BMW M cars will be hybrid-powered in the future

BMW M4 - driving
4 Feb, 2016 9:00am Richard Ingram

BMW admits that hybrid versions of M cars like the M3, M4 and M5 are inevitable and electric assistance will make them even faster

The future of BMW’s high-performance M cars is hybrid, according to the brand’s vice-president for engineering, Dirk Hacker.

Rather than use plug-in and hybrid tech to simply lower CO2 emissions and improve fuel economy, BMW will adapt these systems to make its cars faster, more responsive and even more involving.

Speaking at last month’s Detroit Motor Show, Hacker told Auto Express: “We will look at electrification – I think it could be inevitable – but it depends on the possibility of increasing performance.”

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We asked him about customer desires, and whether M car buyers cared for zero-emission capability or a 25-mile EV range.

“We’ve found that our customers are not interested in driving without the combustion engine,” he said. “They want to know if these changes will help with performance.”

So this rules out a pure electric M car, plus Hacker hinted that the brand was in no rush to employ battery technology, insisting it was happy to wait until the systems could be properly integrated with no adverse effect on the car’s driving characteristics.

“We’ll need to look at the weight implications of electrification,” he added. “What is the compromise? Are we ready now or do we need to take a look at some special structural solutions for the future?”

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Hacker believes that, ultimately, balance is the most important factor in producing an accomplished sports car, and isn’t prepared to sacrifice driver enjoyment for a performance and economy boost.

“The weight of the cars is very important,” he explained. “I don’t think it’s the best idea to get more and more power into these models. Our philosophy is to get the right balance between power and performance.”

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