The first dedicated M model since the mid-engined M1 from the early 1970s sadly won’t be a production version of the Vision M Next from 2019. The plug-in hybrid supercar was canceled due to prohibitive costs as the Bavarian marque reportedly decided instead to redirect the R&D funds to electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.
However, a bespoke M car is still on the horizon. Later this year, BMW will unveil the production-ready 2023 XM as a plug-in hybrid SUV to rival the likes of the Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX. The silver lining for enthusiasts is the German automaker hasn’t completely given up on the idea of a true M1 successor. M division boss Frank van Meel told Autocar that a supercar is “always something we can look at.”
Although the M Vision Next was axed, the man calling the shots in M Town said it “doesn’t mean we’re not thinking of a super-sports car. I’m always trying to figure out how it [would] work.” The head honcho went on to describe people working for BMW as “car guys” who are “always dreaming of making such cars.”
Why hasn’t it happened already? Frank van Meel told Autocar a supercar was not the top priority for the M division as BMW does not have to prove it’s a “sporty company.” Ultimately, a bona fide performance machine was put on the back burner as the Munich-based automaker decided to focus instead on the more mainstream XM.
As you all are well aware, the time is ticking for combustion engines and a potential supercar won’t have a pure ICE drivetrain. The M2 G87 launching later this year will be the last BMW M car to have a gasoline-only setup, with all products going forward to be hybrids and EVs. However, the inline-six and V8 engines will remain in the portfolio until 2030 at the very least, so there’s still time for an ICE swan song in a partially electrified supercar.