The BMW i4 M50 Shines in a New Zero Miles of Range Test

BMW i4 M50 9 photos
Photo: Bjorn Nyland on YouTube
BMW i4 M50 Driver's DisplayBMW i4 M50 Infotainment DisplayBMW i4 M50 Driver's DisplayBMW i4 M50 Infotainment DisplayBMW i4 M50 Driver's DisplayBMW i4 M50 Driver's DisplayBMW i4 M50 Infotainment DisplayThe i4 M50 Safely Parked with 0% Battery Left
Knowing what happens with your EV after it reaches zero miles of range is incredibly useful. Different manufacturers have different approaches, so here’s what BMW did with the i4 M50. Spoiler alert – they did it almost right.
The BMW i4 M50 is an interesting yet controversial vehicle. It shows what the Bavarians are capable of in the EV department, but it doesn’t display the full picture of what a fully electric vehicle made by BMW M could be. We still have to wait a couple more years for this.

The four-door sedan comes with two electric motors that pump out a maximum of 544 HP (551 PS). Its 81-kWh battery is good for 227 miles (365 kilometers) of EPA range or 316 miles (509 kilometers) of WLTP range. Unlike Tesla, this all-electric 4 Series learns from the driver and adjusts its range estimate constantly. It tries to give the person behind the wheel the best approximation possible.

But what happens when you’ve already reached zero miles of range? That’s what Bjorn Nyland decided to find out. He took an i4 M50 on a real-world range test, drove it as any normal person would do, and discovered that BMW did it right. There shouldn’t be any anxiety present here.

Not every alert is created equal

For starters, the first warning for the low range is shown after the vehicle’s battery reaches 9%. That’s when the infotainment screen prompts a simple question – “Show charging stations?” The driver can find out where to go for a quick “fill up” or, like in Nyland’s case, keep driving. The available range at this point is still above 22 mi (35 km), which, in developed markets, could allow for a safe search.

It’s worth mentioning here that the YouTuber says the car didn’t restrict the Boost function until the range dropped under 12%. This means full power is available even when the battery is nearing emptiness. The A/C, as well, wasn’t put into conservation mode.

BMW i4 M50 Infotainment Display
Photo: Bjorn Nyland on YouTube
The next pop-up message comes at 5% and fills the entire infotainment screen. It tells the driver they should charge and even explains why. The battery needs cooling, and fans consume energy. If stored for a longer period of time, the vehicle could become immobilized. Furthermore, while the Boost function is gone at this stage, there’s no power limit for the acceleration.

The i4 M50 introduces a power limit at 2% or when the range drops under 6 mi (10 km). It blocks limits the acceleration at 75% of total power.

After the car reaches 1% of battery left, and under a mile of drivable range, power continues to be gradually reduced under the 50% threshold until it reaches around 40%. The A/C system also stops working.

Finally, zero miles of range is reached. Nyland now resets the trip computer. He wants to see how far the car can go before it runs out of electrons. The car continues to limit the power gradually until it enters a decelerating coasting mode, which happens with no beeps or serious warnings. All the driver sees is the battery percentage, the unknown range left, and the acceleration is limited. Basically, the car’s in creep mode.

But the result is impressive – the i4 M50 can travel 12.5 mi (20.2 km) more after the battery is at 0%. As you’ll see in the video down below, the distance covered until the car’s effectively shutting down isn’t all covered safely.
Traveling at under 10 mph (17 kph) on public roads isn’t recommended. EV drivers ought to stop sooner to avoid any possible incidents.

BMW i4 M50 Infotainment Display
Photo: Bjorn Nyland on YouTube
Prospective buyers should also keep in mind EVs are easily updateable via over-the-air (OTA) software changes. This test could have a different result in the future or different weather conditions. Multiple factors need to be considered.

A safe assumption here could be that the BMW i4 M50 can safely go between 6 and 9 (10 to 15 km) after it reaches 0% of battery left.

Could've things been better?

BMW’s all-electric strategy might still be confusing for some people since the company’s high-performance division said the i4 M50 is its first “M electric vehicle.” It was quite a surprise, to put it mildly. A couple of months later, the iX M60 came – a big, heavy Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). It’s an SUV that can’t handle off-road driving properly. That’s why the “U” in “SUV” has been replaced with “A.” It’s no longer about utility. Some could argue it never was with this type of vehicle.

But BMW M is known for providing customers with visceral experiences behind the wheel. These two vehicles can’t match what an M4 Competition with M xDrive, for example, can do currently. Even though the high-revving Bavarian gas-powered cars are amazing, BMW did what any for-profit company would do and diluted its enthusiast brand for more money. Models like the M340i or the M550i are still great cars and make you feel like you own the road when you want to put the pedal to the metal, but they could’ve remained without that “M” in front of them.

The i4 M50 Safely Parked with 0% Battery Left
Photo: Bjorn Nyland on YouTube
Remember the F32 2018 BMW 440i xDrive? Those were some good times.

That being said, the i4 M50 still proves something important – legacy automakers can deliver better EVs than what disruptors like Tesla currently offer. The four-door vehicle has all the potential to turn into a rival that might just make the Model 3 irrelevant in the long run. Prices are starting to become unexpectedly similar. Yet, balanced handling, planted body control, build quality, and precise steering are some qualities that a Tesla lacks even in 2022.

What manufacturers like BMW need to do now is convince people that they kept the overall quality at the highest possible level while not giving up on innovation. The technology we currently find on cars like a fully loaded Model S or Mercedes-Benz EQS is mesmerizing.

Now try to imagine what the post-2030 era will look like.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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