Report: BMW M sticks to rear-wheel drive; manuals if demand

BMW M | February 19th, 2013 by 9
2012 bmw m550d xdrive 51 750x500 Report: BMW M sticks to rear wheel drive; manuals if demand

In an interview with Autocar UK, BMW M boss Friedrich Nitschke says that the Munich-based automaker remains committed to its rear-wheel drive platform. “Our philosophy …

In an interview with Autocar UK, BMW M boss Friedrich Nitschke says that the Munich-based automaker remains committed to its rear-wheel drive platform. “Our philosophy in regards to steering feel and precision is that rear-wheel drive is the best solution,” he said. “xDrive brings an 80-90kg weight penalty and the M differential is the industry’s best rear-drive set-up.”

Over the past few years, and before the new F10 M5 made its debut, there have been constant rumors about an all-wheel drive pure M car (not counting here the M Performance Automobiles), but BMW engineers, including head of development and M bosses have shuttered the dreams of some customers that were craving an M car that can perform in the winter just as it does in the summer.

2012 bmw m550d xdrive 51 655x436 Report: BMW M sticks to rear wheel drive; manuals if demand

BMW M550d xDrive shown here

Furthermore, Dr. Nitschke confirms that manuals are not dead. In the U.S., the M division offers its M5, M6 Coupe / Convertible and M6 Gran Coupe with a choice of a six-speed manual transmission. “From a production aspect, it would be much better to only offer the dual-clutch gearbox,” said Nitschke. “But as long as there is demand, we’ll offer the manual.” In other words, keep buying manuals if you would like to maintain the DNA of M cars.

The topic of naturally aspirated engines versus turbocharged units have been beaten to dead last year, and the M boss offered again the same explanation we have heard in the past: “It’s not a change in philosophy, it’s a change in technology. Turbocharging is better for fuel savings and CO2.”

What about an M3 GT? Not in M’s immediate roadmap, “but it depends on market requirements,” as the M boss explained. We do however expect to see an M4 Gran Coupe down the road.

The competition continues to offer all-wheel drive variants (Mercedes E63 AMG, CLS63 AMG, Audi RS6, RS7) so it remains to be seen how long and if BMW will hold off on the decision to bring an xDrive to the M brand.

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