Driver Tests Competing Electric Car to Tesla and Points Out Two Irritating Features

Tim Levin, who took a spin in a £54,000 motor, largely impressed by the vehicle, couldn't help but feel that it could be a bit better. He test-drove the new BMW i4 and discovered two annoying issues.

In an article for Insider, Tim spent a week with the "sporty and stylish" BMW i4 and came away with a smile on his face. He drove a slightly higher-spec version of the car lent to him by BMW, with the base model starting at around £41,000. This is approximately £10,000 more expensive than the cheapest Tesla, the rear-wheel-drive Model 3, but roughly the same price as the "performance" version of the same model.

Tim praised the "familiarity" of the BMW layout, stating that it "hardly differs" from the manufacturer's internal combustion engine models. However, he felt that it was a "double-edged sword" as the emphasis on continuity meant that the i4 missed out on some of the unique and ingenious features that many electric vehicle owners love.

He wrote, "The all-encompassing package means the i4 misses out on some of the quirks that make EVs uniquely appealing. For instance, BMW could have freed up space for a front trunk since there's no engine under the hood. Competitors like the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 offer convenient storage space, but BMW opted not to do so."

Tim also mentioned the "hump" between the rear seats, which in traditional cars is usually for housing the transmission but in the i4 simply limits passenger legroom.

Secondly, he addressed issues with the regenerative braking system. This futuristic technology allows electric vehicles to recover charge during automatic braking by harnessing wheel rotation to generate a small amount of electricity. All the driver needs to do is lift their foot off the accelerator, and the car will slow down to a complete stop while recharging.

In the i4, Tim explained, the system reacts to your surroundings, meaning it will brake more aggressively if it detects an obstacle or a turn but will coast if you're on a clear straight road. While it's a "great idea," he felt it added too much unpredictability to the braking, leaving the driver to "guess."

Nevertheless, Tim remained satisfied with the car and believed it more than lived up to BMW's reputation as the "ultimate driving machine."

He added, "It's incredibly fun to take the sports sedan through turns thanks to its good handling, exhilarating speed, and nimble steering. It looks sturdy and surrounds you with high-quality materials. Like in the Polestar 2 it competes with, the i4 uses a hatch instead of a regular trunk, meaning you get extra vertical space for bulky cargo."

In particular, he highlighted build quality as a key selling point for the Model 3, which he claimed doesn't offer the same level of luxury.