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2023 BMW i4 eDrive35 Review Singapore

The 2023 BMW i4 eDrive35 is the latest entry level i4 to hit the Singapore market, and sits behind the range topping i4 m50 model. Featuring a smaller battery capacity than the eDrive40 variant from before, the eDrive35 features a 67kWh battery pack and a 210kW electric motor. This electric powertrain is employed in a rear wheel drive setup and provides instant power delivery through its single current-excited synchronous motor. The i4 eDrive35 also features the latest OS8 integrated curved display along with enlarged kidney grilles similar to that found on the 4 series gran coupe.

Exterior Updates

As the new entry level BMW i4, taking over from the eDrive40 from the i4's initial launch, the eDrive35 comes with some exterior differences to the eDrive40. The most visible difference is likely going to be the absence of an M-Sport bodykit which was fitted to the eDrive40. The change in bodykit definitely brings a different dimension to the aesthetic of the i4, and while it doesn't quite look as aggressive and sporty as the 40, the 35 actually looks more elegant, and is arguably more visually in line with the "civilian" specifications of the 35's powertrain.

New aero-design 19 inch wheels have now also been fitted on the car, which work well with the standard bodykit. Down the side, the previous gloss black side skirt found on the 40 has also been replaced by a matt grey one now fitted on the 35. Overall, while the M-Sport bodykit on the 40 definitely looks more aggressive, the car did have a tendency to look a little bit undifferentiated from the petrol powered 4 series gran coupe. In its new iteration, the 35 now looks a lot more like an EV, and will appeal to those who see the i4 as a luxury purchase rather than a performance one, because after all, the 35 isn't exactly considered a performance car.

Well Balanced Powertrain

Now armed with a 67kWh battery pack, it would appear that efficiency has been improved in the 35, as this smaller battery pack is still capable of some pretty respectable figures. Pushing out 282 bhp and 400Nm of toque, the 35 now has a range of up to 483km on a single charge. While neither set of numbers are ground breaking, it would seem that BMW have found a sweet spot in striking the balance between power output and range from what I would deem as am economically sized battery pack.

In Singapore's context, 400Nm is plenty enough for those quick lane changes, accelerating off the line, and for having a little bit of extra fun when you're driving alone. However, these things are usually done in moderation, and for the majority of the time, you'll still be puttering around at modest speeds, which is where the eDrive35's 483km range comes to good use, ensuring that you have an EV that can go a proper work week without the need for charging. In the event that you do need to drop in for a charge though, the eDrive35's smaller 67kWh battery pack will also be quick to charge up, making this quite a well balanced powertrain that has good real world usability.

Positive Handling & Driving Dynamics

Despite a 6 second 0-100km/h time, which is quite pedestrian in the world of EVs, I don't think the average consumer would feel short changed in any way. In the real world, the car feels fast, crisp, and very agile. Though some circles will lament that the i4 isn't technically a ground up EV, as it shares many similarities to the petrol powered 4 series gran coupe, but the advantage is that it also handles like the 4 series gran coupe. Yes, the car is heavier due to battery weight, and you do feel this weight under heavier braking, but the general demeanour of the car remains authentic and true to the 4 series platform - sharp and always seems ready to go.

Probably because the eDrive35 isn't a performance car, it escapes the M-suspension treatment, which would have probably made the ride a little too harsh for the general demographic of this luxury sports coupe. The suspension setup offered is firm, but forgiving, and takes on irregular road surfaces and humps pretty well despite large 19 inch wheels. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the ride quality is lofty by any standard, but it firm without being uncomfortable. That said, because of the weight and power of the i4, there are moments under heavy braking and sharper turns where you a slight bit of lunging is felt. It is these moments where you wish the i4 had firmer shocks. That said, the car never feels unsettled, and it should be recognised that most of the time, the eDrive35 will be driven under fairly regular conditions, which makes the softer suspension setup the more reasonable choice.

Who will it Appeal to?

Obviously, drivers of the 4 series gran coupe who want to make the switch over to an EV will find themselves right at home with the i4, as the car handles quite similarly. The practicality aspects of the car will also be quite similar. However, because of the small number of electric sedans and gran coupes in the market, the i4 will most likely strike a chord with those looking for a luxury sports sedan with an electric drivetrain - a segment that currently seems a little overshadowed by its SUV siblings.


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