BMW confirmed plans to shoehorn a plug-in hybrid V8 powertrain in the new M5 a little over two years ago. However, the G90 could’ve been a significantly different car. M boss Frank van Meel has now admitted that a fully electric setup was considered early in the development phase. The unexpected disclosure was made during an interview with Top Gear magazine.

The engineers from Munich ultimately reached the conclusion an electrified V8 would be better. The reasoning behind this decision to skip the EV route (for now) was the battery technology. The BMW M CEO says the current tech isn’t evolved enough to offer what the typical M5 buyer wants. What would that be? A mélange between on-track performance and the long-distance capabilities of a gran tourer.

While the M5 has a fairly chunky battery pack with an 18.6-kWh net capacity, archrival Mercedes is doing things differently. Granted, the plug-in hybrid C63 goes up against the M3 rather than the bigger Bavarian sedan. AMG has a 6.1-kWh battery in the latest C63, turning the brawny V8 German muscle car into a PHEV with a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter unit.

You’re probably wondering why BMW M didn’t go down this road to avoid installing a bulky battery. Frank van Meel said, “we could not make a convincing proposal.” He argued a regular plug-in hybrid provides greater electric range and extra power, which is “more convincing” than what competitors are doing.

In the WLTP cycle, the new M5 is projected to cover 43 miles (69 kilometers) without the thirsty V8 running. The US-spec car is estimated to travel 25 miles (40 kilometers) in electric mode, based on the EPA test cycle. Regardless of continent, the G90 delivers a combined 717 hp and 1,000 Nm (738 lb-ft). Adapted from the XM, the plug-in hybrid hardware will soon find its way inside the M5 Touring, too.

As for the first electric M, it’ll be a smaller M3-sized sedan on the Neue Klasse platform. Codenamed “ZA0,” the hot EV is expected to arrive in 2027. Not long after, BMW will allegedly come out with a full-fat M version of the next iX3. We’re hearing the unannounced i3 Touring and iX4 will also get the M treatment before 2030.

Source: Top Gear