The electric car revolution may be on the horizon, but don’t be fooled into thinking the death of the old-fashioned internal combustion engine is imminent. At least, we certainly don’t get that sense when reading the comments of BMW‘s R&D boss Klaus Froehlich.
Speaking to Automotive News about electrification and how BMW will approach it in the future, Froehlich said that, “our four- and six-cylinder diesels will remain for at least another 20 years and our gasoline units for at least 30 years”.
It’s all part of BMW’s policy to use a flexible vehicle architecture that allows for multiple types of powertrain, catering for the differing desires of markets around the world. CLAR (cluster architecture), for instance, is being used for both hybrid and pure ICE vehicles, and will be used for the fully electric i4 - a car which Froehlich describes as “basically a battery-powered 3-series”.
The news isn’t good for the V8s and V12s in BMW’s line-up, however. According to Froehlich, the V12 “may not have a future” considering the small number of units built a year, coupled to “the several thousand euros of added cost it takes to make them compliant with stricter emissions rules”.
The issue for the V8 meanwhile is that BMW doesn’t need that many cylinders nor that much displacement to develop big power figures. “It’s already difficult to create a strong business case to keep it [the V8] alive given that we have a six-cylinder high-powered plug-in hybrid unit that delivers 441 kilowatts [592bhp] of power and enough torque to destroy many transmissions,” he said.
While we didn’t really want to drop any other bits of bad news, it’s also worth pointing out that BMW’s quad-turbo inline-six diesel isn’t going to be replaced. Why? Because, unsurprisingly, it’s “too complicated to build.”