daily driving with a nightly charge.

And to share my frame of reference fully, my other car is a 2022 M4 Comp M xDrive. I'd only take a full electric car as a third car in my garage, because it side-by-side long-distance drives with a Tesla Model Y (vs. X5 45e), I was able to gap it to the destination by an hour and a half in a 6 hour drive because I'm able to hold much higher speeds without losing range, and I didn't have to stop to charge for half an hour in the middle of the night (in fact, I didn't even have to get gas).
I haven’t driven any of the BMW hybrids but I have in other brands and I have found that occasionally though not always the combination between gearbox/engine and electric motor can be a little hesitant which is something you never experience with a full electric.
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      05-08-2022, 04:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
I haven’t driven any of the BMW hybrids but I have in other brands and I have found that occasionally though not always the combination between gearbox/engine and electric motor can be a little hesitant which is something you never experience with a full electric.
We've owned a full electric car before we went to the 45e, and agree with what you're saying about the smoothness of the drive in all conditions.

There are ways you can experience what you're saying in the 45e, but I personally never experience it since I know how to avoid it. Cases like where you are not in the right mode and you suddenly request a lot more power requiring the gas engine to come on. There's a fraction of a second where the engine comes on and then there's a surge in power since that has so much more available to it.

But in most cases, if you're a capable driver, there's nothing more to it in terms of skill than say anticipating what gear to be in in a full ICE car. Know you're likely to push very hard and pass someone at speed? Sport and/or gear shift to the left - the engine's ready and waiting with the electric boost on top. You can fly in this car. Not a good driver and sitting on pure electric and you floor the throttle past the resistance point at the bottom? - yeah, not the smoothest change-over since power delivery is not linear with the throttle application (a lot comes over in the kickdown as the gas engine comes on, and roars).

The biggest plus point of the 45e, and this is possibly true for the iX is the how quiet it is inside no matter what you're doing. Reviewers have compared it to the Bentley Bentayga in that regard. In the real world, combined with the default air suspension, what this means is that passengers don't remotely know when I'm doing 90 in it, but the same people in my M4 when it hits 90 say they feel anxious.

Another minor curiosity in the 45e is when you're in full electric and you ask for as much as it can give in full electric, you can feel gearshifts against the electric motor as very subtle variations in power.
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