BMW has been weighing in on the idea of adding a zero-emissions M car for quite some time, and now it seems that such a vehicle will indeed happen.
Speaking with AutoExpress on the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show, the performance brand’s chief, Frank Van Meel, said that the company plans to start out with hybrids to bridge the gap between the M division’s current lineup and a fully-electric models. Instead of improving fuel efficiency, the hybrid powertrains will be optimized for performance.
“It will happen, but the question is when is that going to happen. Currently we still have a power-to-weight issue with electrification, which makes that difficult to fit into a motorsports philosophy”, Meel said. “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.”
Meel admitted to be in “close contact” with the Project i group by looking into electric motors and other technologies, but at the same time ruled out the possibility of an M-developed i8. “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.”