It’s a big day at BMW. Today the company is hosting the NextGen Conference at its headquarters in Germany. There, the Vision M Next concept (which could make it to production), 5 Series experimental electric vehicle, and E-Box electric motorcycle debuted. But there's still more news coming out of Munich.
BMW Chief of Engineering, Klaus Frohlich, in a roundtable interview with journalists, including Senior Editor Jeff Perez, says BMW's M division is betting big on battery power. The company will introduce plug-in hybrid M performance vehicles in the near future.
"For me, power PHEV is the next step," Frohlich says. "Of course, that car will be between 1,600 to 1,700 kilograms (3,500 to 3,700 pounds), all-wheel drive, and 600 horsepower at least." These numbers may not sound hugely impressive at first, but still represent a healthy improvement over the current M5. It's equally powerful, but significantly heavier at 4,370 lbs (1,982 kg).
But plug-in hybrids aren't the end goal. In the next six years, BMW's M division could build a pure electric performance vehicle. "Beyond 2025, there will be also possibly M BEVs," Frohlich says. "Because M is not a letter for technology, M is simply a letter for performance – and performance not only to 60. That's easy."
Gallery: 2020 BMW M8 Coupé
Obviously, the reduced weight compared to a conventional ICE-powered car should be the main advantage in the hybridized BMW Ms. And assuming the company can keep the weight down on its eventual pure EV, it could be a serious advantage in a space currently dominated by gas-powered vehicles.