Fans of BMW M, shield your eyes, I'm about to say something that's going to sting—the best-selling M car of 2023, according to BMW, was the electric i4 M50. There are a few reasons why this news will have the BMW faithful shaking their heads, least of all is the fact that more customers are buying an electric sedan over the M3. Though, it isn't all bad news.
First, let's start with how BMW not only measures M Division sales but also how it presents them. For the past couple of years, BMW has boasted about record-setting M car sales, citing impressive year-over-year sales increases. However, that's because BMW now includes M Performance cars—such as the M340i and its new sales darling, the i4 M50—despite the fact that they aren't actually M cars. Instead, they're normal BMWs that have been "tuned" by the M Division but anyone that's driven any M Performance car knows that it ain't the same thing.
BMW also doesn't publish specific sales figures, so we have know idea exactly how many i4 M50s sold, nor do we know the specific sales figures of any other M cars. All we know is that the electric M Performance car outperformed cars like the legendary BMW M3 and the new BMW M2 on the sales sheet. This isn't entirely new, though, as the i4 M50 outsold every other M car in 2022 as well. I wonder if BMW includes the i4 M50 in its M sales so it isn't as embarrassing when it sells better than the M3.
Don't take this as i4 M50 slander, though. It might lack the precision or tacticlity of what you'd expect from an M car but it's fast, fun to drive, and comfortable enough to live with everyday. Its range isn't great compared to some of its competition, with 269 miles to a charge, but it's comparable to entry-level cars from Tesla and Polestar. So the i4 M50 isn't a bad car and BMW fans shouldn't be upset that it's selling well, even if it is frustrating that BMW lumps it in with proper M cars.
If anything, it should be encouraging for the inevitable electric future of BMW M. An all-electric BMW M3 is on the horizon and when it gets here it should be even more impressive than the best-selling i4 and customers will evidently be willing to put their money down for it. So as eye-rolling as it might be for BMW to say that the i4 M50 is the best-selling M car, since it isn't an M car, it's encouraging that customers are buying it.
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