A new era of electrification is on the horizon for BMW, and changes are afoot. One of these includes replacing the BMW i8 MotoGP safety car with the i4 M50, and although the production model isn’t slated to go on sale until next year, the i4 M50 safety car will be unveiled at the Motorcycle Grand Prix of Austria on August 15 at the Red Bull Ring. The i4 M50 safety car joins the likes of current and previous BMW safety cars which are used across a wide array of motorsports. These include the latest M lineup for MotoGP, and which has boasted an impressive array of BMW models over the last two decades. Like the i8 safety car it’s replacing though, the i40 M50 safety car will be used exclusively to lead electric motorcycles in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, which became a support series for MotoGP in 2019.
The basis for the first all-electric BMW safety car is the i4 M50, which employs dual electric motors for system output equivalent to 536 horsepower and 586 pound-feet of torque. The i40 M50 is also BMW’s first all-electric M Performance model, and it has a preliminary range of 245 miles, a top speed of 140 mph, and can accelerate from zero to 62 mph (100 kmh) in 3.9 seconds. The performance of the i4 M50 places it in line with the current M3 and M4 model range, making it an ideal candidate for a safety car.
“With the BMW i4 M50, we are entering a new era and presenting our first M with a fully-electric drive train,” says Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “With the first M BEV, we are setting course for a future, in which the combination of extremely sporty, performance vehicles and electrification is an exciting theme. We are showing that everything people have come to value about M—the typical emotional M driving experience with sportiness, power and dynamics—is also possible in a fully-electric vehicle. While the production version of the four-door Gran Coupé will hit the market in the autumn, our fans can enjoy its world premiere at the racetrack this summer. There could not be a more appropriate safety car for MotoE than the BMW i4 M50—pure performance, fully-electric. We are looking forward to the premiere in Spielberg.”
Whether or not the i4 M50 will also replace the i8 safety car used in Formula E remains to be seen, but the change would seem only natural at this point.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]