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BMW M Boss Talks Electrified Performance, i Brand

M has always stood for performance… there is no conflict of, for instance, having electrified powertrains involved.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams May 16, 2019

The head of BMW’s M division has confirmed that there are electrified M cars under development and is now talking about there being place in the company lineup for both the i and M brands to co-exist.

Markus Flasch, president of BMW M, talked about the future of M with Australian publication Carsales.

BMW has already said, as far back as 2017, that the automaker would be moving electric. With 25 electrified vehicles, including 12 full EVs by 2025. And that yes, that would include M vehicles.

Flasch confirmed that the M Division would remain a part of that and that the performance brand had no problem with a move to lower-emissions and saving fuel. “At the moment we are working on three alternatives, we are working on 48-volt systems, we are working on plug-in hybrids and we’re working on fully battery electric vehicles,” he said.

And it’s not just BMW’s conventional models that could get the M treatment. BMW’s i vehicles, the brand assigned to the company’s most innovative EVs, could also get the M. “Everything’s possible there. For instance, we can do M versions of i cars, we can do whatever we want,” he said.

Adding M to i, which already has a performance car in the form of the i8 PHEV roadster and coupe, won’t dilute the brand, Flasch says. “i does not just stand for electrification, i stands much more for innovation, for incubation of new technology.” Adding that “M has always stood for performance… there is no conflict of, for instance, having electrified powertrains involved.”

“They [M and i] can remain distinct entities because i does not stand for electrification… both of our companies use electric powertrains,” Flasch explained.

When can we expect to see the first electrified M-cars? “I cannot disclose when we will launch the first vehicle… But it’s not too far in the distance,” Flasch said.

So does that mean an M version of the i8 could be on the way? Flasch told Carsales that BMW M was definitely in favour of building a hypercar, but hadn’t yet been able to make the argument successfully. Development of a new i8 would be the job of the i division, but M could play more of a role in that development, should there be a more high-performance version planned.