BMW is one of those automakers that has stayed consistent in infusing pretty much all its models with the fun-to-drive character that the brand is famous for. Drive any modern BMW, from the smallest and cheapest to the largest and most expensive and you will still feel this to a degree, but now that the manufacturer is moving to EVs, it has to contend with much heavier cars and still make them handle.
This brings me to the BMW i4 M50 that I drove this past weekend, a great car, but also one that weighs some 2.3 tons (over 5,000 pounds). For context, that’s around 650 kg (1,400 pounds) more than the gas-burning 430i model and, as you might imagine, the extra mass does have an effect on the car’s handling.
Now I have driven the ICE version of the 4 Series Gran Coupe, so I can compare and I have to say that the i4 M50 is really good given its weight handicap. Firstly, when accelerating, you don’t really notice the heft, thanks to 544 horsepower and 795 Nm (586 pound-feet), and the brakes are decently effective, even if my tester did not have the upgraded brakes with larger rotors and callipers – they would have certainly helped, but aren’t a necessity, unless you constantly want to thrash your i4.
My tester also had adaptive dampers, which when set in their firm setting really did a good job of preventing a lot of the roll that you experience with the suspension in comfort mode. The car still leans a bit, even in Sport, but thanks to the battery pack that sits really low in the car, it feels planted and surefooted at all times.
Powering out of corners is where the i4 M50 really shines, though. With traction control defeated (but stability control still on), it likes to chirp the tires as you apply full power on corner exit, and the vehicle just catapults itself thanks to that impressive torque figure and grippy all-wheel drive.
Now the big question with the i4 M50 was whether I had fun driving it on what was a very challenging and twisty road. Yes, I definitely did, thanks to its balance and well judged chassis, the sharp (although not really communicative) steering that allows you to place the vehicle with great precision and the straight line performance that really does to the M badge on this car justice.
I’m still looking forward to the Neue Klasse series of electric BMWs that should debut starting in 2025, and I got a taste of what that will be like in the new iX SUV, but the i4 M50 is a seriously good electric performance car that also happens to look great on the outside and it also has a very well appointed interior, the best in class for perceived quality, ergonomics and comfort.