Interview with BMWNA M Brand manager

Interesting | April 12th, 2008 by 0

BMW NA M Brand manager, Larry Koch, has offered an M3 presentation at Main Line BMW in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Skierman64, a member of, …

BMW NA M Brand manager, Larry Koch, has offered an M3 presentation at Main Line BMW in Bala Cynwyd, PA. Skierman64, a member of, has been given the opportunity to conduct an interview with Mr. Koch. 

Some of the answers that caught my attention were the ones specific to a future BMW M1 and the surprising answer that BMW is actually considering this. I am not sure if the M1 will become reality since we have heard many reports in the past where BMW has clearly stated that no M1 will be produced again. But as we know, BMW tends to change their mind quite often.

Also, for those of you that were wondering if BMW AG or  BMW NA actually read bimmer related forums or blogs, well, it has been confirmed once again that they quite often monitor them and some decisions are being influenced by those.

Full discussion on 

1. Why do M-DCT equipped M3s still have a GG $1,300 tax when the car was advertised to be more approx 10-15% more efficient than a 6MT? Was the car retested to EPA specs or did BMW simply use the 6MT EPA mileage numbers?
Larry, The fuel mileage did not differ enough to change the GGT.

His answer to the first question essentially answered the second question

2. Will the Vert M3 be introduced as a MY 2008 or 2009?

3. Will the Individual program will come to the US for the M3?
He can't tell me, he's not working that program

4. Can we please get Comfort Access as a separate option for non ZTP cars? MY2009?
Probably not

5. Any chance MDM will be available as either a new standard feature, or a stand-alone option?
He can't put in the car without I-drive. If he makes I-drive standard then there's a big jump in price and then he's got a whole stack of people who complain they don't want I-drive in the car and they won't buy it. He has 25 or 30% of the people won't buy the car with I-drive so he won't make it standard.

6. How will the future 3 series tii fit into a 3 series lineup with a 335 and M3?
He can't discuss it, they are still sorting out the tii program within the company and he can't talk about future products.

7. Will 2009 E90 M3's receive the face lift treatments due for the rest of '09 E90 3-series?
There is a face lift to the E90 in theory coming, there usually is at this time in the product lifecycle, however he doesn't know if they'll do anything to the M3, he's asked and not gotten an answer yet.

8. What is the actual shift time of M-DCT in S6 mode (in milliseconds)?
They don't give them a time, however it's so instantaneous that they had to build some feel into it so it didn't feel like a CVT transmission. "It just goes, it's so fast"

9. Is US and EU launch control exactly the same or is there a difference like in the M5?
As far as he knows it's the same

10. Do US M3's have Brake Energy Regeneration?

11. Does the M3 have any limitations (redline, hp, etc.) before 1st (1200 mile) service?
This is one he called Germany on, the folks he talked to didn't know of any limitations, however they recommend you don't get anywhere near redline for the first 1200 miles. He didn't ask about DCT or Launch control

12. Why did the US M3s get different seat bottoms than in EU? Can the Euro seat bottoms be retrofitted on the US version seat.
Because the US gets different airbags than the rest of the world. The US airbags are multi-stage airbags that deploy at different speeds depending on the amount of weight sensed on the seat. The DOT rule for the airbags is OC3-MAT. The EU airbags don't require the same type of seat sensor. If you replaced the US seat bottom with a EU seat bottom you take a chance at messing up your airbag sensor and possibly your airbag deployment.

13. Will dual canister style aftermarket exhaust systems interfere with the differential cooling or aerodynamic effect of the diffuser.
He has no idea because there are so many variables with different style of aftermarket exhaust. He's not an engineer. However anything you do to change the car may effect other systems.

14. Do US and Euro versions of the M3 weigh the same assuming the same options?
When they give you a weight it's for a standard car with no options and no fuel. He doesn't know how the cars in Europe are weighed compared to how we weigh them here. Plus he's never compared the EU car weighed in Kilos to the US car weighed in pounds. The stated weight for this car is 3704 lbs. However, he doesn't know how the 3704 is calculated. Also the E46 M3 weighed 3415, however you can't compare them directly because there are items standard on the E92 that weren't standard on the E46, like power seats. The E92 seat has at least 6-8 motors in it, making it quite a heavy seat. The front seats alone may add 100lbs to the E92.

15. Was a HUD ever considered for the M3 or was weight a concern?
No, because it would have had to be considered for the entire 3 series line. Otherwise the option is too costly just for the M car, a cost that would have to be passed onto the customer. On the M5 and M6, the HUD is also available on the 550 and 650.

16. Will there be an M version of the 1 series?
He's always looking at it, but he doesn't know what engine to put into it. They are considering it but he can't tell us at this point.

17. What auto brand/model is the M's closest competitor?
Porsche 911 Carrera (M3 is faster), M-B C63 AMG, Audi RS4 (no longer in production) and not competitive with the M3 because it's nose heavy, Lexus IS-F (he reference the Road and Track M3 vs IS-F article which said the Lexus and M-B were nice cars but felt like upgraded versions of other cars, where the M3 feels like a racecar built for the street), Corvette (sort of)

18. Why is there no discounted Euro delivery or included M experience offered with new M3?
Euro delivery; The value of the dollar vs Euro is not making this an option. As far as the M experience, the cost was built into the M5 and M6 and they wanted to keep the price down on the M3. Also because they sell so many M3s, if the M experience were included it would overload the Performance Center's capacity because the M3 sells at approx 4 times the rate of the M5 and M6. It's a good program and M3 owners are encouraged to sign up and experience it.

19. Why was a gasoline direct injection system (like on 335i) not employed on this new M3 and do they think they will add it in the future?
They probably won't add it in the future because it wasn't incorporated into the initial development of the engine. He doesn't now why it wasn't initially built into the engine.

20. Will there be a ZCP option offered later? If so, will Brembo multi piston brakes be a part of the ZCP?
More brake pistons don't make for a better braking system automatically. He doesn't know if there will be a ZCP at this point.

21. Why didn't BMW do anything to the calipers to make them look more dressed up
He didn't know, essentially they're made to perform, not just look good

22. Why wasn't front PDC offered in the US.
He doesn't know for sure, however when you develop a new front fascia to fit the front PDC sensors, the car must be crash tested with the new sensors in the fascia. The crash test rules aren't the same in the EU and don't require another crash test.

23. Will the CF-roof ever be offered on the sedan?
He doesn't know if it will be developed for the sedan. It hasn't been developed yet.

24. Why did BMW not incorporate the front reflectors into the front headlamp assembly like the 335 instead of adding the BUTT ugly orange reflectors?
Because they wanted the front headlight assemble to be white without yellow reflectors up there. Also there may not be enough side view of the front headlight assembly to get a built in reflector to pass the US standard. (Skierman64 input: my speculation is because of the active turn lights built into the side of the headlight assembly, reflectors can not be built into the headlight assembly)

25. Will High-beam assistant become a 2009 option since it currently offered on the M3 in Europe?
He doesn't know. (Skierman64 input: Is it really that hard to flick the high beams on and off, come on folks?)

26. Do you know about the issue with the sale of a M3 on Ebay from the dealer in Lincoln, NE? Any comments?
He knows all about it. BMW USA was very involved. Bottom Line, he said customer was having problem getting financing and was trying to get the dealer to drop the price below what was agreed to on Ebay. He knows that what was posted on the forums isn't the whole story. He noted the dealer offered to sell the car to the next highest bidder or anyone else at the Ebay negotiated price. Skierman64 input: Please don't turn this thread into a discussion of this issue. It's been beat to death already. Take it elsewhere if you want to discuss this particular issue.

27. Why was the press told that the DCT would be introduced on the vert when it is in fact being first introduced on the coupe for the first 3 months of production.
It was a miscommunication, the DCT was always going to originate on the coupe first

28. Does BMW NA monitor the BMW fan forums. If so, does it ever influence decision making at BMW AG or BMW NA?

Color Questions

1. For the M3 E93 intro, any new exterior colors being added to the list (like Atlantic Blue, as was done with the 335i E93 intro)?
The E93 colors are the same as what's currently being offered.

2. Will Laguna Seca Blue ever be offered on the E9x M3? Is the company that produced the color "out of business"
(a) will be available as of next year
(b) can be ordered through Individual
(c) can be ordered as a special order color

Another question he asked the folks in Germany: You can place a "priority one" order, it will take about 3 months to get the car and it won't be a "friendly" price. It cost's BMW a lot to reconfigure a paint booth for an individual color, plus all the external "smaller" parts (like door handles) would need to be painted by hand, a very labor intensive process.