This may seem like a regular BMW i4 M50 with an M livery but it's a much more interesting prototype hiding a juicy powertrain. Spotted testing in snowy northern Europe, the EV is a quad-motor monster with the aggressive kidney grille design of the M3 CS and M4 CSL. Gold brake callipers tell us it had carbon-ceramic brakes to match what we can only assume is neck-twisting acceleration delivered by the instant response of the four electric motors.
BMW has already showcased its all-electric M testbed, but without going into any details. However, Frank Weber, Head of Engineering and R&D, told BMWBLOG last year the M division already has the technology for a high-performance EV with as much as one megawatt of power. That works out to 1,341 bhp or roughly two and a half times more than a standard dual-motor i4 M50.
Quad-motor BMW i4 M50-based EV spy photos
We can only imagine the amazing acceleration delivered by the prototype considering the regular M Performance version is already plenty quick, hitting 62 mph (100 km/h) in as little as 3.9 seconds. However, it's unlikely a full-fat M version of the current i4 will be launched since the first electric M car is expected to ride on the Neue Klasse platform rather than on the existing CLAR architecture. That means a zero-emission M is probably scheduled to arrive in the latter half of the decade.
For 2023, BMW M has already announced plans to intensify quad-motor EV tests. As to which car could get the powerful setup, we can only speculate it'll be the Neue Klasse-based i3 Saloon. The regular model arrives in 2025, so a potential M variant is probably due in 2026 or 2027 at the earliest. Time will tell whether it'll peacefully coexist with the inline-six M3 for a while before the ICE-powered model will be retired.
In the meantime, the i4 M50 is offered alongside the iX M60, with an i7 M70 due later this year. The fullsize electric luxury saloon will have well over 600 bhp and 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) to perform the sprint to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than four seconds. It won't be BMW's most powerful car ever as that role is reserved for the XM Label Red plug-in hybrid SUV with a mighty 738 bhp.