Revealed: BMW unveils its first electric M car, the 405kW i4 M50

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Words: Matthew Hansen
2 Jun 2021

After long flirting with the idea of a proper performance-orientated electric car, BMW has done it; unveiling the i4 M50 this morning.

Lining up as something of an M3 electric equivalent, the M50 isn’t actually a fully blown M car. It is however a fairly handy M-Performance model, with a power figure that blows the M3’s digits out of the water.

While the M3 produces 375kW in its Competition variant (the model offered to Kiwi customers), the i4 M50 produces a substantial 405kW of power and is capable of accelerating to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. 

Dual motors enable the model's all-wheel drive, and range via the eDrive40 battery unit is rated at 394km per charge. For now BMW is keeping mum on other elements of the drivetrain and its capabilities, including torque. 

This isn’t the first electrified performance BMW, of course. The i8 sports car was a deceptively quick machine (and an incredible looker), although the shine came off when comparing its performance capabilities to similarly priced machines at the time.

The i4 M50, on the other hand, should be a very competitive package straight out the gate. It should be a fairly compatible rival for the Tesla Model 3 Performance, which produces 147kW and 211kW of power from its dual motors.

Inside, the M50 looks comparatively ‘ordinary’ versus some of BMW’s other electric projects. The dashboard looks like a copy paste of the conventional designs in petrol 3 and 4 Series models. Not that this is a bad thing at all.

One new bit of kit it gets is the big curved display from the iX. It wraps around the steering wheel and ends at the top of the centre stack, housing both the digital cluster and the primary infotainment touchscreen.

Lookswise, the M50 appears to be a clear cousin of the M3 on first glance. It has the huge controversial new twin-kidney grille, the diffuser is massive, and there’s plenty of sporty blacked-out details.

But look closer and you can pick that it’s both electric, and not a fully blown M variant. Unlike the M3 it doesn’t feature the big, boxy wheel arches. Its grille, while large, doesn’t have perforations in it. And there are no exhaust pipe exits wedged into that diffuser.

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