BMW M Division Plans to Electrify Its Performance Cars

Sean Szymkowski
by Sean Szymkowski

BMW has already committed to electrifying many of its passenger cars in the years to come, but its dedicated M performance division will follow suit.

Frank Van Meel, head of BMW’s M division, told Car Advice in a report that M cars will “for sure” feature some form of electrification by the end of next decade. Electrification can include minor enhancements like a 48-volt hybrid system or more in-depth solutions like plug-in hybrid systems and fully battery-electric powertrains.

Van Meel admitted the electrification process will come in a “step-by-step” manner and timing will be important. Since M places a major emphasis on vehicle weight, technology advances will dictate when electrification starts to proliferate more.

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“Look at today’s electrification components, they are quite heavy and, for us as a motorsports company, overall vehicle weight and power-to-weight ratio is key,” he said.

Purists may balk at the idea of an electrified M car, but Van Meel said the team always has one goal: make sure the car drives like it came from M branch.

He noted the division has used four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and a naturally-aspirated V8s in the past for the banner M3, while a turbocharged inline-six resides under the hood today. Moral of the story, per the M chief? The engine never dictated the car, and electrification shouldn’t either.

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Sean Szymkowski
Sean Szymkowski

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