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BMW Vision M Next: i8 successor falls victim to Corona

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F ans have been demanding it for a long time: a real sports car from BMW, ideally a thoroughbred racing car from M GmbH and not a contemporary 3-cylinder hybrid with narrow petrol-saving tires like the i8. BMW has sold a good 17,000 units of his since 2014, and the roadster, which was only introduced in 2018, has 1,700 units. Not bad for an exotic, but also no reason to urgently develop a successor - but that is not the intention of the innovation factory BMW i anyway.

The future study M Next also fulfills the hope for a real BMW Sports car only partially: it looks more like the fusion of an M sports car with the hybrid i8. Strictly speaking, the M-Next is a shortened, but wider and stronger i8. Well, the fact is nonetheless: Because of the Corona crisis and the associated drop in profits, BMW will do without a prestige object with low sales. M Next remains what it was - a study, nothing more.

The M Next study is 1.275 meters high (1.6 centimeters flatter than the i8), 2.013 meters wide and thus 7.1 centimeters wider than the i8, although the M Next has no exterior mirrors. At 4.582 meters, the concept car is also 10.7 centimeters shorter than the current 2 + 2-seater hybrid coupé. Despite the slightly longer wheelbase (2.82 instead of 2.80 meters), the concept car only has two seats. Visually, the length is missing, especially on the overhangs, which gives the M Next a steep rear end and a beefy appearance. Reminiscences of the M1 are recognizable, the orange on the rear is particularly reminiscent of the legendary BMW Turbo from 1972.

A BMW M with only four cylinders

What remains of the i8 is the hybrid Drive. But instead of the 3-cylinder with 231 hp, there is now a 'powerful 4-cylinder Otto engine', according to BMW, on the rear axle. The current generation of 4-cylinder turbo engines is used in various models and currently has a maximum of 306 hp - e.g. in the X2 M35i or in the new M 135i. That much more is possible is shown by Mercedes AMG of all places with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the new A45 AMG. It has 421 hp.

The M Next could have gone in the same direction, because BMW ascribes a system output of 600 hp, which means a top speed of 300 km /h and an acceleration time of 3, 0 seconds should range from 0 to 100 km /h. However, unlike the i8, two electric motors contribute to this - one on the rear axle, one on the front axle. This is where BMW sees the spearheads of PHEV technology.

The i8 sits on the front axleE-motor that feeds in 143 hp - if the motor at the rear of the M Next were equally powerful, the combustion engine would only need around 314 hp to get 600 hp together with the electric motors. However, a prerequisite would then be a suitably strong battery. BMW wants the M Next to come 100 kilometers purely electrically (with all-wheel drive). Consumption of less than 15 kWh should be associated with this; So that would be about the minimum net battery capacity - around 20 kWh gross would be more realistic. With the appropriate design and the two electric machines, decent recuperation could also be possible.

How electric is the BMW M Next?

BMW calls the M Next a study without reference to series production and therefore does not indicate any weight. Compared to the i8, the concept has one cylinder, an electric motor and two centimeters more wheelbase as well as a larger battery to tow (i8 battery capacity: 11.6 kWh), but it is shorter. In order to achieve less weight than the i8 (1,610 kilograms), the entire vehicle might have to be made of carbon (the chassis of the i8 is made of aluminum). The body of the M Next is made of recycled carbon, but BMW did not want to say whether there are still aluminum structures hidden under it. Just as little about the chassis technology. The two electric motors placed on each axle should be good for a lot of driving dynamics that can be regulated on the drive side - although perhaps not as effective as the sporty, all-electric drive technology with two motors for the rear axle, the BMW auto motor und sport already in the shell of a 5 Series .

Inside a real show car

Entering the concept car is a bit difficult and cramped, but inside the two passengers await A lounge-like seating landscape with a center console that grows organically from it and shells made of memory foam, which adapt to the occupants' body shapes in the most comfortable way. For the 1.91 meter tall editor, everything fits ergonomically correctly, without the need for adjustments. A good thing, because in the study, neither the steering wheel, seats nor pedals can be adjusted. Something could certainly be done for series production.

Behind the wheel, the M Next is much more visionary than with the drive technology. He informs his driver with displays on 3 levels: The one closest to the eyes is on the steering wheel - or should one say: connects two control sticks. This is followed by a transparent curved display on the steering column that runs high up where you would expect the instruments these days. And the third level is a head-up display with augmented reality elements that should extend over the entire windshield. That's what BMW probably means when the press release says: The Vision M Next 'gives an outlook on the brand's electrified futureBMW M, by focusing on the active driver: Intelligent technologies provide comprehensive and focused support, making him the ultimate driver. 'Unlike in the autonomous i Next, where they make the driver unemployed, assistance systems are supposed to have fun -have support.

If having fun means driving around corners fast, the M Next even provides support for any distracting trivialities: So that the elder spritzer doesn't spill on the center console on the fast lap in Hockenheim, they are Gyroscopic cup holder, in other words: With the aid of gyroscopic forces, you tilt the cups so that sip of liquid flies out of the curve.


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