For the longest time, BMW M has been known to produce some of the most potent internal combustion sports sedans and coupes that the world has ever seen. However, all of that is about to change with the debut of its first all-electric performance sedan, the BMW i4 M50.
As the much-anticipated i4 enters series production, ahead of the earliest market introductions in November – two variants have been announced:
- BMW i4 eDrive40 (Driving range: up to 590km – WLTP)
- BMW i40 M50 (Driving range: up to 510km – WLTP)
In both cases, the i4 is powered by a compact 83.9 kWh battery specially designed for the BMW i4 and positioned low down in the vehicle floor with an extremely low cell height of 110 millimetres - up to 53 millimetres lower than in the BMW 3 Series sedan.
The i4’s ‘fifth generation’ eDrive platform and electrical architecture integrates the drive system in which the electric motor, transmission and power electronics sit in a single housing. Besides that, the i4’s battery also delivers an impressive power density of up to 2.14 kW/kg of weight.
Separately an integral heating and cooling system with heat pump function manages operating temperatures for interior climate, high-voltage battery and drive system further optimising the compact yet efficient packaging of the vehicle. Anticipatory thermal management for the high-voltage battery further optimises charging efficiency.
In both variants, the Combined Charging Unit (CCU) allows the use of DC fast-charging stations with an output of up to 200 kW. This allows the i4 M50 to recharge from 0-140km of driving range in just 10 minutes.
Power is rated at 340hp in the rear-wheel-drive only eDrive40 while the M50’s powertrain outputs 544hp. However, that’s not the end – the M50 is also equipped with a Sport Boost feature which further squeezes the two electric motors for maximum system torque of 795 Nm. This gives the i4 Porsche Taycan rivalling acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
The M50 can also be optionally supplied with the BMW IconicSounds Electric which enables integration of new sound variants created as part of a collaboration with film music composer Hans Zimmer.
In terms of aesthetics – the i4 M50’s fastback sedan’s exterior is highlighted by an aggressive looking front bumper which houses larger air inlets at either side, while a largely blacked out kidney-grille now integrates the i4’s camera, ultrasonic and radar sensors. Along the flanks, the muscular bodylines are complemented by the darkened side skirts and iconic ‘M gills’ finished in black.
Large 20-inch wheels are offered as standard. It’s much the same at the rear – with the lower regions of the bumper and diffuser in contrasting dark colours. The keen-eyed will also spot a gurney flap at the top edge of the bonnet that adds downforce.
On the inside, the i4 features an interior not unlike the conventional 3/4 Series but with the addition of a curved single piece screen (made up of a 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display) atop the dashboard. Lower down, a newly designed centre console features a futuristic control panel for the gear selector lever, latest-generation BMW iDrive controller and function keys.
The M50, as customary for ‘M’ cars will be offered with sports seats, a sports steering wheel, and unique interior trim packages. Separately, the i4 features the latest BMW Operating System 8 which allows for fast data transmission using 5G, and over the air updates, keeping the i4 fresh and up to date.
On the safety front, the i4 is offered with around 40 driver assistance functions which include Front-collision warning, Speed Limit Info and Lane Departure Warning, Park Distance Control and Reversing Assist Camera fitted as standard. Optional Active Cruise Control with automatic Speed Limit Assist and Parking Assistant Plus are also optionally available.
The earliest market deliveries of the BMW i4 will begin in November 2021, however, BMW Malaysia has already teased the model locally, will the i4 M50 make it here too?