This is the car to get excited over.
BMW is playing electric vehicle catch up. With a new CEO who promises a more aggressive approach, things are finally coming together in Munich for what must be a winning strategy. As we already knew, BMW has plans to offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2023: 12 plug-in hybrids and 13 pure EVs. But there's one vehicle in particular that stands out. This upcoming production car is so important, in fact, that BMW has enlisted its famed M division to take a leading role in its development. What is it? The production version of the stunning Vision M Next concept. Having the 'M' in the name wasn't just for show.
Automobile Magazine has learned more about the production car's development process and there's no doubt it will become BMW's star vehicle.
Chances are the production version will be dubbed the i12 and will effectively serve as a replacement for the aging i8 coupe and i8 Roadster. But unlike the i8, it will have far better performance and handling abilities, and that's where BMW M comes into the picture. The M division had no real involvement with the i8 because, at the time, BMW wanted to keep its M and brand new i division separated. Not anymore.
Times have changed as high-performance EVs and PHEVs are quickly becoming the next big thing. The mid-engined i12 will reportedly come powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with around 340 horsepower that's paired to a 201-hp electric motor. Developing lots of power is not the challenge: it's how the coupe handles that power. BMW M just so happens to be one of the world's best regarding chassis and suspension development. The writing is literally on the wall here.
Automobile's sources claim the M division has been tasked with creating a "striking, low-drag AWD two-seater" that will have a 671-hp propulsion system and a 135-kWh battery pack. Interestingly, this battery pack will not contain any rare-earth metals. The BMW i12 is due to arrive in 2022, but the M Division's work won't stop there. The coupe's PHEV system is really just a stepping stone towards full-blown electrification.
The former head of BMW M Frank van Meel told us a couple of years ago at Geneva that it was obvious the entire industry will eventually switch to all-electric powertrains. Van Meel's successor, Markus Flasch, more recently clarified he will continue pushing for maximum performance and handling no matter the power source. An all-electric i12 (or i12M?) could very well become his ultimate legacy.