There’s lots of both, you’ll be pleased to hear. Thoughts on the rear-wheel-drive, 340PS (250kW) eDrive40 version will have to wait until we’ve had a chance to drive it but, given it’ll hit 0-62mph in less than six seconds and has an official range of 365 miles, it sounds like a pretty healthy balance, and roughly on a par with the six-cylinder turbocharged 3 and 4 Series models we know and love.
No such subtly for the M50. A total of 544PS and a crushing 795Nm of torque are enough to make a mockery of the 2,290kg kerb weight, all scored by Hans Zimmer with a commendably exciting electronic soundtrack carefully matched to your chosen mode, throttle input and (rapidly) building speed. From the eerie silence of Eco Plus mode the transition to Sport Plus and its combination of scenery blurring acceleration and increasingly intense ‘noise’ is literally shocking, and much more than a gimmick. The team behind the M50 clearly grew up on ‘proper’ BMWs, too, and the nifty self-contained drive units (comprising motor, diff, gearbox and control unit) have been tweaked in power and gearing to contrive a definite rear-bias to the handling thanks to a single control unit (known as ARB-X) cleverly balancing their output. With front end grip and steering feel to lean against, throttle adjustability mild or wild is there for the taking, a centre of gravity 37mm lower than an ICE 4 Series Gran Coupe combined with expertly judged air-sprung rear suspension meaning the i4 handles with alacrity at odds with the listed kerb weight. The response of BMW’s ‘electrically excited’ motors (as opposed to conventional magnetic ones) and features like the neat integrated brake system combining conventional retardation with automatically controlled regeneration are all perfectly carried off, the sense the i4 has been developed as a driver’s car first and EV second going some way to repair BMW’s ‘ultimate driving machine’ cred.