2022 BMW i4 M50 First Drive Review: Surprisingly Good

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
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2022 BMW i4 M50 rear hatch

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© InsideEVs 2022 BMW i4 M50 First Drive Review Thumbnail

The beginning of the end of combustion for BMW.

It’s been eight years since BMW released an all-electric vehicle in the North American market, but after spending an afternoon driving the 2022 BMW i4 M50 on both the autobahn and on the winding country roads of Bavaria, we walked away a bit surprised and definitely impressed.

Unlike the BMW iX electric SUV that will launch nearly simultaneously with the i4, the i4 M50 does not have a bespoke chassis, it utilizes BMW’s CLAR platform, a flexible architecture that allows for ICE, PHEV as well as BEV variants. The CLAR platform was developed by BMW for the transition period between ICE and BEV. Its flexible architecture allows BMW to cut manufacturing costs while assembly lines produce vehicles with a variety of different powertrains. In doing so BMW can bring its BEVs to market at a lower price than if they had to develop a dedicated platform and unique assembly line.   

Coming into the first drive event, we wondered how the lack of a dedicated platform would affect the i4’s driving dynamics. Typically, when manufacturers try to accommodate all types of drivetrains within a singular platform they all suffer. That’s because compromises invariably must be made to allow the different components and unique drivetrains to fit. When we arrived at the event, BMW predicted that we would experience the ultimate electric driving machine in driving the i4 M50, but we had our doubts.

83.9 kWh (total capacity) 80.7 kWh (usable)

Quick Stats: 2022 BMW i4 M50
Motor: Dual Electrically Excited Synchronous
Output: 536 hp / 586 lb-ft Torque
Range: 245-mi (estimate)
Battery:
Charge Time:

8.25 hrs (0% to 100%) on 48-amp, 240V Level 2

31 minutes (10% to 80%) on 200+kW DC Fast Charger

Base Price: $65,900 MSRP (plus $995 destination charge)

Pounding the pavement

The i4 M50 is the M Performance version of the i4 and boasts a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup that produces 536 hp and 586 lb-ft of torque. BMW claims a 0 to 60-mph time of 3.9 seconds, but often will slightly underrate its vehicle’s performance numbers. 

Using the launch control feature, which is unique to the i4 M50, we did a few 0-60 runs and we wouldn’t be surprised if customers find they can reach 60-mph a few tenths of a second than BMW’s claim. The i4 M50 rockets off the line with authority, and the launch feels about as fast as a BMW M3 Competition. 

Mashing the throttle at highway speeds also produces enough force to press you back into your seat as the speed climbs up over 100-mph and to the i4 M50’s electronically limited top speed of 140-mph. We were able to see 142 mph a couple of times, but that could very well be caused by a slight speedometer calibration error. 

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© InsideEVs 2022 BMW i4 M50 in Frozen Portimao Blue Metallic

Due to the heavy battery pack located beneath the passenger compartment, the i4 M50’s center of gravity is 1.3 inches lower than the current BMW 3-series and you feel it in the switchbacks. But the CoG is one thing, the suspension tuning is another and when you set the vehicle in Sport mode, the rear-biased i4 shows very little body roll and carves up even turns with ease.

The ultimate electric driving experience? Perhaps not. However, the BMW i4 M50 delivers an excellent electric driving experience, better so than we were expecting. 

The i4 M50 uses lift-related shock absorbers, rear self-leveling air springs, and adaptive dampers that continuously adjust every few milliseconds – and it all works together perfectly. It’s hard to believe the vehicle weighs 5,043-lbs and handles this well – and it does so without a proper bespoke chassis. Witchcraft, perhaps.   

The steering is direct, precise, and very responsive, but we feel it could benefit from offering slightly more feedback to the driver. The i4 had BMW’s new adjustable regenerative braking system with true one-pedal driving that allows the driver to select between low, medium, and high brake regeneration as well as adaptive.

In adaptive regeneration mode, the vehicle uses its drivers’ assist system and data from the navigation system to adjust the intensity of the regen braking force. That increases efficiency, enables one-pedal feeling, and allows the use of the coasting function depending on need and the traffic situation. The blended-braking regen system is extremely smooth when transitioning to the friction brakes and the system can pump back power into the i4’s battery pack at a peak rate of 195 kW. 

We used BMW’s adaptive cruise control and lane-centering feature for a stretch of the highway and it worked very with the exception of an over-aggressive automatic braking system. When cars cut into my lane ahead of me the vehicle applied the brakes as it should, but took way too long to begin accelerating again, allowing the vehicle that cut in to get way too far ahead before accelerating again.  

In all, we were extremely impressed with the overall driving experience. The ultimate electric driving experience? Perhaps not. However, the BMW i4 M50 delivers an excellent electric driving experience, better so than we were expecting. 

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© InsideEVs 2022 BMW i4 M50 cockpit

Very familiar

With the exception of the long, curved display screen, the i4’s interior is classic BMW. Those loyal to the brand will feel right at home with the gear selector, placement of the drive mode buttons and, iDrive control wheel, and the driver-focused cockpit. Speaking of which, the i4 and the iX all-electric SUV are two of the first vehicles to get BMW’s all-new iDrive 8 system. 

Even though the new “BMW Curved Display” screen is one continuous piece of glass, it’s actually made up of two separate side-by-side displays. There’s the 12.3-inch driver’s display and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment control display. We found the new iDrive 8 to be a huge improvement over the previous version. It’s responsive, clear, and easier to navigate even though there are lots of sub-screens. That’s because it seems much more intuitive than the previous iDrive systems we’ve used. 

The leather sport seats wrap you up and hold you tight for spirited driving. They are comfortable, but definitely on the stiff side (as I often find BMW seats) and are both heated and ventilated. Interior cabin noise was minimal, but didn’t seem quite as quiet as the BMW iX xDrive50 we drove on this same first-drive event. However, the i4 M50 is still quieter than most EVs we’ve driven, well, at least when you don’t have BMW’s new “Iconic Sounds” turned on. 

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© Provided by Inside EVs 2022 BMW i4 M50 front seats The BMW i4 M50 front seats are both comfortable and super-supportive.

BMW, as well as a few other electric vehicle brands, is concerned that their existing customer base will miss the audible feedback they get from combustion cars, especially the high-performance ones. So they have developed a variety of artificial sounds that can be pumped into the cabin while driving and the sounds get more dramatic as the driving becomes more spirited. In contrast, Tesla lets you play fart sounds in the cabin while your driving. 

I don’t mind these artificial sounds in electric vehicles as long as the driver has the opportunity to turn them off, which, I believe most EV owners will. They may turn them on when they first get the vehicle, because for one, they are curious, and two, they probably think they will miss the combustion engine noise. However, we suspect most drivers will turn the system off once they’ve owned the car for a while because they’ll realize a peaceful, quiet cabin is a better driving environment. Plus you get to enjoy your real music even more. Silly fake sounds. 

There’s an automatically dimming rear-view mirror as well as heated side mirrors. The i4 also comes standard with a large, 3.6 sq-ft standard glass slide/tilt sunroof that lets plenty of light into the cabin. 

The exterior is nearly identical to the new BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe′, complete with the controversial oversized kidney grille upfront. I’m not a fan of that new look, but I did like the look of the rest of the i4. It has a muscular stance, very clean lines, and the Frozen Portimao Blue looks awesome up close. Even though the i4 has a long hood, there’s no front storage space (frunk) underneath. 

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© InsideEVs BMW i4 charging curve

Plug me in

The i4 comes with an 11 kW onboard charger which, when plugged into a 48-amp Level 2 charging station will fully recharge the vehicle in a little over 8 hours. That translates to roughly 30 miles of driving range per hour of charging. 

Plug into a high-powered DC fast charge station and it’s a different story. BMW tells us the i4 will charge from 10% to 80% in 31 minutes, thanks to a peak charging rate of slightly over 200 kW. It’s not the best charging curve but it does hold about 200 kW until what looks like about 25% state of charge before it begins a steady climb down to about 60 kW at 80% SOC.

If the chart is accurate, the i4 will charge at more than 100 kW until about the 50% point. We’ll need to conduct our own DC-fast charge tests to fully analyze the i4’s charging characters, and we’ve already reached out to BMW to see when they can provide us with a vehicle for testing.

2022 bmw i4 m50 first drive review: surprisingly good
© InsideEVs 2022 BMW i4 M50 in Frozen Portimao Blue Metallic  

Sizing up the competition

In addition to converting some 3-Series and 4-Series buyers, the i4 M50 will surely lure some potential A5 buyers away from Audi, as well as C-Class shoppers from Mercedes as electric vehicles across the industry are proving to have a high conquest sale rate. But what about competing electric vehicles? 

There aren’t too many electric vehicles that will be a direct i4 competitor but two that come to mind would be the Tesla Model 3 and the Polestar 2. Like the i4, both of those vehicles will be offered in a rear-wheel-drive configuration, as well as a higher-performance AWD version. Tesla also has the long-range dual-motor Model 3 sandwiched in between its RWD and high-performance models.

It’s also notable that both the BMW i4 and the Polestar 2 qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit, and the Model 3 doesn’t. Those claiming the full $7,500 would effectively pay $59,395 for the i4 M50, and that’s only $205 more than a Tesla Model 3 Performance. However, that could change soon, as congress is considering an update to the federal EV tax credit which would restore Tesla’s tax credits, but there’s nothing guaranteed at this point. 

 

EPA Range Base Price 0-60 MPH
BMW i4 M50 (AWD) 245 mi (est) $66,895 3.9 sec
BMW i4 xDrive40 (RWD) 300 mi (est) $56,395 5.7 sec
Tesla Model 3 Perf (AWD) 315 mi $59,190 3.1 sec
Tesla Model 3 SR+ (RWD) 262 mi $44,690 5.3 sec
Polestar 2 (AWD) 233 mi $61,200 4.5 sec
Polestar 2 (RWD) 265 mi (est) $47,200  7.0 sec (est)

Looking at the comparisons, if straight-line acceleration and bang for the buck is your thing, then Tesla is hard to beat. Both its AWD and RWD versions cost less and are faster to 60-mph than BMW and Polestar’s offerings. But there’s much more to a car than that. 

The Polestar 2 is one step up from the Model 3 in comfort as well as premium look and feel and the BMW i4 is a step above the Polestar. The i4’s cabin has a completely different feel than the Model 3 – it’s much nicer and more luxurious. And I know that first-hand because I own a 2021 Model 3. The i4’s build quality is also far better than Tesla’s, and when I was driving at highway speeds there wasn’t any wind noise seeping through the driver’s side window, unlike how loud it is on both of my Model 3s.

More BMW News

We’re not going to declare a winner because the fact is – everybody is a winner now that more desirable, high-performance electric vehicles are coming to market. It wasn’t too long ago when the only EV choices were to get a Tesla or a little hatchback with ~100-mile driving range. 

Having choices is good and the i4 xDrive40 and i4 M50 add two more very good choices to this segment. BMW built an electric 4-series gran coupe that will make many of their customers want to trade in their beloved 3-Series and 4-Series vehicles.

The i4 isn’t BMW’s first all-electric car, but it is the first one that threatens its entire way of doing business. The i3 was a great EV in its own right, and I owned two of them. But it’s wasn’t a “typical” BMW. It was outside of BMW’s core products, far enough that it didn’t really cannibalize sales from existing BMW models. The i4 is a true BMW through and through, it just happens to run on electricity – and it’s better than its ICE counterparts.

There’s no turning back for BMW now. The i4 M50 is the best driving BMW that I’ve ever driven – and it’s the first serious all-electric performance car that they’ve made. Wait till they’ve had even more practice. The i4 M50 is the beginning of the end of performance combustion cars for BMW. I wonder if they fully understand that yet. 

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Life through a lens: What's been happening on Instagram this week...

1/11 SLIDES © Bang Showbiz How many likes did they get? It’s been a busy week on Instagram for the stars who have been sharing their every move and bit of ... Read more »

2021 Volvo XC90 petrol mild-hybrid to be launched in India soon

© Jay Shah 2021 Volvo XC90 petrol mild-hybrid to be launched in India soon – 2.0-litre diesel powertrain to be discarded  – Expected to be launched in the coming weeks ... Read more »

An introduction to CarWale Track Day 2021: The CarWale Podcast

© Aditya Nadkarni An introduction to CarWale Track Day 2021: The CarWale Podcast Sonam and Aditya are back to bring you Episode 22 of The CarWale Podcast. In the latest ... Read more »

Motor racing-Mercedes not ruling out another grid drop for Hamilton

© Reuters/MIKE BLAKE United States Grand Prix By Alan Baldwin (Reuters) -Mercedes would not rule out Formula One title contender Lewis Hamilton taking another engine penalty this season after team ... Read more »

Petrol prices nearing record high, AA analysis finds

Petrol prices are nearing a record high, the AA has said. © PA The Petrol Retailers Association warned on Wednesday that fuel price records are ‘almost certain to be eclipsed’ ... Read more »

Safety fears rise as e-scooter's with speeds of up to 72mph are sold

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Super-powered e-scooters which can travel at up to 72mph are being sold by UK firms despite a warning they do not meet trading ... Read more »

UPDATE 2-Motor racing-Verstappen calls Hamilton a 'stupid idiot' as F1 rivals clash

* Verstappen and Hamilton go wheel-to-wheel in practice * Red Bull’s Perez fastest in second practice * Bottas led the way in the morning * Finn will have a five-place ... Read more »

The cars that are cults

1/27 SLIDES © Autocar The best-selling cars aren’t always the most exciting ones. The average motorist doesn’t care about downforce, heritage, horsepower or off-road capacity. To most, a car is a ... Read more »

'Stupid idiot!': Max Verstappen blasts Lewis Hamilton - hours after claiming pair had buried hatchet

© GETTY IMAGES ‘Stupid idiot!’: Max Verstappen blasts Lewis Hamilton – hours after claiming pair had buried hatchet – GETTY IMAGES Max Verstappen labelled title rival Lewis Hamilton a “stupid ... Read more »

Mercedes mulling over more Hamilton engine changes

© PA Images Close-up of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W12 car. Austin October 2021 Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said the team are having ongoing discussions about making more engine changes ... Read more »

Motor racing-Bottas leads Mercedes one-two in first U.S. GP practice

Oct 22 (Reuters) – Valtteri Bottas led title-chasing team mate Lewis Hamilton in a dominant Mercedes one-two in first U.S. Grand Prix practice on Friday with Red Bull’s championship leader ... Read more »

Verstappen blasts 'stupid idiot' Hamilton in US Grand Prix practice

© Jim WATSON Starring role: Lewis Hamilton was second-fastest races during the first practice session at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, a track where he has won five ... Read more »

FP2: Perez pips Norris as Red Bull close the deficit

© PA Images Sergio Perez runs in FP2 in Austin. USA October 2021. Sergio Perez topped FP2 in Austin as Red Bull clawed back their gap to Mercedes, with Lando ... Read more »

Renault cutting car production due to chip shortage

© Provided by This Is Money MailOnline logo Renault is cutting car production by 500,000 this year due to a crippling global semiconductor shortage.  The car maker’s finance chief Clotilde ... Read more »

Etisalat builds a modern network for Expo 2020

© Provided by Khaleej Times Etisalat builds a modern network for Expo 2020 Etisalat has built a dedicated modern network for Expo 2020 Dubai to meet its exclusive requirements and ... Read more »

‘Stupid idiot!’ Verstappen and Hamilton clash again in US Grand Prix practice

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images Angst in Austin is an unfamiliar emotion for Lewis Hamilton, but the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, is worried that engine ... Read more »

GM now finishing and shipping pickups it had parked for lack of chips

DETROIT — General Motors is more than halfway through shipping newly-assembled pickups that it had parked due to a shortage of semiconductor chips, a top executive at the No. 1 ... Read more »

Highly Modified Custom Porsche 911 GT3 Tears Up The Streets

© Provided by Motorious Not bad for a power wheels! Porsche has made a name for itself over the 90 years that its been producing automobiles for being Germany’s premium ... Read more »

German solar car firm Sono Motors files for U.S. IPO

Solar cell panels are seen on the hood of German solar car company Sono Motors' prototype car “Sion” in Munich, Germany, August 1, 2018. Picture taken August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Andreas ... Read more »

8 Accessories to Get Your Car in the Halloween Spirit

1/9 SLIDES © Frienda In case the decreasing daylight and creepy neighborhood decorations didn’t give it away, Halloween is just around the corner. We all know decorating our home is a ... Read more »

Sainz: Drivers will have to adapt for 'most demanding F1 season'

Carlos Sainz says that drivers will have to adapt and be prepared for next year’s record 23-race schedule, and especially the run of flyaway races at the end of the ... Read more »

Air travelers rip rental car companies in 2021 J.D. Power satisfaction study

Air travelers seeking rental cars are faced with higher prices and lower-quality rentals thanks to the ongoing effects of the pandemic, J.D. Power said in its 2021 North America Rental ... Read more »

Cars for Cannonball Run: Window Shop with Car and Driver

After a week’s hiatus when nothing changed, Window Shopping is back for mid-October. The subject? The event that made Car and Driver a cultural touchstone. And secured the legend of ... Read more »

Mercedes "suffering with reliability" on F1 engines

© Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12 Mercedes revealed on Friday in Austin that it had taken a third fresh engine for Bottas in four races, resigning ... Read more »

Mercedes dismisses Red Bull "noise" on F1 straightline device

© Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 Mercedes’ strong straightline speed has been the source of fresh intrigue as the world championship battle between the Brackley team ... Read more »

The BMW M2 CS may be sold out, but you can still win one here

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. No donation or payment necessary to enter or win this ... Read more »

White House says no new deadlines on reconciliation bill

U.S. President Joe Biden stops to talk to reporters as he departs with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after meeting with Democratic lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol to promote ... Read more »

Dogged by engine issues, Mercedes dominate opening practise in Texas

© Jim WATSON Starring role: Lewis Hamilton was second-fastest races during the first practice session at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, a track where he has won five ... Read more »

FP1: Mercedes fire early warning shot to Red Bull

© PA Images Lewis Hamilton in practice for the USGP. Austin October 2021. Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton topped FP1 in Austin, and ended the session almost a full second ... Read more »

Daimler CEO hopes to stabilize supply chain this quarter

Ola Kaellenius, chairman of Daimler AG, attends the presentation of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class at the Daimler production plant in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany, September 2, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo ... Read more »

London Mayor Sadiq Khan to continue with ultra-low emission zone plans

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo London Mayor Sadiq Khan has refused to allow an extension to Monday’s deadline for new controversial ultra-low emission zones across the capital as ... Read more »

2021 Ford Bronco 2-Door Badlands: Review

1/20 SLIDES © Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience What Is It? One of the most highly anticipated models in many years, the 2021 Ford Bronco is an all-new off-road-oriented vehicle that ... Read more »

F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo to wear Dale Earnhardt-themed helmet at US Grand Prix

© Provided by CBS Sports Although he’s a native of Western Australia, Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo is right at home this week as the series makes its annual trip ... Read more »