- BMW is exploring ways to make its future electric M cars provide more driver feedback, according to the Australian website WhichCar.com.
- In an interview with the website, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel said he likes features such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N’s simulated gearchanges.
- For its first full-blown M-badged EV, BMW is also said to be considering other sensory stimuli such as using sounds or vibrations for feedback.
BMW wants its future M-badged electric vehicles to feel more like their internal-combustion counterparts. That’s because it believes driving EVs on a racetrack requires more sensory feedback than most electric cars currently offer, specifically performance-focused models.
The exception is the recently revealed 641-hp Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, which can simulate gearchanges and mimic the sound of a turbocharged four-cylinder. While some people might think such features are gimmicks, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel likes the way Hyundai thinks. He also told WhichCar.com—an Australian automotive website—that BMW is exploring similar ideas to make its first full-blown electric M car deliver more driver feedback.
While we’re still awaiting word on what exactly that future M-badged EV will be, BMW has already revealed that it’s testing a quad-motor prototype using a widebody i4 (pictured above) as the test mule. With a motor at each wheel, the German automaker has said it can more precisely control power delivery and instantly send torque to individual wheels.
That’s not something any gas-powered vehicle can do, but those electric motors also can’t convey the same sense of speed that ICE performance cars can either, and van Meel believes that feedback is critical on a racetrack. He told WhichCar.com, “… if you’re driving in an electric car with just one gear, making some kind of sound over seven octaves, you don’t know if you’re in the middle [of the revs] and if that’s the equal to 145km/h or wherever you are. So that actually will not work. And we need a solution for that.”
Along with possibly simulating gearchanges like with Hyundai’s N e-shift, the solutions that BMW is said to be considering deal with using acoustic cues or vibrations to provide driver feedback. How those vibrations will be created and whether those sounds will replicate an E90 M3’s high-revving V-8 or one of the brand’s great straight-sixes remains to be seen.
For now, all we know is that BMW doesn’t appear to be satisfied with the current state of EV performance cars, and we’re eager to see how they will address it down the road.
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Eric Stafford’s automobile addiction began before he could walk, and it has fueled his passion to write news, reviews, and more for Car and Driver since 2016. His aspiration growing up was to become a millionaire with a Jay Leno–like car collection. Apparently, getting rich is harder than social-media influencers make it seem, so he avoided financial success entirely to become an automotive journalist and drive new cars for a living. After earning a journalism degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper, the years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored jalopies finally paid off when Car and Driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a manual ’97 Chevy Camaro Z/28, and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.