Home Editors' Picks BMW PHL brings in M version of i4

BMW PHL brings in M version of i4

EVEN AS SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. (or BMW Philippines) steadily grows its stable of electrified offerings alongside internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered vehicles, it recently unveiled one that is more keenly focused on performance. Following the January reveal of the BMW i4 eDrive35 is the more powerful BMW i4 M50 — said to “(combine) all-electric power and efficiency with the design and engineering of BMW M.”

Interestingly, the gran coupe was the best-selling BMW M model of 2023, and is now expected by BMW Philippines to further open the floodgates of electrification in the country. “The i4 M50 is one of the pinnacles of electrification as far as BMW is concerned,” said SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. President Spencer Yu, in an interview with “Velocity.” “It’s the biggest-selling M car, and it brings a lot more excitement and fun to our electrified lineup.”

The four-door delivers a system output of 544hp — coursed through dual electric motors on the front and rear axles via BMW’s proprietary xDrive system. Its torque is rated at 795Nm, enabling the car to sprint from a standstill to 100kph in 3.9 ticks. The German brand mates this powertrain with an M-specific chassis for elevated driving dynamics.

The range on the i4 M50 maxes out at 520 kilometers on a full battery — not bad at all even with the heightened performance. BMW said this is possible through the fifth-generation eDrive technology in the vehicle — which “seamlessly blends” the prowess of the electric motor, power electronics, and transmission into “a harmonious unit of unparalleled efficiency.”

Continued Mr. Yu, “It should give electric vehicles a little image boost they need now that we’re joining other manufacturers who have electric performance cars, and we make it just a little more affordable as well compared to what is out there also.”

Priced at P5.99 million, the BMW i4 M50 bears a fastback profile with the roofline merging with the rear (where a slim and nondescript M Sport spoiler resides), and gets stretched proportions. Up front are LED headlights which flank the upright kidney grille. Other design elements include short overhangs, slim pillars, and frameless windows.

The car rolls on 19-inch light alloy wheels in 861 M bicolor style wrapped with mixed tires; stopping power is care of blue-hued M Sport brakes.

Inside is a driver-focused cockpit, M Sport seats, and upholstery in Black Vernasca Leather with contrasting blue stitching. An M Anthracite Rhombicle aluminum interior trim adds “a touch of elegance and sportiness.” The steering wheel is wrapped in leather.

On the center console is a more “functional layout,” featuring the transmission selector lever, BMW Controller, and function keys. A storage shelf also charges mobile devices. Other standard niceties include smartphone integration and a three-zone automatic climate control system with nanofiber filter technology.

In the i4 M450 is an integrated BMW IconicSounds Electric with “a selection of new, captivating soundscapes co-developed with renowned film composer Hans Zimmer.” Content finds expression through a Harman Kardon surround sound system.

An iDrive 8.5-powered system enables keen driver-vehicle interaction — made possible through a 14.9-inch touchscreen and upgraded voice-controlled BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

The BMW i4 M50 carries a range of safety and convenience features. For starters, fitted as standard are a Reversing Assist Camera and the Parking Assistant with Reversing Assistant. The suite of BMW Driving Assistant features is here: Lane Departure Warning with Lane Return, Lane Change Warning, Front Collision Warning with Automatic Braking, Pedestrian Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Warning, Rear Collision Prevention, and Manual Speed Limit Assist.

The BMW i4 M50 comes in any of the following colors: Alpine White, M Portimao Blue, and M Brooklyn Grey.

Mr. Yu maintained that the i4 M50, in his opinion, “is not for the first-time electric car buyer.” Stressed the executive, “You have to be a little more confident and get used to driving an electric vehicle before you move into a performance electric vehicle. Seeing the sales of BMW’s electric vehicles over the past few years, we’re slowly getting there.”

Performance-oriented EVs still comprise a small subset of the expanding EV market, but it might prove to be a soon-burgeoning segment. “For now, it’s a very limited market as not every manufacturer has a performance-oriented vehicle, but given that electric vehicles are very peppy, and I think we see this as a way for people to enjoy driving a little bit more. Hopefully, other manufacturers will introduce their own versions of performance electric vehicles and make the EV market a lot more exciting,” concluded Mr. Yu.

BMW Philippines tucks in a five-year comprehensive BMW Warranty, six-year BMW Service Inclusive package, eight-year high-voltage battery warranty, and a BMW Wallbox charger to be installed by a “BMW i-partner” in the buyer’s home. — Kap Maceda Aguila