New BMW M boss confirms electrification switch

The newly appointed head of BMW’s M division has confirmed that the next generation of its models will adopt electrification as it attempts to “make our cars faster and enhances their performance”.

In an interview with Autoblog over the weekend, Markus Flasch, who takes over from Frank van Meel and who until recently served as development head for the revived 8 Series, said that the brand “will follow our oath of success as the dominant high-performance brand”, but added that, “my years will be the era of the brand’s electrification”.

“We are evaluating all technologies, i.e. mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids, but also fully electric cars. And we help ourselves to the corporate parts bin, but we are not compelled to, because we obviously have different requirements,” Flasch said when asked about the type of electric powertrain it will adopt.

“While BMW’s regular cars are focused on electric range, our focus is on performance, and this means not just in a straight line, but also in corners. The performance needs to be reproducible and track-ready, and in some ways this requires different technological approaches. And that’s why, just like with all-wheel-drive, we won’t be the first high-performance brand to go electric. But [we will be] the best”.

He also poured cold water on fears about a possible clash with the i-range of electric vehicles, saying that, “originally, BMW i stood for electric mobility, but now it symbolizes innovation, technology and a different way of thinking. There is no contradiction in having EVs for both sub-brands”.

Despite speaking in favour of offering models without electrification, indeed diesel engines and indeed the inclusion of more four-wheel-drive variants, Flasch stated that it will no longer offer V12 engines at its pinnacle, therefore effectively ending the future of the M760Li and any possible use of the 6.0-litre bi-turbo bent-twelve.

“Beyond what we have, I don’t believe we will see a new twelve-cylinder model in the foreseeable future,” Flasch said.

Asked about the possible future of a four-cylinder M performance model following the unveiling of Mercedes-AMG’s new 2.0-litre motor that will deliver up to 310 kW in the next generation A45, Flasch remarked that while, “there is nothing wrong with such a project” in principle “in the near future, we have nothing planned”.

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