We’re approaching the tipping point, when all car companies are start to transition their iconic internal combustion cars over to electric. One such car to make the switch, which was just recently reported by Car and Driver, is going to be the Porsche Boxster. The iconic mid-engine roadster will no longer be a mid-engine roadster come 2025. Instead, it will swap its engine for an electric motor and some batteries. Thankfully, it will retain its soft-top body style. If Porsche — the most well-regarded sports car maker in the world — is going to switch one of its icons over to electric, should BMW follow its lead?
It’s going to be some time before BMW puts out all-electric M3s and M5s, far after Porsche debuts its electric Boxster. This current gasoline M3 has at least four of five more years of existence and, even once its’ replaced, it might become a hybrid instead of a full EV. Clearly, BMW isn’t rushing to replace its icons with EVs. However, it could do so with some lesser-loved models, to sort of test the electric sports car waters.
It would allow BMW to see where the EV sports car market is headed before it dumps a ton of money into other EV sports cars. Due to there not really being any electric roadsters, it’s impossible to tell whether customers will enjoy them and actually buy them. While the sports car market isn’t doing well in general at the moment, that doesn’t mean a futuristic looking EV sports car would do poorly. Porsche is certainly going to find out and, if it’s a hit, BMW is going to wish it jumped into the market sooner.
Something like an all-electric BMW Z4 would be an awesome way to challenge Porsche in this new and uncharted segment. Not only would it be another all-electric roadster to challenge the Porsche Boxster but it would also be a chance for BMW to finally beat it.
Since the Boxster’s original debut, BMW has never been able to take it down. Comparison tests, sales figures, enthusiast desire, you name it — all victories have gone to the Porsche and for one reason more than any other — its mid-engine balance. Being a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car, the Porsche Boxster always had an inherent advantage over any roadster or convertible BMW put up against it. However, if both cars are electric, the Boxster loses that advantage.
Creating an all-electric BMW Z4 (or something similar) would also win the brand some points with the public. EV customers would be happy, as it would allow them to buy a sports car that doesn’t guzzle gas and car enthusiasts would be happy because it would prove that sports cars won’t die with electrification.
Admittedly, Porsche is in a different situation than BMW. The Boxster still sells very well and the BMW Z4 does not. At all. In fact, I forgot it was still even on sale for a while. Being that the Boxster is still such a popular car, Porsche has no choice but to keep it alive, even after electrons replace gasoline. However, electrification could be the jolt of life into the dying sports car segment that BMW needs for the Z4.
I really like the idea of an electric Porsche Boxster. I don’t care that it will lose the classic mid-engine layout and I don’t care that the Boxster name will become virtually meaningless (as it represented its boxer engine layout). A small, rear-wheel drive, all-electric sports car from Porsche sounds awesome. Ya know what else sounds awesome? A small, rear-wheel drive, electric sports car from BMW. So let’s make it happen.
[Source: Car and Driver]