Get Ready … Electrified BMW M And Mercedes AMG Cars Are Coming

Apparently nothing is sacred in the automotive world.

Those high-horsepower, gasoline-inhaling engines that emit a ferocious growl from the performance divisions of BMW and Mercedes-Benz will enevitably be electrified.

That is, “electrification” on the table includes hybridization, plug-in hybridization, and even all-electric versions of the enthusiast-oriented BMW “M” and Mercedes-Benz “AMG” cars.

These revelations come from separate reports out of the Detroit auto show confirming batteries and electric motors will be needed to comply with fuel economy and emissions standards in Europe and the U.S. set to go into effect over the coming years.

“It will happen, but the question is when is that going to happen,” said BMW’s performance arm chief, Frank Van Meel, to Autocar speaking of his company’s products. “Currently we still have a power-to-weight issue with electrification which makes that difficult to fit into a motorsports philosophy.”

Before going to a fully electric car, BMW will first introduce gasoline-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology that will prioritize performance rather than fuel efficiency.

“We already see the stop/start feature coming to M vehicles and the next step is electrification,” Meel said.

“At the end it will also be pure electric, but it’s going to take some time,” he added.

SEE ALSO: BMW i8 Coming With More Power, Longer Driving Range

At the moment, the big issue is the battery weight increase compared to the increase of performance.

Even though the M Division works closely with the electric Project i group, Meel ruled out the possibility of an M variant of the BMW i8.

“That wouldn’t make sense,” Meel told Auto Express.

“It’s two different directions,” he said.

“M is about uncompromised motorsport, whereas Project i looks into the future and is uncompromised efficiency.”

An AMG SLS Electric Drive prototype from a couple years ago.

An AMG SLS Electric Drive prototype from a couple years ago.


Over at Mercedes, the story is pretty much the same: Electric AMG models are a matter of when, not if.

“There will be an AMG pure electric car but I don’t know when, because otherwise AMG will disappear as a brand,” Mercedes research and development boss Ola Källenius said in an interview with Car & Driver.

Källenius confirmed that AMG cars will first see hybrid versions and ultimately EV AMG models, including potential versions of the company’s upcoming electric-only EQ sub-brand.

“I don’t think they are opposite extremes,” he told Car & Driver.

“Electrification will find its way into AMG, and for me it’s not impossible that you’ll have a fully electric version or an AMG variant of an EQ,” he said.

SEE ALSO: AMG Coupe Electric Drive To Be World’s Fastest Production Electric Car

Mercedes-AMG dabbled in electric cars earlier with the 2014 SLS AMG Electric Drive, a limited production car with 740 horsepower and 737 pounds-feet of torque under the hood.

As for hybrids, AMG can dip into the Mercedes-Benz parts bin of existing hybrid technology, and draw from the company’s F-1 racing program that uses a KERS flywheel that recovers more kinetic energy than any other hybrid system.

The fact is that electric BMW M and Mercedes AMG cars are a given, but the ferocious growls from powerful gasoline engines will be missed.

Auto Car, and Car & Driver


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