In an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, BMW M CEO Dr. Friedrich Nitschke revealed some of the future plans of the M division. Among many topics being discussed, the one that stood out again is the comparison of turbocharged engines versus fans’ darlings, naturally-aspirated units. Surprisingly enough, the M boss says that “The naturally aspirated engine is not dead yet,” despite the current advantages of turbo engines in terms of efficiency and power output.
Dr. Nitschke concludes that at the moment turbocharged powerplants make more sense.
A number almost never revealed in official statements is the M cars sold every year. In 2010, the M division sold nearly 16,000 vehicles, but just a year later, the company saw an increase to 19,000 units. For 2012, the Motorsport group has even higher ambitions: 20,000 units sold, not including the new M Performance Automobiles lineup.
Another “hot topic” these days is the weight of new M cars. Every single one of the new vehicles that came to market carried a larger mass, and the concerns is that future models will continued down this path. M boss says that the sport division “has to live with the base,” and despite this, the M engineers managed to keep the M5 or M6 at a comparable mass with the top model from AG production cars. Dr. Nitschke is also confident that in the years to come, M will be able to reverse weight spiral. In other words, expect carbon fiber to play an important role in construction of cars and parts.
So why the weight increase though? As we mentioned before, the weight gain is direct proportional with the global safety regulations and requirements. All the auto manufacturers are working hard to reduce weight while continuing to meet all standards. M boss also said that they have a little more freedom than their colleagues in the mass production.
Is the “new” M division more progressive than ever before? “There is of course the question of how far we can electrify the powertrain,” said the BMW M CEO in response to a possible hybrid or electric M cars. “We work closely with colleagues from BMW i and one thing is certain: a full electrification will not work for us because the components necessary for the performance would simply be too difficult.”
So that leaves us with a potential M hybrid. Dr. Nitschke does not exclude this possibility in the next few years, but nothing to announce at the moment.
Recently BMW made waves in the engineering world with their innovative tri-turbo diesel engines that power some of the new M Performance Automobiles. While currently the M folks still manage to achieve performance requirements with two turbochargers for gasoline units, if a need arises for more power, another turbo may be added.
BMW supercar. THE question that always comes up. “We are currently investigating this segment. However, there is no decision at the moment,” concluded Dr. Nitschke. Our take on this: stay tuned and save some money in the next 5 years.