BMW Axes Plans For M2 CSL, Will Hybridize The M5


What the heck BMW?!

In the fight between the enthusiasts and bean counters, BMW has been a longtime ally—battling tooth and nail and allowing cars like the M2 come to surface despite the fact that they only seem to serve to cannibalize sales of more expensive M cars. At one point, the rumors indicated that the German automaker was cooking up some ultra-special M models that would be badged under the legendary CSL name. Our hope was that those rumors would materialize in the form of an M2 CSL. Our hopes, unfortunately, have now been dashed.

In a post to BMW fan site BimmerPost, a user by the name of Gatte uncovered that BMW has given its CSL team the order to stop working on an M2 variant and to focus its energies elsewhere (though no indication was given as to what the team would now be working on). Gatte went on to add that the news was backed up by a very “Frank” person, suggesting that M car boss Frank Van Meel verbally confirmed the news. “The official wording was on the lines of 'We will be stopping work on the M2 CSL,'" claimed Gatte’s post. “These words were spoken by a very 'Frank' person.” This doesn’t, however, mean that there’s no hope for an M2 CS or M2 Competition package—which is still fine by us.

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Thing is, the axe falling on the M2 CSL isn’t even the most interesting part of the story. That’s because Gatte casually mentioned that the M5 would be going hybrid in the same post. Details are light on that speculation, so there’s no way of knowing if that means the hybrid model will be based on the current generation F90 M5 or if BMW will wait until it’s time for a new M5 to add electric motors. There are, however, a few pieces of evidence that seem to confirm a hybrid M5. First there’s the fact that a hybrid M5 would fall squarely into BMW’s plans to electrify much of its lineup and even BMW executives have said that future M models would go hybrid.

If BMW can prove that the performance of its newest M5 sedan can be matched (or surpassed) using a hybrid drivetrain, it could help customers willingly adopt electrification. Automakers have struggled selling buyers on plug-in hybrids and have to juggle between complying with regulators who are pushing for the technology and customers who don’t want it. A tantalizing hybrid M5 could help BMW better market the tech. The single piece of evidence we have arguing in favor of an F90 M5 hybrid is the fact we spotted an M5 test mule back in 2015 bearing two fuel caps, one at the rear for the gas tank and another up front where BMW usually hides the charge ports for its plug-in hybrids. Suffice it to say, times are changing fast. Perhaps too fast.

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