Don’t hold your breath on an all-electric BMW M car

BMW M is well aware of the fact that electrification is now a matter of when, and not if. Yet while Munich’s performance division admits its competitors are becoming better and better at harnessing the powers of electricity, it won’t jump the sporty EV bandwagon.

In fact, BMW M will keep on doing its thing with gasoline-powered ICEs (Internal Combustion Engines) until all-electric technology evolves to the point where it suits the division’s creed and doesn’t add that much extra weight to its vehicles.

Gas-Powered M Models Aren’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

BMW M Models Won't Be Going Electric Any Time Soon But It Has Nothing to Do With Desire of Purists
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BMW M is staying true to its book of sportiness laws for the time being and won’t consider the development of all-electric performance-oriented cars.

The statement comes from BMW M’s manager of product Carsten Pries who had a chat with Australia’s Cars Guide. While speaking to the said outlet, Mr. Pries was very adamant that his department “would still be making petrol cars for quite some time.”

The rationale behind that strategy is quite simple.

BMW M is still highly interested in aspects such as agility, weight reduction, and handling, and it’s the company’s belief that an electric drivetrain will add unnecessary weight especially through its battery pack.
BMW M Models Won't Be Going Electric Any Time Soon But It Has Nothing to Do With Desire of Purists
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What BMW M is trying to say here is that once the industry finds a way to design lighter batteries, the possibility of using such a technology inside an M car will be re-evaluated. Until then, the M division will “watch the new technology very closely, to look when it will qualify, when it will be worthy.”

Another argument brought in favor of the decision not to adopt electrification just yet comes from BMW’s deep motorsport roots.

“So yes, we look at Porsche, but the key factor is what do we stand for, and we’re very much about motorsport, so the decision to build an EV would have to suit that image,”

added Carsten Pries.

So, No Sporty Electric Cars From BMW, Then?

BMW Tried To Cast Shade on the Ford Mustang Mach-E By Unveiling Information About the 2021 BMW i4
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BMW M’s reticence towards sporty BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) doesn’t mean Munich’s electric cars are going to be of the sluggish ilk. Quite the opposite, in fact, with the best example being the incoming BMW i4. Basically an electric 4 Series Gran Coupe, the i4 will sit on BMW’s CLAR (CLuster ARchitecture) underpinnings and rely on 290 kilowatts/532 horsepower, the same output extracted from the 4.4-liter V-8 that motivates the BMW M850i xDrive, for example.

The BMW i4 will pack a 80-kWh battery pack that will spawn a maximum range of 600 kilometers (373 miles).
BMW Tried To Cast Shade on the Ford Mustang Mach-E By Unveiling Information About the 2021 BMW i4
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Despite carrying a battery that tips the scales at around 550 kilograms (1,212 pounds), we expect the i4 to offer similar dynamics to the gasoline-powered 4 Series, which is one of BMW’s zippiest models on sale thanks to a near 50:50 mass distribution between the two axles. That weight is spread 48.8 percent in the front and 51.2 percent in the rear, to be more precise. Couple this setup with the inherent sportiness of the ICE-powered 4 Series (even in Gran Coupe iteration, the 4er is no slouch on a twisty road) and it’s quite easy to see that sportiness will be a significant selling point for the new BMW i4.

2019 BMW M8
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Truth be told, however, BMW’s current crop of M-badged models isn’t exactly the definition of lightweight. Except the M4, which tips the scales at 3,685 pounds, both the M5 Sedan and the M8 Coupe are rather heavy machines, as they weigh 4,370 pounds and 4,295 pounds, respectively. Most of that extra weight of the M5 and M8 comes from the 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8, the eight-speed Steptronic transmission bolted to it, and the xDrive all-wheel-drive setup.

Final Thoughts

BMW M Models Won't Be Going Electric Any Time Soon But It Has Nothing to Do With Desire of Purists
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We don’t think that sticking to your legacy is a bad thing, and neither is adopting new technology. BMW M has decided to stick with internal combustion engines for the time being and we’re sure most of its fan base will jump for joy. We know we are. The only thing that BMW M must watch out for, however, has to do with being left behind by the competition. Porsche’s already out with the Taycan and the Model 3 is a traffic-light race favorite, so those looking for an EV that’s also performance-capable will head to these two instead of BMW M.

What’s more, Mercedes-Benz has been playing with mild-hybrid systems for some of its cars, and it might not be long before Mercedes-AMG follows suit. In this context, BMW M’s decision to stick to gasoline power could prove risky should the global EV customer base increase, which in turn is bound to generate more interest for electric/electrified performance in the detriment of gas-guzzling powertrains. If that happens, Munich’s M arm could find itself alone, trapped in an obscure niche, and outsold by its rivals.

Source: Cars Guide

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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