Rumor: 2020 M3 & M4 Hybrid Being Developed

Due to increasingly tough efficiency regulations worldwide, BMW plans to electrify all of its offering within ten years. That statement isn’t new mind you. We’ve heard that several times from the company’s executives over the past 12 months. What we haven’t heard until now is how that will extend to the performance oriented M brand. The Detroit Bureau spoke with executives (some clearly on the assumption of anonymity) about the new M3 and M4 and got some surprising details. Not surprising in what they say, but that they were willing to say it so early in the planning stages of the car.

According to the sources BMW will use the current inline six turbocharged powertrain as the basis for the new car. Power targets are unknown however BMW did say that their the torque increase could be about 73b-ft in total. But how they get that is the interesting part. Sources told the Detroit Bureau that they plan on using a system similar to the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) that BMW pioneered in F1 years ago. This system could also power the car on electricity alone for up to 20 miles – side-stepping proposed regulations that would keep internal combustion powered cars outside of some European city centers.

While all wheel drive rumors persist, the sources went on to say that the M3’s petrol engine would remain rear wheel drive only. But according to the sources:

>”The hybrid concept could be used to offer what some call through-the-road all-wheel-drive. The rear wheels of a vehicle would be driven by gasoline power, as is the case on most BMW models today. But rather than using a driveshaft to also power the front axle, the forward wheels would be electrically driven,” the BMW M executive explained. “That could mean either one or two electric motors, the latter offering the ability to torque vector. In that case, more power is applied to the outer wheel during a turn to enhance cornering stability.”

What about weight? The current M3 and M4 have been optimized in dramatic fashion to reduce weight. Wouldn’t adding batteries make that all for naught? Batteries are becoming both lighter and cheaper and BMW’s hope here is that, if the trend continues, they could add enough for the system to be a huge boost to the car without adding too much weight. On top of that the next 3 Series body in white is expected to make use of CFRP and other weight saving materials making the basic structure lighter than before. Assuming M carries over the weight saving techniques used on the current car (plus a few more) we could see something close in weight to the F80 and F82.

The next M3 and M4 will likely debut around 2020

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  • CJ

    I understand that electric cars are the way of the future but I cant help but think that future M cars will sound like the horrible sounding Formula E cars.

    I am also wondering how well these cars will handle. I know Bimmerfile did the review of the Tesla P85 and you said you were surprised that the car had ok handling, but M cars are supposed to have great handling. Anyway still a long time till 2020.

  • The i8 handles well. While the future will be different, it will still be fun. The electric drivetrain and batteries allows for a lower Cg, so handling on some electric cars is much, much better than you’d expect.

    We’ll see some interesting tech in the next few years: electric drive for superchargers and turbochargers. I can’t wait for the eturbos, because the launch characteristics on the current crop of turbo BMWs is somewhat lacking (the torque actually comes on too soon for a smooth launch, imagine that!) with an eturbo, you can spool it up before the car is much off idle, long before the exhaust could spin up the spool, dual scroll or no.

    And the sound of speed is sure changing! That’s for sure.