BMW’s M division has announced that it is working on the development of its first all-electric car. The latter will be based on the next i4 sedan and promises to be as efficient as possible. However, the new M3 would have nothing to fear; it would remain the benchmark in this area.
“Next year we will be launching the first electric M car in the performance car segment. Then we will work on high performance and high performance electrified hybrid cars, but it is too early to reveal which ones, ”BMW boss Markus Flasch told CarAdvice.
The latter’s statement leaves room for interpretation. Markus Flasch is probably referring here to the two performance levels of his gasoline models, that is, those of products like the M340i compared to the M3. The electric M version which will be based on the i4 would be the equivalent of an M340i, not an M3 or M4. Its level of prowess shouldn’t disappoint, however, as even the regular i4 is shaping up to be very fast.
It will certainly be a question of a car that will have a sportier appearance, a more aggressively tuned chassis, etc.
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Shown as a near-production concept in early 2020, the fastest i4 sedan will boast 530 horsepower from two electric motors. The 0-100 km / h time will be around 4 seconds, which is comparable to the aforementioned M3. Markus Flasch of course hasn’t revealed anything about the specs of the upcoming electric M variant, but let’s say it promises. And since the cavalry will normally be more generous, we may eventually come close to what a real M Series car offers in terms of power.
Moreover, BMW is not against the idea of having an electric sedan rival of the M3, but the company is waiting for the electric technology to improve before entering the segment. Markus Flasch said his team is looking closely at the issue.
“When it comes to high-performance battery electric technology, it’s going to be a while before it’s ready and can support an existing high-performance car, like an M3 or M4. It will still take a little while, but we are working on it, ”he said. Other performance brands have said they have to overcome similar hurdles.
While electric vehicles are irrefutably fast, the M Division does not develop its cars exclusively to record impressive straight-line times. They must be efficient at all levels. Placing a lithium-ion battery under the passenger compartment of a vehicle lowers its center of gravity, but it adds tremendous weight that must be managed otherwise. In addition, engineers are looking for a way to replace the sound emitted by the exhaust of a racing car driven by a gasoline engine. This is a big part of the driving experience.
We will learn more about Division M’s electrification projects in the coming months. As for the i4 sedan, BMW will begin building it at its plant in Munich, Germany, in 2021. Consequently, it should arrive in North America next year as a 2022 model. For a possible M variant, we could add a year to the equation, but it’s still a long way off.
Photos of the BMW i4 prototype