Among the sales of Audi E-tron models, on average, one RS E-tron GT is sold for every three units.
Sebastian Grams, general manager of Audi's high-performance sports line, once revealed to the outside world that performance car enthusiasts' acceptance of pure electrification far exceeded Audi's internal expectations.
▲ Sebastian Grams
The maturity of motor and battery technology has caused the Maillard reaction in electrified and high-performance models. Putting aside the paranoia about traditional internal combustion engines, we can see the vast market space behind pure electric high-performance models. Audi is not the only luxury car company betting on pure electric performance. BMW will also bring its M series models into the pure electric world.
According to Frank Weber, head of product development, BMW will officially launch the next-generation M3 in 2027. The new M3 will provide additional pure electrification solutions, and the M series models will accelerate their leap into the pure electric era.
Internal combustion engines are on an equal footing with electric motors, and the countdown to BMW's internal combustion engine era has begun.
The most direct and violent form of pure electricity
In the early days of the release of the new BMW 5 Series, BMW had the idea of electrifying M models. However, BMW's internal team at that time still had strong concerns about electrification performance. It was difficult for them to ensure that the pure electric solution could support the performance of the M series models and meet the team's psychological expectations.
Therefore, after repeated weighing, BMW at that time left a way out for the electrification of the M series. The next-generation M3 will choose between three options: "conservation of fuel", "switching hybrid transition" and "direct pure electrification". Hybrid transition seems to be the safest solution.
▲Frank Weber, Product Development Director
The situation has undergone a "dramatic change" in a roundtable interview in Portugal not long ago. Frank Weber, BMW's head of product development, publicly confirmed in an interview with the media that the next-generation BMW M3 will launch a pure electric version in 2027 (which will be sold in parallel with the fuel vehicle). ), compared to the hybrid transition, BMW chose the most direct and violent electrification method in the high-performance line. It seems that BMW has found the "ultimate answer" for high-performance electric.
The turning point in BMW's internal attitude occurred with the new Neue Klasse pure electric architecture.
▲ Vision Neue Klasse
At the Munich Auto Show in early September, BMW officially launched the pure electric concept model Vision Neue Klasse. The new car is based on BMW's pure electric architecture Neue Klasse and is derived from the BMW i Vision Dee concept model debuted at CES 2023.
▲ Concept model BMW i Vision Dee in CG
According to BMW, Vision Neue Klasse is "close enough" to mass production, and the new BMW 3 Series in 2025 will also be supported by Neue Klasse electrical architecture for mass production. Behind BMW's slightly radical electrification strategy is BMW's comprehensive investigation of Neue Klasse.
In addition to architectural development around pure electric models, the internal team also put forward more stringent requirements for battery performance. BMW is expected to invest US$1.4 billion (equivalent to about 10 billion yuan) to modernize the Shenyang factory and establish a new battery production line; bets are also being made in Mexico at the same time, and BMW will build the battery assembly production line of the Mexican factory. As much as US$541 million (approximately RMB 3.934 billion) was invested online.
Everything is aimed at achieving mass production of a new generation of batteries faster. Combining various intelligence sources, BMW will abandon the battery packs used in all current models and switch to a new cylindrical structure battery with a 20% increase in energy density while leaping into the next generation of pure electric platforms. The new battery can bring 30% of battery life. Mileage improvement.
BMW believes that the new pure electric architecture and higher-performance battery performance can fully meet the basic performance needs of high-performance models. Even under pure electric conditions, the sports performance of high-performance line models can be even better. Frank Van Meel, CEO of BMW M Series, claimed that the Neue Klasse platform will have a power potential of at least 1,000kW, which is enough to push M Series models to another level of performance.
In addition, BMW has initially revealed the team's actions on the pure electric M3. The "Heart of Joy" control unit on the new architecture will take over the all-electric four-motor power system of the pure electric M3, and provide available power to each of the four wheels according to road conditions. Thanks to the variable power driven by 4 independent motors, the new pure electric M3 will have a peak power output of more than 1,000kW, which is converted into approximately 1,340 horsepower.
▲ Picture from: evo
If we could do an M model as a purely electric one it's clear that it has to be better than the current one.
Frank Van Meel, CEO of BMW M Series, commented.
He believes that the pure electric version of the BMW M series must have better performance than the original model. This is also the development "bottom line" that BMW's internal team must follow when updating the M series.
▲ Picture from: WHICHCAR?
In addition to breakthroughs in performance, BMW also paid attention to the driving pleasure of car owners. BMW does not feel that pure electrification deprives driving pleasure. On the contrary, they believe that surging driving pleasure is not exclusive to internal combustion engines. The independent drive motor on the new pure electric M3 can meet the owner's customized driving needs to the greatest extent. The outstanding maneuverability and playability can make up for the lack of roar of the internal combustion engine.
Bottom-up, compete in another dimension
BMW has put the pure electrification of M models on the agenda so quickly, exceeding most people's expectations. But radicalness and decisiveness do not mean lack of caution, especially for the M series. Mistakes are not allowed in the important branch line that represents BMW's highest power technology level. BMW still maintains a wait-and-see approach to the Neue Klasse architecture.
Compared with Audi, which is practicing electrification from the top down, BMW's high-performance electrification actions are always relatively cautious.
As we mentioned before, the first model equipped with the Neue Klasse pure electric architecture will be the new BMW 3 Series in 2025. In other words, after the Neue Klasse architecture is successfully mass-produced on the i3, BMW will allow the M3 model to follow up in mass production. From the bottom up, using mass-produced models to test the quality of the new architecture can be regarded as a slightly less "radical" aspect of BMW's "radical" approach.
Interestingly, Audi and BMW have moved the competition between high-performance sports models from fuel to pure electric fields. The two traditional luxury car companies have changed the dimension to continue the competition.
According to relevant statistics, in the past 2022, BMW M Power series models sold a total of 3,824 units in China, while the Audi RS series only sold 982 units. After adding the S series sales, Audi's sports line product sales data It reached 4,417 units, slightly surpassing the BMW M Power series.
In the field of fuel, there is still a big sales gap between Audi's high-performance models and the BMW M Power series. But if the competition is focused on pure electric models, will the situation change?
▲ Audi RS E-tron GT
▲ Picture from: TopGear
The answer is probably "yes". Each has its own eye. It is left to everyone to judge whether the internal combustion engine performance of BMW or Audi is better. One obvious fact is that high-performance sports line models have crossed over from internal combustion engines to electric motors, and the existence of electric motors will narrow the gap between models. Hardware tuning gap. It's hard to tell the difference in terms of performance. Whoever has a greater electric differentiation point will be the "decisive point" in terms of sales.
In this regard, Audi, which is good at shaping high-performance sports appearance, may be better. Let's raise an interesting conjecture. After bringing the competition to the purely electric dimension, will BMW's M Power weaken its own advantages?
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