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South Africa's foremost electric mobility platform

  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

BMW to introduce its first all-electric M car into South Africa

Including a Boost mode and sub-4-second 0-100 km/h sprint time.

Built on the same platform as the current (G20) 3 Series, BMW’s new i4 portfolio is set to be spearheaded in South Africa by the brand’s first all-electric M car.

With a slightly longer wheelbase and wider track widths compared with the 3 Series, the i4 M50 offers a 34 mm lower centre of gravity than its combustion engine sibling. Including a predominantly unperforated signature grille, the flagship i4 gains a full-house of M performance accessories, including standard 19-inch alloy wheels and a bespoke, single piece rear diffuser that no longer needs to accommodate a set of exhaust tailpipes. While an entry-level rear-wheel drive (single motor) i4 eDrive is available in other markets, the M50 boasts a dual drive setup that includes an electric motor at each axle. Both cars are fitted with an 81.5 kWh (usable) battery. In M guise, the i4 can deliver up to 400 kW and 795 N.m of torque for bursts of 10-seconds via a Boost function. Activated using the car’s Sport driving mode, this maximum attack setting can be called upon as frequently as there’s charge available – indicated via a fuel gauge-style icon on the instrument cluster. Making the most of its pseudo all-wheel drive setup, the i4 M50 will launch from 0-100 km/h in just 3.9-seconds, matching the claimed time of the current M3 Competition.

The i4 package manages its mass via a modified suspension that includes lift related shock absorbers and standard air suspension at the rear. The M50 gains an adaptive M suspension setup, bespoke anti-roll bars and an additional spring strut tower brace up front. Variable sport steering and M Sport brakes are also included.

Introduced in the flagship iX, the i4’s interior benefits from the brand’s newest iDrive 8 infotainment technology that includes a configurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster and curved 14.9-inch central display screen. Otherwise mimicking the cabin of the current 4 Series Gran Coupé, the i4’s interior distinguishes itself via a blue start/stop button and subtle BMW i-inspired detailing.

Pricing of the BMW i4 M50 starts at R1 600 000 and includes a 5 year or 100 000 km service plan. BMW South Africa includes the installation of a home wall charger within the purchase price of its all-electric models. The i4 M50 can be charged from empty to full via an 11 kW home charger in a little under 9 hours and this model has a claimed operating range of up to 521 km per charge.

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