BMW M boss Frank van Meel visited Australia for the local launch of several M products and also to speak with journalists about what the future has in tow for the “world’s most powerful letter.” We’ve already learned the M division wants to make the next-generation M3 purely electric, and now, the mayor in M Town suggests future performance EVs might have a controversial feature.
In an interview with Aussie magazine Which Car, the M CEO appreciated what Hyundai N has done with the Ioniq 5 N by giving the high-performance electric crossover a simulated gearbox that fakes the sensations delivered by an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic. It even has an artificial tachometer to make it seem more like one of the gasoline-fueled N models sold by the South Korean brand.
But why would that be a necessity rather than just a gimmick? Frank van Meel explained a similar feature might come in handy when the driver is having fun on a circuit: “What’s really clear is that if you drive on the track, and we always come from racing with M, there’s no time to look at the speedometer to see how fast you are going.”
Being able to “simulate gears or to have another acoustic feedback or even vibrations as feedback” in a high-performance EV would be useful, according to the M boss. He went on to mention it’s something the engineers are currently looking into. The goal is to offer a similar experience to an ICE model in the sense the driver always has an idea about the current speed at all times without having to take their eyes off the road. On a gasoline car, the driver hears the engine and sees the shifting lights, so BMW M believes there needs to be some sort of substitute in an EV.
During the same interview, Frank van Meel was asked about when we’ll finally see a full-fat M car with an electric drivetrain. He mentioned it’s coming later this decade. In the meantime, BMW is testing a modified i4 M50 prototype with a quad-motor setup and well over 1,000 horsepower.
We can’t talk about BMW M and Hyundai in the same article and not mention Albert Biermann, a former M boss and currently an Executive Technical Advisor for the Hyundai Motor Group. Biermann also played a key role in founding the N division, which has given enthusiasts affordable sporty cars like the i20 N, i30 N, Veloster N, Elantra N, and Kona N.
Source: Which Car