BMW is planning highperformance hybrids as well as hotrodded EVs

first_imgRonan Glon/Digital TrendsThe head-turning, heritage-laced Vision M Next concept unveiled by BMW’s M division paints a clear picture of how the German firm sees the future of performance. It’s notably powered by a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain instead of a fully electric one. However, electric M-badged models are more of a when than an if, Digital Trends learned during an event held at BMW’s headquarters.“In the long term, beyond 2025, I think at a certain point in time there will be also possibly M battery-electric vehicles. M is not a letter for technology. It’s simply a letter for performance, and we don’t only mean zero-to-60-mph. That’s easy,” Klaus Fröhlich, BMW’s head of development, told Digital Trends when asked about the possibility of electrifying the M brand.He explained why the Vision M Next concept (pictured) is a plug-in hybrid instead of an electric car. Hypothetically, the production version of the Vision M Next concept would weigh between about 3,500 and 3,700 pounds, which isn’t bad for a hybrid coupe with a 600-horsepower, all-wheel drive powertrain capable of delivering up to 60 miles of electric-only driving. Taking the turbocharged four-cylinder engine out of the equation would require using a huge battery pack to offer acceptable range and performance. In turn, the pack would make an electric Vision M Next weigh about 4,600 pounds.“That’s a big, big difference,” he summed up. It wouldn’t handle as well; ultimately, it wouldn’t live up to BMW’s promise of delivering the ultimate driving machine.The Vision M Next concept hasn’t officially been approved for production, though Fröhlich and other executives hinted they’d like to see it become a reality. His comments confirm that M — like rivals Audi Sport and Mercedes-AMG — will offer plug-in hybrid cars sooner rather than later.“M is not about longitudinal acceleration only. The cars also have to be fast on the track, and fun to drive on a winding road. Weight is key, then, and I think plug-in hybrid is the next step,” he said. To add context, he pointed out that the firm has gradually shifted from naturally-aspirated to turbocharged engines in order to continue cranking up the performance knob while keeping fuel economy in check. Editors’ Recommendations 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid first drive review Think hybrids can’t be sporty? BMW’s Vision M Next is here to prove you wrong 2020 Audi S8 packs twin-turbocharged V8 muscle into a discreet form The best fuel-efficient cars for 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 73 plug-in hybrid will unleash 805 hp, report sayslast_img read more