BMW Nails the Sweet Spot with Affordable, Efficient i4 eDrive40 EV Sedan


Balanced Performer: BMW's i4 eDrive40 Delivers Luxury EV Driving Without Breaking the Bank

The increasingly competitive luxury electric vehicle market has a compelling new entry from BMW - the 2023 i4 eDrive40 sedan. While high-performance EV models grab headlines with eye-popping acceleration times, the more affordable single-motor i4 eDrive40 impresses with its blend of long range, efficiency, and driving dynamics befitting BMW's ultimate driving machine ethos.

Priced from $57,300, the rear-wheel drive i4 eDrive40 significantly undercuts the dual-motor i4 M50 variant by over $10,000, yet boasts greater driving range. Powered by an 84.3 kWh battery pack, the eDrive40 is EPA-rated for 301 miles on a full charge, besting the M50 by 30 miles.

During this author's 2,000-mile test drive, which included highway stints around the Washington D.C. metro area, the i4 eDrive40 returned an impressive 4.1 miles per kWh (15.2 kWh/100km) without employing hypermiling techniques. Even accounting for less efficient driving by other journalists, the car had averaged a still-commendable 3.7 mi/kWh over its lifetime.

No performance juggernaut, the eDrive40's single rear motor nonetheless provides ample thrust with 335 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of instantaneous electric torque. The 0-60 mph sprint takes a reasonably quick 5.5 seconds. More crucially, BMW's fifth-generation EV powertrain delivers the linear yet forceful acceleration that defines the best electric vehicles.

The i4 eDrive40 drives like a proper BMW, with well-weighted steering and a rear-biased weight distribution paying dividends in sharp handling. Ride quality also impresses, aided by the lack of a heavy front motor and smaller 18-inch wheels on the base model. This tester's car wore optional 19-inch wheels which slightly reduced range to 283 miles.

Inside the cabin, the i4 features the same upscale appointments as its pricier M50 sibling, including the large curved display running BMW's latest iDrive 8.5 infotainment system. While lacking the over-the-top performance of the M50, the eDrive40 still delivers the premium technology expected in a modern luxury vehicle.

Charging speeds prove competitive, with a 10-80% DC fast charge taking just 31 minutes at peak rates up to 200 kW under ideal conditions. During testing, this vehicle charged from 24-88% state-of-charge in 62 minutes at a public charging station, peaking at 186 kW.

The i4 eDrive40 makes a strong case as an electric daily driver without sacrificing the driving experience BMW owners value. With ample range, reasonable pricing for a premium EV, and the renowned driving dynamics of the brand, the i4 eDrive40 emerges as one of the most compelling luxury EV sedans on the market today.