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BMW M shows its supercar Vision

300km/h plug-in hybrid Vision M Next shows BMW’s supercar intent

26 Jun 2019

BMW has reimagined its four-decades-old M1 supercar in the shape of the 300km/h Vision M Next sports coupe concept revealed at the Munich company’s #NextGen future-technology extravaganza in Germany this week.


The plug-in hybrid, carbon-fibre-bodied two-seater is expected to be one of 25 electrified models to be put into production by 2023 as BMW accelerates its shift to electric drivetrains to meet stringent emissions obligations, especially in Europe.


BMW expects sales of electrified vehicles – both plug-in and full electric – to soar by more than 30 per cent a year up to 2025.


According to BMW AG board of management chairman Harald Krueger, the brand is moving up a gear in the transition to sustainable mobility to make the company fit for the future.


“Over the past two years, we have consistently taken numerous decisions that we are now bringing to the roads,” he said. “By 2021, we will have doubled our sales of electrified vehicles compared with 2019.


“We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in 2023 – two years earlier than originally planned. We expect to see a steep growth curve towards 2025.


“Sales of our electrified vehicles should increase by an average of 30 per cent every year.”


BMW’s full-electric range will grow to five models by 2021, with the current i3 being joined by the British-built Mini EV this year, the Chinese-built iX3 in 2020 and then the German-built iNext and i4 in 2021.


PHEV models on the launch pad include a new petrol-electric 5 Series and 2 Series Active Tourer this year, then the X1 and 3 Series Touring in 2020.


BMW announced that all of its plug-in hybrids will be equipped with an eDrive Zones function that will use sat-nav mapping to automatically switch the powertrain to electric mode when entering European electric-only city zones from next year.


Although BMW has not confirmed that the Vision M Next will enter production, neither has it ruled it out.


Britain’s Autocar speculates that it will be produced as a limited-edition supercar as a precursor to the next i8 that is expected to share much of the technology.


The Vision M Next is said to be powered by a combination of a mid-mounted 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine behind the seats, linked with two electric motors – one front and one back.


Combined peak power is a claimed 440kW, pushing the lightweight sports coupe to 100km/h in about three seconds and onto a top speed of 300km/h.


Electric driving range is 100km, making it one of the more useful PHEVs to date.


Depending on the driving mode, the Vision M Next can be driven in two- or four-wheel drive.


The wedge shape of the coupe has echoes of the BMW M1 that was built between 1978 and 1981. The kidney grille is still front and centre but vastly bigger, while tiny LED lights replace the pop-ups of the old M1.


The M1 was powered by a mid-mounted 3.5-litre inline six-cylinder engine that developed 204kW and 330Nm, pushing the coupe to 260km/h.


While the hybrid i8 is considered the spiritual successor to the M1, many pundits consider the performance produced by its 1.5-litre engine and twin electric motors short on supercar status.


Apart from the concepts at the #NextGen show, BMW is also showing its new four-door 8 Series Gran Coupe and 3 Series Touring.

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