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BMW reveals radical new Vision M Next

From:Greg Kable 2019-06-25 20:06:53

Hybrid supercar concept hints at advanced gasoline-electric successor to 41-year-old M1

BMW’s M performance car division has made public its plans to produce a long sought after successor to the company’s 41-year-old M1 in the form of an advanced gasoline-electric supercar.

Previewed by the Vision M Next concept at a media presentation in Munich ahead of what BMW says will be a more formal debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, the carbon-fibre bodied coupe is planned to go on sale early next decade debuting a new 441kW plug-in hybrid drivetrain that is also earmarked to power other more conventional future BMW M models.

The new high-performance driveline, which develops well over double the power of that used by the current BMW i8, forms part of a drivetrain electrification program being overseen by BMW M’s new CEO, Marcus Flasch. It aims to use the Vision M Next as a spearhead for the introduction of the technology under BMW’s more broadly based Strategy One Next initiative that is set to place up to 25 electrified BMW models on sale by 2025.

The decision to develop a dedicated successor model to the M1 comes after almost three decades of conceptual studies into a mid-engined BMW.

Insiders at BMW’s headquarters in Germany say the production version of the 186mph two-seater is planned for introduction shortly before the launch of the second generation i8, suggesting the two cars could well share key structural components.

The low slung coupe is tied in with efforts to raise the profile of BMW’s M division operations in the face of competition from the likes of Audi Sport and Mercedes-AMG – both of which offer dedicated models in the form of the R8 and GT respectively.

  The most radical BMW M model yet draws on the wedge-shaped silhouette and tautly drawn lines of the original M1 produced between 1978 and 1981, providing it with a vaguely retro appearance, most notably around its high set rear end.

The throwback exterior design touches are combined with contemporary styling elements similar to those seen on the BMW Vision Next concept, including a distinctive new grille featuring a laser engraved pattern to its inserts, blade-like aerodynamics elements at the front, cutting edge OLED lighting, wheels measuring 21-inch in diametre up front and 22-inch at rear, rear view cameras and butterfly action doors.

Prominent ducts are integrated into the rear end bodywork to channel cooling air to a mid-mounted gasoline engine and electric motor while unpainted panels within the lower flanks hint at a lightweight carbon fibre bodyshell.

  “The Vision M Next sets a very clear and confident statement in appearance,” explains BMW brand design director, Domagoj Dukec, adding the 1972 BMW Turbo concept, the precursor the definitive Giugiaro-designed production M1, was among his main inspiration the new supercar.

Proposals for a convertible variant of the new BMW have also been put before BMW board members, though Internet Info Agency has been told there is no decision yet on whether it will join its coupe sibling in production, which is likely to take place at the company’s Leipzig plant in Germany.

The unveiling of the new BMW concept comes more than 11 years after the German car maker last paid homage to its original M car, with the unveiling at the M1 Homage at the annual Villa d’Este Concours in 2008. Despite early indications it would form a return of the original M car, its development was halted following the unveiling the Vision EfficientDynamics, which went on to form the basis of the i8.

At the heart of the Vision M Next, which is described as a turning point in operations of BMW’s M division, is a newly developed turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine that is also set to appear in various new BMW M models in coming years.

Mounted at the rear, the combustion engine is supported by two BMW developed-and-produced electric motors, one acting on the front axle and the other providing drive to the rear axle, in an arrangement conceived to provide both rear- and four-wheel drive depending on the drive mode.

Together, the three power sources are claimed to provide the upcoming production version of the Vision M Next with a maximum output of up to 441kW with an unspecified battery giving it an electric range of over 100km.

While theoretical at this stage, BMW puts the 0-100km time of the reborn M1 at 3.0sec and also quotes a top speed of 300km/h – figures that suggest it will be significantly faster than today’s i8, which uses a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder gasoline engine and two electric motors developing a combined 266kW.

Inside, the new BMW previews a new driver-centric cockpit design. It features a so-called boost pod featuring a top fuel dragster style steering wheel with integrated displays and a fingerprint sensor as a starter button, a high definition curved instrument display and an augmented reality supported head-up display unit as part of a new user experience system.

Editor:Greg Kable