BMW i4 vs. 330i: Which is the Ultimate Driving Machine?

In today’s evolving automotive landscape, the BMW i4 and BMW 330i offer compelling choices for those deciding between an electric vehicle (EV) and a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE). Let’s compare these two models regarding pricing, running costs, driving experience, and overall value.

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The BMW 3 Series, epitomized by the 2024 BMW 330i M-Sport, has long been the benchmark for sports sedans. With a starting price of $94,700 (before options and on-road costs), this model continues to deliver the engaging driving dynamics that have defined the 3 Series since its debut in 1975. The 330i’s turbocharged 2.0-litre B48 engine produces 190 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque, offering a thrilling performance with impressive efficiency.

On the other hand, the 2024 BMW i4 eDrive35, starting at $85,900 (before options and on-road costs), represents BMW’s commitment to sustainable driving without compromising performance. The i4’s electric motor delivers 210 kW of power and matches the 330i’s torque at 400 Nm. This setup delivers instantaneous power and torque, ensuring a responsive and exhilarating driving experience.

One of the significant advantages of the BMW i4 is its lower running costs. The i4’s electric motor eliminates the need for fuel, reducing the overall cost of ownership. With up to 180 kW DC fast charging capability, the i4 can charge from 10% to 80% in just 32 minutes. At home, an 11 kW AC charger can fully recharge the vehicle overnight in about 7 hours. This convenience and cost-efficiency make the i4 a practical choice for daily commutes and long drives.

The BMW i4 also benefits from various tax incentives and lower service costs. The i4’s six-year unlimited-kilometre maintenance package costs $2,450, averaging just $408 annually. The BMW 330i’s five-year package costs $2,225, averaging $445 per year. Additionally, the i4 is eligible for the fringe benefits tax exemption for electric vehicles, enhancing its appeal for corporate buyers.

Design-wise, both the i4 and 330i maintain BMW’s signature aesthetics. The i4 adopts a sleek Gran Coupé style with a large liftgate for added practicality. Inside, both models feature high-quality materials and modern technology, including BMW’s OS 8 infotainment system with dual displays, voice control, and integrated apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Driving the i4 offers a unique experience. Its low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution provide agility and confidence on winding roads. The regenerative braking system enhances energy efficiency, turning stop-and-go traffic into an opportunity to recharge the battery. In contrast, the 330i delivers a more traditional performance with its powerful petrol engine and precise handling, maintaining the sporty feel that BMW enthusiasts love.

In terms of market positioning, the i4 strikes a balance between luxury, performance, and environmental responsibility. Its competitive pricing and extensive standard features make it an attractive alternative to the 330i. The i4 includes 18-inch alloy wheels, sport seats, and a Parking Assistant, all within a package that remains under the luxury car tax threshold, further enhancing its value proposition.

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