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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ordered an i4 M50 at the beginning of December and got a 3 hour test drive a week ago.

My current car is a 14 year old Mercedes E280 estate - a comfortable, roomy, reliable car but a bit of a whale to drive (I've got really good at the straightest line though a series of bends!) I chose the Merc over a 5 series because I found the ride of the 5 series just too firm. Although I knew the 5 series would be more fun, I couldn't choose it over something that was so much more comfortable.

It's now time to move on. I was pretty set on a Polestar 2 but when someone local kindly offered to take me out in theirs, I was struck by how much physically smaller the cabin was. I hadn't realised how used to the roominess of the Merc I had become.

Back to the drawing board and a visit to our local BMW dealer to have a look at the Grand Coupe to see if I liked the styling/cabin. I was pretty much hooked after this and placed an order for an M50 the next day. My one concern was what the ride would be like but the dealer offered to cancel the order if I didn't like it after a test drive. Seemed generous at the time, but on reflection, they will have no problem selling it if I didn't want it.

OK, so far, nothing about the test drive! Why? Because I think it is useful to know where the reviewer is coming from to judge how relevant the review is to you. I'm an IT nerd, not a car nerd. I like driving, I enjoy a nice car but the only time I will swing the back of the car out is when I've ** up, not because it was intended! This isn't meant to be 'proper' review (there are plenty of those), more a collection of thoughts and impressions.

Finally, the test drive. Arrived at the dealers on a damp Sunday morning. No other test drives were booked that day so they extended the 2 hours to 3. I'd arrived with my wife and the plan was to take her on a long drive home and then pick up one of my sons for a more extensive drive. He's seriously into motorbikes so it would be interesting to see how he found the acceleration.

I'll start with the conclusion - I had a great time! This is going to be such a great car to drive.

Driving the wife back was mostly getting a feel for the car with the occasional bit of flooring it to see if I could make my lovely wife sick (joking, joking). Driving (with her and my son) was a deliberate mixture of urban and dual carriageway with a bit of back roads for potholes and speed bumps. My primary concern was how firm the ride would be but I would say that it was at least as comfortable as my current Merc and the i4 was on 20" wheels (mine will be 19").

One of the reviews complained about wind noise so I made a point of listening out for that. Yes I could hear some at higher speeds but I doubt I would notice it if I wasn't listening for it.

I'd read quite a bit about regenerative breaking in EVs generally and knew one pedal driving would be something for me. I did the whole test drive with full regen and its a great way to drive and found I got used to it really quickly. My only complaint would be having to specifically select it by moving the 'gear' knob to the left. Does anybody know if it can just be set in your profile as default? I didn't want to waste my precious test drive time investigating.

When I got home, I took all the extra panels out of the boot and got our two dogs to hop in. I've yet to decide how I am going to transport them for the daily 15 minute drive to the woods and fields we exercise them. They are Hungarian Vizslas, a medium size breed. I'm hoping they will be OK with the boot and I will get a padded full boot liner (there are several already available because the body is the same as the Grand Coupe). We shall see.

Picked my son up and while I drove he got more important things sorted, i.e. linked my phone and got some music blasting :D I'm not a hifi expert but it sounded good and any sound system is going to benefit from not having to compete with engine noise. As a professional IT nerd, also tried out Android Auto and my favourite navigation app, Waze. The integration was impressive. Not only got maps on the central display but directions in the driver display and also the HUD. I was surprised a third party app integrated that well.

Loved the HUD. Didn't even know the i4 had one until I read about it here. I can see it being an essential feature and something I am going to have to keep a careful eye on. We had a quick test of the acceleration and it is smooth and felt constant, I didn't notice any fall off as the speed increased. What I didn't notice was just how fast it built up. As I eased off the acceleration my son said "that was 125 (mph)" and I had had no idea we had got to that sort of speed. The HUD is going to have to be an essential part of my driving! Of course, having achieved that, we had to have a go at topping it out. All I can say is it gets to its limited speed of 140 mph very easily! Of course all these speeds were achieved on private land, honestly officer.

Lane control was on by default. I discovered this when I tried to change lane on a dual carriageway and felt the resistance in the steering. I think they have this just about spot on. There is enough resistance to notice it but not too much that it is hard to override. Indicating cancels the lane control so you can change lane without any resistance from the lane control feature. For hardened BMW drivers, check the manual to identify the indicator stalk ;) Tried the adaptive speed control through a section of 50 mph roadworks and it works just as expected. My only slight criticism is the gap maintained from the vehicle in front is, by default, pretty large, and I found I needed to change the settings to reduce that to something more realistic (but still a safe distance). This is a great feature for all the motorway roadworks we seem to have ATM.

Didn't test the cornering much as the roads were damp and I'm not particularly confident at pushing a car through a bend at speed. I may well explore if there are any local options for some one on one track training to explore the limits of the car.

The i4 ticks a lot of boxes for me. As well as the usual stuff, the quality, 4WD and acceleration are high on my list. As well as the 'new to EV' flooring it just to feel what it is like novelty, I think I'm going to really enjoy being able to overtake with increased ease. I don't drive as fast as I used to but I do quite a lot of single carriageway driving and loath getting stuck behind the 40 mph dawdler on 60 mph country lane, or even worse, the line of traffic behind the 40 mph dawdler because nobody has the confidence/ability/car to overtake them. We only got one experience of this on my test drive towards the end. We were behind a slow moving car approaching a blind bend on a country road. In my Merc, there wouldn't be enough clear road to attempt an overtake, the acceleration but particularly the lag waiting for the kick-down to take affect were just not up to a safe overtaking before the bend. I'd been driving the i4 for nearly 3 hours at that point and felt I had enough feel for its capabilities to make the attempt. I pulled out, floored it and...wow! The car I was overtaking just vanished. It was like magic! For a split second is was there and then 'poof', gone! I had so much room left before the bend I could have easily overtaken another couple of cars safely.

So it was a great sadness to return the car. I got a real buzz from the car, something I haven't had from driving in a long time. Now there is just the looooong wait.
 

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One of the best reviews I have read here. You made me laugh with excitement for both of us.

Can I ask what color you drove and what you ordered? Currently I have my M50 spec'ed with Partimao but I keep looking at the Brooklyn Grey. I have an image of each on my desktop screen for several days to see if my opinion about them change.

3 hours is quite a bit. Can you speak to the battery usage during your test drive? Which mode did you drive it in mostly? Did you do any launches?

Did it have a sun-roof and did you actually open it? My current Audi S5 only tilts up a bit in the rear. I love being able to stretch my arms straight thru the ceiling and feel the air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Many thanks for the kind words. I read a lot of fiction but I'm definitely no creative writer. I can do technical writing but I find something like this very time consuming as I constantly refine to make sure I am getting something across as clearly as possible. The post says I took the test drive a week ago, it was actually about 3 weeks ago but I've put the draft of this post down and returned to it a couple of times before posting. Spent at least a couple of hours on it. I really don't know where the time goes but its the same if I have to do a report or a proposal for work. I think a lot of the time goes in going off to check information or look for relevant additional info or read up a bit on stuff I'm not 100% sure about.

@BlueHoosier - Sorry but I'm not going to be enormously helpful.

Coincidently, the test car was a very close spec to what I'm getting - Dravit Grey with Sports Seats. Initially I wasn't impressed by Davit Grey until I went to see a Grand Coupe that happened to be in that colour and it was a lot nicer than it looked online. I also don't look after cars well so I wanted a colour that wouldn't show my lack of care as badly as some of the colours. I'm also not a fan of 'in your face' colours, I prefer to blend into the crowd - until I put my foot down :D

I drove a mixture of Comfort and Sport depending on the road type and what I was trying to evaluate. I'm not experienced enough with the car to comment on the differences and also I was looking for different things in each mode.

I didn't do any launches:
  • I didn't think about it
  • I wouldn't have remembered how to
  • I'm never going to do it in real life (apart from trying to terrify some nervous passenger :devilish:)
  • You need a stretch of road to do it on
You can't try it in a built up area and you can hardly come to a full stop on fast road to test your launch control. Imagine explaining that to the police officer who is interviewing you after causing a multi-car pile up 'cos you decided to come to a full stop in the middle of a motorway so you could try your launch out!

I did mean to check my 'consumption' but completely forgot to get readings at the end. Just too excited I guess :D. TBH, a single drive like mine has little statistical validity and there will be plenty of more scientific tests of range as people start to get their hands on the car.

Can't help with the sun roof. I think the car did have one but I have never been interested in having a sun roof and in the one car I've owned that had one, I never used it. If I had known in advance, I would have had my son standing on the seat playing air guitar through the roof. Sorry.
 

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Great review. I'm really gonna need to watch the speed on mine especially when I'm alone. Years ago I realized I have two styles of driving, when others are in the car and when I'm alone. I need to get rid of the alone drive mode otherwise I'm going to get my license revoked.

Honestly I like all of the colors that they are offering, some a bit more than others but none that I dislike. My last 3 cars have been white sedans, I do like the i4 in white but I need a change. I was between black and tanzanite blue, ended up going tanzanite with the red seats.
 
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