BMW M tests M3 with electric quad motor
Following the BMW M 50th anniversary celebrations, the Bavarian automaker’s high-performance car division has announced the start of testing of prototypes with all-electric powertrains. These vehicles are based on the BMW i4 M50, but feature quadruple electric motorization – four drive units – new electronic dynamics management system and optimized chassis configuration.
Although BMW’s i4 M50 and iX M60 sports EVs are already known, as is the i7 M70 scheduled for 2023, we have yet to see a full electric car designed by the M division. But the wait will soon be over. BMW M is strongly committed to the new generation of electric cars, aiming to provide an “emotional driving experience” in future zero-emission sports cars.
BMW’s first test vehicle for the development of “innovative dynamics and chassis control systems” is based on the i4 M50. However, it has some unique features. First of all, the exterior design. The prototype is close in design to the combustion-engine M3/M4, and like them it has bodywork inflated by track widening and special paint.
Surprisingly, the grille remains conventional (open) and the bumpers also preserve the air intakes, probably to improve the cooling of the electric motor(s) and other mechanical components.
On the other hand, the interior of the prototype reveals nothing about the final design, and is still full of measuring technology that makes it look like a laboratory.
More important changes are hidden. BMW M has developed a cluster of four electric motors with an integrated dynamics control system. Thus, in the new, fully variable M xDrive all-wheel drive system, each wheel is independently controlled by a central control unit according to various calculations. The suspension is also modified, with front struts coming from the M3/M4, providing greater torsional rigidity.
The manufacturer has not revealed the combined power output of the i4 prototype with quadruple engine, but impressive numbers are expected, referring to an “unprecedented level of performance. The original i4 M50 has twin electric motors, producing 544 hp and 795 Nm. As for range, expect an optimized brake energy regeneration device that will boost the power supply to the high-voltage battery.
BMW states that “thanks to the particularly sensitive torque dosage, significantly higher cornering speeds can be achieved, even on wet or snowy roads.”
In this context, Dirk Häcker, head of development at BMW M, stated: “Electrification opens up completely new levels in the implementation of typical M dynamics. We have already realized that it is possible to exploit this potential to the full, so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the combination of dynamism, between agility and precision, recognized to M in an emissions-free future.”
We don’t know if the BMW i4 M50 ‘quad-engine’ will result in a production model, but the technology it features will certainly make its way into future BMW M models.