► Project Katharina: M division goes electric
► New BMW iM2 lined up for golden anniversary
► How the G42 2-series will spawn a racy EV
It was inevitable really. BMW, one of the early pioneers of premium progressive EVs, is under pressure to electrify its entire range - and that includes its rortier M division sports cars. Which explains why you’re looking at our exclusive rendering of next year's top-secret new BMW iM2.
It’s an all-electric version of the G42 2-series, due in 2022. Developed under the Project Katharina codename, the new iM2 basically takes an M2 CS, electrifies it and fast-forwards to the next generation.
For the full story, make sure you read the May 2021 issue of CAR magazine, with a deep-dive on the next generation of electric BMWs.
Inside M division: a detailed guide to BMW's go-faster department
BMW M division 50th anniversary
The Garching go-faster department is preparing to celebrate its golden anniversary in 2022 and its first electric vehicle (EV) is a fitting birthday present to itself. There has been some debate internally over whether to electrify the smaller M2 (depicted in our artist’s impression by Andrei Avarvarii) or the larger M3/M4 duo, but the lighter weight and smaller footprint of the hot 2-series is the current favourite.
Sign up to the CAR newsletter here for more exclusive intel, news and reviews
And what a monster this is! One megawatt of raw power – that’s 1000kW, or 1341bhp. Think about that for a moment. This awesome kraftwerk consists of four electric motors, one per wheel. Together they offer a radically advanced level of torque vectoring hitherto available only to the cars you see in cartoons. This constantly variable, four-figure, on-demand punch is supported by the most extreme battery technology conceived to date at the BMW group’s future-energy campus on the outskirts of Munich.
Although this is all still top-secret stuff, reliable sources tell CAR magazine that Katharina has already lapped the Nordschleife in under seven minutes, besting the hardly underpowered M8 Competition by more than 40 seconds and putting the electric M2 in Porsche Taycan Turbo S territory.
We don’t yet know how many laps the future uber-BMW can run before being black-flagged by excessive tyre wear, cooling issues or a fast-receding state of charge. But in a way that’s immaterial, because the key mission of this advanced M2 is to confirm that emissions-free high performance and M-level handling can go hand in hand.
Performance, specs of BMW iM2
Acceleration from a standing start is expected to split the 2.0 to 2.5sec bracket. At least as impressive is the brutal throttle response at speed, when wheelspin can be induced in the dry even above 75mph, sources say.
So far, Katharina is a work in progress and not yet an approved programme. But according to information gathered from an English powertrain specialist involved in the R&D work, a run of stripped-out and relatively ascetic (no rear seats; carbonfibre panels and roof; hollow-spoke mag wheels; thin-walled glass) limited-edition specials is very much on the cards. Watch this space. And start saving.
Further electric car reading
The best EVs on sale today
Our pick of the best electric SUVs
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
How long do EV batteries last?