I’m glad this is done through the internet, because there’s a reason why the expression “don’t kill the messenger” exists. People don’t like the messenger of bad news. However, I have to be exactly that to many BMW M enthusiasts across the globe. So here goes. BMW’s M Division will be creating electrified and hybrid cars in the future.
Now, before you foam and the mouth and grab your pitchfork and torch, understand that the aforementioned future is a distant one. According to BMW M boss, Frank van Meel, electric powertrains and batteries are far too heavy and complicated to be used in M cars at the moment or even in the near future.
“If you look at electrification technology right now, the weight increase would be too big compared to the increase of performance. The answer for the time being is no, but on the other hand we are looking at what project ‘i’ is doing with new battery technologies and new e-motors, so when we see the advancements in technology are big enough, then the time will be right.” said van Meel.
Van Meel does admit, though, that it is a matter of when, not if, BMW M cars will gain electric technology. “At the end of the road, of course, M vehicles will be electrified,” The reason being that there’s only so far that the internal combustion engine can take us, in terms of performance, dynamics and precision. He also reminds us that the powertrain is not what defines a BMW M car, it’s the experience.
“We follow a clear motorsport philosophy about precision, dynamics, agility – drivetrain isn’t the defining factor of what M stands for, it’s just a way of fulfilling our philosophy. So yes, electric drivetrains in the future can also fulfil our philosophy and they will.”
But, as he mentioned, electric powertrain technology cannot fulfill that same M Division philosophy at the moment, so we won’t see such a car for awhile. It’s actually the same reason that M won’t be doing any work with the BMW i8. The i8, according to van Meel, is perfect and adding power, grip or performance would be ruining the philosophy of that car. “You can’t marry M and ‘i’ together because i8 is perfect as it is. Although it has batteries, the weight is below 1,500kg and to make that happen you have to make the car exactly to the point”
Adding to that, we also won’t be seeing an M supercar, as that would step on the i8’s toes a bit. When asked if BMW M would create something along the lines of the Mercedes-AMG GT, van Meel said “The i8 is the current halo car, it’s the future on the road. I wouldn’t want to ruin this halo effect by trying to make another halo car, so currently it’s not an issue. And from an M perspective, rather than having a flagship and a heap of boats, we’d rather have an armada of high-performance vessels.”[Source: Top Gear]