NEWS: BMW M100: The Fastest, Most Expensive, M Vehicle Ever

October 7, 2010
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BMW's striking Vision EfficientDynamics concept is headed for production in late 2012 or early 2013 as a 450-hp, twin-turbocharged halo for the company's new environmental initiative. Theoretically at least, the production car, which may be badged M100 (shown here as an artist's interpretation based on spy photos), has what it takes to eclipse its most serious rivals. Extensive computer simulation suggests that it will outpace the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the Audi R8 5.2, and the Porsche 911 Turbo. Power will likely come from the twin-turbo in-line six that's being cooked up for the next M3 and will be transmitted to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch automatic transmission.
BMW M100 Front Three Quarters
How can such a car be considered at all environmentally sensitive? Well, it will be available in slightly tamer, greener form, tentatively dubbed the i100 ActiveHybrid. More important, though, the new sports car scores green points by sharing its platform and composition with Project i, BMW's ambitious range of minicars. In fact, the i100 and the M100 are a big reason why Project i needed to have a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. By moving the engine as close as possible to the rear wheels, BMW's packaging wizards created something most sports cars cannot offer: two usable, if not quite commodious, rear seats. Access to the second row shouldn't be a major issue, as the production car will feature the gull-wing doors from the 2009 Frankfurt show concept car. To stow a limited quantity of luggage, the top-hinged rear window lifts up. A second cargo receptacle can be found in the nose of the vehicle.
Like other Project i variants, the sports car consists of a carbon-fiber passenger compartment fixed to an aluminum chassis. While the M100 will be rear-wheel drive only, the i100 will feature an electric motor at each wheel, in addition to a smaller gas engine. What that engine will be is still up in the air. The engineers seem to favor a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, but top management, fearful that sports car buyers will shy away from such a small powerplant, may still tip the scales in favor of a turbo four-cylinder.
BMW M100 Front Three Quarters In Motion
Altogether, the i100 should put out nearly 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. Lithium-ion batteries to power the electric motors will be tucked away in the center backbone and near the firewall. The plug-in hybrid version of the i100 is said to offer a zero-emissions driving range of ten to thirty miles, depending on conditions.
BMW M100 Front Three Quarters In Motion
The M100 ditches the batteries and minicars. In fact, the i100 and the M100 are a big reason why Project i needed to have a rear-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. By moving the engine as close as possible to the rear wheels, BMW's packaging wizards created something most sports cars cannot offer: two usable, if not quite commodious, rear seats. Access to the second row shouldn't be a major issue, as the production car will feature the gull-wing doors from the 2009 Frankfurt show concept car. To stow a limited quantity of front motors but will still get an electric boost via supercapacitors. The supercapacitors, which are smaller and lighter than batteries, can store surplus energy from regenerative braking and then send it to the rear wheels to support full-throttle takeoff and passing maneuvers.
The M100 should be the fastest M car ever. In all likelihood, it will also be the most expensive. Prices are expected to start at about $225,000, with the i100 coming in at a more reasonable, but still very dear, $125,000 or so.
VOICE FROM THE INSIDE:
"We believe it makes sense to forge a link between our superfrugal city car and our high-performance sports car. By doing so, we define a terrain that offers plenty of opportunities for future in-between offerings."
442:
BMW's internal name for the M100 project. It was originally referred to as "444," until someone pointed out that in the Nazi era this stood for "Germany to the Germans!" The new code name shouldn't offend anyone, but it might confuse Oldsmobile owners and soccer fans.
BMW M100 Front Three Quarters

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