BMW M begins testing of fully electric performance cars

BMW M to bring true performance to electric vehicle segment

BMW M has commenced testing of all-electric high-performance vehicles with the prototype drivetrain and chassis control systems hitting the road. 

The concept revolves around a four-wheel drive system that utilises four electric motors and an integrated driving dynamics control system, which work together to provide a brand new level of performance and driver satisfaction for future high-performance sports cars.

With this completely new drive concept, BMW M are relying on the their five decades of BMW M experience to catapult BMW’s motorsport division into the world of emission-free mobility. Innovative control systems have been designed specifically to allow the electric motors to offer the dynamics, agility and precision that has come to be expected from high performance BMW M performance cars.

The test unit tasked with carrying the appropriate genes of typical M dynamics and electric mobility is based on the BMW i4 M50, a purely electrically powered coupe that has been created with a modified body in typical BMW M style. Wide wheel arches allow for the integration of specially manufactured high-performance front and rear axle designs.

The fact that each of the four wheels are driven by an electric motor opens up completely new possibilities for infinitely variable, extremely precise and at the same time very quick distribution of torque. When the accelerator is planted it takes just milliseconds for the power and torque of the electric motors to be delivered in a manner that is unattainable using conventional drive systems.

The four motors are connected to a central, highly integrated control unit that constantly monitors driving condition and driver demand. The ideal power transmission scenario is continuously calculated by taking values from the accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds and other parameters.

This will allow drivers to be able to experience entirely new levels of performance even in highly demanding situations or adverse road conditions. Remarkably, electrification is opening up completely new degrees of freedom for creating M-typical dynamics.

An extensive and thorough testing regime is crucial to ensure that future high-performance models will feature the same characteristics that have made BMW M automobiles unmistakable for the last 50 years, such as linear power delivery and lateral dynamics that permit controllable handling right up to the limits. Now significantly higher corner speeds can be achieved as the vehicle steers effortlessly and without a tendency to understeer, as the drive for the outside rear wheel has already been increased parallel to the steering angle.

Before the end of this year production of the BMW XM, the first high-performance car featuring a V8 M hybrid drive will commence. BMW are also looking forward to entering the LMDh category of the North American IMSA endurance racing series, in which BMW will campaign an eight-cylinder hybrid turbo engine in Daytona and at other events in 2023, as well as in the WEC racing series at Le Mans from 2024

The BMW i7 M70, the first BMW M model based on an all-electric luxury sedan is expected to be available as early as 2023.