What may look like an i4 M50 at a first glance is actually a different beast underneath the colorful livery. BMW M has commenced testing of high-performance electric vehicles and the first order of business was to modify the M Performance version of the i4. It gets a wider body with fender flares and a face transplant from the M4 Coupe.
Interestingly, the rear doors have been removed, thus technically making this experimental vehicle a coupe. BMW M goes on to mention its electric sports car has been equipped with all-wheel drive. The use of xDrive on a BMW EV typically implies there are two electric motors – one at the front and the other at the rear, driving the axles independently. However, the modified i4 M50 has a four-motor setup with each motor driving a wheel.
Although no power figures have been disclosed, adding two extra electric motors has certainly increased output compared to the i4 M50 by a significant amount. Therefore, we’re assuming a healthy bump over the 544 horsepower and 795 Newton-meters (586 pound-feet) of torque available in the “M Lite” i4. Rather than cramming in two more e-motors and calling it a day, BMW M says it has engineered a “completely new drive concept.”
Without going into specifics, the high-performance division vaguely mentions an “integrated driving dynamics control system” and wider front and rear tracks compared to the i4 M50. The prototype’s quad electric motors are linked to a “central, highly integrated control unit” that monitors the driving conditions and driver’s inputs to calculate the optimal power via a multi-plate clutch and differentials delivery within milliseconds.
BMW is testing the i4 Coupe on the road and mentions it has modified the interior to accommodate a wide variety of measuring devices to scan everything that is happening while the car is in motion. This rolling test laboratory will eventually lead to the launch of BMW M’s first full-fat M electric car. Recent reports state it could happen later this decade as an M3 EV on the Neue Klasse platform.