Speaking with Australian media at the local launch of the new 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid (PHEV), Alexander Kotouc, head of product management for BMW GmbH, hinted that the worlds of both the performance-oriented ‘M‘ and future-focused ‘i‘ brands could one day merge.
“If you look at the plug-in hybrids, most of the cars we sell have the M Sport package,” he said, “people are willing to go into a car that is part-electric, but still want the looks and feel of an M Sports package.”
“If we built something like a high-performance car or a supersports electric car, why shouldn’t it be something like an ‘iM’ car?”
BMW has already delved into the electrified performance domain with the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car (above), which teams a 170kW/320Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a 96kW/250Nm electric motor to deliver combined outputs of 266kW and 570Nm.
With that futuristic grunt, the i8 is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds, while using just 2.1L/100km claimed on the combined cycle.
Additionally, the company’s iPerformance models are more than capable of hot-hatch-beating straight-line acceleration, so the thought of a hybrid M car doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea.
Kotouc added that, regardless of the powertrain, the company’s upcoming vehicles will always stay true to its ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ heritage.
“I promise you one thing, BMW will bring [EVs] that have equal kind of acceleration that makes it a BMW, and you can take it through corners on a racetrack and it will behave like a BMW,” he said.