The inevitable happened in August 2022 when BMW M started testing an electric M car. Not an M Performance model like the i4 M50, iX M60, or the upcoming i7 M70, but a fully fledged M without a combustion engine. Although the car featured here is an i4-based prototype with an M4 face and other M goodies, the first M EV is expected to be an entirely different vehicle.
BMW M CEO Frank van Meel sat down and had a chat with Autocar about what the future has in tow for electric performance. He said a true M car with an electric drivetrain will have four motors and an ECU known internally as the “Hand of God.” In Jewish and Christian art, it’s a descriptor for God’s intervention in human affairs and serves as an artistic metaphor. Football (or should we say soccer?) fans have heard of this expression as a reference to Diego Maradona’s goal using his hand during the Argentina vs England quarterfinals game of the 1986 World Cup.
For BMW, the Hand of God is all about optimizing power distribution to the road. By having an electric motor for each wheel capable of delivering near-instant power, it’s touted as being the next step after the M5’s xDrive breakthrough setup. Frank van Meel says a quad-motor, four-wheel-drive system backed by a sophisticated ECU can provide “extremely precise” power delivery “within milliseconds.”
However, a production car benefitting from the technology won’t arrive anytime soon. The mayor in M Town told Autocar this modified i4 is a “very early development car,” adding it’s going to take years to come to fruition. The British magazine speculates an electric successor to the new M2 could be the first quad-motor M EV. However, since the G87 was just launched, don’t expect a replacement in the next several years. Frank van Meel suggested BMW will attempt to retain the current M2 pricing in the electric era.
Another possibility is BMW will launch the first full-fat M electric car based on the Neue Klasse platform, which will premiere in 2025 with a 3 Series-like sedan. If that’s true, an M variant would not be introduced right away, so the latter half of the decade seems more plausible.