BMW i4 M50 Will Be Its First EV To Wear An M Badge

It will be some time yet however before BMW debuts its first full-fat M electric car. 

BMW has recently revealed that its upcoming i4 all-electric Gran Coupe is to get an M badged variant too. Dubbed the M50, this first EV in the German automaker’s lineup to get that haloed performance designation will be launching alongside its more conventional eDrive40 counterpart come November 2021. 

Technically more of an M performance upgrade instead of a full fat M car, the i4 M50 is nevertheless a good chunk more sporty than its more sedate sibling. Featuring a motor on both axles each controlled by a single speed transmission, this all-wheel drive BMW has been claimed to churn out a nominal power output of 350 kW and 730 Nm of torque. 

A substantial increase over its solely rear-motored eDrive40 sibling, the M50 actually has a bit little more to give for brief periods of time. That is because when Sport Boost mode is engaged, power and torque figures then jump to a Taycan 4S-rivalling 400 kW (+50 kW) and 795 Nm (+65 Nm) for a little 10 seconds. 

In this mode therefore, BMW is touting for its i4 M50 to just pip the standard M3 to 100 km/h by 0.2 seconds (3.9 seconds vs 4.1 seconds). This M-badged EV will also only run out of puff at 225 km/h, in comparison to the 189 km/h V-Max achieved by the standard variant. 

Where the standard eDrive40 triumphs over its M-badged counterpart however will be its greater all-electric range of 483 km (300 miles), instead of just 394 km (245 miles). Both cars share the same 80.7 kWh lithium ion battery pack, which operates at 400 V and has a claimed charging time of 10% to 80% in 31 minutes when hooked up to a 210 kW DC supply. 

As with any M-badged car, the i4 M50 expectedly features some performance add-ons that includes adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport braking system. This sporty BMW EV also gains a strut brace up front, near-actuator wheel slip limitation and custom anti-roll bars, which work in tandem with the already standard double-joint spring strut front axle, five-link rear axle and 37 mm lower centre of gravity compared to the standard 3-series (despite being 20 mm higher off the ground) for improved handling performance. 

Turning to its exterior meanwhile, the i4 M50 gains a more aggressive front end design courtesy of a sportier bumper with larger air intakes. Other obvious visual cues to distinguish this performance-oriented variant from the eDrive40 includes the addition of 19-inch M light-alloy wheels (with 20-inch an option) down the side and an M-specific spoiler round the rear. 

Moving on inside, various sporty interior trimmings like the M Sport steering wheel and sports seats are to be found within the i4 M50. Its standard equipment list however is much the same as the eDrive40 variant, for which the highlights include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 14.9-inch central infotainment touchscreen running BMW Operating System 8, a large glass panoramic sunroof, a full suite of active driver aids as well as the option of BMW IconicSounds Electric that was composed by Hans Zimmer. 

The i4 eDrive40 will retail from $55,400 (RM 230,000), with the M50 variant costing slightly more with a starting price of $65,900 (RM 272,000). Arriving first in Europe this year end before hitting North America early next year, there has unfortunately been no official word yet on whether this all-electric BMW will ever land locally. 

PRESS RELEASE: All-electric mobility reaches the very heart of the BMW brand. The BMW i4 is the brand’s first electric vehicle focused squarely on driving dynamics. Locally emission-free driving pleasure, compromise-free premium quality and customer-oriented individualisation come to the traditional core of the midsize segment for the first time. The BMW i4 combines BMW’s fabled sporting prowess and a range that also convinces over long journeys with the elegant design, spaciousness and practicality of a four-door Gran Coupé.

Market launch gets underway in November 2021 with two model variants: BMW i4 M50 – the first purely electric performance car from BMW M GmbH, with 400 kW/544 hp, all-wheel drive and a range of up to 510 kilometres (317 miles) in the WLTP cycle; BMW i4 eDrive40 with 250 kW/340 hp, classical rear-wheel drive and a range of up to 590 kilometres (367 miles) in the WLTP cycle.

Integrated application of all powertrain and chassis components, using decades of expertise build up by an established maker of exceptionally sporty premium cars, creates a degree of design coherence rivals cannot match. Familiar BMW dynamic driving abilities extending far beyond rapid acceleration in a straight line combine with sublime long-distance comfort.

Hallmark BMW solution to the clash between sportiness and long-distance ability: efficient drive system technology and intelligent lightweight design enable smile-inducing dynamics and a long range without the need for disproportionately large and heavy batteries.

The BMW i4 is based on a flexible vehicle architecture conceived from the outset for a purely electric drive system. Long wheelbase and wide tracks. Weight-minimised yet extremely stiff body structure. Model-specific torsion struts, aluminium shear panel and front axle subframe have fixed connection with the casing of the high-voltage battery. Optimised aerodynamics with Cd of 0.24.

Newly designed chassis technology attuned precisely to the vehicle concept uses a double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle. Lift-related dampers and rear-axle air suspension come as standard. Near-actuator wheel slip limitation (also teamed for the first time with electric all-wheel drive) delivers outstanding traction and directional stability in extremely dynamic driving manoeuvres. BMW i4 M50 also features model-specific adaptive M suspension, variable sport steering, M Sport braking system and optional M light-alloy wheels (up to 20-inch).

Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology with highly integrated unit of electric motor, power electronics and transmission and the latest battery cell technology. Electric motors work according to the principle of an electrically excited synchronous unit. Power density of up to 2.14 kW/kg; instantaneous power delivery, sustained over a broad rev band.

BMW i4 M50 with Sport Boost for ultra-dynamic power delivery from the two electric motors with peak output and maximum system torque of 795 Nm (586 lb-ft). Acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.9 seconds. BMW i4 eDrive40 with maximum system torque of 430 Nm (317 lb-ft) and 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.7 seconds.

Model-specific drive sound delivers authentic feedback to movement of the accelerator and speed. BMW i4 M50 with extremely energy-charged soundtrack. Optional BMW IconicSounds Electric enables integration of new sound variants created as part of a collaboration with film music composer Hans Zimmer.

Slim high-voltage battery specially designed for the BMW i4 and positioned low down in the vehicle floor with extremely low cell height of 110 millimetres. Vehicle centre of gravity up to 53 millimetres lower than in the BMW 3 Series Sedan. Gross energy content: 83.9 kWh.

Adaptive or individually adjustable recuperation of braking energy increases efficiency and enables one-pedal feeling plus the use of the coasting function depending on need and the traffic situation.

Integral heating and cooling system with heat pump function for the interior, high-voltage battery and drive system. Anticipatory thermal management for the high-voltage battery optimises charging efficiency.

Combined Charging Unit allows use of DC fast-charging stations with output of up to 200 kW. Range can be increased by as much as 164 kilometres / 102 miles (BMW i4 eDrive40) and 140 kilometres / 87 miles (BMW i4 M50) within 10 minutes at stations of this kind. BMW Charging with special rates for public charging stations and IONITY high-power charging stations.

BMW i4 is new byword for sustainable sportiness, comfort and everyday usability in the premium midsize segment. Gran Coupé vehicle concept combines sedan-level ride comfort with modern functionality. Elegantly sporting design with stretched coupé proportions, a flowing roofline, four doors with frameless windows and a large tailgate.

Largely blanked-off front end and striking BMW kidney grille with discreetly integrated camera, ultrasonic and radar sensors. Slim headlights, optionally with BMW Laserlight. Colour accents in BMW i Blue. BMW i4 eDrive40 in M Sport specification and BMW i4 M50 with bespoke performance-led cues. M Carbon exterior package and M Performance Parts available from launch.

Luxurious premium ambience and variable-use interior space. Acoustic glazing, pre-heating and pre-conditioning, Sport seats and sports steering wheel as standard. Centre console with modern-design control panel for the gear selector lever, BMW Controller and function keys. Large tailgate comes as standard with electric opening and closing mechanism. Load compartment capacity of 470 litres can be expanded up to a maximum 1,290 litres. Electrically extendable and retractable trailer tow hitch optional. Permissible trailer load: 1,600 kilograms.

Wide array of individualisation options as is typical of premium models. Driving pleasure and comfort enhanced by options such as seat heating and ventilation, Vernasca leather trim and BMW Individual leather trim variants, instrument panel in Sensatec and leather variants, M Sport package Pro, ambient lighting, Harman Kardon Surround Sound System and large glass slide/tilt sunroof.

Premiere for new generation BMW iDrive control/operation system. Clear focus on touchscreen functionality of the new BMW Curved Display and natural spoken dialogue using the extensively upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Fully digital screen grouping of 12.3-inch information display and 14.9-inch control display. Advanced graphics and powerful software based on BMW Operating System 8.

Automatic climate control with new control approach using touchscreen display and integrated nanofiber filter. Intelligently coordinated temperature control using airflow control, seat heating and steering wheel heating.

Remote Software Upgrades keep the software “always fresh”. Navigation with cloud-based BMW Maps system. Route planning including mid-journey stops for charging using Connected Charging. Extensive smartphone integration including use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Personalisation through BMW ID and My BMW App. Integration of personal mobile accounts into the car via Personal eSIM. Fast data transmission using 5G.

Around 40 driver assistance functions available. Front-collision warning, Speed Limit Info and Lane Departure Warning fitted as standard. Optional Active Cruise Control with automatic Speed Limit Assist, route monitoring function and (in Germany) reaction to traffic lights. Also available: Driving Assistant Professional including Steering and Lane Control Assistant.

Park Distance Control and Reversing Assist Camera fitted as standard. Optional Parking Assistant with Reversing Assistant. Parking Assistant Plus with functions including Surround View and Remote 3D View.

Clear focus on sustainability through responsible use of resources throughout the value chain and maximum reduction in CO2 footprint across the full product lifecycle. Vehicle production at BMW Group Plant Munich; battery cells manufactured using 100-per cent green energy.

Extensive use of secondary raw materials, natural materials and recycled materials. Specific design principle for the electric motors allows the use of rare earth metals to be avoided. Controlled, transparent and sustainable extraction of cobalt and lithium for the high-voltage battery.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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