Formerly Road Test Editor at Autocar magazine, currently editor at Driver Republic and one of the most popular UK motoring journalists, has expressed some concerns in his latest column regarding the future of BMW’s M brand.
Chris believes that the recent developments within the BMW Motorsport division have shown a slight shift in focus, starting back in 2004 when according to him BMW stopped offering decent brakes on its M cars. In balance, Chris acknowledges that the current M3 and M5 are exceptional cars, the fastest, but maybe not the best Ms ever built.
“Please excuse the pedantry, but the first M-car was the 1978 M1, which was a pukka homologation exercise. This fits nicely with the designated ‘M’ meaning, but the lineage was broken almost immediately by the launch of the E12 M535i (complete with dog-leg ‘box, slippy diff and catastrophic wet-surface behaviour). This was a street car, and it also carried the ‘M’ badge. Homologation purity didn’t return until the 1986 E30 M3. And since then very little of what BMW M has produced has had anything to do with motorsport.”
Obviously Chris’ concern started when BMW decided to launch the first line of Motorsport Sports Activity vehicles – X5M/X6M – a move that has been heavily criticized by many BMW fans.
I don’t understand these cars, and because of that I’m probably not qualified to comment on them. Obscenely rapid SUVs were an amusing folly 12-months ago, but they are a nonsense right now. If you happen to already produce one, I can understand why you might continue to market it at those people rich and tasteless enough to still want one. But why launch such a vehicle now? With an M badge on it?
This is obviously a touchy subject and the opinions are, as usual, split, some M purists disagree with new M models, a diminution of the M brand, while others embrace the change and are willing to look past the history and focus on new products that target a larger audience.
In a way, we agree with Chris, but at the same time, we have learned in the recent history of BMW models that most of the criticized ones ended up do quite well in terms of sales and found their own niche. While there is clearly a push for smaller, more efficient vehicles, there are still plenty of people willing to shell out $100,000 for an ultimate M SAV.
As usual, we’re looking forward to your comments.[Source: Driver-Republic ]