i4 M50 demo – 24 hrs test drive impressions from e36 M3 / e39 M5 owner
My sales guy was nice enough to offer up to take home the i4M50 for 24hrs. I immediately jumped at the chance. It’s a stripper that’s Portmao Blue, black Sensatec interior with 19″ inch 860M wheels. It was fully charged with 240 miles of range.
Although I drove the car at the UDE, you don’t have much time with the car and the iDrive to get fully accustomed to everything it offers. I find iDrive 8 very easy to use and navigate. There are a ton of options, but I feel the menus are grouped together nicely. I know about the whole climate control debate, but it quickly goes away for me because the temp settings are always displayed. Smart execution.
Driving this car is an absolute blast! I kept in Sport Boost a.k.a “Hooligan Mode” the whole time because, why not? It’s not my car and it’s going back in 24 hrs! I took it on the highway and floor it and within a few seconds, I was doing 110 mph! Yeah, it’s ridiculously fast. I know I can’t drive like that all the time when I get my actually car because I will end up in jail. I really love ‘B’ mode. I didn’t think I would like it because I used it on a friend’s Tesla and wasn’t too impressed. It just seems natural and slows the car down perfectly coming to a stop. I can imagine this will reduce brake fatigue in stop and go traffic. Nice not to go from pedal to brake all the time. I was able to stop by a friend’s house and had him get in. I put it in launch control and took off. He was screaming like a kid to have me stop! You do get that feeling like a roller coaster being catapulted from nothing to insane speed. He still felt nauseous after an hour. The instant torque and speed are very addicting.
Handling – I live on the north shore of Long Island where its very hilly and has many twisty roads. I’m pleasantly surprised how well planted the car feels for a 5000 lbs car. I would probably challenge anyone to find a car at that weight that could have equal handling. It transfers the weight very well with a bit of understeer. I’m not taking this car to a track so I know that the M3/M4 is a better alternative for that. The one thing that is very noticeable is torque steer. The front end does lift up a bit and get squirrely on hard launch. Hopefully, they can fix that later.
Steering – I stopped trying to compare EPS cars to hydraulic steering racks. There is just isn’t the same feel and feedback that I get from my M3 and M5. I don’t think it can ever compare to older M cars. However, I thought the steering is very good on this car — especially in Sport Boost. It doesn’t feel as numb as in comfort mode. Again, a great feat for such a heavy car.
I was very sad to have to drop the car off this morning. I was happy, however, that I was able to at least get a feel for the car and tech before I got mine. I jumped back into my M5 and started up that glorious S65 engine. I enjoyed rowing my own gears on the way home. Is one better than the other? Hard to compare. They both are fantastic cars in their own respect. I will say that I love the i4. I think it does almost everything really well. It was hard to find many faults. Anybody who is on the fence about ordering one should rest assured that BMW did this EV right for its first attempt at a sedan. Especially, when you compare it to that iPad on wheels. I know the Tesla fanboys are hardcore, but there are zero reasons to chose that over the BMW. Now, the wait will kill me…!