BMW Group head of technology communications Cypselus von Frakenberg confirmed during the 2013 IAA Frankfurt Motor show that no M engineers worked on the i8 hybrid supercar project.
Actually, von Frakenberg says there will be zero input from the M division in the foreseeable future for the entire “i” sub-brand, even though the three-cylinder turbocharged petrol and electric motor i8 essentially is competing on price and performance with several BMW M cars.
Talking with CarAdvice, he said: “It is separate – M and i. “It’s two different sub-brands, but there will be no ‘M’ i-car in the future. These [M] are the high performance cars with combustion engines, and on the other side you have the ‘i’ cars with electric drive. They won’t come together. I don’t think that it would make sense to mix these two sub-brands in one car. We have the Ms, we have the i, and we have the BMW, the core brand.“
Head of communication technologies Frankenberg concedes that the price of electric technology in the future may mean the BMW ‘i’ cars are competing more directly with the traditional M performance division. But he is also quick to point out that when this may happen is unknown. For now, in terms of pricing, at 126,000 Euro, he cites the Porsche 911 Carrera S as a car that buyers may cross-shop the i8 with, yet he acknowledges that for the price the i8 isn’t the quickest offering.