If you’re looking for an all-electric BMW sedan, you really only have two choices; the BMW i4 eDrive40 and the i4 M50. Being the entry-level model, the i4 eDrive40 has less power, less standard equipment, and slower performance, but it’s also quite a bit cheaper. The M50 certainly costs more but it packs M3-rivaling performance and all-wheel drive grip. So which one do you buy?
Realistically, price is most likely going to be the biggest determining factor, here. Most customers aren’t going to cross-shop these cars much, as their budget will likely determine which one they get. However, there are reasons to take a look at both. Not only might the i4 M50 be so exciting that it encourages you to spend more but, on the flip side, the i4 eDrive40 is good enough that it might get you to save some money. So let’s take a look.
BMW i4 eDrive40
Being the entry-level model, the i4 eDrive40 is naturally less powerful. Instead of dual electric motors, the i4 eDrive40 gets only a single on at the rear axle, keeping it properly rear-driven. Having only one motor to put power down, the i4 eDrive40 obviously makes less power — 335 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, 0-60 mph happens in 5.5 seconds, making it about hot-hatch-quick.
However, the upside is range. With only a single motor to run, the BMW i4’s 81.5 kWh battery (same as the M50) can provide around 300 miles of max range. It can also charge at 200 kW which, if you can find such a public charger, can replenish 102 miles of range in just ten minutes. An 11 kW Level 2 home charger takes eight hours to charge it from flat-to-full.
The BMW i4 eDrive40 starts at $55,400 in the US, which puts it in line with cars like the BMW M340i. Which means a large portion of BMW customers can afford the i4 eDrive40, as it isn’t really any more expensive than many of BMW’s other popular models.
BMW i4 M50
While the i4 eDrive40 is the entry-level car, the i4 M50 is the top-end, M Performance model. It’s the one that brings customers into showrooms and excites fans with its performance figures. And performance figures it does have. Packing dual electric motors, one at each axle giving it all-wheel drive, the BMW i4 M50 makes 536 horsepower and 586 lb-ft of torque. According to BMW, 0-60 mph happens in 3.7 seconds, which is BMW M3 Competition-fast.
Though, range does suffer a bit. Because it uses the same battery as the i4 eDrive40 but runs an additional electric motor with more power, it only has a max range of about 270 miles. When you think about the added performance, the thirty mile range hit doesn’t seem that bad but it still falls short of that vaunted 300 mile-mark. Being built on the same architecture and using the same battery, the BMW i4 M50 can also charge at 200 kW and does eight hours to a charge with an 11 kW home charger.
In the US, the BMW i4 M50 starts at $65,900, which actually makes it about $5,000 cheaper than the standard M3 Sedan, while also being faster. Though, it does price it just outside of the budget of many US customers.
Which One Do You Buy?
Obviously, if you’re wondering which is best, go test drive them both to see which suits your style more. It’s really going to come down to whether you value performance over money. The BMW i4 eDrive40 is every bit as good to drive as the M50 and some journalists have actually said it’s better because it’s lighter. It also has a better range and it’s cheaper. Its only downside is that it’s slower and only rear-wheel drive. If you can live with that, the i4 eDrive40 is probably the better car.
However, the i4 M50 offers an incredible performance package. It’s every bit as fast as an M3 Competition, and faster than the standard M3 manual, while costing less, offering more practicality (due to its liftback tailgate), and being more comfortable. The i4 M50 is absolutely a fantastic performance value but if performance isn’t what you value most, the cheaper i4 eDrive40 is probably the car for you.