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June 9, 2022

Where to next for BMW M division?

BMW M is embracing reinvention as it celebrates fifty years in 2022.

By Glenn Brooks

Engine cubic capacities and the number of cylinders are shrinking while electrification options, weight and power are rising for BMW’s Motorsport models. And, the sub-brand’s first SUV is coming.

Yet even as PHEVs and EVs are added to the ranks of M’s line-up the core ICE-only models remain a strong part of the division’s future. This report explores where M is now and where it’s headed.

Cars…

It’s a big year for BMW’s Motorsport subsidiary, the half-century celebrations including not only new models such as the XM SUV but a return to endurance racing with the LMDh formula’s M Hybrid V8.

The petrol-electric racer, recently revealed with a testing livery, is due to have its first race in January 2023 at the Rolex 24 hours. There will also be a Le Mans campaign.

In contrast to the petrol-electric systems powering the XM and M’s competitor in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the replacement for BMW M’s smallest model will be properly old-school. That means rear-drive, manual transmission, a six-cylinder engine and no hybrid powertrain.

G87, which is the internal code for the future M2 pictured above in an official preview shot, is expected to have a detuned version of the M4’s engine. Nonetheless, power will be impressive and it needs to be: the still-new M240i xDrive is fairly fast as well as having the advantage of AWD.

The M3 Sedan and M3 Competition Sedan, as well as the M4 Coupé and M4 Competition Coupé were announced in September 2020. Their public premieres were at that month’s Beijing motor show. Each of these should be facelifted in 2023.

Before the mid-life styling updates and in fact, fairly soon, BMW will add the M3 Touring. The first estate in the model’s history will make its public premiere at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later in June.

Something we haven’t seen, at least not yet, is an M4 Gran Coupé so that might also be on the way. Before then though, comes the M4 CSL. This coupe was revealed in May at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este with the first of 1,000 cars due to be in production at the Dingolfing plant in July.

Power and torque for the CSL are 405 kW (550 PS) and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) with kerb weight a claimed 1,625 kg due to multiple mass-saving measures.

We tend not to think of M cars when considering the 7 Series yet there is one, or least there will be: the M760e xDrive. This is one of two plug-in hybrids which will be added to the roster of variants in BMW’s biggest sedan from 2023.

Details for the PHEVs are as follows, although only one of them is an M:

  • 750e xDrive, 3.0-litre in-line six developing 228 kW (310 PS) and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) plus a 147 kW (200 PS) motor, combined outputs of 360 kW (490 PS) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft)
  • M760e xDrive, 3.0-litre in-line six developing 279 kW (380 PS) and 520 Nm (383 lb-ft) plus a 147 kW (200 PS) motor, combined outputs of 420 kW (571 PS) and 800 Nm (591 lb-ft)

BMW claims the M760e xDrive has a top speed of 250 km/h, will reach 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds and can reach up to 140 km/h in EV mode with a range of up to 84 km.

As with other cars in the new G70 7 Series range, the PHEVs should have an eight-year life cycle ending in the third quarter of 2030. The LCI (facelift) is likely to happen in the second half of 2026.

…and in ’23, an SUV

M division will gain the XM, its first SUV, in late 2022 or early 2023. The model was previewed by the Concept XM, a plug-in hybrid prototype revealed to the media in November last year.

As is promised for the production model, the concept was powered by the combination of a turbocharged V8 and a single motor. BMW claimed a range in EV mode of up to 80 kilometres.

Combined power and torque for the prototype were said to be 550 kW (748 PS) and 1,000 Nm (737 lb ft) but the first variant will have outputs of 480 kW (653 PS) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft).

A second version of the XM coming later should have the same powertrain as the concept. Non-V8 XMs are likely to be added in 2023 or 2024.

See also this feature: Multiple future models coming for BMW M

Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of Just Auto.

Future platform intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of Global Data’s Automotive Intelligence Center.

This was the fourth of five reports which form a series exploring selected future models for BMW AG’s brands. The first concerned BMW cars, and was followed by another on SUVs and a further one on BMW i models. Mini and Rolls-Royce will be the joint topics of the fifth report.

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