OH SO QUIET…
You’ll fall in love with the latest BMW i4eDrive, which looks the real deal and has a truly awesome driving performance, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Andy Tighe
Shhh. Whisper it quietly. For this is a car – an electric car – that is gearing up to make a big noise. A really, really big noise.
It’s an accepted fact that electric driving is not only here to stay but also likely to become the norm.
So, for anyone still harbouring reservations, let me invite you to check out the magnificent BMW i4 eDrive.
Worried whether it’s quick enough off the mark, provides enough power or cannot travel far enough on a charge?
Well, how about 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds, 340 hp and a range of up to 365 miles? With emissions at zero and the UK already set up with close on 25,000 charging points, these statistics must surely leave the doubters with nowhere to go.
Not to mention that the i4 eDrive also looks the real deal and handles with remarkable ease.
And quiet. So very, very quiet.
In fact, the silence resulted in a false start to my test drive when I pushed the ignition on and off a couple of times because I couldn’t believe what I wasn’t hearing and that the starter had actually kicked in!
Along with the i4 eDrive40, with rear-wheel drive and one electric motor, BMW also offers the M50 variant, complete with two motors and four-wheel drive.
Unsurprisingly, the M50 is even quicker (0-62mph in under 4 seconds), more powerful (536bhp), but a little tighter on range (318 miles).
But let’s concentrate on the former and a few of the many highlights.
With regards to technology and connectivity, there is a 12.3” digital cockpit instrument cluster sited within a curved 14.9” CID (Central Information Display). Quite stunning.
You’ll find BMW IconicSounds electric, remote software upgrades, Smartphone and Amazon Alexa integrations, adaptive recuperation, parking assistant, cruise control with braking function, BMW operating system ID8 software, BMW intelligent personal assistant, BMW navigation system and a couple of useful USB connections.
For your comfort and practicality, there are 18” light alloy wheels, double-spoke style bicolour, high-gloss black interior trim, high-gloss shadowline exterior trim, sport leather steering wheel, BMW iBlue elements throughout, sport seats as standard and acoustic glass.
And all of the previous adds up to only half the story.
Overall, the driving performance – away from the aforementioned stats – is truly awesome.
BMW is particularly proud of the lithium-ion battery pack (same on both models). For the technically minded, it provides 81.5 – 83.9 kWh (kilowatt-hour unit of energy). For everyone else, suffice to say that it is very high-voltage, extremely efficient with increased longevity and brilliantly concealed under the floor!
BMW has long believed in an electric future and claims that eDrive technology is the key to the future-orientated sustainability of its all-electric models.
The BMW i4 eDrive features the first-ever use of the Electrically Excited Synchronous Machine (ESM), which provides exceptional balance of high peak power and stable torque at high rpm.
A special mention to the brakes. The Regenerative Braking System, which harvests energy that would otherwise be wasted when you brake, makes it easy to slow down smoothly.
The Adaptive mode uses data from the navigation system and on-board sensors to judge when is best to increase the regenerative effect. So, when you are on a clear road and lift off the accelerator, the car will coast along as normal, but if a bend or lower speed limit is coming up, it will slow you down to an appropriate speed.
The car operates silently. There is no engine noise, probably because there is no engine. However, from this year, ‘engine sound’ from none other than German film score composer Hans Zimmer can be operated via a driving experience switch.
Put your foot down (trust me, this is one responsive, quick-off-the-mark, exhilarating ride) and the noise gets louder with the pitch rising as your speed increases.
Personally, I was happy to be at one with the peace and simply enjoy the drive.
But I’m more than happy to shout from the rooftops about the merits of this great car.
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