BMW i4 M50

It may have been viewed as somewhat of a niche body style at first, but the Gran Coupé variant within the BMW model line-up – as embodied by the latest 4-Series and the upcoming all-electric i4 – has now become a sought-after model.

The Gran Coupé has become a true ambassador of traditional BMW qualities such as elegant and sporty design and hallmark driving pleasure. In the space of a single model generation, it has established itself among the top models, making the most significant contribution to the BMW brand image.

No surprise then that BMW has earmarked this four-door coupé in the premium midsize segment, together with the BMW iX, to form the core of the Munich-based manufacturer’s transformation towards a new normal – by bringing electric mobility to the heart of the brand.

Performance-Oriented Exterior Design

You need to look closely to spot the differences between the new i4 and its 4-Series Gran Coupé donor. Both blend customary sporting elegance with the comfort of a four-door model, sending out a message of exclusivity and dynamic flair. However, the blanked-off kidney grille and unique, sporty diffuser elements of the i4 gives the game away while also highlighting its sustainability-friendly credentials.

Like the 4-Series, it has short overhangs, slim pillars, doors with frameless windows and a sloped roofline that flows smoothly into the rear. Defining the front end are slim headlights (with optionally available BMW Laserlight tech) and the striking kidney grille with an integrated camera and ultrasonic and radar sensors. 

The flagship i4 M50 model has distinctive design features to underscore its performance-focused character, including an optional M Carbon exterior package and model-specific M Performance Parts.

Grand interior styling

Inside, it has class-leading individualisation options to accentuate its premium character, including seat heating and ventilation, Vernasca leather and BMW Individual leather trim variants, Sensatec and leather coverings for the instrument panel, the M Sport package Pro, a glass slide/tilt sunroof, ambient lighting, and a Harman Kardon Surround Sound System.

Also, acoustic glazing, pre-heating and pre-conditioning are standard, as well as comfortable yet snug-fitting sport seats and a wieldy sports steering wheel. The large tailgate of the load compartment – with a capacity of 470 l (up to 1,290 l) – can be opened and closed automatically.

The BMW Curved Display fully digital screen grouping brings together a 12.3” information display and a 14.9” control display behind a glass surface angled towards the driver, a standard three-zone climate control system is fitted, and the i4 can also offer data transmission using 5G. Some 40 assistance functions are available as standard or as options for safe, comfortable driving and parking. And a new generation iDrive control/operation system was designed with a clear focus on touchscreen functionality.

Electrifying M performance

Focused purely on driving dynamics from the outset, the i4 M50 is the first all-electric car from BMW M GmbH. A lower-specced eDrive40 is set to follow later.

Based on a flexible vehicle architecture devised for the all-electric drive system, the i4 M50 uses one electric motor at the front axle (190 kW) and another at the rear (230 kW) to deliver a system output of 400 kW and maximum system torque of 795 Nm for high-intensity driving pleasure. This includes a zero to 100 km/h sprint in 3.9 seconds with the assistance of the Sports Boost function. 

Having recently driven the latest M440i Gran Coupé, the heavier yet more powerful i4 M50 displayed similar handling and performance traits but with a definite edge, thanks to a low centre of gravity, a torsionally stiff and weight-minimised body, and optimised aero (Cd: 0.24).

The i4’s long wheelbase and wide track, even weight distribution and the intelligently controlled interaction between the two electric drive units give the M50 exceptional dynamic poise during bursts of speed and under intense lateral acceleration.

The sporty driving experience is accompanied by a specific sound while in motion, delivering authentic feedback to movements of the accelerator for an energy-charged soundtrack in the cosseted interior.

The fifth-generation eDrive technology comprises a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a gross energy content of 83.9 kWh (net energy content: 80.7 kWh). Like in the iX, adaptive energy recuperation while braking or coasting gives the i4’s efficiency and range an additional boost. The Combined Charging Unit (CCU) has been designed to enable highly flexible battery charging, and DC charging is possible at up to 200 kW. A full charge will ensure a claimed range of up to 510 km in the WLTP cycle.

Last word

In SA, the i4 model will be supplied with a BMW Charging Card, a Flexible Fast Charger for charging at up to 11 kW and a mode 2 charging cable. According to BMW South Africa, the new i4 will be available here in July, and while pricing is not yet finalised, indications are that the i4 M50 will cost around R1.5 million.

Report by Ferdi de Vos | Images © BMW AG





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