BMW has a well-established history of developing luxury sport sedans, and now the automaker has set its sights on dominating the all-electric segment with its new 2022 i4. The BMW i4 is about the size of a 3 Series and offers an engaging driving experience. If you’re looking for an alternative to the Tesla Model 3, this could be it. But there’s another small EV also vying for your attention: the Polestar 2.
The Polestar 2 hails from Volvo’s nascent EV-only Polestar brand. It boasts excellent handling and impressive tech. Which electric sedan — with a hatchback-style trunk — is the better buy? Edmunds’ experts compared them to find out.
RANGE AND CHARGING
Range and charging should be a top priority, even when you’re shopping for a performance EV. For 2022, the i4 has an EPA-estimated driving range of 227-301 miles depending on the model and configuration. On paper, Polestar 2′s EPA range isn’t as high. It’s estimated between 249 and 270 miles.
Edmunds also performed its real-world range testing on both cars. Here, the i4 M50 dual-motor version went 268 miles on a full charge and the dual-motor Polestar 2 went 288 miles. That puts the Polestar in the top half of Edmunds’ EV range leaderboard, and the i4 in the lower half.
Charging either vehicle with a depleted battery at home will take about the same amount of time. When using a public DC fast-charging station, the BMW’s slightly higher peak charge rate can potentially have you back on the road a little sooner.
Winner: Polestar 2
Luxury sport sedans need to perform but also provide plenty of comfort. In terms of ride comfort, both rivals are very comfortable, even with their sport-tuned suspensions. However, the Polestar’s seats have more cushioning and provide more support and comfort.
Passenger space is pretty even, but the Polestar 2 has a bit more front headroom and legroom. The Swede also offers more cargo space in its hatchback-style trunk. EVs are inherently quiet, so it’s important to keep the cabin insulated from outside noise. Both sport sedans excel at this, but expect a quieter driving experience in the Polestar.
Winner: Polestar 2
Power and solid driving dynamics are crucial for sport sedans, and both EVs deliver. The i4 eDrive40 produces 335 horsepower and the M50 469 horsepower, or even more in short bursts. The Polestar offers less grunt: 231-408 horsepower. The power difference was obvious in Edmunds’ testing. The M50 hit 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, and the dual-motor Polestar 2 took 4.3 seconds.
While BMW has certainly made good on the “motor” part of its name, it’s lost its way for when the road gets twisty. The i4′s steering doesn’t provide much feel for the road, and its stability control system tends to kill the fun when you’re driving hard around turns. It might seem odd, but the Polestar 2 is actually the more playful and engaging EV to drive on a deserted back road.
TECHNOLOGY AND DRIVER AIDS
The BMW and Polestar boast impressive tech and feature digital instrument panels and large touchscreens. However, the i4′s horizontal touchscreen is larger than the Polestar’s vertical one. The i4′s touchscreen interface works very well and includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Inside the Polestar, you’ll find a Google Android-based operating system that works much like a smartphone and includes apps like Google Maps. But we haven’t found it quite as feature-packed as the BMW’s interface.
As for advanced driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control, BMW and Polestar are a little stingy. They include a few standard driver aids, but the rest are optional. But we do like how both car’s aids are helpful for driving and not overly intrusive.
The BMW i4 eDrive40 starts at $56,295, and the M50 at $66,995 with destination. The starting price for the single-motor Polestar 2 is $49,800 and the dual-motor model is $3,500 more, or $53,300. The pricing gap is significant, but the power difference and BMW brand-name recognition might be worth it for some. The $7,500 federal tax credit can be applied to both EVs.
Standard and optional features between the two are comparable, and so are their warranties and free maintenance plans. Both rivals also boast solid build quality and interiors that look and feel appropriate for the price.
The Polestar’s slightly lower pricing is appealing, but BMW’s brand familiarity and its more extensive dealership network even the score.
You’ll likely be happy with either EV. In Edmunds’ rankings scoring, they are, in fact, statistically tied. Can’t decide? For superior comfort and handling, get the Polestar. But for brand familiarity and rocket-like acceleration, get the BMW.