The news keeps getting better.
Earlier this week, we reported that BMW had concluded the market for gasoline and diesel engines isn’t drying up anytime soon, despite the seemingly sudden influx of all-electric vehicles coming to market. Appearances can be deceiving: the fact remains that internal combustion isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. What will happen, however, is an increase in hybrids and plug-in hybrids, mainly the latter. BMW has already confirmed this, as has its M high-performance division.
But here’s the thing: implementing new powertrain technologies is anything but cheap. In the past, BMW had a budget for a wide variety of internal combustion engines for specific models, but this approach is simply too expensive. The solution? A common engine architecture.
Autocar has learned all future BMW M engines will feature a common 500cc cylinder capacity that’ll be compatible with 2.0-liter four-cylinder and updated 3.0-liter inline-six engines and a new 4.0-liter V8. Not only will this business model save money by allowing greater economies of scale, but will also speed up development time. In theory, this could mean more M models being launched at a faster pace than ever, very good news regarding the ongoing BMW M vs. Mercedes-AMG vs. Audi Sport battle. If, for example, Mercedes-AMG launches a new segment leader, BMW’s response time will be far quicker.
It’s not only smart engineering but also smart business. Expect both M Performance and full-blown M models to be powered by these new engines combined with electric power. What’s still not 100 percent official are plans to set up a two-tier line-up of hybrid drivetrains. The less powerful of the two will be used by M Performance models while the latter will be used for future M sedans and SUVs. Just because all-electric powertrains provide that coveted instant torque doesn’t mean they have the necessary soul of a high-performance car, at least not yet.
Until that happens, BMW M and M Performance will continue churning out turbo fours, inline-sixes, and V8s – albeit connected to electric motors and batteries.