BMW has recently said it thinks up to 40 per cent of the cars it produces by 2025 may be powered by some form of pure electric or hybrid powertrain, and now we have confirmation that M Division is set to get in on the act.
"For sure, all M vehicles will be electrified by the end of the next decade," Frank Van Meel, M's boss, told Australian journalists at the launch of the updated BMW M2 and new M5 Competition in Spain.
"That's going to happen step-by-step. 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.
"Look at today's electrification components, they are quite heavy and, for us as a motorsports company, overall vehicle weight and power-to-weight ratio is key," he said.
Fools rush in, so it makes sense that BMW's performance arm is in no hurry. But then Van Meel admitted that the company's shift to its new modular fifth-generation architecture, which will include plug-and-play electrification components including what is currently known internally as the "HEAT" motor-gearbox, will give opportunities to add hybrid assistance sympathetically.
"Without going too deep into details, if we do an M Car in an electrified way, it should still drive like an M," he said. "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. I don't really care if we use a HEAT or another configuration, it should drive like an M3... The basic target is not so much the components of the technology itself. It's more the philosophy."
So it’s not if – it’s when.