The 2022 BMW i4 M50 is the EV M3

The 2022 BMW i4 M50 is the EV M3

From the April 2022 edition car and driver.

It had to happen. BMW has finally directed its efforts to develop electric vehicles in a direction that is attracting the attention of loyalists of the brand as well as Tesla Model 3 owners with stray eyes. The Bavarians have gone and built a 4-series electric gran coupe called the i4. It’s as close as we can get to a 3-series electric, which is probably the best view of how the i3 preset was assigned to an IKEA-furnished pod on skinny wagon wheels. Trolley wheels are metal, but they still are.

Besides, the Gran Coupe makes a better EV filter than a conventional sedan because it has four doors plus a hatchback that doesn’t appear as one until you hit the hatch and watch the tailgate rise. The longer roofline is a boon to roominess for the rear seats and luggage space, which is significant because the 81.5-kWh battery pack gives the i4 eDrive40 single-engine rear-wheel drive 301 miles of EPA-rated range that makes road trips a proposition Attractive. Rated range drops to 227 miles, though, for the version tested here: the i4 M50 dual-motor drive on optional 20-inch Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Elect summer tires. That’s still a decent amount for people who stay in the Sunbelt, but those who operate in cold, snowy climates might consider otherwise unless they have a gas-powered winter blister.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

HIGHS: Faster than the M3, great grip and balance, practical hatchback body design.

But delving into such practicalities misses the bigger point: The i4 M50’s twin electric motors collaborate for a combined 536 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque allowing it to embarrass the M3. These are unique “current excited” synchronous motors, which forego the usual rare earth magnets and instead use brushes to supply a DC battery current to activate the copper lobes to spin and create a magnetic field. All other electric vehicles use brushless motors, but BMW was eager to avoid the cost, supply chain uncertainty, and environmental mining concerns that come with rare earth magnet sources, and found a way to make the brushes work in an automotive application. This approach also gives engineers an additional key to wrapping, as the power electronics can constantly vary the strength of this unique rotor’s magnetic field.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

It seems to be working. Our test car set a sprint of 3.3secs to 60mph to outperform the M3 reverse driving competition we tested by 0.2secs. On a rolling start from 5 to 60 mph, where no car can use launch control, the instant torque and direct drive of the M50’s twin electric motors get the job done in just 3.5 seconds, while the twin-turbocharged M3 Competition 3.0-engine takes The included liter -6 takes time to build up the boost, and it takes a whole second longer to reach the mark. The same goes for the 30-50 and 50-70 mph pass tests, where the M50 leaves the 1.5 and 2.0 seconds in the neck of the M3 competition and its 2.4 and 2.7 seconds in its wake. However, the M3 Competition is rated near the quarter-mile end, beating out the M50’s impressive range of 11.7 seconds at 120 mph in 0.1 seconds and 4 mph. No doubt that’s due to the M50’s 5,063 pound curb weight, which beats the M3 Competition by a full 1,243 pounds — also known as the load rating of the 2022 Ram 1500 HFE Quad Cab pickup truck.

This extra truckload doesn’t block the M50 when the road turns from straight to curvy. Each central battery block is located underground, so the resulting lower center of gravity results in a precious little object tipping over. The M50 willingly changes directions, its brutal acceleration blurring the scene and cutting straights as you dash toward the next braking point. Renewing throttle lift begins the deceleration process as soon as you step back on the throttle, and by the time you bring your foot to the brake (which can stop from 70 mph alone in 154 feet), it becomes a matter of adding a pedal to balance the car. The result is a very smooth and attractive way to push the M50 through the bends with a whiff of backtracking. Its side grip of 0.97g exceeds that of the M340i by 0.1g, but it can’t quite match the M3 Competition’s 1.03g because of all that extra weight.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

LOWS: Guidance lacks life, you can seeLike the sound scene in Sport mode, much lower range than the non-M RWD version.

Through it all, the only thing keeping the M50 from greatness is the somewhat sanitized feel of its steering. Response is as subtle as all exits, and the steering wheel rim itself feels satisfyingly chunky and tactile, but there isn’t enough road feel to help you subconsciously have the right amount of lock to dial when handling a certain angle. Also, the sports mode you want to be in at this point comes with a space you can see– Delicate interior soundscape as you probably imagine it to be. Sorry, Hans Zimmer. It’s not like the roar of a V-8 or the song of a turbocharged six.

Back in town, the M50 turns out to be a very pleasant everyday driver, thanks in part to the expertly tuned adaptive dampers that take a reliable step toward smoothness when you put it to rest. The breadth of optional curved screens and a head-up display deliver great hardware performance and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with your connected smartphone, the iDrive console and its menus seem like their own.

Jessica Lynn Walkercar and driver

When all was said and done, nearly 500 miles of aggressive mountain, uneven suburban and typical highway driving came in at 83 mpg combined, which compares favorably to the 80 mpg found on our M50 window sticker. However, this level of consumption is nothing to write about, and the i4’s 200 kW DC fast charging rate, while decent, feels average next to the capabilities of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.

Perhaps the best part of all of this is the price, something we don’t say much when talking about electric vehicles. Although our optional test sample came in at $76,670 (before any tax credits), it’s hard to ignore how the i4 M50’s base price of $66,895 comes in at $7,100 less than the M3 competition. Sure, the base Tesla Model 3 performance is about $6,455 cheaper than the M50, but that $7,500 tax credit is no longer available to Model 3 buyers.



2022 BMW i4 M50
Vehicle type: front and rear engine, four-wheel drive, 5-passenger, four-door hatchback

Basic / as tested: $66,895 / $76,670
Options: High Performance Package, $2,500; driver assistance package $1,700; BMW Curved Monitor with Head-Up Display, $1,000; LED adaptive headlights, $1,000; Premium package, $950; Harman/Kardon Audio, $875; Parking Assistance Package, $700; Brooklyn Gray Metallic Paint, $550; eSim 5G personal, $300; Wireless charging $200

Front motor: AC excited synchronous, 255 HP
Rear motor: AC excited synchronous, 308 HP
Combined power: 536 hp
Combined torque: 586 lb-ft
Battery pack: Lithium-ion liquid-cooled 81.5 kWh
Internal charger: 11.0 kW
Transmission: direct drive

Suspension, F / R: strut / multi-link
Tyres: Pirelli P Zero Elect PZ4
Brakes, F/R: 14.7″ vented disc / 13.6″ ventilated disc
Expected: 255/35R-20 97Y★
R: 285/30R-20 99Y ★

Wheelbase: 112.4 in
Length: 188.5 inches
Width: 72.9 inches
Height: 57.0 inches
Passenger size: 90 feet3
Payload size: 10 feet3
Empty weight: 5063 lbs

grandfather Test results
60 mph: 3.3 seconds
100 mph: 8.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.7 seconds @ 120 mph
The results above delete 1 feet subtract from 0.2 seconds.
Rolling start, 5 to 60 mph: 3.5 seconds
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 1.5 seconds
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.0 seconds
Top speed (limited government): 127 mph
Braking, 70 – 0 mph: 154 ft
Braking, 100 – 0 mph: 308 ft
Road, 300 feet Skidpad: 0.97 g

grandfather fuel economy
Number of observatories: 83 miles per gallon

EPA fuel economy
Complex/city/highway: 80/79/80 mpg
Range: 227 miles

grandfather Explanation of the test

car and driver

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