BMW tags all its concept vehicles with the ‘Vision’ prefix, and here on the ‘Vision’ M NEXT, that moniker may or may not be fully warranted as we’ve known for quite some time now that the Munich automaker is keen to fashion a replacement for the i8, their hybrid sports car.
The styling itself is divisive and almost purposely so. The bright reddish pink accents on the fascia that follow into the overly decorated rear wheels and quarter panel are, for lack of a better term, incredibly unflattering.
Unfortunately for them, rather than being a daring departure from the norm, these cumbersome efforts in pursuit of visual boldness detract from what could be an impressive first glimpse at a new flagship for the ‘BMW i’ sub-brand.
Take these all away and the M NEXT looks positively suave - say what you will of the stretched out nostrils that’s pervaded the marque’s design philosophy - in a way that blends the existing i8, with its mid-engine futuristic bent, and the legendary BMW M1 supercar from the 1980s, particularly with the slit-like vents that extend over the buttresses.
Despite it seeming like a false flag, there’s also plenty of speculation that the M NEXT will indeed emerge into production form as a full M model instead of being a direct successor to the i8. Should that be the case, there certainly are many commonalities to its set of ingredients, and would be the M division’s first electrified product.
For one, BMW is stuffing in an all-wheel drive hybrid powertrain in between the two axles. One that, with their powers combined, generates 441kW and enough pure thrust to make the 0-100km/h dash in less than 3 seconds.
This is achieve through a combination of a mid-mounted 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that feeds the rear wheels, though this augmentable by a single electric motor sandwiched between the gearbox and flywheel.
More power is delivered by an additional motor at the front which contributes to the overall output and allows the car to access traction it would otherwise lose if it had a conventional rear-drive layout. Unfortunately, BMW has not disclosed much else about the car.
Supposedly, the world will get a clearer picture of the M NEXT when BMW wheels it out again at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year, hopefully with more detailed fleshed out and perhaps a more concrete word on whether it will enter production, if we’re lucky.
We also sincerely hope BMW dispenses with the visual drama and partly red motif and have the M NEXT look as dashing and desirably retro as they can possibly make it.