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BMW M Boss Says M Performance Going Electrified

BMW has said that it expects up to 40 percent of its lineup to be electrified by 2025. Now the head of the M performance brand says that M will be powered up as well, with the brand headed to a fully electrified lineup by the end of the next decade.

Frank Van Meel, the CEO of BMW M spoke with Australia's Car Advice at the launch of the new BMW M2 and M5 Competition in Spain. "For sure, all M vehicles will be electrified by the end of the next decade," he said. Van Meel added that it would be complicated. "The important question is the timing question – what's the right time for that? If you're too late then you're too late, but if you're too early then you don't have the 'straight to the point' technology."

The key is the effect of electrification on performance. Van Meel said that today's electric components are heavy, and that "overall vehicle weight and power-to-weight" are key to the brand. So M won't go overly electric until it won't negatively affect performance. Van Meel doesn't say how far down the electric path the brand could go, since electrification means everything from a starter-generator mild hybrid to a fully electric vehicle.

Van Meel said "without going too deep into details, if we do an M Car in an electrified way, it should still drive like an M. If you look at M3, we have had four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and a naturally-aspirated high-revving V8. Now we have a turbocharged six and there is the question; is this the right concept or the right technology, or is there another one. But the real question from our customers was whether the M3 was driving like an M3."

Van Meel added that BMW's moving to a new modular fifth-generation electric architecture will give the brand more opportunities to add hybrid assistance.