What have you done BMW!?
Clouds of smoke are coming off the hot crack pipes over at BMW’s M division and this time, the result is not another bonkers SUV with a gazillion horsepower and a yearning to plow its nose into the horizon. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of that. In a recent interview with Top Gear, BMW M Division’s boss Frank van Meel just detailed how M plans to go electric. He said, “At the end of the road, of course, M vehicles will be electrified.” Hearing those piercing words is the last way we wanted to spend our pleasant Friday.
Meel expanded by mentioning, “We follow a clear motorsport philosophy about precision, dynamics, agility - drivetrain isn’t the defining factor of what M stands for, it’s just a way of fulfilling our philosophy. So yes, electric drivetrains in the future can also fulfill our philosophy and they will.” If you’re hyperventilating by now, take a few deep breaths because the good news is that the shift to batteries won’t happen anytime soon. The main reason BMW M is holding back is the fact that batteries are still too heavy to provide a benefit. Meel said, “If you look at electrification technology right now, the weight increase would be too big compared to the increase of performance. The answer for the time being is no.”
Cars like the Ferrari LaFerrari may have batteries and engines lumped into a single chassis, but the weight gain is countered by sizable helpings of carbon fiber and gobs of horsepower. Using batteries for a car that has a metal chassis and tops out at four-six hundred horsepower doesn’t make sense, especially when considering the range limitations. Once BMW’s i division finds a way to engineer the technology to viability, the M division will go electric. For now, we’re happy with the current crop of M cars, and so is Meel who mentioned that we shouldn’t expect a halo M car like Mercedes made with the AMG GT. He said, “From an M perspective, rather than having a flagship and a heap of boats, we’d rather have an armada of high-performance vessels.”