The First Electric BMW With an M Badge Isn't Built for the Track

·2 min read
Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

The BMW i4 M50 is the first electric vehicle to wear an M badge, a fact BMW's quite proud of. It's powerful, quick, and built to be what BMW calls the "Ultimate Electric Driving Machine." You might expect that to mean it can handle the sort of serious track duty that flummoxes many electric cars. Yet it can't.

That's not according to me, but to both the project director and project manager for driving dynamics for the i4. Asked about a potential Nürburgring time for the i4, the Driving Dynamics Manager Daniel Mögele said that BMW didn't plan to release one for the i4. Track driving was not the priority. David Alfredo Ferrufino Camacho, the project director who set the goals for the i4, defended that decision. This car, he said, is one step forward toward electrifying the M brand. Trying to move two steps at once would involve too many compromises.

"When you make the car for the race track, the range will go down very fast," Camacho told Road & Track during the first drive event for the i4. "It means, for me as a project lead, it was very important to have a rounded off concept including, of course, a good range and good charging performance. That's the reason why I decided not to go two steps forward."

So while the i4 M50 can hit 60 in under four seconds and makes 536 hp, an electric M4 it is not. Camacho says it'll be fine for a quick lap or so, but it's not designed for the sort of all-day abuse that an M3 or M4 is built to take. For that, you'll have to wait for a full-fledged electric M model to enter BMW's lineup.

"The first step was to electrify the first M model of the BMW Group as an M performance automobile," Camacho said. "That is the label: M Performance automobile. Of course, all the doors are open for the future, the goal and the next step is going to high-performance cars. It means we are starting and we're going one step after other until the right time."

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