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BMW confirms that Hybrid M cars are in the pipeline

Autocar logo Autocar 22/11/2017 Greg Kable
Enthusiasts want cars like the M2 but hybrids are “inevitable” © Autocar Enthusiasts want cars like the M2 but hybrids are “inevitable”

BMW’s M performance division is already testing prototype cars powered by hybrid powertrains, the firm’s vice president Dirk Hacker has confirmed. 

Although he declined to elaborate on the details of the powertrain BMW is working on, or which cars it could potentially be used in, he confirmed development work was under way and future M hybrid cars are “inevitable”. 

“We cannot avoid the need for electrification and it is true that we are working on hybrid power already,” said Hacker. “For now, all I will say is that we are working on a very precise technical solution, but there is no final decision on how to deploy the concept.” 

BMW M3 and M4 © BMW BMW M3 and M4 Hacker said the potential weight gain from running a hybrid powertrain and the impact that would have on a car’s pace and agility were major concerns. 

“Adding mass to performance cars is never ideal,” he said. “But if we can use electrification to install more performance, then we start to have the answers. That might be more speed, or it might be the ability for a car to be driven on electric power in a city. It might also be the case that we need different answers to that question in different cities.” 

Hacker’s answer suggests that tighter emissions regulations could force BMW to electrify M cars in the short term if they are to retain their sales appeal of being usable every day. However, he also stressed that the latest generation of electric technology, set to be launched by BMW in 2021, offered engineers far more options than ever before. 

“The better the batteries and the more efficient the electric motors, the better the solutions will be for M,” he said. “We are working on always making better cars.” 

Hacker also confirmed BMW was committed to building combustion-engined M cars for as long as it was legislatively possible. “For some enthusiasts, they will always have advantages, and we have seen with the sales of the M2, which are well past expectations, that these are the kinds of cars many enthusiasts still want,” he said. 

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Related: The best BMW M cars of all time (Motoring Research)

25 all-time greats: The first production road car developed by BMW’s M division was the M1 of 1978, but the company has a history dating back to 1972 and the founding of BMW Motorsport GmbH. Later it became known as BMW M GmbH: a company responsible for developing some of the most iconic performance cars of all-time. Selecting the best M cars ever built is a little like choosing the best Beatles song. To make things a little easier, we’ve created a list of 25, although we appreciate that some people might opt for a different group of legends. Read on to discover what made our shortlist. Oh, and the best Beatles song is ‘A Day in the Life’. Probably. Are these the best BMW M cars of all-time?

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