BMW M is currently working on a quad-motor EV that is based on the BMW i4 M50, fitted with donated parts from the BMW M3 and M4, and even has an M xDrive AWD EV system. Could this be a preface to the next-gen M3, which BMW themselves have hinted might be going fully electric?
In celebration of 50 years of BMW M GmbH, the company is using its golden jubilee as an opportunity to transform towards electric mobility. And whilst doing so, BMW M aims to preserve the “unmistakable performance characteristics” of its models, and at the same time, “enrich them with new facets” – i.e. going electric.
From the image shared by BMW M, it seems that the kidney grille is fully open, as the prototype uses the front bumper of the M3, instead of the i4. The prototype BMW quad-motor EV also features wide wheel arches which permit the integration of specifically manufactured high-performance front and rear axle designs.
The front end of the vehicle features an adapted body strut concept taken from the BMW M3/M4 series for particularly high torsional rigidity in extremely dynamic driving situations. The arrangement of the radiator units is also based on the configuration developed for the current high-performance sports cars.
Currently undergoing road testing, BMW says that the M xDrive EV AWD system enables drivers to experience “entirely new performance characteristics”, thanks to its infinitely variable and fast distribution of drive torque. The four motors are connected to a central control unit that permanently monitors the driving condition and the driver’s wishes.
The ideal power transmission to the road is calculated within milliseconds from the values for the accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds, and other parameters. The signals for this are transmitted just as quickly and directly via a multi-plate clutch and differentials to the four motors.
BMW M GmbH Head of Development, Dirk Häcker says, “Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics. And we can already see that we can exploit this potential to the maximum so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility, and precision in the locally emission-free future.”
The high-performance character of the new drive system is also evident in the recuperation of braking energy. Right up to the limits of driving dynamics, the four motors can assume the function of a generator when braking.
Latest reports suggest that the next-generation BMW M3 will debut in 2025, built on the Neue Klasse platform. Before the end of 2022, the first electrified (hybrid) M car, the BMW XM will make its world debut.