First drive: BMW i4 M50 xDrive prototype review – Gameingnow
Dimensionally, it’s not too far removed from the latest 3 Series, with a length of 4785mm, a width of 1852mm and a height of 1448mm. It also rides on a wheelbase that’s just 4mm longer than BMW’s ICE-powered junior saloon, at 2856mm.
Inside, the i4 adopts a combination of new and existing design elements. There’s a new curved digital panel housing the instruments and infotainment functions atop the same lower dashboard as that used by various other BMW models, including the latest 3 Series and 4 Series.
A lot of this was covered in our prototype, but the driving position and overall ergonomics felt welcomingly familiar and spot-on for a car that aims to combine genuine everyday liveability with a good dose of sporting flair.
Don’t expect 3 Series levels of accommodation and load-carrying ability, though. It’s fine up front, but the curved roof restricts head room in the rear and the 420-litre boot is 60 litres smaller than that of the 3 Series.
The M50’s fifth-generation EV powertrain is largely shared with the iX. It consists of two electric motors: one on the front axle with 255bhp and another at the rear with 308bhp. Together, they develop a combined system output of 536bhp, or 33bhp more than the twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six in the M3 Competition. No less significant is the torque: with a combined 586lb ft, it offers 107lb ft more.
For perspective, the Porsche Taycan 4S’s dual-motor drivetrain can boast maximum outputs of 483bhp and 479lb ft.
The M50’s headlining reserves are, however, only unleashed in full brief periods in Sport Boost mode. In other driving modes, its BMW-developed and -produced motors deliver a nominal 469bhp and 538lb ft (which is some 100bhp and 169lb ft less than that set to be offered by the upcoming petrol M440i Gran Coupé).
An 80.7kWh (net) lithium ion battery sits underneath within the wheelbase. It comprises four modules, each containing 72 cells, and is bolted to the floorpan in a process that’s claimed to add rigidity to the overall structure.