The rear layout is made worse because, with the batteries in the floor, there is no room to put the feet under the front seats and the roof curls over the heads of taller passengers.
Under the tailgate, the 470-liter trunk looks about big enough and if you fold the rear seatbacks back onto their bases, there’s 1290 liters in total, although the cargo bed is far from level. . There is no room for a spare tire.
This car features, in part, BMW’s new fascia; think two screens under a single, slightly curved piece of glass, the one in the center being the touchscreen. Fortunately, BMW retains its iDrive capstan control, which has improved as far as the eye can see since its introduction, and is now a lesson in how to control complicated connectivity and functions.
Unfortunately, you need them, as they have buried some of the heater controls in the touchscreen. There is also a lack of logic in some controls, where touching some reverses their effect, others require a separate stroke or button to turn off. Fortunately (and unlike the iX), the separate drive modes are accessible via separate buttons on the center tunnel.
That iDrive capstan and heads-up display help tame the bewilderment of this new software interface, but while BMW claims that in a week you will be playing the system like Alfred Brendel on a Bechstein, there are some silly notes there- inside. It’s far too easy to inadvertently operate the steering wheel buttons while maneuvering, and does a speedometer really need star graphics?
There’s all the driving safety based on the cameras and speed cameras you can control, smart cruise control and lane keeping (although BMW manages to make stopping easier than most) and parking. automatic, too, if you dive into the long list of options.
On the road
No matter what go, check the stop… The i4 launches BMW’s intelligent brake pump, which mixes electric recuperation and friction linings to deliver incredibly smooth and powerful braking even when stationary, beating the trend EV brakes to grip fiercely as you ‘come to a stop.
Unfortunately, the excellence of the braking system is unmatched by active regenerative braking, which is unpredictable and downright bizarre; you never really know what lifting the throttle is going to do, which in a car with that much power is not a good place to be.
Fast? You bet. With the active brakes decidedly deactivated, the accelerator pedal is also progressive, making it easy to control this power. But if you block your foot, get ready for fireworks; given the refinement of the i4, it would be a little too easy to get in trouble with the girls and boys in blue.
The center differential distributes torque front and rear as needed, and it happens so quickly that you’d be hard pressed to discern which end is doing most of the driving. Even on the soggy alpine roads of the launch, the i4 has never been less than confidence inspiring.
On smooth German roads the ride is pretty good, but there is a lumpy report as the tires hit potholes and drain covers that reminds you of the 2.2 tons they carry. Covering long distances (well, 318 miles), this is a comfortable and refined form of transportation, although you should think carefully about selecting the largest wheels and low profile tire options in the UK. United.