Munich - The motoring world is shifting rapidly towards electrification and no car brand will be left untouched in this transition.
For those with a more purist mindset it means saying goodbye to purely combustion engined sports cars and this will be happening rather quickly at BMW’s M Division.
In an interview with Bimmer Today, BMW M division boss Frank van Meel revealed that the new-generation M2, which is due soon, will be the last BMW M car without any form of electrification.
“The BMW M2 will definitely be a purist driving machine with its straight-six and rear-wheel drive. We will see increasing electrification in other vehicles, of course in different forms, starting with the 48-volt electrical system and plug-in hybrids to fully electric drives,” Van Meel said.
“From this point of view, the M2 will be the last M with a pure combustion engine drive and also without electrification scope such as a 48-volt on-board network, yes.”
This of course means that BMW is far from done with internal combustion engines, but going forward the company will reduce the number of ICE powertrains and all of them will have some form of hybridisation.
The upcoming BMW XM flagship SUV, for instance, will see a newly developed V8 petrol engine pairing up with a plug-in hybrid electric system to deliver outputs of 480kW and 800Nm. This will make it BMW’s most powerful production model ever.
While electrification is inevitable for future BMW models, it doesn’t appear that the company has given up on manual gearboxes just yet. In the same interview with Bimmer Today, Van Meel admitted that there were still a sizeable amount of manual fans in the M2’s segment, with stick shift models accounting for around 50% of M2 sales in the US, for instance. It would seem that the manual gearbox is safe in this model for at least another generation.
BMW recently confirmed that the new M2 would go into production at its Mexican plant towards the end of 2022.
Not much else about the new model has been officially confirmed as yet, but it is expected that it will once again employ a detuned version of the turbocharged six-cylinder engine that does service in the M3 and M4.
But it might not be detuned to the same degree as before, with some rumours even suggesting an output of around 365kW for the most potent variant.
These remain rumours, however. We’ll have to wait until later in the year to find out all the juicy details.