BMW's M division will get plug-in hybrid first, full EV after 2025

The plug-in hybrid M should have around 600 horsepower.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing

As BMW works to electrify more and more of its products, we can't help but wonder how this will affect the company's M performance arm. The Vision M Next Concept, which debuted Tuesday, gives a conceptual glimpse at what's possible. But the reality is, a fully electric M car is still many years away.

"Beyond 2025, there will be also possibly M BEVs," Klaus Fröhlich, BMW's head of engineering, said in an interview Tuesday. Rather than a full EV, "a power PHEV is next for M."

Fröhlich says an M-branded plug-in hybrid would likely weigh between 3,500 and 3,800 pounds, and would have around 600 horsepower. For reference, the current M5 sedan has 600 horsepower, but weighs 4,370 pounds.

"Weight is key," Fröhlich said.

A fully electric M would no doubt be much heavier, simply because of the added weight of the batteries needed to achieve M-tastic performance. The company's EV development car, called "Lucy" internally, makes 720 horsepower, but also weighs 5,300 pounds.

"M is not about longitudinal acceleration only," Fröhlich said. Lighter weight makes for better handling, and that's a key component to every M car.

BMW Vision M Next concept doesn't let the robots take over completely

See all photos