In an interesting move, Car and Driver reports that head of Audi’s quattro GmbH performance division, Franciscus van Meel, will be joining BMW. In January 2014, van Meel was relieved from his duties and replaced by longtime R&D executive Heinz Hollerweger and initially was believed that will take a senior executive position in China.
Instead, the quattro expert is moving over to the Garching-based M Division.
The move is quite interesting since it has been long rumored, and denied several times, that the M Division is working on future M5/M6 vehicles with all-wheel drive.
“The M5 and M6, maybe in the next generation they could get AWD, but not with the M3 or M4. Never,” said BMW M CEO Dr. Friedrich Nitschke in an interview for Motoring back in 2013.
BMW M’s rivals, Mercedes-Benz AMG and Audi’s RS division, offer an all-wheel-drive setup for their high-performance sedans and coupes. “I’ve looked at the numbers and 70 to 80 percent of E63 AMGs are all-wheel drive in the US now,” said Dr. Friedrich Nitschke.
With van Meel joining BMW M, is BMW finally going to cater to the demanding U.S. customers that love to have a performance car even in the rough Northeast winters.