BMW is on the verge of a massive transformational programme that will see it introduce 25 new electrified models by 2023, two years ahead of the original schedule. According to Automobile Magazine, one of the 25 cars is the M140e M Performance, said to be launched in 2020.
While it isn’t the full fat 1M, the M140e plug-in hybrid could get an output of 400 hp and 500 Nm of torque, putting it right within the scope of the Mercedes-AMG A 45. Apparently, sources say this will be attained via a 300-hp 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol that’s married to an 80-hp electric motor, although it’s unclear if the car will be front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
A 35-kWh lithium ion battery pack will supply juice to the electric motor, while a high-tech water-injection system aids cooling, as well as improve performance and efficiency. On a full charge, sources report an estimated pure electric driving range around 80 km to 110 km, which is about standard for PHEVs in this era.
Currently, the range-topping F40 1 Series is the M135i xDrive, which is powered by a non-electrified 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol unit developing 306 PS and 450 Nm. An eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic is standard, as is BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.
In terms of performance, the hot hatch takes just 4.8 seconds to complete the zero to 100 km/h sprint, and it will max out at an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. The obvious rival here is the Mercedes-AMG A 35, which by comparison, takes 4.7 seconds to complete the same century sprint. The A 35 uses a 2.0 litre turbo four-pot with 306 PS and 400 Nm, as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Meanwhile, BMW’s R&D division is experimenting with next-generation supercapacitors that can apparently sustain extreme discharge voltages, severe temperature variations, repeated boost action, and successive high-energy supercharging. At the going rate, it’s possible that range-topping BMW models will receive some form of electrification to boost performance, and that includes those from the ballooning BMW M family.