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A close-up of a blue 2024 BMW i4 is shown.

How Does the 2024 BMW i4 Measure up to the M3 and 4 Series?

In the realm of BMW’s compact offerings, three sedans in the company’s lineup have enthusiasts running the numbers, comparing the specs, and looking at the telemetry to figure out which one offers the best bang for the buck. First, you have the recently minted i4 Gran Coupe, which made its debut in the 2022 model year, slotting into the luxury-performance brand’s electric compact segment. Next, you have the performance-driven compact M3, which has been around in various forms since the mid-1980s. Finally, you have the gasoline-powered 4 Series, which came out in 2013.

Each of the compact offerings from BMW has seen steady improvements with each successive generation and model year. But how does the 2024 BMW i4 Gran Coupe, BMW’s all-electric compact, stack up against the performance compact sedans that the company has been refining and churning out for years on end? Does it have the raw performance to compete with the M3 or the luxury-focused performance of the 4 Series? Does it have the power and handling to attract enthusiasts looking for the best that BMW has to offer in the compact segment for 2024? The truth of the matter is that the BMW i4 is quite the competitive electric sedan.

New Performance Offerings for 2024

Before talking about where the 2024 i4 Gran Coupe sits on the totem pole of performance for BMW’s compact sedans, it’s important to point out what sort of performance changes have been made for the 2024 model year. The introduction of the xDrive40 to the lineup adds a distinct separation from the other three trims, the eDrive35, eDrive40, and M50, which carry over from the outgoing 2023 model year.

The xDrive40 is a nicely balanced offering, slotted between the eDrive40 and the M50.

The xDrive40 includes the same 81 kWh battery, but its dual motor configuration delivers up to 396 horsepower at 443 lb-ft of torque, a significant improvement over the 335 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque the eDrive40 offers. It also has up to 307 total miles of range on a full battery charge, which is even more than the rear-wheel drive eDrive40. The top-of-the-line M50 still trounces them all, however, with 536 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque.

A blue 2024 BMW i4 is shown driving on a highway.

How Does the 2024 BMW i4 Performance Compare to the 4 Series?

The 2024 BMW 4 Series has four different powertrains available, with a base 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that makes 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. At the top of the powertrain offerings is the 3.0L turbocharged I-6 in the M4 Competition xDrive, which makes 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, also married to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2024 BMW i4 Gran Coupe manages to best the 4 Series Gran Coupe in both the entry-level powertrain and the high-performance powertrain. The base eDrive35’s 70.2 kWh battery pack combined with a single rear-wheel-drive motor delivers 282 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This is more than 9% more horsepower than the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s base I-4. While the torque is the same among both vehicles, the horsepower edge means you get higher top-end performance out of the i4.

When it comes to the top-end powertrain offerings, the 2024 i4 M50’s 81 kWh battery pack with the dual electric motor configuration makes 536 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque, quite the leap up over the 4 Series’ turbocharged I-6 stuffed into the M4 Competition. You’re looking at approximately 6% more horsepower with the all-electric i4 compact sedan over the 4 Series sedan, and nearly 19% additional torque in favor of the i4. That gives you a fairly significant amount of off-the-line performance in the i4 compared to the gas-powered 4 Series.

How Does the 2024 BMW i4 Performance Compare to the M3?

The BMW M3 has carved out its place in the segment of compact performance sedans with its excellent engineering and highly responsive handling. It’s a competition-themed sedan and has all the hallmarks of motorsports excellence etched into its DNA, hence the “M” in its name. While the BMW i4 shares many visual similarities in its exterior design with the BMW 4 Series, when you look at the specs you can see a stronger similarity between the BMW i4 and the BMW M3 when it comes to performance.

This is evident with the base powertrain of the 2024 M3 being a 3.0L inline twin-turbocharged I-6 that makes an impressive 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The base twin-turbocharged six-cylinder is paired up with a six-speed manual transmission with rear-wheel drive, giving you that true track racing experience as you pop the clutch to shift into higher gears. While the BMW i4’s base 70.2 kWh battery pack is no match for the M3’s base powertrain, the new xDrive40’s 81 kWh dual-motor configuration offers more comparable performance, at 396 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The M3’s base powertrain offers nearly 17% more horsepower than the i4, while the i4 offers nearly 8% more torque over the M3. The base M3 will be faster overall than the i4 xDrive40.

When it comes to the top end of the powertrain offerings, the M3 Competition’s high-performance tuned twin-turbocharged 3.0L I-6 produces up to 543 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. When you compare it to the 81 kWh dual-motor powertrain for the i4 M50, the M3 has barely a 2% difference in top-end horsepower compared to the i4. Flexing its electric advantage, the i4 handily beats the M3 in the torque department by nearly 19%. However, the M3 still holds slightly better 0 to 60 times, clocking in at 3.4 seconds compared to the i4’s 3.7 seconds.

A white 2024 BMW i4 is shown parked on a showroom floor.

Is the 2024 BMW i4 Compact Sedan a True Performance EV?

It’s easy to see that looking at the stats alone, the 2024 BMW i4 is an electric sedan that is competitive with, and sometimes surpasses, its gasoline counterparts within BMW’s compact performance sedans. Comparing the specs of the BMW i4 to the 4 Series and the M3, the i4 doesn’t just hold its own, it manages better specs than its counterparts in key areas. For instance, the i4 has better horsepower and torque at the entry-level and highest-end powertrain configurations compared to the 4 Series.

The i4 also measures up quite well against the M3, too. While the M3 is faster, by design, the i4 still manages to hold its own when it comes to torque, as evident by how close both sedans are in the 0 to 60 range. While the M3 has better overall horsepower, the top-of-the-line i4 M50, at $69,700, has a much lower MSRP than the base M3 at $76,000. That makes the i4 a worthwhile consideration for enthusiasts looking for a compact sedan of the electric variety that is both reasonably priced and performance-driven.

Are You Ready for a Performance EV From BMW?

It’s quite easy to see how well the 2024 BMW i4 compares to BMW’s other performance sedans, but the real question is, are you interested in a performance-oriented EV from BMW? Does the 2024 i4’s performance ceiling intrigue you? Would you be willing to devote your enthusiasm to an EV over a classic gasoline-powered BMW? There are a lot of ways it can go, but with the ability to avoid filling up at the pump and having that instant torque, it goes a long way in making the 2024 i4 a highly competitive entry in the compact performance-sedan segment. Let us know what you think of the 2024 BMW i4 compared to the M3 and the 4 Series.

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