Weber’s sentiments echo those of BMW M boss Frank van Meel, who told Autocar last year that, when revealing any electric performance car, he wants customers to say: “This is crazy, I didn’t see that coming.”
“The story of the M3 is everlasting,” said van Meel. “Every time we change the story of the engine, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and a turbocharger, the story continues.
“Maybe it will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the powertrain, you should always be able to drive our cars and know they are M cars. We have stood the test of time for 50 years and will continue to do so.”
His comments suggest BMW bosses are not concerned about the appeal of its high-performance products waning as they go electric, Neither, it seems, are its customers. “We’ve just been talking to customers and the feedback is that 90-95% don’t care what direction we take on powertrain. They just want an M car. Yes, some say that if we don’t do V8s, they’re out but that’s okay: I respect that,” said van Meel.
Intriguingly, BMW sales boss Pieter Nota, speaking to Autocar at the Munich motor show recently, hinted that electric M cars may not use the same names as today’s petrol equivalents: “With Neue Klasse, we set benchmarks and we will certainly also have high-performance versions of those cars which we now call an M3 or M4. M is also going electric, which we see with the success of the i4 M50 and the i7 M70. So M remains at the core of the brands into the electric future. These M products have a great halo effect for the brand, which is aspirational.”