Back to the future 4 – ‘Beem me up’

Museums are defined as “a building or institution where objects of artistic, historical, or scientific importance and value are kept, studied, and put on display”. FMM is no exception, but also keeps up with the times. The museum recently had the opportunity to tryout the new all-electric BMW i4… 

The launch of the BMW i4 brings electric mobility to the heart of the BMW brand. It is a four-door gran coupé that combines this vehicle concept’s hallmark spaciousness and practicality with the sporting ability for which BMW is renowned, and a range that also convinces over long journeys. The i4 is the BMW brand’s first purely electric model focused squarely on driving dynamics from the outset. Initially only one model variant will be available, being the first BMW M car with a locally emission-free drive system. The BMW i4 M50 performance model from BMW M GmbH uses one electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear to deliver system output of 400 kW and high-intensity driving pleasure – and has a range of up to 510 kilometres in the WLTP cycle.

The motors work according to the principle of an electrically excited synchronous motor. The excitation of the rotor in the BMW i4 motors is not induced by fixed permanent magnets, but the precisely controlled feed-in of electric energy. The performance characteristics of the motors are defined by their considerable torque – on tap from pull-away and sustained over an extremely wide rev band. Demanding a large amount of power for more than ten seconds in the BMW i4 M50 triggers Sport Boost, which unfurls not only the drive system’s maximum output, but also maximum system torque of 795 N.m. This enables the car to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 3,9 seconds. The BMW i4 M50 has a top speed of 225 km/h.

The sporty driving experience is accompanied by a model-specific drive sound delivering authentic feedback to movements of the accelerator. This gives the BMW i4 M50 an extremely energy-charged soundtrack. Plus, the optional BMW IconicSounds Electric enables integration of new sound variants created as part of a collaboration with film music composer Hans Zimmer.

Getting behind the wheel of a performance BMW – which the i4 M50 certainly is – is always something to look forward to. “What an amazing experience,” says Wayne Harley. “I’ve slowly been warming to the electric vehicle era that is on our door step, and if this is the future of the performance sedans, then bring it on. The i4 gives you a super car ‘kick in the pants’ with a warp drive sound track to boot! But at the same time it’s a great all-purpose EV, and in the Eco mode it does what an electric car should. I totally enjoyed the speed, 800 N.m of torque and insane acceleration, but was just as impressed at how amazing it was to use as an everyday car – quiet, vibration free, luxurious and safe. As we move forward into this new era, I’m sure it’s only going to get better.”

“The characteristic benefits of an all-electric power train really come to the fore with this car,” says Mike Monk. “I only had a brief run in the i4, but I soon appreciated the car’s ‘sheer driving pleasure’. On the road, it feels – and is – substantial, and as I increasingly got to ‘feel’ the electric drivetrain dynamics, the more rewarding the experience became. I still have not come to terms with the quietness of electric motive power (especially in motor sport!), but IconicSounds all but alleviates this personal bias.”

The BMW i4 M50 in South Africa is sold with a complimentary Wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging stations. Price: R1 600 000,00.