BMW M dropped a new video on YouTube today. It’s short–only one-minute-and-sixteen seconds to be exact. I’ll save you some time; fast-forward to the 50-second mark for the good stuff. You’ll see the new camouflaged test mule that BMW M is using to develop the “future of fully electric performance cars.” At the 57-second mark, there’s an all-electric all-wheel-drive burnout/donut maneuver (which looks like CG to me, but I’m not complaining).
There was a press release accompanying the video which provided further details. The high points being 1) the unveiling of the new i4 M50-based test platform, 2) the fact four electric motors are being used for the M xDrive four-wheel drive system, and 3) the new ways BMW M is integrating the vehicle’s control unit with the new powertrain for improved driving dynamics. Let’s delve into the details a bit to find out more.
Regarding the i4 M50-based test platform, it’s now a two-door coupe and BMW M modified the body with wide wheel arches that allowed the new high-performance front and rear axles to fit. Additionally, BMW M stated, “The front end of the vehicle features an adapted body strut concept taken from the BMW M3/M4 series for particularly high torsional rigidity in extremely dynamic driving situations. The arrangement of the radiator units is also based on the configuration developed for the current high-performance sports cars.”
While the i4 xDrive40 has a single electric motor and the i4 M50 has two, the M variant has an electric M xDrive four-wheel drive system with four electric motors. BMW M says, “The fact that all four wheels are each driven by an electric motor opens up completely new possibilities for infinitely variable, extremely precise and at the same time very fast distribution of drive torque. Within milliseconds, the power and torque of the spontaneously reacting electric motors can be dosed so precisely that the load demand signaled via the accelerator pedal can be realized at a level of dynamics that is unattainable using conventional drive systems.”
Dirk Häcker, Head of Development at BMW M, added “Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics…our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility and precision in the locally emission-free future.” I couldn’t think of a better last name for someone heading development of the first all-electric, highly computerized M cars–Häcker.
This is all achieved through the “highly integrated control unit” monitoring the countless driver, vehicle, and environmental inputs so that BMW M can stay true to their goal: “that future high-performance models will also be characterized by exactly what has rendered BMW M automobiles unmistakable for the last 50 years: a linear build-up of drive power and lateral dynamics that permits controllable handling right up to the limits.” BMW M, you had me at all-wheel-drive burnouts and donuts. —Mike Bevels
[Images courtesy of BMW.]