Munich. BMW M GmbH is opening the next chapter in its transformation towards electric mobility. With the first test drives of a so-called concept test vehicle for innovative drive and chassis control systems, a multidisciplinary team of developers is now putting to test the hardware and software solutions designed for future fully electric high-performance cars. The concept testing focuses ona four-wheel drive system comprising four electric motors and an integrated driving dynamics control system, which together provide an unprecedented level of performance and experience. 

With the completely new drive concept, BMW M GmbH isunderscoring its development expertiseand, therefore, also its abilityto transfer the essence of the letter M into the world of locally emission-free mobility. The purely electric drive system is combined with innovative control systemsto redefine the combination of dynamics, agility and precision that is characteristic of BMW M automobiles in a high-performance sports car. 

50 years of BMW M GmbH: The future begins in the anniversary year. 

Exactly 50 years after its foundation, BMW M GmbH isin the midst of a transformation process towards electric mobility, which not only preserves the unmistakable performance characteristics of its models, but at the same time enriches them with new facets. The anniversary year has already seen the market launch of the all-electric BMW iLi MS0 performance car, and the BMW iX M60. In addition, the BMW i7 M70, the first BMW M automobile based on an all-electric luxury sedan, is to follow as early as next year. 

“On our anniversary, we are not only looking back, but above all also looking forward,” says Franciscus van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH. “Before the end of the year, production of the BMW XM, our first high-performance car featuring a VB M hybrid drive, will commence. Together with our fans all over the world, we are also looking forward to our entry into the LMDh category of the North American IMSA endurance racing series, in which we will also be competing with an eight-cylinder hybrid turbo engine in Daytona and at other events in 2023,as well as in the WEC racing series at Le Mans a year later.” 

Extremely precise, extremely variable: M xDrive four-wheel drive system with four electric motors. 

The core of the revolutionary high-performance drive system now making its debut on the road in the test vehicle is an electric M xDrive four-wheel drive system with four electric motors. The fact that all four wheels are each drivenby an electric motor opens up completely new possibilities for infinitely variable, extremely precise and at the same time very fast distribution of drive torque. 

Within milliseconds, the power and torque of the spontaneously reacting electric motors can be dosed so precisely that the load demand signalled via the accelerator pedal can be realised at a level of dynamics that is unattainable using conventional drive systems. This means that the driver is able to experience entirely new performance characteristics even under extremely demanding conditions such as in highly dynamic situations or adverse road conditions. “Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics,” says Dirk Hacker, Head ofDevelopment at BMW M GmbH. “And we can already see that we can exploit this potential to the maximum, so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility and precision in the locally emission-free future.” 

Highly integrated control unit for vehicle dynamics and drive control. 

The precision during the transfer of drive torque in particular benefits significantly from the electric M xDrive four-wheel drive system. The fourmotors are connected to a central, highly integrated control unit that permanently monitors the driving condition and the driver’s wishes. The ideal power transmission to the road is calculated within milliseconds from the values for the accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds and other parameters. The signals for this are transmitted just as quickly and directly via a multi-plate clutch and differentials to the four motors, which are able to implement them immediately and precisely. 

The high-performance character of the new drive system is also evident in the recuperation of braking energy.Right up to the limitsof driving dynamics, the four motors can assume the function of a generator when braking before a bend, for example, and feed electricity back into the high-voltage battery. 

The BMW Group 

With its four brands BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. The BMW Group production network comprises 31 production and assembly facilities in 15 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries. 

In 2021, the BMW Group sold over 2.5 million passenger vehicles and more than 194,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax in the financial year 2021 was € 16.1 billion on revenues amounting to € 111.2 billion. As of 31 December 2021, the BMW Group had a workforce of 118,909 employees.  

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company set the course for the future at an early stage and consistently makes sustainability and efficient resource management central to its strategic direction, from the supply chain through production to the end of the use phase of all products. 

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