BMW says that as the electric vehicle and autonomous technology matures across its ‘i’ brand, it will seek to bring some of its learnings across its entire range, including the M performance brand, meaning future M models may have autonomous driving capability as well as electrification of their drivetrain in one way or another.
With the German brand massively emphasizing electric vehicles in its future path, Ian Robertson, member of the board of Management at BMW AG, told the press at today’s Paris motorshow that the brand is open to bringing that technology to M.
“BMW M is enjoying its most successful period in history, it has got the broadest range of cars, they are sold out around the world and ultimately I see [electrification] technology that can move in both directions here.” Robertson said.
How electric vehicles and M cars will go together remains to be seen, however it will no doubt start with mild hybridisation, allowing electric power to assist an internal combustion engine before models down the path take the leap to full electric, an inevitability in the automotive landscape.
As for autonomous technologies, Robertson said that just because a BMW is a performance model doesn’t mean it can’t utilise some form of autonomous driving technology.
“I think the two things can go together. I am driving the new 7 series, it’s semi-autonomous, I drive the first 25 km on the autobahn unrestricted. I drive at over 250km/h, it makes me feel good in the morning and evening – but the last 10km is always in bumper to bumper traffic. I stick it in a mode that allows me semi-autonomous, I don’t use my feet anymore, can take my hands off the wheel and can take my eyes off the road briefly.
“That for me is marrying the autonomous world with sheer driving pleasure, because not all of it in an urban environment is that much fun.”
Even so, Roberston emphasised that regardless of what BMW does with both EVs and autonomous technology, the brand’s DNA will remain at its core.
“We will still have sheer driving pleasure, the ultimate driving machine at the core of our DNA because that’s what we are.”
BMW will unveil its next-generation of EV and autonomous vehicles with the iNext range in 2021.