BMW 3 Series vs BMW i4: Do you still need that ICE sedan?

With the new BMW i4 priced so closely to the 3 Series, we try to make sense of which one out of these Bimmers should you be buying
The BMW i4 shares its platform with the 3 Series
The BMW i4 shares its platform with the 3 SeriesBMW Pressclub

BMW may have arrived a little late to the electric vehicle scene in India, but it has piqued the audience’s interest with not one, but two products — the iX, and more recently the i4. The i4 shares its platform with the combustion-engined 3 Series, is priced quite closely to it, and it also offers the highest claimed range of 590km. Should you still be putting your money down on an ICE Bimmer? Let’s find out.

We are comparing the BMW i4 here against the M340i xDrive, since the two are quite close in terms of performance and pricing. The M340i xDrive is powered by a 3-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo petrol engine which produces 382bhp and 500Nm of torque, paired to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, and it gets all-wheel drive. On the other hand, the i4 is currently offered here in the eDrive40 trim, which is powered by a single electric motor placed on the rear axle, giving it 335bhp and 435Nm of torque. While the M340i xDrive takes 4.4 seconds to reach triple digits, the i4 does that in 5.7 seconds, which is just 1.3 seconds slower than its ICE sibling. The i4 is also backed by an 83.9kWh battery pack which gives it a claimed range of 590km — we will have to wait for a proper road test to see how it actually performs on that front.2

Things are somewhat different on the inside. While the i4 receives BMW Curved Display, the M340i carries on with the same interiors when it was launched in 2021, retaining live cockpit professional. The i4 obviously gets the latest BMW operating system 8.0, while the M340i continues with the older 7.0 operating system. We expect this will change sometime around next year, as the facelifted 3 Series on sale globally gets a new dashboard which is the same as the one on the i4. Both cars also receive a Harman Kardon-sourced sound system, but the i4 gets a 17-speaker system over the M340i’s 16-speaker system. The i4 also receives rear air suspension, while the M340i fights back with launch control and five driving modes.

The on-road price tag of the M340i is Rs 76.01 lakh (Delhi), making it Rs 2.07 lakh more expensive than its all-electric sibling, which carries an on-road price of Rs 73.92 lakh. In terms of the equipment, the gap between the i4 and the M340i doesn’t seem like too much (with the exception of older software on the latter and some more kit here and there). While we haven’t driven the i4 out in the real world yet, the numbers suggest that it is up there with the M340i. A BMW customer wouldn’t probably care about the features and equipment, and would rather go for something that delivers on the #ThrillOfDriving, and with the i4, the customer can have fun while contributing absolutely nothing in terms of emissions!

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