The BMW M division is pushing towards electrification like the rest of the industry. M’s plan for its models includes building hybrids and pure electric vehicles, and it’s the latter that BMW wants to highlight today. The M Division announced that it had begun testing its new drive and chassis control systems in a modified i4, which involves a four-motor powertrain.
Each motor powers one wheel, giving the i4 tester all-wheel drive and precise control of torque delivery. According to the automaker, the four-motor M xDrive powertrain will allow the driver to experience “entirely new performance characteristics”. A short teaser video shows the test vehicle performing a (fake) tank turn, likely teasing the car’s future capabilities.
Drive and chassis control systems calculate the power needed using inputs such as throttle pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speed and others settings. This ensures that the right amount of torque reaches each wheel for optimum performance. BMW M discovered one of the advantages of the powertrain from the first kilometers of road tests, discovering that the car can reach significantly higher cornering speeds.
BMW began development of the powertrain virtually before moving to the test benches. Now the company is ready to test hardware and software in the real world. The aim is to ensure that these models possess the characteristics that have made BMW M so iconic over the past 50 years – “a linear build-up of drive power and lateral dynamics that enables controllable handling to the limits “.
BMW based the test vehicle on the i4 M50, but it receives some modifications. The automaker has widened the fenders in the traditional M fashion. We don’t see the interior, but BMW says it’s equipped it with measurement technology to capture every bit of driving data.
BMW did not say when the powertrain would go into production, as the company strives to make its electric vehicles look like an M car. The brand turns 50 this year, and the electric i7 M70 could follow next year. However, we will wait for the arrival of the first fully electric M car.