BMW’s M performance division is already testing prototype cars powered by hybrid powertrains, the firm’s vice president Dirk Hacker has confirmed.
Although he declined to elaborate on the details of the powertrain BMW is working on, or which cars it could potentially be used in, he confirmed development work was under way and future M hybrid cars are “inevitable”.
“We cannot avoid the need for electrification and it is true that we are working on hybrid power already,” said Hacker. “For now, all I will say is that we are working on a very precise technical solution, but there is no final decision on how to deploy the concept.”
Hacker said the potential weight gain from running a hybrid powertrain and the impact that would have on a car’s pace and agility were major concerns.
“Adding mass to performance cars is never ideal,” he said. “But if we can use electrification to install more performance, then we start to have the answers. That might be more speed, or it might be the ability for a car to be driven on electric power in a city. It might also be the case that we need different answers to that question in different cities.”
Hacker’s answer suggests that tighter emissions regulations could force BMW to electrify M cars in the short term if they are to retain their sales appeal of being usable every day. However, he also stressed that the latest generation of electric technology, set to be launched by BMW in 2021, offered engineers far more options than ever before.
“The better the batteries and the more efficient the electric motors, the better the solutions will be for M,” he said. “We are working on always making better cars.”
Hacker also confirmed BMW was committed to building combustion-engined M cars for as long as it was legislatively possible. “For some enthusiasts, they will always have advantages, and we have seen with the sales of the M2, which are well past expectations, that these are the kinds of cars many enthusiasts still want,” he said.