Don't worry, BMW's M Class isn't going all-electric just yet.
Last year, BMW dropped a bombshell that its high performance M range will go all-electric in the future. Oh the outcry. While we could live with the fact that hybrid BMW sports cars like the i8 are a necessity, the prospect of a fully electric BMW donning the M badge seemed blasphemous. Speaking to AutoExpress at the Detroit Motor Show, BMW admitted that fully electric versions of the M3, M4 and M5 are inevitable, but not before some hybrid variants that won't compromise performance. No need to panic just yet, then.
“It will happen, but the question is when is that going to happen,” BMW’s performance boss Frank Van Meel said, before explaining how the technology hasn’t developed enough to be applied to performance cars. “Currently we still have a power to weight issue with electrification which makes that difficult to fit into a motorsports philosophy.” Before you start to panic about BMW M cars turning into fuel-efficient electric cars with all the acceleration of a milk float, BMW is planning to fit future M cars with hybrid powertrains, with a focus on performance over efficiency to allow time for technology to catch up before going all-electric.
“We already see the stop/start feature coming to M vehicles and the next step is electrification. At the end it will also be pure electric, but it’s going to take some time. Of course we are in close contact with the Project i group looking into next generation of cell technologies, electric motors, weight and cooling systems to figure when is the right time to make the next step.” With that said, an M-developed BMW i8 would seem to make sense. Not so, according to Meel, despite the two sub-brands working together on new technology: “That wouldn’t make sense. It’s two different directions. M is about uncompromised motorsport, whereas Project i looks into the future and is uncompromised efficiency.”