At the moment, it seems as if BMW is in the midst of a turning point for the brand as a whole, as well as its subdivisions. As it currently stands, BMW’s two subdivisions are entirely separate things. The M Division is solely based on developing motorsport-oriented sports cars, whereas the i Division is all about electrification and efficiency. However, it seems as if these two divisions might soon start to blend.
BMW’s M Division has long been considering electrification and hybridization. It’s just been waiting for the right time. “At the moment, if you look at the weight of batteries against the performance gains of electrification, it’s obvious the best blend of performance and dynamic technologies are still achieved by conventionally-powered models.” said Peter Quintus, BMW M’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Would it be possible to develop a technically impressive and very fast electric or hybrid M car? Yes, but such a car wouldn’t really fit the M ethos at the moment and technologies need to advance first. “We have all the platforms and all of the technology at our disposal – including BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle] cars – and could quite quickly change the M technology [to suit electric cars] if required, because all the elements are there in their base structure. At the moment, however, we don’t think it’s the right time.”
Quintus also hinted at the idea of making future M cars have a similar Carbon Core structure as the current 7 Series. While not a full carbon tub, like in the BMW i3 or i8, as that would cost too much money, BMW M would certainly consider mixing carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium into the chassis to make it as light as possible. So long as it wouldn’t push the price too out of current M customers’ price range.
“From time-to-time we analyze which models could benefit from carbon-fibre technology,”said Quintus. “But at this point in time applying this technology to a series production model will more likely be as part of a mixture of steel, aluminium and carbon-fiber, rather than a full carbon-fiber body.”
However, he did say that BMW M would also consider working with the i Division to develop an M variant of the BMW i3 and i8. Actually, when asked about the possibility of a BMW M i3 or BMW M i8, Quintus said “Absolutely!”.
So things for M are changing and quite rapidly. While the idea of an electric or hybrid M3 is one that makes BMW fans’ skin crawl, we can all certainly appreciate the lightweight construction techniques that the i Division brings. If BMW M can work with BMW i to incorporate those things into future M cars, bring it on.