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HomemotoringNext BMW M3 will be all-electric four-motor racer

Next BMW M3 will be all-electric four-motor racer

LISBON, Portugal – The first full-electric BMW M car will be the M3, which will be built on the newly revealed Vision Neue Klasse concept.

BMW board member in charge of vehicle development Frank Weber revealed at the sidelines of the BMW 5-series and i5 International press launch here on Tuesday that the car will be a quad-motor high-performance car.

“It will have an ECU that has all the powertrain and dynamic data we have collated over the last 20 years,” he said. “You cannot buy anything like it off the shelf.”

Short for electronic control unit (ECU), the system will, among other things, be able to control the torque output going to each wheel at any one time.

“When we launched the current M5 with all-wheel drive, there was a lot of debate. But we proved that it was possible for it to drive absolutely like an M5.”

Mr Weber hinted that the Neue Klasse would be the next 3-series when it is launched in 2025.

It is the first BMW to bear the Neue Klasse title since it was used in the 1960s to herald a new generation of compact saloons that came to represent the identity of the company.

BMW said the Neue Klasse electric vehicles (EVs) will have battery cells with a higher energy density, offering 30 per cent more range and 30 per cent faster charging speeds. There is no sign of it having any other form of powertrain.

Not so for the new 5. Mr Weber said through its lifetime, the new 5 will have 10 variants – four battery electric vehicles or BEVs (i5 40 RWD, i5 40 AWD, i5 M50, i5 M60 AWD); two PHEVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (including a 2-litre four-cylinder 50e); two petrols; and two diesels.

The i5 eDrive40 and i5 M60 are available at the press launch here.

BMW expects BEVs will account for 30 per cent of 5-series sales globally, with PHEVs accounting for 10 per cent.

Mr Weber said BMW will continue to offer a variety of powertrain for the 5-series because “it has the highest yearly mileage among all BMWs”, indicating that owners clock more kilometres than with any other BMW models.

The new M5 – expected to be unveiled in 2024 – will share a similar drivetrain as the V8 variant of the recently launched XM performance plug-in sport utility vehicle.

There will also be a Touring version. This marks the return of the more practical estate body style to the M5 line-up after the last one that ended production in 2010.

Mr Weber said that according to BMW-tracked data, XM owners clock 50 per cent of their mileage in all-electric mode.

Asked about the future of diesel, the board member said diesel will continue to serve customers who clock long-distance driving, but its share is likely to shrink over time.

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