BMW M Will Launch Plug-In Hybrid Variant First, Offer Full EV After 2025

An M-branded plug-in hybrid would reportedly make 600 horsepower and weigh less than 3,800 pounds.

BMW AG

It sounds like BMW's high-performance M division will be embracing electrification in the next handful of years. After unveiling its Vision M Next concept on Tuesday, BMW engineering boss Klaus Fröhlich spoke to Roadshow abut the company's plans to bring a plug-in hybrid to market, and eventually a fully electric car to the BMW M stable. 

"A power PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) is next for M," said BMW's head of engineering Klaus Fröhlich. "Beyond 2025, there will be also possibly M BEVs (battery electric vehicles)." Hardly surprising, given a previous report had M CEO Frank Van Meel saying all M cars would be electrified by 2030.

The BMW engineering head also said that the upcoming M plug-in hybrid would produce around 600 horsepower while weighing somewhere between 3,500 and 3,800 pounds—which happens to be the same amount of power as the current M5 produces, but with approximately 600 to 900 pounds less weight.

BMW AG

BMW Vision M Next

Meanwhile, a full M EV would be significantly heavier, with BMW's development car internally codenamed "Lucy" reportedly making a healthy 720 hp while weighing a hefty 5,300 pounds thanks to all of the batteries required on-board. Not ideal, especially if the company wants future performance offerings to be good at cornering. 

"Weight is key," remarked Fröhlich. "M is not about longitudinal acceleration only."

Serving as a preview to a spiritual successor to the mid-engined M1, BMW's freshly revealed Vision M Next concept is a 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid capable of getting from zero to 62 miles per hour in three seconds and coincidentally has an electric-only range of 62 miles. The brand's gung-ho attitude towards playing with volt power contrasts that of Porsche's GT division, whose head honcho recently told the press that his engineers won't be touching hybrid or electric tech anytime soon. 

In addition to electrified models, BMW M also says it's interested in producing its own bespoke, standalone cars just like Mercedes-AMG.