Future BMW M x-Drive Set to Deliver Ultimate EV Dynamics
BMW M has let it slip that it is working on a new M x-Drive four-electric motor all-wheel drive system for its future electric M cars. The Bavarian carmaker’s performance division posted the YouTube video below confirming that it is currently road testing a vehicle with integrated vehicle dynamics control on the road.
Visual and Under the Skin Changes
The BMW i4 M50-based test unit clearly gains both visual and under the skin tweaks. The electric coupe’s wheel arches are flared, clearly to accommodate completely new front and rear axle designs. The car also adopts the M3 and M4’s highly torsional front body strut concept for best rigidity. The test unit retains the current production car’s gaping grille.
But it’s those under the skin changes that are the most intriguing here. Designed to achieve ultimate torque vectoring, BMW M x-Drive all-wheel drive comprises four electric motors, one on each wheel. Each motor has its own multi-plate clutch and differential and each is run by a central control unit.
M x-Drive CPU Works it All Out
The CPU considers throttle pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration and wheel speed. It analyzes all parameters in millisecond precision to calculate the ideal required power and torque outputs of each motor.
This allows the CPU to increase electric torque output on the rear wheel on the outside of the corner, in parallel with steering angle inputs. BMW M promises that its new four-electric motor all-wheel drive will push controlled handling limits, while also achieving significantly higher cornering speeds on wet, snowy and gravel roads.
M x-Drive Also Charges the Battery
The four electric motors also allow braking energy recuperation within the new drive concept. The motors invert to act as generators on braking, to feed the car’s high-voltage battery. The teaser video also suggests that the M x-Drive test car can perform a tank turn, although the stunt in the video appears to be a computer-generated sequence.
It is remains to be seen which future BMW M EVs gain this M x-Drive technology, but like existing petrol M models’ limited slip differentials and decouplable front differentials, we’d expect it to become a regular future M party trick.