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Will BMW's next generation of M-cars go hybrid?

Company bosses confirm a battery-powered boost would 'very much fit' their performance cars

Fans of fast BMWs, we bring potentially controversial news. Soon, there might very well be hybrid versions of BMW’s hallowed M cars.

Speaking to Top Gear at the Frankfurt motor show, company bosses acknowledged that plug-in hybrid, electrically boosted cars (a bit like the i8, above) from the M Division would be ‘a good fit’.

Before you rush over to your nearest BMW forum to vent your spleen, here’s why. BMW is planning on rolling out plug-in hybrid models across its entire range: this year you’ve seen the X5, next year we’ll see the 2-Series, then 3, then 7.

“Our target is to have plug-in hybrids in each of the model series,” explains vice president of Efficient Dynamics, Dr Marcus Bollig. When pushed on whether this could extend to the M Division, Bollig’s response was thus: never say never.

“From a dynamic driving point of view it [hybrid] would very much fit M cars,” Marcus told TG. “However, with a radically sporty car like the M car, the weight penalty is always the issue. If you take a car to the race track, then the weight is very crucial. I think as soon as the components get more performance, then it’ll be considerably easier.”

BMW wants to make clear that hybridising cars isn’t just about reducing consumption, but can add entertainment too. “We’re not talking about the power and the torque from the e-boost that you get from an electric engine,” a spokesman added, “which we should probably talk more about. We can explain to people that actually, it’s a lot of fun to drive an electrically supported car,” he said.

Of course, more research has to be conducted in the field of battery technology – long a barrier to efficient, lightweight hybrid tech – but Marcus noted the pace of development in batteries has accelerated in the last ten years. “We actually expect the energy density to double again in the next five years,” he said. So that’s the same storage for half the battery size and weight.

So it’ll be a while before we see a hybrid M car. But make no mistake – as soon as batteries get light enough, you will see them coming.

What’s your take on a hybrid M car – are you looking forward to potentially a new age of the M Division with instant electric boost, or does this signal the beginning of the end?

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