The “M” moniker is more than significant for those enthused by all things Bimmer. The iconic logo made its debut in 1972, and for 44 years has been gracing the backsides of some of the most performance-oriented road-going BMW models around.
In BMW's continued push of building “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” the range is set to get some new additions. Things like electric and hybrid powertrains, and autonomous driving capabilities will undoubtedly be wearing BMW badges in the near future — in fact, they could even find themselves wearing M badges.
In a recent interview with BMW AG member of the board of management Ian Robertson, the exec said that the company could bring electric and autonomous performance to its M range, pending engineers are still able to evoke that signature performance.
“BMW M is enjoying its most successful period in history,” said Robertson. “It has the broadest range of cars, they are sold out around the world and ultimately I see [electrification] technology that can move in both directions here.”
Though not an outright confirmation, the possibility for an electric or hybrid M car isn’t all that farfetched. Consider the current i8 — the hybrid setup and 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine produce 357 horsepower (266 kilowatts) in a rear-drive, mid-engine layout. Slapping an M badge on something similar wouldn’t be all that ridiculous.
No matter what the company decides to do at the end of the day, Robertson assures that the BMW DNA will remain. “We will still have sheer driving pleasure,” said Robertson. “The ultimate driving machine at the core of our DNA because that’s what we are."
Expect to see the next-generation of electric BMW i-range vehicles sometime near 2021, and if rumors are to be believed, the realization of an M-branded EV or hybrid could follow soon after that.