2022 BMW i4 M50 marks a fast start for M’s electric performance era

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BMW started its push towards electrification with a pair of purpose-built vehicles on carbon-fiber platforms, the i3 EV (with or with no gas-engine vary extender) and the plug-in hybrid i8. For the M efficiency division’s first EV, the 2022 BMW i4 M50, the German model takes a step again to an inner combustion engine platform. The result’s a enjoyable automotive that required restricted funding {dollars}, however additionally it is compromised.

The BMW i4 M50 swaps out the gasoline engine of the 4-Sequence Gran Coupe for a dual-motor all-wheel drive electrical powertrain. Whereas it’s not EV cutting-edge, it’s a compelling automotive that captures some BMW magic…and BMW’s sporty electrical vehicles will solely get higher from right here.

I might really feel a few of that BMW magic behind the wheel throughout my week with the i4 M50. The automotive’s M-worthy energy turned instantly apparent. BMW outfits the i4 M50 with 255-hp entrance and 308-hp rear synchronous motors. They mix to make 469 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque whereas offering all-wheel drive. Have interaction the Sport mode, and a lift perform will increase the output to 536 hp and 586 lb-ft for greater than 10 seconds at a time. In that mode, the i4 M50 will rocket from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a 130 mph high pace, or 140 mph with the Excessive Efficiency bundle, in response to BMW. It’s been even sooner in journal testing, hitting 3.3 seconds within the 0-60 mph run for Automobile and Driver—even faster than the line-topping M4.

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

The M50’s electrical motors really feel completely different than the incredible twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6 within the M4. It doesn’t sound the indignant howl of the M4’s engine, opting as a substitute for a digitally created spaceship whirr that may be disabled. The facility is extra rapid than the horses that take a slight pause earlier than they giddyup in one of many most interesting gasoline engines cash can purchase. The i4 M50’s passing punch hits onerous and quick with a mere flick of the fitting foot, pushing you previous that slow-motion Camry earlier than you may say, “Are you going wherever?!”

Drivers have a alternative of brake regeneration modes within the i4. Shift to B mode, and you’ll largely drive with one pedal, solely activating the friction brakes when coming to a cease from greater speeds. B mode additionally helps for the on-off model of driving wanted for a monitor or attacking a canyon highway. I most well-liked it for neighborhood driving with many stops, however largely opted for the default coasting perform in Drive as a result of it simply made the i4 look like a traditional BMW. Drivers can even dig into the iDrive display screen to regulate the quantity of regen in Drive.

Energy in an electrical M automotive is anticipated, however might the M group overcome the consequences of weight as a result of a heavy battery pack?

The i4 M50 makes use of a tweaked model of the model’s CLAR (CLuster ARchitecture) and comes cloaked in the identical physique because the gas-powered 4-Sequence Gran Coupe. CLAR is a sophisticated platform that makes use of aluminum, metal, and even carbon fiber to save lots of weight, nevertheless it’s not optimized for a battery electrical car, and people compromises present up within the i4 in each house and weight.

The i4’s 324-cell, 81.5-kwh pack takes up 4.3 inches of house beneath the ground and lowers the automotive’s middle of gravity by 1.3 inches in comparison with a 3-Sequence sedan. Nevertheless, it provides appreciable weight. The i4 M50 carries 5,018 lb in comparison with 3,792 lb for the gas-powered 430i Gran Coupe.

BMW i4 production and technology

BMW i4 manufacturing and expertise

BMW i4 production and technology

BMW i4 manufacturing and expertise

BMW i4 production and technology

BMW i4 manufacturing and expertise

BMW i4 production and technology

BMW i4 manufacturing and expertise

BMW makes some modifications from the ICE model of the chassis to assist the automotive put on that weight nicely. Bolted to the ground and related to the entrance subframe, the battery pack turns into a structural element. A regular rear air suspension on all i4s offers load-leveling and counters any sag because of the battery’s weight. Up entrance, an aluminum shear panel groups with the high-voltage battery housing to behave as one other structural factor. The M50 model additionally will get adaptive M dampers, specifically tuned anti-roll bars, and a entrance strut tower brace.

Whereas the M50 model comes commonplace with staggered 19-inch wheels and tires, my tester had the Excessive Efficiency bundle that provides 255/35R20 entrance and 285/30R20 rear Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Elect summer season tires. That gave the automotive some fairly severe footwear to go together with its severe energy.

I put these sneakers to the check on the twistiest roads I might discover outdoors of Milwaukee, the place the i4 M50 outperformed its weight. The low-set middle of gravity restricted the physique lean like I’d anticipate from a sporty BMW quite than a 5,000-lb automotive. The i4 reacted shortly to inputs from the fast, direct steering (which might use extra really feel), and was glad to vary route many times. The Pirellis gripped nicely, and whereas the trip was agency it didn’t pound over a big patch of damaged pavement. B mode slowed the automotive for corners however not sufficient, and the brakes felt pure and powerful after I had to make use of the pads and calipers.

I haven’t pushed the i4 M50 on a racetrack—it’s not supposed as a monitor automotive anyway—however instrumented testing tells the story of simply how nicely it handles. Automobile and Driver studies it has 0.97 g of grip on a skidpad in comparison with 1.03 g for the M4, which weighs some 1,200 lb much less. Nonetheless, 0.97 g of grip qualifies as actual efficiency territory, and reveals that the low middle of gravity offsets a lot of the dealing with losses that might usually be brought on by a lot weight. At two-and-a-half tons, the i4 M50’s dealing with is compromised, however not by a lot.

The larger compromise is available in packaging. The swap to EVs permits automakers to rethink the shape issue of vehicles as motors and battery packs take up a lot much less house than engines, transmissions, driveshafts, and exhaust methods.

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4

2022 BMW i4

2023 BMW i4 eDrive35

2023 BMW i4 eDrive35

As a 4-Sequence Gran Coupe with a battery and electrical motors as a substitute of an engine, the i4 doesn’t take pleasure in that benefit. In reality, it doesn’t actually have a frunk as a result of the ability electronics and entrance motor sit underneath the hood. The ground-mounted battery additionally intrudes on inside house, although not an excessive amount of. Entrance seat occupants have 0.4 inch much less head room, and rear seat passengers lose 0.7 inch of leg room. The Gran Coupe’s hatchback cargo maintain suffers, too, because of the rear air suspension, nevertheless it nonetheless presents good cargo house, particularly with the rear seats folded down.

Efficiency additionally compromises vary. Whereas the i4 eDrive40 will get 301 miles of electrical vary, the M50 cuts that to an EPA-rated 270 miles; the optionally available 20-inch wheels minimize it additional to 227 miles. Throughout my 104 miles behind the wheel, I averaged a modest 2.3 miles per kwh and seen that the automotive had averaged 2.5 mi/kwh over its first 2,556 miles. My outcomes are proper consistent with the EPA’s estimated 2.36 mi/kwh, although over its temporary lifetime, the check automotive proved extra environment friendly than estimated.

The i4 makes use of a 400-volt electrical structure that may settle for a DC fast-charge as much as 195 kw, which might add 90 miles of vary in 10 minutes. Patrons additionally get $100 in credit to make use of at EVgo quick chargers all through the nation. On a Stage 2 dwelling charger, it will probably cost at a price of as much as 11 kw and go from empty to full in lower than eight hours.

2022 BMW i4 M50

2022 BMW i4 M50

The 2022 BMW i4 M50 begins at $66,895, and my tester ran $76,670 with the aforementioned Excessive Efficiency bundle ($2,500), a $1,700 Driver’s Help bundle, a $700 Parking Help bundle, and a smattering of different choices. The beginning value is about $3,000 greater than a Tesla Mannequin 3 Efficiency, which has 315 miles of vary, is simply as quick or sooner, and makes use of its house extra effectively.

Nevertheless, Tesla doesn’t match BMW construct high quality or really feel, and I turned in the important thing pondering why would anybody purchase a Tesla once more now that BMW has an EV? Nicely, vary and house are the explanations. Nevertheless, the 2022 BMW i4 M50 is a wonderful first EV from the M division and future M EVs will solely enhance. Batteries will get lighter, dealing with will get sharper, vary will improve, and purpose-built platforms, such because the Neue Klasse platform due in 2025, will open up more room. Tesla nonetheless has some essential benefits for now, however the electrical future is vibrant for BMW M.

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