BMW’s M Division is continuing to work to significantly reduce the carbon emissions of its sports cars, and the sporting arm has not ruled out the use of diesel engines.
Development boss Albert Biermann told Autocar that while it’s still quite a far-off prospect, he can foresee a time when the continued refinement of diesel engine technology will make it suitable to power a fully fledged M car.
“With cars like the X5 and X6 M, the torque characteristics of diesel engines would make them the ideal choice, were it not for their unsporting character,” Biermann said.
“I don’t think there’s a proven business case for big diesel-engined performance cars yet,” he said, “but if that changes, we’ll be well placed to take advantage.”
M division is already working to develop performance applications of BMW’s new hybrid technology.
“Battery-assisted performance is something we’re looking into,” Biermann said, “although flywheel-driven ‘flybrids’ look more promising for us.”
There won’t be replacements for the Z4 M roadster and coupé models, though. “The new Z4 is a heavy car,” Biermann explained, “so it would be difficult to tune it effectively. Such an M car would also be hard to position [in the marketplace]; using the 4.0-litre V8 would position the car too close to the M3 Convertible, and the 3.2-litre, six-cylinder motor is no longer emissions-compliant.”
However, hope is not lost for a new, more affordable M car. The forthcoming roadster based on the new 1-series could well get an M variant. Biermann admitted, “I would love to produce this kind of car. It’s very difficult to make the numbers add up, but I know that I’m not the only person who likes the idea.”