BMW M3 and All-Electric i4 M50 Are Surprisingly Even in a Drag Race

Even without all-wheel drive, the M3 is able to keep up with the instant torque from the all-electric i4 sedan.

Electric cars are the kings of drag racing. Instant torque at zero rpm means they can get off the line faster than the vast majority of gas-powered cars. So in a drag race between BMW's venerable M3 sedan and its newest electric car, the i4 M50, the EV should be the clear winner, right? With its on-demand power and all-wheel drive, it should be able to walk away from the M3. Except it doesn't.

The Carwow YouTube channel recently brought together an M3 Competition and an i4 M50 on a runway to see which would be quicker in a straight line in a series of straight-up quarter-mile drag races. The M3 is packing 503 hp from its twin-turbo inline-six, sending power to the rear wheels via a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic. The i4 has 536 hp going to all four wheels thanks to an electric motor on each axle. On paper, the i4 should be quicker, but in the first race, the two cars are dead-even off the line. They stay matched in speed right up until the finish, where the M3 finally pulls ahead for a slim victory.

In the next race, the i4 gets a better start and secures a very slight lead. It holds that lead up until the finish, where it takes an extremely close victory. The last race plays out similarly to the first one, with the M3 scoring the decisive win, if only by a car length.

In a series of roll-races, it's the i4 that shows off its EV muscles as it's the car to pounce off the start and gain an early lead. But the M3 seems to come crawling back towards the finish line every single time once the cars hit triple digits. EVs tend to lose steam once they're going that quickly, and the i4 is no exception.

It's worth noting the i4 M50 isn't actually a real, full-fledged M car, despite having the letter M in its name. It falls more in line with cars such as the M440i—stepping-stone trims that are sort of like a halfway point between normal models and real M machines. So if BMW ever does make a real i4 M, we're confident it would blow the M3 out of the water in these kinds of tests.

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