Welcome to Car and Driver’s Testing Hub, where we zoom in on the test numbers. We’ve been pushing vehicles to their limits since 1956 to provide objective data to bolster our subjective impressions (you can see how we test here). A more comprehensive review of the 2022 BMW i4 M50 can be found here.
The 2022 BMW i4 M50 is the brand’s first electric vehicle to wear an M badge. Although it isn’t a full-blown M car, it has what it takes to keep up with top-performing compact sports sedans and coupes from M in a straight line. In Car and Driver testing, it outaccelerated the M3 Competition to 60 mph and, to little surprise, overcame gas-powered “M lite” cars such as the M340i and M440i. When it eventually arrives, we have no doubt that the first full-M electric car will be a serious performer.
In our testing, the i40 M50 reached 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, 0.2 second ahead of the rear-wheel-drive M3 Competition and nearly half a second ahead of BMW’s initial claim. And that’s even with the i4’s extra 1243 pounds compared with the M3 Competition on our scales. That’s in part from its 81.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors. One motor powers each axle, and the two combine for a total output of 536 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque. As the more powerful version of the M3, the Competition model has 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque from BMW’s S58 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive M3 Competition is now available, and although we haven’t strapped our test gear to one yet we expect it to match the i40 M50’s performance to 60 mph.\
However, the M3 Competition displays its horsepower-to-weight advantage and beats the i4 M50 in the quarter-mile. The M3 passes the M50 after 80 mph and blasts through in 11.6 seconds at 124 mph, while the i4 is 0.1 second behind and traveling 4 mph slower. The i4 M50 takes advantage of its all-wheel drive and the instant torque from its electric motors, though, going from 5 to 60 mph 1.0 second quicker than the M3. Our test results also show the gap in passing speeds, with the M3 requiring an additional 0.9 second to go from 30 to 50 mph and an extra 0.7 second to get from 50 to 70 mph.
The M3 Competition is more capable in corners, achieving 1.03 g’s on the skidpad compared to the i4 M50’s 0.97 g. The M3 was equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, while the i4 M50 arrived with Pirelli P Zero Elect PZ4 rubber. Its lateral grip puts it more in line with the M340i, which had a max cornering capability of 0.96 g in our testing and was also equipped with Pilot Sport 4S tires like the M3. At our 15th annual Lightning Lap event, we lapped the M3 Competition xDrive around Virginia International Raceway’s Grand Course in 2:53.5.
The 2022 BMW i4 M50’s $66,895 starting price is a relative bargain for what you get in terms of performance, as the M3 Competition costs $7100 more. Sure, you can’t get a purist rear-drive and manual transmission setup in the i4 like our long-term M3 test car, but the numbers speak for themselves. We can’t wait to see what the eventual full-M electric models will be capable of at the test track. Check back for our full test and review of the i4 M50 soon.