BMW is to launch a wave of new performance models in the 50th anniversary year of its storied M division, among them some of the most powerful combustion-engined models it has yet produced and its first pure-electric sports cars.
As it hits 50 this year, M division is on the cusp of a transformative era that will see it phase out its range of petrol-powered coupés, saloons and SUVs to replace them with high-powered electric alternatives, in line with BMW’s pledge to ramp up EV production.
From 2025, the firm will usher in its third-generation EVs atop the all-new Neue Klasse platform, which will be entirely scalable for deployment in cars equivalent in size to both the BMW 2 Series and BMW X7. Capable also of hosting PHEV powertrains and hydrogen fuel cell systems, it will replace the FAAR and CLAR structure in use across BMW’s line-up, but not before those architectures have hosted an array of sporting models from M division.
Last year, M sold more than 160,000 cars to become the world’s best-selling performance sub-brand. Here’s what they’ve got in the works.
Perhaps the most keenly anticipated and highest-profile launch on BMW’s agenda for this year is that of the G87-generation M2, which will take the formula of the acclaimed Mk1 model and uprate it across the board to strengthen its position as a leader in the sports coupé segment.
The reinvented Porsche 718 Cayman rival is due in dealerships by the end of the year, which means a reveal is only months away. The second-generation 2 Series coupé on which it is based is already on sale, still with rear-wheel drive as standard in non-performance models and with a four-wheel-drive BMW M240i, which packs 369bhp and 369lb ft, topping the line-up.
Power for the M240i comes from BMW’s B58 straight six, but the M2 will use a variant of the more highly strung S58 found in the larger BMW M3 and BMW M4. It will endow the M2 with up to 430bhp in top-flight Competition guise (the only model sold in the UK), representing a 20bhp hike over the previous car and putting it just 73bhp shy of the M3 and M4. Expect the 0-62mph time to come down closer to the four-second mark as a result.