Kia EV6 vs BMW i4: Which Rs 60+ lakh EV is the better buy?

The Kia EV6 is imported as a CBU, hence the hefty price tag.

BMW India has brought the BMW i4 premium electric sedan to Indian shores and its aggressive pricing has rocked the recently launched Kia EV6 premium electric crossover. While in the Indian market, the South Korean manufacturer and the Bavarian auto veteran don’t run in each other’s race, the Kia EV6’s pricing in the i4’s ballpark has got us thinking – which Rs 60 lakh plus green car should you bet your money on?

While the fair competition should put the base Kia EV6 RWD variant up against the likes of the BMW i4 Drive 40, the pricing of the Kia EV6 AWD variant makes it a closer rival. We hence pitch the top-spec Kia EV6 GT Line AWD variant and the BMW i4 eDrive 40. 

BMW i4 vs Kia EV6 price in India

The BMW i4 eDrive 40 has been introduced in India for an introductory sticker price of Rs 69.90 lakh (ex-showroom). The Kia EV6 on the other hand gets two variants – GT Line RWD and GT Line AWD. The base GT Line RWD starts at Rs 59.95 lakhs (ex-showroom) while the GT Line AWD starts at Rs 64.95 lakhs (ex-showroom). 

Both the prices are excluding government subsidies and optional accessory packages, and can vary depending upon their specificity. While, imported premium electric vehicles are still far and between, the EV6 and i4 end up in a sweet spot in terms of size, features, performance, style and price. 

Why CBU imports are expensive: Kia EV6

Buyers will notice that whenever a manufacturer brings in global products via the Completely Built Unit (CBU) import route, like in the case of the Kia EV6, prices levied on the vehicles are often much inflated. This is because of the Indian government’s taxation system can charge as much as 125 percent depending upon the specifics of the vehicle. This intends to promote the localisation of part sourcing, manufacturing and assembly indigenously in the country. 

One can find a trend in exorbitantly high prices of niche cars, especially in luxury and sports car segments. However, many prominent foreign brands have started local manufacturing and assembly of vehicles keeping taxes low and hence prices in check. 

BMW i4 vs Kia EV6: specifications

Battery and Range

The Kia EV6 gets two variants and both are paired to a 77.4kWh battery pack. The base GT Line RWD and the top-spec GT Line AWD variant have a claimed range of 528km on the WLTP cycle. The BMW i4 on the other hand gets a larger 83.9kWh battery pack that fetches the user a WLTP-certified claimed range of 590km. The 500+km of claimed range makes these vehicles adequately capable of handling the daily usage they were designed for. 

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Performance

The Kia EV6 has more variety when it comes to the drive train with both rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and all-wheel-drive (AWD) formats available. The GT Line AWD variant gets two motors and hence develops a combined power output of 325bhp and 605Nm of torque. This propels the Kia EV6 from 0 to 100kmph in 5.2 seconds. The vehicle can then build up speed up to an electronically limited 192kmph. The more sublime GT Line RWD climbs to the 100kmph mark from a standstill in 7.3 seconds and then some more until it hits its speed limiter set at 185kmph. 

The BMW i4 too closely matches the Kia EV6 GT Line AWD even with its rear-wheel-drive setup thanks to the larger battery and powerful motor. The Drive 40 trim on the i4 uses a 340bhp motor that generates 430Nm of torque. The BMW i4 manages a 0 to 100kmph time of 5.7 seconds – that’s a shade shy from the EV6’s time. The BMW i4 also boasts of a higher top speed of 250kmph. 

Weight and Ground Clearance

The German-engineered BMW i4 weighs 2,125kg thanks to the larger battery pack. The Kia EV6 manages to stay on the lighter side of two tonnes at 1,945kg. The Kia EV6 being a crossover sits higher at 178mm and combined with a shorter 2,901mm wheelbase should be safer on Indian roads when compared to the BMW. BMW i4 on the other hand sits much lower to the ground and with a wheelbase of 2,856mm would be much easier to scrape.

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Safety and features

Both the cars are well equipped with a point being missed here and there. In terms of safety, the Kia EV6 and BMW i4 both get 8 airbags. The BMW i4 misses out on a high-beam assist and cross-traffic alert and the vehicle has not yet been tested. The Kia EV6 has managed to score a perfect 5-star score on the G-NCAP test. 

In terms of features and creature comforts the BMW i4 pampers users with – 3-zone climate control, a curved 14.9-inch infotainment screen, a 12.3-inch driver instrument cluster, 17 speaker Harman Kardon sound system, 14-way electronically adjustable driver seat, sunglass holder, ambient lighting, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, gesture control, 10-way adjustable rear seats, etc. Useful features such as anti-glare mirrors, reverse parking sensors and cameras, electrically adjustable tilt and telescopic steering wheel, one-touch up and down all four power windows, laser LED lighting, etc. 

The Kia EV6 too offers up a lot to its customers such as ventilated and cooled seats, 10-way electronically adjustable driver seat, dual 12.3-inch screens, 14 speaker Meridian audio system dual-zone automatic climate control, 4-way adjustable rear seats, a multi-colour ambient lighting, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and more. Value-added features such as front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree camera system, gear indicator, one-touch up and down front power windows, remote AC on/off, Alexa compatibility, etc are also present. 

Charging

Kia EV6 and BMW i4 are both advanced EVs and their electronically managed battery systems are capable of a variety of charging speeds. The Kia EV6 claims to have a 350kW fast-charge capability that can juice up the battery from 10 to 80 percent in about 18 minutes. The same battery would take about 73 minutes to charge at a 50kW outlet and at home, it could take around 7 hours and 20 minutes to charge from 10 to 100 percent at 7.2kW. 

The BMW i4 has a larger battery pack and claims to fast charge only up to 205kW meaning it would take a whole 31 minutes to charge up from 10 to 80 percent. The same would take about 83 minutes at a 50kW charging outlet. At home, the i4 would take about 8.25 hours to boost up from 10 to 100 percent via its 11kW home wall-box charger. 

Design 

Both the cars cater to two different sets of audiences. People interested in the Kia EV6 are likely to prefer the crossover looks and award-winning design philosophy. The BMW i4 in comparison is a low-slung sedan and still retains an elegant design DNA dispute moving forward with a massive and daunting blocked-out kidney grilles up front. 

Design hence becomes a pick of personal pallets and both cars look distinctive and futuristic enough to find the right buyers. 

BMW i4 vs Kia EV6: Verdict

The Kia EV6 and BMW i4 have brought down the cost of an imported EV massively and the response from the right buyers says much. There is a tremendous value for money proposition that both the cars have to offer along with a unique identity – one being a crossover and the other a sedan. However, in a sensitive market like India, the BMW i4 is so closely priced to its Korean competitor compels buyers to stretch out and get the Beemer. The brand value and higher levels of quality standards could end up swaying buyers towards the German even at the very last moment.