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BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport – Long Term Report – Report No. 5 2023

Tesla Model 3 or BMW i4? An owner gets in touch

I have the editor-in-chief's i4 for the foreseeable future, and who better to inform me about what to expect from life with this electric Beemer than the boss himself? Not actually Jack, as it turns out. On my first day he's sitting in a studio photographing the cover of the magazine's awards ceremony, then he's straight on a plane to the US to drive the Tesla Cybertruck, and, and, and… And as I'm writing this report, I haven't yet Meet the man in charge of the Top Gear multiverse.

That said, I turned to the next best thing, a man named Ross. Ross doesn't work for Top Gear and doesn't employ me, but he is the father of my daughter's best friend – and the owner of a BMW i4. Better yet, he owns an i4 eDrive40 M Sport in Brooklyn Gray. Snap!

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He also previously had a Tesla Model 3, but then things get weird when it turns out his dad also has an i4 eDrive40. In Brooklyn Grey. Not that Ross or his father knew what the other had ordered.

Bizarre coincidences aside, what does he think of the BMW? “It’s a different car than my Model 3,” Ross explains. “It’s chalk and cheese – you don’t feel like you’re in a tin can as the quality is much better. I also prefer the hatchback to the trunk of the Tesla because you can put the kids in there to get dressed, but then the back seats of the BMW are tighter and it still has a transmission tunnel hump in the floor.”

Charge? “Not quite as good as the Model 3,” he says with a knowing smile after logging 50,000 miles in his Tesla, using the Supercharger network as a consolation. He now works closer to home and wouldn't feel as safe in a BMW, especially because of the public charging network.

Current score, what about the infotainment technology? “Tesla reinvented the entire user interface and BMW stuck strictly to what people know. I liked the technology in the Tesla, but in the BMW you don’t always have to look to the left because there is a screen behind the steering wheel.”

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So there is no clear winner yet. So if Ross had to go again, Tesla or BMW? “I would probably choose something else,” he explains, leaving my hopes of a verdict in tatters. He enjoyed the Tesla, loved its long-distance capability, but wanted more, and although the i4 is his fourth BMW, after a series of 3 Series sedans and Tourings, he wants his next electric vehicle to stand out from what has come before.

Where does this take me? I have to decide for myself, and quickly, because the BMW i4 is leaving the Top Gear Garage soon. Its a lot to do …

Text: Ben Pulman

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