May 17, 2024

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It can distribute more than 1300bhp to all four wheels on electric M cars

The 2027 electric BMW M3 will feature “crazy” chassis control software for dynamic performance surpassing current BMW models.

BMW’s development boss Frank Weber recently confirmed that the upcoming electric M3 will be built on the Neue Klasse (NK) platform. This platform was previewed by a concept car with the same name at the Munich Motor Show. The electric M3 will arrive after the next-generation electric BMW 3 Series.

During a press conference, Weber stated that the upcoming M3 will be fully battery-electric. However, he also mentioned that the current petrol M3 will continue to exist alongside the new model for a certain period, which is necessary. The S58 six-cylinder engine currently used in the M3 is expected to continue production until at least 2030.

Weber provided some insight into the upcoming electric M3, stating that BMW’s ‘Heart of Joy’ control unit, which is a crucial aspect of Neue Klasse-based vehicles, will play a major role in creating a unique driving experience for electric BMW performance cars. This unit will also help to compensate for the lack of a powerful petrol engine and maintain the car’s character.

According to the speaker, a controller is a comprehensive unit that combines 20-30 years of experience in driving performance, chassis control, propulsion, and powertrain into one integrated system. “The technology inside that device is essentially a record of how to operate a vehicle. It’s not something we purchase, as the software is exclusive to us. This is why we emphasize its importance, as it allows for exciting features that will enhance your driving experience. For those of you who are passionate about driving, you’ll find some truly remarkable functions within the Heart of Joy.”

The Heart of Joy is a new control unit that BMW has developed as a successor to the ‘Hand of God’ unit used in the i8 hybrid sports car. It has been designed to support quad-motor drivetrains and can deliver variable amounts of power to each wheel as needed. According to Weber, the unit can provide up to one megawatt (1341bhp) of total power, but no specific target has been revealed for its use in the electric M3.

As part of a development program for the first electric M cars, BMW is testing a quad-motor drivetrain in a bespoke prototype based on both the BMW i4 and M4.

According to Weber, the goal is to showcase NK’s ambitious nature by introducing a performance model that goes beyond current standards. This will be released soon after the initial launch of the NK product line, and close to the start of production on the core model. This is important because people are interested in what M can do in the battery-electric world.

It is evident from our interactions with consumers that some of them believe that the M brand does not approve of certain products. However, we must exercise caution and inform them that we conduct thorough customer studies. Our findings indicate that M customers demand nothing but the best and highest-performing products.

Have you ever driven a vehicle with one million watts of performance and the capability to control each wheel independently? If so, you may have noticed a slight engine noise. Nevertheless, this won’t have any impact on the vehicle’s behavior, which is truly impressive. Last year during a media interaction Weber’s thoughts aligned with those of BMW M’s Frank Van Meel, who expressed his desire for customers to be shocked by any electric performance vehicles. Van Meel stated that the story of the M3 was everlasting. Each time the engine changes, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and a turbocharger, the story continues.

The M3 model may switch to electric power, but it will always retain its identity as an M car. Regardless of the type of powertrain, our cars are designed to provide the quintessential driving experience that stays true to the M brand. We have a legacy of 50 years of excellence, and we are committed to maintaining that standard for years to come.

According to his comments, BMW executives are not worried about losing the popularity of their high-performance vehicles as they transition to electric power. And it appears that their customers share the same sentiment. “Based on our conversations with customers, 90-95% don’t seem concerned about the type of powertrain we use. They simply want an M car. Of course, some customers may choose to opt out if we stop offering V8s, but I understand and respect their decision,” said van Meel.

During the Munich motor show, BMW sales boss Pieter Nota discussed the possibility of electric M cars having different names than their petrol counterparts. He mentioned that the Neue Klasse will have high-performance versions, similar to the M3 or M4. The success of the i4 M50 and i7 M70 has shown that M products have a positive impact on the brand and will continue to be a core aspect as BMW moves towards an electric future.

The current EVs from BMW, namely the BMW i4 M50 and BMW i7 M70, have power outputs comparable to those of the BMW M4 and BMW X5 M. However, they are more appropriately categorized as electric versions of M Sport cars such as the M440i.

According to Van Meel, a dedicated electric sports car would be a more focused proposition. The main priority for such a car would be to minimize its weight, which is a common concern for electric sports car engineers while maintaining the dynamic flair for which M cars are renowned.

According to him, investing in lightweight technology is crucial. He mentioned that electric vehicles tend to be heavier than their combustion counterparts. However, he also highlighted the benefits of electric cars, such as the ability to remove some sound insulation and the interesting option for engineers to position the battery at a lower weight.

According to van Meel, certain techniques are already being improved in production cars. He explains that the XM’s body control is exceptional due to its low center of gravity. This allows for soft springs and dampers without sacrificing performance.

During his speech, he delved into the practical implementation of BMW’s racing technology in the real world, highlighting its potential impact and benefits.

The new LMDh racer from the company, like the XM and upcoming M5, has a hybrid V8 engine. Although the powertrains are not the same, van Meel stated that the race car’s development will influence the future of M road cars. This is because long-distance racing and drivetrain technology are closely connected.

There are many lessons to be learned from the LMDh hybrid drivetrain, aerodynamics, cooling, and cooling system, which are similar to those in the XM, as per his words.

Van Meel discussed the benefits of electrification for an M car, highlighting how it improves torque and horsepower control for engineers. With electrified components in the drivetrain, control is more efficient, faster, and simpler compared to a combustion engine, particularly in racing.

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