BMW to Electrify all M Cars by 2030, Report Says
It's no longer a question of 'if' BMW will electrify its M lineup but if it can get it right.
BMW has previously mentioned that it believes up to 25 percent of its total fleet will be either fully electric or possess some form of hybrid powertrain by 2025, but now it gets interesting. Not only will BMW's luxury commuter cars be getting the electric treatment; the German automaker plans to instill its M cars with a bit more vigor.
BMW M Division's CEO Frank Van Meel recently attended the launch of its updated BMW M2 and M5 Competition Edition in Spain. It was there that he broke the major news to CarAdvice.
"For sure, all M vehicles will be electrified by the end of the next decade," Van Meel reportedly told journalists at the event. "That's going to happen step-by-step. The important question is the timing question—what's the right time for that? If you're too late then you're too late, but if you're too early then you don't have the 'straight to the point' technology."
The problem is, die-hard enthusiasts don't like electric and, frankly, it's hard to blame them for that. It would be a cold day in hell before I gave up my personal E36's powerplant. There's something about the smooth rumble of a BMW M-engine that has given the automaker its valor over the years. Even Porsche has been trying to convince its purist following that electric is okay for the brand.
However, with the introduction of new cars and BMW's latest modular fifth generation architecture taking hold, it makes sense from a business perspective to begin offering electrified models to certain markets (especially the ones which want to ban non-electrified vehicles altogether). And sure, electric cars don't have the same noise and powerband as a traditional gasoline-powered car, but being able to drive all varieties of cars with varying levels of road-connectivity makes being an enthusiast all the more interesting.
BMW's M division is no stranger to changing up its platforms and still standing as the epitome of a driver's car. Despite the inline-six being the brand's epochal powerplant for the M3, it has entertained a multitude of other choices from the E30's S14 inline-four to the E92's S65 high-revving V8. For the brand to consider electrification in a time where the entire paradigm of the consumer vehicle market is changing does not come as a surprise. Van Meel does reassure consumers that the performance sector of BMW plans to make its future models just as exhilarating as its current cars, so whether one is driving the new electric platforms (internally coded as HEAT), or one of its classics, the car needs to drive like an M.
"[T]he real question from our customers was whether the M3 was driving like an M3. I don't really care if we use a HEAT or another configuration, it should drive like an M3," Van Meel continued. "The basic target is not so much the components of the technology itself. It's more the philosophy."
With the impending shift to electric being inevitable, the debate of "if" M cars are to become electrified has been put to rest. Now, it's up to Van Meel and his team to spend the time to get correctly electrify its platform. There will be undoubted pushback against the brand for the shift by some, especially those that define an M car by its manual transmission, but with BMW committed to being the ultimate driving machine, the M division's new cars may prove to be the pinnacle of electric performance; only time will tell.