At the 2014 Innovation Day at the Miramas test facility BMW displayed a number of carbon fiber components, including wheels, steering wheel, and a propshaft (drive shaft). These components appear to be formed using traditional carbon fiber construction techniques.
Two carbon fiber wheels were on display. One consisted of a carbon fiber wheel with an aluminum hub and spokes. The other was completely carbon fiber with the exception of aluminum thread inserts for the bolts. The partial CF wheel is reported to have a 20% weight savings over the equivalent aluminum wheel and the all CF is 10% lighter than the partial CF wheel according to my notes from the presentation.
The steering wheel was a handsome piece in addition to being extremely light. This would look good as a retrofit for an existing steering wheel and one wonders if BMW doesn’t have the aftermarket in mind by displaying this piece.
The carbon fiber propshaft is an interesting piece. It shaves 3 kilograms off the weight of an equivalent steel shaft. That also means less inertia for the engine to overcome in transmitting power to the wheels. Of course the new M3/M4 will utilize this shaft and we will have to wait and see how many more models are in line to receive it. It would have been nice in the M235i.