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BMW readies a cheaper electric i4 sedan, due in early 2023

Many people still find this large kidney grille to be too big, but some of us are starting to come around.

Enlarge / Many people still find this large kidney grille to be too big, but some of us are starting to come around. (credit: BMW)

As a late Gen Xer, I grew up in an era when BMW’s cars were pretty easy to understand based solely on their model names. A 325i was a 3 Series with a 2.5 L engine, for example; a 540i was a 5 Series with a 4.0 L engine, and so on. BMW left that common-sense naming approach in the dust quite some time before it set a goal to have sold 2 million plugins by 2025, but even the new nomenclature gives some clues about where a new model fits in the range.

For example, the newly announced i4 xDrive35 is the company’s new entry-level EV sedan, slotting in underneath the i4 xDrive40 and the i4 M50.

With a starting price of $51,400, the new i4 configuration undercuts the existing xDrive40 by $4,500. It also uses a single synchronous electric motor driving the rear wheels, although in the xDrive35, it has been derated to 281 hp (207 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm). That’s still sufficient to endow the i4 xDrive35 with a sub-6-second 0–60 time, and there’s a decent chance this might actually be the best driver’s car from the range.

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