The BMW i4 M50i is the first BEV to be produced under the M banner and has driving dynamics and performance at its core. This high-performance model makes use of one electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear axle.
A cool feature is that when you demand a large amount of power for more than 10 seconds, a system called sport boost is triggered and unleashes 400kW of power and 795Nm of torque for what felt like brain rattling acceleration.
The claim is 0 to100km/h in just 3.9 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 225km/h. The range is 510km between charges.
Did I get a chance to stretch the BMW i4 M50’s legs during our drive to back this up? Not even close. Keep this car pinned for only 10 seconds and you will running very close to the top speed before you’ve travelled much beyond 400m of urban and very public tar.
And this in and around Midrand translates into a big bribe or some prison food. I eagerly await my Gerotek test day.
A class act
All modern performance electric cars go like hell in a straight line, but due to their extra weight courtesy of the batteries they must lug around to drive those electric motors, their handling can be quite iffy at best.
But this is BMW, and a centre of gravity is 53mm lower than that of the BMW 3 Series sedan, even weight distribution, a torsionally stiff and weight-minimised body and optimised aerodynamics, plus a long wheelbase and wide track ensures handling is as good as anything this class has to offer.
Adaptive recuperation gives the efficiency and range an additional boost with the likes of a coasting function of the open road, along with high, medium, low brake energy regeneration settings while in D, and a maximum level of recuperation when in B for that distinctive one-pedal BEV feeling.
The BMW i4 M50 is sold in locally with a complimentary wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging station.
- Price: R1.6-million
The BMW i4 M50 will get you noticed; the iX3 not so much, even with the standard M Sport package that offers 20-inch M aerodynamic wheels and adaptive LED headlights.
It’s a BEV X3 which won’t cost you a fortune to fill up at the petrol station. And absolutely none of this is bad.
The BMW iX3 offers a highly integrated drive system with electric motor, transmission and power electronics in a single housing. Driving through the rear wheels only, you get 210kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
On the road, this is one of the more normal feeling SUVs I have experienced. It is still fast, with a claimed 0 to 100km/h of 6.8 seconds and a limited top speed of 180km/h but it won’t make your passengers want to throw up after a few acceleration runs or snap poor Aunt Mable’s neck when you pull away at the traffic lights.
Charging the iX3
The 80kWh battery offers a claimed range of 460km, and at today’s electricity prices charging overnight, that would cost me only R240.
Assuming a diesel average of around eight litres per 100km, to do the same mileage in an oil-burner would cost about R1 000.
The BMW iX3 in South Africa is sold with a complimentary wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging station.
- Price: R1.2-million