2022 BMW I4 M50 is the First Electrified M Car

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
The merging of i and M has resulted in this 536-horsepower four-door.

BMW late Tuesday took the wraps off the production i4. The electrified four-door version of the brand’s 4 Series coupe will come in two forms at launch: the i4 eDrive40 and this, the i4 M50. The latter will represent the very first electric BMW M product—but certainly not the last. The i4 will arrive in dealerships early next year.

SEE ALSO: BMW M5 Competition vs Porsche Panamera GTS Comparison

We’ll focus on the M50 first. The first M i model (or is that i M model?) uses a twin-motor setup, one at each axle. The front electric motor is good for 255 horsepower; the rear spits out 308 hp. Thanks to the magic of power bands, the result is a combined 536 horsepower. BMW rates the i4 M50 at a maximum of 586 lb-ft, too. Both of these numbers are hit via the Sport Boost function, a “push-to-pass” style of system that unlocks the final 67 hp and 48 lb-ft maximum thrust. BMW says Sport Boost even comes with “an M-specific soundtrack.”

Just to put things in perspective, the current M4 Competition spits out 503 hp and 479 lb-ft. BMW quotes a 3.8-second run to 60 mph (97 km/h) for the coupe, and despite being heavier, the i4 M50 is just a single tenth off that time.

Both the i4 M50 and eDrive40 draw their juice from the same battery pack. The 83.9-kWh pack sits low in the chassis, providing a center of gravity either 1.3 inches (33 mm, M50) or 2.1 inches (53 mm, eDrive40) lower than the regular 3 Series sedan. BMW is also proud of the fact the batteries contain less than 10 percent cobalt content. BMW is estimating an EPA range of 245 miles (385 km).

Just as important as how quickly the i4 will drain its battery is how quickly it’ll charge back up. Hooking up to a fast-charge system allows for a max charge rate of 200 kW, which results in the standard 10-to-80-percent recharge in 31 minutes. A typical Level 2 charger can completely fill the battery in 7.6 hours.

SEE ALSO: 2021 BMW M440i xDrive Review: Baby Grand (Tourer)

The i4 eDrive40 sticks to a single-motor setup, keeping it the traditional rear-wheel drive. Since it pulls from the same battery as the M50, range increases, to an estimated 300 miles (485 km). Power is down however, sitting at 335 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Its standard wheels are 18-inch items, with 19s optional. The M5o makes 19s its default, with 20-inchers on the options list.

Both i4 models also incorporate adaptive energy recuperation for more on-the-go battery efficiency. This pulls data from the GPS system to alter regenerative braking amounts based on the route. Three levels of regen braking are also selectable while driving; the M50 can recover energy at a rate of 195 kW, compared to 116 kW for the eDrive40. Launch control is standard on both models, using what BMW calls near-actuator wheel slip limitation. Essentially, this is in-motor traction control, resulting in quicker responses than the traditional approach. Another common element is an air suspension, though only on the rear axle.

The M car will augment this with an adaptive suspension, different anti-roll bars, and a variable sport steering rack.

Visually, the package is pretty close to the ICE-powered 4 Series, though in the as-yet-unreleased Gran Coupe form. The big ol’ grille is naturally blocked off, resulting in an impressive drag coefficient of 0.24 for the eDrive40 (0.25 for the M50). The M50 is set apart with unique front and rear bumpers, side intakes, dark gray exterior trim, and the requisite M badging.

Inside the i4 is pretty standard 4 Series—a good thing—with a notable exception: the huge curved display running iDrive 8. This combines the 14.9-inch central infotainment screen with the 12.3-inch instrument panel.

There will be a typical suite of driver assistance systems available on the i4, including automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, BMW’s parking assist, and more.

The i4 eDrive40 will start from $56,395 including destination when it arrives at American dealerships early next year. Stepping up to the M50 will cost $66,895. BMW Canada has yet to release equivalent pricing. Pre-orders will open up mid-July.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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