BMW has launched a pair of all-electric vehicles, the i4 sedan and its crossover compatriot, the iX. More importantly, there’s a hot i4 coming that will be called the M50. Whether intentionally or not, the Bavarian marque has just created a competitor the their own sports sedan: the M3. The M50 is cheaper and quite possibly faster in a straight line, but whether it can truly compete with enthusiasts remains to be seen.
BMW i4 M50: specs and options
The M50 version of the i4 certainly has what it takes to bring down the M3 on paper. With a 245 mile range, it’ll probably go just as far as the M3. The new EV also boasts 536 hp and runs a very EV-like 0-60 of 3.9 seconds, according to the German brand. For reference, the new M3 Competition touts 503 hp and a blistering 4.3-second sprint to 60, nearly identical to the M50.
That zero to sixty number may look like a big gap, but the difference is nearly imperceptible from the driver’s seat. Where the difference is felt is in the handling. The M50 will come with a sort of “handling pack” with optional improvements like strut tower bars to help the heavy EV feel more nimble. Frankly, handling is where this car needs to be focused, as it’ll feel nothing like the M3 if the car doesn’t seem to shrink around you in the corners.
A cut above (or below)
Here’s where the i4 M50 really gets the M3: price. The new M50 starts a staggering $4000 less than the base M3, at $65,900. In contrast, a decently specced M3 will run you nearly $30,000 more, ending up just barely on the right side of $95,000, and that’s not even the Competition model. Serious savings to be sure, but enthusiasts aren’t here to save a buck. It’s the drive that counts for them.
Without ever having been near either the M50 or the M3, it’s plain to see that the M3 just has something on the M50. Be it the manual transmission, flared fenders, or loud paint options. BMW seems to think some enthusiasts are ready to move on from the feel of petrol cars to electric ones, and that’s the real question. What kind of experience do you as either an enthusiast or a consumer want?
Is an electric sports sedan for you?
From an enthusiasts’ point of view, it’s nearly impossible to imagine the M50 even touching the M3 in terms of sales, driving experience, or feel. BMW has simply spent so much more time learning to make petrol cars drive better and better every year. The Bavarians are a little new to this EV thing, after all. Maybe in a few years, the brand will be able to pull enthusiasts away from their filthy gas-powered cars, but probably not with the M50.