The BMW is significantly down on power versus the Tesla, however; 335bhp plays 434bhp. That said, with a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, the i4 in this form could hardly be called slow; indeed, it’s plenty fast enough to allow you to go for gaps in traffic.
Indeed, the fact that it does without the Tesla’s slightly absurd surfeit of power might be seen as an advantage in some quarters – after all, not everyone wants their executive saloon to attempt to smear their face all over the rear window all the time. If you do, of course, the 537bhp M50 will do an admirable job of that.
Trims and equipment
The i4 eDrive 40 range starts with the Sport, which gets a fairly wide-ranging spec, including dual-zone climate control, a heat pump, LED lights, a powered tailgate and a reversing camera. That’d do it for us, but if you want to upgrade to the M Sport form of our test car, you’ll get sportier styling and interior trim, larger alloy wheels and gloss black exterior trim.
Inside, the i4 is very similar to the current 4-Series (and, by extension, the 3-Series too). There’s one big difference, though, which is that BMW has added atop the dash the gloss black twin-screen binnacle you’ll also find in the iX electric SUV.
This is, by and large, a good thing, as these screens look fabulous, and they mean that the speedometer and other crucial driving information is situated in front of the driver, rather than in a corner of the central touchscreen, as with the Tesla.
Having said that, their inclusion means the i4 loses the excellent physical climate control buttons of the 4-Series, and must instead rely on a rather more distracting menu within the central touchscreen (although you do at least get easily accessible one-touch controls, on the screen permanently, with which to adjust the temperature).
Space and family practicality
There’s enough space that you won’t feel cramped, but it’s here that the i4’s need to share a platform with a combustion-engined car lets it down a little. That’s because it must retain a transmission tunnel, and therefore there’s a very pronounced hump in the centre of the floor – something the Model 3 doesn’t have.
This cramps leg room and, combined with the tight roof line, leads to the rear seats of the i4 feeling a little more claustrophobic than the Tesla’s.
The boot is at least around the same size, at 430 litres to the Tesla’s 425; what’s more, the opening is a hatch, by contrast with the Model 3’s dinky saloon-style bootlid, which makes the i4 more practical when you’re loading bulkier objects.