The electrifying choice: Driving the BMW G26 i4 eDrive35

s stepping in for within our local market, it’s actually slightly less powerful, a tad slower, and offers a slightly shorter range. However, thanks to its trimmed-down battery pack, it sheds a commendable 150 kilograms compared to the eDrive40, resulting in remarkably similar acceleration figures. Both electrified siblings clock in at around 6 seconds for that 0-100km/h sprint, with the i4 eDrive35 just a smidge behind its more well-endowed counterpart, the eDrive40, which achieves it in 5.7 seconds.

Too busy to read everything? Here are the 5 key takeaways for the BMW i4 eDrive35

  1. The i4 eDrive35 replacing the eDrive40 is priced at S$350,888, making it BMW’s most affordable EV in Singapore.

  2. It offers slightly less power: 282hp and 400Nm of torque compared to the eDrive40’s 335hp and 430Nm of torque.

  3. Despite the power difference, the eDrive35, thanks to its reduced weight, delivers a livelier driving experience compared to its more powerful sibling. This reduction in mass also means acceleration figures remain similar, with 0-100km/h in 6 seconds for the eDrive35 and 5.7 seconds for the eDrive40.

  4. Certain premium features such as 360-degree parking cameras and adaptive cruise control with lane-keep-assistants are omitted to avoid additional taxes, although the Harman Kardon sound system is retained.

  5. Despite a S$35,000 premium over a 318i sedan, the i4 eDrive35’s added visual appeal, features, and improved drivability justify the extra cost.

In the realm of real-world driving, the impact of 0.3 seconds is barely discernible. In keeping with BMW’s knack for modesty, their factory-claimed figures of 282hp and 400Nm of torque turn out to be quite understated once the Hans Zimmer pedal hits the floor.

Once you push the i4 eDrive35 through tight corners and navigate long sweeping bends, its lighter weight becomes strikingly evident. With a robust 400Nm of instant torque readily at your disposal and a finely-tuned chassis, the i4 darts and responds with a graceful, neutral balance that can catch many other cars off guard.

While the notion of instantly deploying the full torques in a turn might initially raise concerns, the i4’s poised and balanced behaviour ensures you’ll effortlessly gauge the precise amount of power to deliver to the rear-mounted 3-phase electrically excited synchronous electric motor, guaranteeing a satisfying exit from every dispatched corner and highlighting the remarkable influence shedding 150 kilograms can have on a car’s character with the eDrive35 conveying an extra hint of liveliness to set it apart from its more powerful sibling.

The weight savings on the eDrive35 primarily stem from its adoption of a lower-capacity 70.2kWh battery sourced from China’s CATL, in contrast to the eDrive40’s 83.9kWh Samsung battery. While this change does result in an approximate reduction of 100 kilometres in range, the eDrive35 still offers a respectable 490-500 kilometres per charge, providing ample juice for the occasional journey up North. Having a slightly smaller capacity battery also means a slightly quicker time to achieve a full charge when plugged into a similar output charging unit.

Unfortunately, adaptive recuperation is not available on the i4, but single-pedal driving is still accessible with a second pull of the gear selector into B mode. This activates 100% of the available recuperative braking when you release the pedal, similar to engine braking. After frequent use, you might find yourself pondering why BMW didn’t incorporate a dedicated button on the steering wheel to activate B mode!

And for those aforementioned brisk Northern journeys, the cabin provides a comfortable setting. While the front seats provide ample space and comfort, passengers in the rear might find it a bit snug due to the gracefully sloping rear roofline and slightly narrower frameless doors, which can pose a challenge during entry and exit.

Nevertheless, once seated, there’s enough room for two people to sit comfortably or three should they not mind a cosier experience and with 470 litres of cargo room easily accessible through a powered liftback, there should be ample space for a weekend’s worth of luggage.

As is customary with modern BMWs, the dashboard features a sleek curved display unit powered by iDrive OS8, although an upgrade is reportedly on the horizon. Similarly, the i4 offers an array of driving modes and moods in line with BMW’s current lineup. However, to avoid additional taxes, certain digital amenities that have become commonplace in today’s premium vehicles, like the 360-degree parking camera and adaptive cruise control with lane-keep-assist, are noticeably absent. Notably, even though these features are missing, the i4 does come equipped with the immersive Harman Kardon sound system, enhancing the overall driving experience. While these omissions may not be deal breakers, it’s worth mentioning them for a comprehensive overview.

However, after experiencing back-to-back drives in the 318i and i4 eDrive35, the i4’s enhanced visual appeal, power, features, future-proofed tech, overall engagement and increased drivability make it a compelling choice, even with its S$35,000 premium.

In the realm of electrified driving, the BMW i4 eDrive35 carves out its own niche. While bearing a resemblance to its eDrive40 counterpart, it brings a unique personality to the table. While it may not check every premium feature box, it truly excels in delivering an engaging driving experience befitting its BMW badge. Ultimately, it serves as a reminder that sometimes, the less-travelled road of downsizing can lead to unexpected rewards. In this case, it’s clear that the entry-level 3-Series to have now is, in fact, a 4-Series — the i4 eDrive35.

What do we love? Excellent driving dynamics

What are we not too sure about? The i5 is coming.

What can be improved? Equipment levels.

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