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EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i?

Shaun · Dec 1, 2023 03:43 PM

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 01

If you’re looking for a family car that’s sharp to drive for less than RM 300k, chances are you’d turn to BMW. The question now is, should you go for an electric vehicle (EV) or good old-fashioned internal combustion engine (ICE) - the BMW i4 eDrive 35 or the BMW 320i?

Their on-the-road prices are remarkable close to each other, with the BMW i4 eDrive 35 priced at RM 273,800, the i4 eDrive 35 M Sport at RM 299,800, and the BMW 320i M Sport at RM 283,800.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 02

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While these models ride on the same platform, they offer their own unique driving experiences. Here's a quick rundown to decipher which aligns better with you.

Also read: The better Tesla Model 3? Lower priced BMW i4 eDrive35 launched in Malaysia, priced almost half of a 4 Series

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 01

BMW i4 eDrive 40 M Sport shown.

Exterior and Design

Right off the bat, the i4 sets itself apart with its sleek four-door coupe design, borrowing the bodyshell from the G26 4 Series Gran Coupe. The inclusion of frameless doors imparts an additional touch of elegance to the i4, distinguishing it from the conventional appearance of the 320i.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 02

But you’ll have to contend with the controversial design of the beaver teeth-like front grille, as opposed to the more generally accepted front fascia of the 3 Series. There’s no right or wrong here, merely personal preferences.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 03

BMW i4 eDrive 40 M Sport shown.

Performance

In terms of performance, the 320i houses a B48 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, generating 184 PS and 300 Nm, which does the 0-100 km/h sprint in a respectable 7.4 seconds.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 04

On the other hand, the i4 boasts a 286 PS and 400 Nm rear-mounted electric motor, accomplishing the same sprint in 6.0 seconds. Despite the i4's weight disadvantage (2,065 kg compared to the 320i's 1,590 kg), it blitzes its ICE counterpart in acceleration.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 05

Driving Experience

However, the additional weight of the i4 comes at a cost. It exhibits more noticeable body movements over uneven surfaces and can feel slightly ponderous during aggressive maneuvers. In contrast, the 320i maintains its nimbleness, agility, and light-footed feel, especially during spirited driving.

For the daily commute, the i4 adeptly conceals its weight, retaining the platform’s sharp handling characteristics and responsive steering. Yet, the trade-off lies in the compromised interior space due to the battery placement and coupe styling, impacting rear passengers with a slightly crouched like seating posture and limited headroom.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 06

BMW i4's interior, almost identical to the 3 Series.

The real deciding factor

Having said all that, the pivotal factor in choosing between these contenders lies in access to charging infrastructure. If you reside in a landed property with the ability to install a dedicated charger, the i4 makes practical sense. However, for those in condos or apartments without charging access, the traditional 320i might align more with your lifestyle.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 07

Here’s a curveball, for those wavering on the brink of embracing the EV lifestyle, BMW also offers the 330e plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Serving as a litmus paper, the 330e enables you to experience both worlds before making a decisive commitment.

Conclusion

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 08

BMW i4 eDrive 40 M Sport shown.

In the end, the choice between the BMW i4 eDrive 35 and the BMW 320i hinges not only on their similar price tags but also on your lifestyle and charging accessibility. If charging is a challenge, the 320i stands as the pragmatic choice.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 09

Conversely, if you can install a charger and are willing to live with the compromises, the i4 opens up a new realm of EV performance.

If you're curious, try the 330e. Some may say PHEV is the worst of both worlds, but perhaps you can use that to your advantage to try and live in both worlds, then you'll know for sure which is for you.

EV vs ICE: Just RM 10k difference, should you buy the BMW i4 or 320i? 10

BMW i4 eDrive 40 M Sport shown.

To paint a clearer picture on how closely the BMW 3 Series and i4 are priced to each other, here's an overview of the prices and variants.

BMW 3 Series:

  • 320i M Sport – RM 283,800
  • 330e M Sport – RM 298,800
  • 330i M Sport – RM 317,800
  • 330Li M Sport – RM 325,800
  • M340i xDrive – RM 391,800

BMW i4:

  • i4 eDrive35 – RM 273,800
  • i4 eDrive35 M Sport – RM 299,800
  • i4 eDrive40 M Sport – RM 399,800
  • i4 M50 – RM 445,800

*Prices stated are on-the-road without insurance, with the extended warranty and service package

Also read: Review: 2023 BMW i4 eDrive40 - Who says all EVs drive the same?

Shaun

Senior Writer

The quest for automotive knowledge began as soon as the earliest memories. Various sources information, even questionable ones, have been explored including video games, television, magazines, or even internet forums. Still stuck in that rabbit hole.

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