Are the new M3 and M4 about to be outgunned?
Although it's been somewhat lagging behind its Audi and Mercedes rivals, BMW is quickly catching up in the all-electric vehicle department. Under the firm's previous leadership, it squandered the lead it gained with the BMW i3 and, to a lesser extent, the now discontinued i8. But that's all in the past and the future is the upcoming BMW i4.
Earlier this month, BMW confirmed its Munich plant is now ready to begin i4 production following a $237 million investment to prepare the assembly line. But there still remains a rather important unanswered question: the status of the rumored high-performance i4 M. Today, we have our answer.
Australia's CarAdvice recently chatted with BMW M boss Markus Flasch who not only confirmed the high-performance brand's first-ever EV, but also that it won't outgun the just-revealed M3 and M4.
"Next year we will launch the first battery-electric M car in the performance segment, based on the i4, as something to confirm," he said. "Then we're working on hybrid electrified performance and high-performance cars, but it is too early to disclose which ones it is going to be."
Aside from angering new M3 and M4 owners, the reason why the upcoming i4 M won't outperform them is that battery technology, in BMW's opinion, is simply not where it needs to be. In other words, the i4 M could be more comparable in overall performance to the current M340i sedan.
"On the high-performance battery-electric technology, there is still some time that we need until technology is ready and can take it on with an existing high-performance car, like an M3 or M4," Flasch added. "This will take some more time, but we're working on that."
The i4 concept has a claimed 530 horsepower while the new M3/M4 duo can produce up to 503 hp, so figure around 400-415 hp for the production i4 M. Additional areas that need improvement in order to become a fully-fledged M car include steering, driving dynamics, and the overall M driving feel. Remember, battery packs are anything but lightweight, and M cars are also known for their brilliant weight management.
Eventually, these issues will be sorted as the future of both BMW and the M brand, like that of all other automakers, is all-electric.