The business incentive for high-powered V8's and V12's is diminishing, reports a senior BMW executive.
BMW has given a vote of no confidence for its famed large-capacity internal combustion engines in a recent interview, admitting that the business incentive is diminishing for big-bore engines.
Speaking with Automotive News Europe, BMW R&D boss Klaus Froehlich said development costs and ever tightening regulations spelled trouble for its petrol V8 and V12 engines, beyond their current generations.
Instead, Froehlich alluded to plug-in hybrid models that use smaller capacity engines filling the hole of traditional V8s and V12 in the future, predicting that electrified powertrains would account for 20 to 30 per cent of global BMW sales by 2030.
Froehlich however gave a vote of confidence for BMW’s legendary straight-six petrol engines, expecting those to remain in production for “at least 30 years”.
“Regulations on internal combustion engines are accelerating and getting more diverse all over the world. We have to update our engines every year, especially for China. Because this costs a lot of money, we have to streamline our offerings,” Froehlich explained.
“On the diesel side, production of the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder entry engine will end and the 400hp, six-cylinder won’t be replaced because it is too expensive and too complicated to build with its four turbos. However, our four- and six-cylinder diesels will remain for at least another 20 years and our gasoline units for at least 30 years.”
Last year, BMW indicated the 6.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V12 that currently powers the BMW M760Li (pictured above) would stick around until 2023 due to the demand in the Middle East and China.
Specifically big-capacity petrol engines, such as the 441kW V8 that sits at the heart of the monstrous BMW M5 (pictured above), Froehlich pointed to an ongoing rethinking of that technology.
“The V12 may not have a future given that we only produce a few thousand units each year and the several thousand euros of added cost it takes to make them compliant with stricter emissions rules,” he said.
“When it comes to the V8, it’s already difficult to create a strong business case to keep it alive given that we have a six-cylinder high-powered plug-in hybrid unit that delivers 441kW (600hp) of power and enough torque to destroy many transmissions.”
Froehlich considers plug-in hybrid drivetrains as the most effective way of meeting stricter emissions while also appeasing buyers in the short- to medium-term, but implied that would differ between markets.
He said globally, customers want flexibility, alluding to research from 500,000 sales that indicated most consumers recharged their vehicles at home or the office teh vast majority of the time.
“The best assumption is that electrified vehicles will account for 20 per cent to 30 per cent of worldwide sales by 2030, but with a very diverse global distribution,” Froehlich explained.
“China’s big east coast cities will become purely electric pretty soon while western China will rely on gasoline engines for the next 15 to 20 years due to a lack of infrastructure.
“In Europe there is reluctance to jump directly to BEVs, so plug-in hybrids are the right solution. They will be used as BEVs during the week and run on gasoline on weekends or long trips. We expect plug-in hybrids to account for up to 25 per cent of [European sales], gasoline and diesel will have more than 50 per cent and the rest will be BEVs.”