BMW wants to use its increasing range of low-emissions vehicles to offset the CO2 output of upcoming high-performance models.

The car maker says high-performance, combustion-engined models will be produced for as long as customers demand them and says that adding more hybrid and plug-in models to the range will ensure its average CO2 output remains low in the future.

BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson told Autocar at the New York motor show that the way CO2 output is currently restricted allows car makers to produce less efficient models, as long as there are low and zero-emissions models at the other end of the line-up.

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“Regulators across the world focus their efforts into restricting the average amount of CO2 a car maker’s line-up produces, rather than focusing on each model,” he said. “This means, in theory, we could build a car with a V12 at one end of the range and then essentially offset its higher CO2 output with a zero-emissions vehicle at the other end.”

Robertson explained that currently BMW’s range CO2 output averages 127g/km. “This is low in the industry, but we have a lot of work to do because the European limit of 95g/km applies from 2020.”