BMW's electric i4 M50 smashes EV record at Simola Hillclimb ahead of local launch

  • BMW i4 M50 sets course record for electric cars at 2022 Simola Hillclimb.
  • The petrol-powered BMW M4 Competition joined it but was disqualified.
  • All-electric i4 M50 represents the new 'electrified' way forward for BMW M cars.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

The all-new, all-electric BMW i4 M50 delivered blistering speed at the prestigious Simola Hillclimb ahead of its official introduction in South Africa. The BMW i4, based on the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe launched late in 2021 in South Africa, is the BMW brand's first purely electric model focused squarely on driving dynamics from the outset.

It is the first BMW M car with a locally emission-free drive system and impressed up the famous Simola hill with its impeccable starts off the line – courtesy of the standard xDrive all-wheel-drive system – and lightning-quick acceleration provided by its 400kW/795Nm battery pack.

2022 BMW i4 M50 driven by Ciro de Siena
2022 BMW i4 M50 driven by Ciro de Siena

A strong showing in wet weather

Competing in the Class A8 for hybrid and electric vehicles and piloted by motoring journalist Ciro de Siena, the BMW i4 effortlessly wound its way up the twisty 1.9-kilometre course. 

READ: REVIEW | BMW's new X3 xDrive20d is impressive, but it's getting 'X-pensive'

Despite a wet track during Saturday's morning practise sessions and the first of three qualifying sessions in the afternoon, Siena progressively shaved off the i4's time before dipping below the significant 50-second mark.

The BMW i4 M50 set a time of 49.231 seconds in Sunday's Top Ten Shootout in the Road and Supercar class to claim Simola Hillclimb's electric vehicle record.

2022 BMW M4 Competition driven by Deon Joubert
2022 BMW M4 Competition driven by Deon Joubert

Big year for BMW M cars 

In a year when M GmbH celebrates its 50th anniversary, BMW notes that it was especially fitting to have two M-badged cars competing for a spot on the Simola Hillclimb podium. The i4 M50's debut showing on local soil was supported by the in-line six cylinder-powered BMW M4 Competition, driven by former touring car champion Deon Joubert. The BMW M4 gave a gutsy performance despite its more powerful company before being disqualified from Class A4 for clipping a cone on the final run.

READ: The BMW X3 M40i might be the best SUV for executives looking to downsize

"The showing of the BMW i4 M50 and the BMW M4 Competition at Simola this past weekend highlights the incredible breadth of performance within BMW M in both electrified and internal combustion engine guises," says Deena Govender, Head of BMW Group South Africa's Communications and External Affairs division.

"Building on the success of the BMW iX, the i4 M50 showcases the next step in expanding the BMW Group's electromobility offering in South Africa. While we were impressed with the car's performance at Simola, we were most excited to see its impact on some of the country's biggest motorsport fans assembled in Knysna on the weekend."

BMW M3 Competition
BMW M4 Competition interior with M Carbon bucket seats.
BMW i4
2022 BMW i4 M50

Here are the full results from the Simola Hillclimb.

KEEP UP TO DATE with the latest motoring news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, 'LET'S DRIVE'.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
34% - 509 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
43% - 653 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 349 votes