This month sees us award Editors' Picks status to some intriguing new metal rolling into dealership lots and an old favorite. The Kona is a splendid little crossover on its own, but after trying out the N model, it's clear that Hyundai's N division isn't messing around. And then there's the new electric 4 Series, otherwise known as the i4. Luxury, electric sedans that are reasonably affordable are shockingly still thin on the ground these days, but BMW's first entry to this market is a good one. Lastly, there's the Lexus LC 500, a car that needs no introduction.
In case you missed our previous Editors' Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in September that earned an Editors’ Pick.
2022 BMW i4
Quick take: The i4 is a lovely luxury electric sportback with great handling, lots of speed, a nice BMW interior and impressive EV tech. We only wish its infotainment system were more user-friendly.
What it competes with: Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3
Pros: M50 is wicked-quick, utilitarian with a hatchback, excellent handling, solid EV tech
Cons: Looks aren't for everyone, frustrating infotainment system, limited backseat space
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "I drove the M50 version of the i4, and the performance is shocking. This EV has acceleration to match or better an M4. Meanwhile, its chassis and suspension setup is more compliant and daily driver-friendly like an M440i Gran Coupe. I really came to like the i4 over the course of a weekend with it, as the car seems like an ideal EV for someone who wants performance, luxury that can be enjoyed without any major drawbacks.
Senior Editor James Riswick — "It's easy to dismiss the i4 because its just an electric 4 Series Gran Coupe, but look at the numbers. The combination of performance, range and price is hard to beat in a car that's actually luxurious. It deserves more attention than it gets.
In-depth analysis: 2022 BMW i4 Review | Pleasingly normal, delightfully fast
2022 Hyundai Kona N
Quick take: The Kona N is a silly and fun car to drive, and while its interior is subpar, being behind the wheel is going to make any enthusiast smile.
What it competes with: Mini Countryman JCW, VW GTI, Mazda CX-30 Turbo
Pros: Hilariously good sounds, capable handler, great performance tech
Cons: Cheap-feeling interior, small cargo and passenger space
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "This little crossover is the answer to a question I've been wondering about for a long while. Why doesn't every non-luxury brand make performance SUVs, too? They're a dime a dozen in luxury brand lineups, but Ford and Dodge are the only ones with toes fully dipped into performance for its big vehicles. The Kona N is proof you can put together a wildly fun package in a popular body shape for an affordable price. And sure, the diehards will still go for something like an Elantra N, but I'm never going to complain about more performance vehicle options."
Senior Editor James Riswick — "We should all be prepared for more cars like the 2022 Hyundai Kona N, because if we want the hot hatch to survive, we're going to have to come to grips with the fact that they won't actually be cars anymore. They'll be crossovers. And sure, the Kona N is 6 inches taller and 100 pounds heavier than the Veloster N with which it shares much, but let's not let the quest for perfection get in the way of appreciating mere greatness. Because, indeed, the Kona N is great."
In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Kona N First Drive Review | It has a hatch, and it's hot
2022 Lexus LC 500/LC 500 Convertible
Quick take: The LC is a car that hits every feel-good button for a car enthusiast. It's unquestionably beautiful, sounds like pure bliss, handles surprisingly well and will eat up the miles as a grand tourer. This car is as close to perfect as they come.
What it competes with: BMW 8 Series, Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type
Pros: Stellar looks, crazy-good sound, beautiful interior
Cons: Frustrating tech, not for acceleration fiends
From the editors:
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — "If I had to choose just one car to do it all (and didn't have to contend with snow), a Lexus LC 500 would be parked in my driveway. It excels in every situation, and is an ideal happiness generator. I don't really care that the trunk is tiny or that the infotainment system is poor. The 5.0-liter V8 engine, snappy gear changes, quick and precise steering and impossibly good looks make up for any and all shortcomings. Either the Coupe or Convertible would do — both are stupendous cars.
In-depth analysis: 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible First Drive | Is less roof better?