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BMW's electric roadmap to 2023: M140e hybrid hot hatch on the cards

The M135i (pictured) won’t be the top-shelf BMW 1 Series as rumours suggest an M140i plug-in hybrid hot hatch is on the way.

BMW is marching ahead with plug-in hybrid and full-electric vehicles with no less than 25 electrified models planned to launch over the next five years to capitalise an expected increase in alternative powertrain sales.

The Bavarian brand has also confirmed electrification will creep into its hardcore M models, the first of which could be the M140e hybrid hot hatch due to be revealed next year, according to overseas reports

Sitting above the all-paw M135i, the M140e is rumoured to pair a 224kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine with a 60kW electric motor for a combined 298kW/500Nm output.

This would line the halo 1 Series up against the 310kW/500Nm Mercedes-AMG A45 S and 294kW/480Nm Audi RS3, while its 35kWh battery will enable an emissions-free driving range of between 80-113 kilometres.

An Australian showroom arrival in late 2020 or early 2021 is possible, which would complete the new-generation, two-variant 1 Series hatchback range arriving in the fourth quarter of this year.

BMW’s M division is also expected to electrify the next M2 coupe, while the yet-to-be-revealed X7-based X8 large coupe SUV is also planned to have a plug-in flagship version with a circa-559kW/1000Nm output thanks to a 150kW electric motor and V8 engine.

The mainstream i line-up will also be bolstered by fresh metal, including the i4 mid-sizer, i5 large sedan and i7 limousine, which will be positioned as all-electric alternatives to the 4 Series Gran Coupe, 5 Series and 7 Series respectively.

However, as a sign of the times, the i3 hatchback will morph into the iX1 small SUV, which will make use of similar technology for an emissions-free driving range up to 300km.

The production iX3 mid-size SUV will also break cover soon, based on the concept that debuted at last year’s Beijing motor show, which will be built in China and sport a range of around 257km.

The Vision iNext from the 2018 will also spawn a production model, rumoured to be a people mover packing a 105kWh battery and 400kW electric motors for 600km of driving range and a zero to 100km/h sprint in just 2.8 seconds.

Positioned as a tech flagship, the iNext will be sold alongside the i8-succeeding i12 mid-engine sports car, which was previewed by the Vision M Next concept.

Powering the i12 will be a 254kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and 150kW electric motor, upping the ante from the i8’s 170kW/320Nm combined output from a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine and 96kW electric motor.