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BMW i4 M50 Review - BMW Regains The Sports Sedan High Ground

The BMW i4 M50 is a beast from the former and now current company that sets the bar in sports-sedan excellence.

If you want a battery-electric vehicle in the 3 Series segment that isn’t the Tesla Model 3 your prayers have been answered. And by the very company that once defined the segment, BMW. The new i4 M50 has retaken the segment lead in meaningful ways from Tesla, which has owned it for the past few years.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - What Is It?
The i4 is a luxury performance 4+1 passenger five-door hatchback shaped like a sedan. BMW calls this body style a “Gran Coupe.” It is a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) meaning it runs entirely on electricity. If you are familiar with the BMW 3 Series and BMW 4 Series lines, this is the electric version, and presently, the i4 M50 is the top dog in that family. There is a lower-power i4 called the i4 eDrive40 which offers buyers a lower cost point.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - What Powers It? Is it Fast?
The i4 M50 is powered by electric motors front and rear. It is all-wheel drive. The total torque produced by its motors is a whopping 586 lb-ft. Yes, this is a very fast vehicle. Car and Driver tested it on a closed course and found it could deliver a 3.5-second 0-60 MPH time (inclusive of its roll-out time). That makes it one of BMW's fastest (or quickest) automobiles ever. Although we did not test the base model, BMW says the base rear-wheel-drive i4 eDrive40 can sprint to 60 MPH in about 5.5 seconds, which is plenty quick for on-road use.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - What Does It Cost?
The well-equipped i4 M50 we tested had a price including destination charge of $76,670. That price does not include a possible $7,500 federal tax incentive. Nor does it include added dealership fees. The base i4 eDrive40 starts under $60K.

Related Story: 2022 BMW 230i Coupe Review - Sharp In Many Ways

BMW i4 M50 - How Does It Drive?
The i4 M50 reminds us of M3 sedans we have tested on track in the past. It’s a muscle car. It does not feel light and airy on the road, but rather, strong and planted. It’s a relatively heavy automobile, being weighed down by an 81 kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack. This weight is not a negative, just a fact. The low center of gravity of all EVs makes them very capable on-road handlers when driving assertively on lonely back roads.

We found the drive mode settings to be ideal. One can program Sport or Comfort settings for powertrain, suspension, and steering. In our on-road testing, we opted to set the powertrain to Sport and kept the rest of the settings in Comfort. There is also an ECO setting if you need or wish to preserve range.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - Living Electric
The BMW i4 M50 has a relatively short total estimated range of 227 miles when equipped with its optional 20-inch wheels or 270 miles when equipped with its standard 19-inch wheels. Who in their right mind would opt for the 20-inch wheels given this fact? The annual fuel cost also increases by $150 from $750 to $850. Thus, over ten years of ownership the wheels will cost you $1,500 in energy costs plus the $2,500 up-front cost for the option package. Our tester had the optional 20-inch wheels.

The i4 is capable of DC Fast Charging (of course). Its EPA sticker says it takes ten hours to charge from empty to full, which nobody who owns the car will ever do. On our 20-amp Level 2 home charger, it regained approximately 11 miles for every hour on the charger. If you charge on a DC Fast Charger the rate of charge from the charger will be the deciding factor on how much you can regain before you stop at 80% state of charge. If you are an EV fan you what we mean. If not, plan on doing the majority of your charging at home, and on occasional road trips stopping for about 30 to 45 minutes to boost your range.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - Interior, Infotainment, And Features
We LOVED the optional BMW curved-screen infotainment system in the i4 M50. It is simple, intuitive, and it responds to touch and speech. Best of all, the wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are fully-integrated and use the screen space wisely. Our Android phone worked very well with the system and happily charged in the perfectly shaped wireless charging tray. Coupled with the driver information display and the head-up display, the BMW i4 M50 is the best in the business as far as our testing is concerned. So much better than Tesla’s set up that there is really no comparison. The only system we have tested that rivals this new BMW system is that in the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

The optional Harman Kardon sound system is very good. Sound clarity is outstanding and the punch is stong.

The seating and interior design are modern BMW perfection. Everything you expect is here. Everything is as good as it gets. The panoramic moonroof can be covered by a thick microfiber-coated screen, which makes the car even quieter when driving and can block unwanted heat and light from the sun if you wish to close it.

The i4 has about 98 cubic feet of interior volume. That makes it a bit smaller inside than the Model 3 from Tesla. The biggest difference is the center tunnel which takes up substantial back-seat room. That’s why we call this car a “four-plus-one.” The rear hatch is great. It offers a lot of practical storage volume when used with the folding rear seats in comparison to a sedan-shaped cargo area.

BMW i4 M50 image by John GorehamBMW i4 M50 - What’s Missing?
There is no spare tire in the i4 M50, nor is there a frunk (front trunk). That’s the complete list of missing items. It has everything else so long as you option it fully. For example, the heated seats and steering wheel, and lumbar support are part of the “Premium Package.” The rearview camera is part of the “Parking Assistance Package.”

BMW i4 M50 - Price and Value
After deducting the federal tax incentive, the BMW i4 is priced almost exactly the same as a Tesla Model 3 Performance without FSD is at the time of this story’s writing. With Tesla’s frequent price increases, who knows how long that will remain true. The upshot is that BMW offers a buyer a lot more features than one gets in a Model 3 Performance, but has a shorter range and a bit less interior space.

The i4 comes with a 4-year/50K mile new vehicle warranty and the battery has an 8-year/100K mile warranty. Unlike Tesla, BMW includes maintenance for 3-year/36K miles. Your i4 is essentially a vehicle with a fixed cost of ownership if you lease it.

BMW i4 M50 - Conclusion
We were very impressed with the BMW i4 M50. If we were shopping for an i4 we would look closely at the base model and avoid the 20-inch wheels at all costs. Or perhaps even buy those wheels for track days and have a set of 19” wheels with all-season touring tires for day-to-day use.

The i4 line stands as a new standard for the class. This is only fitting since BMW established the class many years ago. We would strongly recommend the i4 M50 to anyone seeking the best sports sedan on the market today.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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BMW i4 M50 images by John Goreham


Max Payne (not verified)    April 7, 2022 - 7:57AM

If you do go for a car like BMW I4 M50, you would most certainly opt for the best tyres in order to get the best handling. 20" is absolutely the way to go in order to fully enjoy the car. Why bother going for a family sportscar, if you do not care for the driving experience? I do not understand why you do a review of this car with that mentality, you should then review the standard 2dw I4 40 instead. All season tyres are rubbish and should be avoided at all costs, because they are lousy in hot weather and dangerous in the cold winter days. I also do not understand why testers today always talks about less range with wider tyres on EV's, as that is something special with them. The same is valid for fuel cars as well, it is so lame.

John Goreham    April 7, 2022 - 2:58PM

In reply to by Max Payne (not verified)

Thanks for adding this, Max. I'm not certain that a one-inch diameter wheel really does improve handling. I do know that Mfgs almost always keep the outside diameter of a given model the same, so they have one setting for speedo and other things watching tires go round. I think taller tires are primarily for looks. We know from racing and autocross that larger wheels and tires are slower on tracks. The heavier the wheel, the more mass the engine and brakes need to overcome. Here in New England, a lot of folks drive track cars like this on our public roads and without at least all-season tires, they are unsafe. When I added all-season high performance tires to my Miata it became much more enjoyable and it extended my driving season into early and late winters (on dry days). The summer compound is just too hard for the car to stay planted. Tahnks again.