BMW Steps Up Electro-Mobility

  Colin Windell


 19 Jul, 2022

BMW unveils electric variants of the i4 M50 and iX3. Both have an acceleration time of 3,9 seconds from 0-100 km/h.

BMW’s electro-mobility plans have taken a step up locally with the introduction of the i4 M50 and iX3 models – one at the sporty end of the spectrum and the latter a more family-orientated commuter.

The change to electric vehicles still inspires hot debate around the globe. However, the reality is electric cars are here to stay and will become increasingly common, even with some of the outlandish pricing that goes with them.

In this respect, BMW has made the right moves and (considering we are talking BMW pricing) the two newcomers achieve price parity with their relevant internal combustion engine (ICE) siblings and, equally, offer like performance.

New electric charged i4 M50

For example, the new i4 is priced at R1 600 000 and the M4 Competition Coupé at R1 999 127 with similar performance specifications.

To wit, the BMW i4 M50 performance uses one electric motor at the front axle and another at the rear to deliver a system output of 400 kW and has a range of up to 465 kilometres in the WLTP cycle.

Both have an acceleration time of 3,9 seconds from 0-100 km/h. The M4 has 650 Nm of torque while the i4 has 795 Nm on tap, and all four wheels are driven compared to the rear drive on the M4.

For anyone who has not driven an electric car, it is difficult to describe the instant power from the first touch of the throttle that stays with you until it is time to lift off – it is simply exhilarating.

New all-black grille

A short drive opportunity around the Johannesburg area, with normal traffic conditions, did not allow for maximising the experience. But it left some hot-shots in disbelief as the i4 exploded off the line between traffic lights.

The i4 has an in-built sound to simulate the engine note – more pleasant than the eerie whine of the electric motor.

The i4 is also the bearer of a set of new electric vehicle technologies from BMW. The slim high-voltage battery has a cell height of 110 millimetres positioned low down on the vehicle floor and a fixed connection with an aluminium shear panel and the front axle subframe.

The centre of gravity is 53 millimetres lower, pitted against the BMW 3 Series Sedan. Even weight distribution, optimised aerodynamics, a torsionally stiff-weight-minimised body, and a long wheelbase and wide tracks make it a balanced car.

The standard chassis comprises a double-joint spring strut front axle and five-link rear axle with bespoke tuning, lift-related dampers, electromechanical Servotronic steering, and an integrated braking system and rear air suspension.

The Combined Charging Unit (CCU) of the BMW i4 enables flexible battery charging. DC charging is possible at up to 200 kW. For example, in a short mid-journey stop at a high-power charging station, the car’s range can be increased by as much as 140 kilometres (BMW i4 M50) within 10 minutes from a 10% charge level.

Mordern digital display

Adaptive recuperation produces up to 195 kW during deceleration and braking as well as a ‘coasting’ function that allows the i4 to freewheel with no drive power when the driver eases off on the accelerator. 

The BMW i4 four-door coupé has short overhangs, slim pillars, doors with frameless windows and slim headlights on either side of the kidney grille. An M Carbon exterior package can be ordered as an option, while model-specific M Performance Parts are included in the Genuine BMW Accessory range.

Acoustic glazing, pre-heating and pre-conditioning come as standard as sports seats and a sports steering wheel.

The new generation of the iDrive display and control/operation system is based on the new BMW Operating System 8 and designed with a clear focus on the touchscreen functionality of the BMW Curved Display and spoken communication with the upgraded BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.

i4 M50 rear view

Some 40 assistance functions are standard features or available optionally and include Active Cruise Control with automatic Speed Limit Assist, route monitoring, and Steering and Lane Control Assist.

The BMW i4 M50 in South Africa comes with a complimentary Wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging stations.

Price: R1 600 000


The electric version of the X3 looks and feels comfortingly similar to its ICE counterpart, a step from one motive power to the other less daunting.

To put it into place in the series mix, the closest price competitor is the BMW X3 xDrive30d M Sport (R1 254 340) versus the iX3 M Sport at R1 290 000. The iX3 outputs 210 kW of power versus the 195 kW on the diesel version. Torque is at 400 Nm on the electric variant and 620 Nm on the diesel. 

New electric  iX3

Acceleration is 5,8 seconds for the diesel and 6,8 for the electric.

As the first model to feature fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, this enables a combination of sporting prowess, efficiency and long-distance ability with a range of up to 460 kilometres.

The front end has a larger BMW kidney grille and headlights that are 10 millimetres slimmer than before. And there is a newly sculpted front apron.

The standard M Sport package includes new aerodynamic wheels in 20-inch format, adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Laserligh as an option.

Push/start button

Inside, the fully digital screen grouping now has a 12,3-inch instrument cluster and an enlarged control display matching its dimensions. Sport seats in Vernasca leather and interior trim strips in the new Aluminium Rhombicle dark finish come as standard.

Standard features include Driving Assistant Professional with the Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function, automatic Speed Limit Assist and route monitoring. Also, standard is Parking Assistant with Reversing Assist Camera and Reversing Assistant.

BMW iX3 round view

The BMW iX3 in South Africa sells with a complimentary Wallbox charger and free charging at any BMW Group-branded charging stations.

Price: R1 290 000

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