In an interview for Car and Driver, BMW M CEO Friedrich Nitschke reveals some of M Division’s future plans.
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Without giving away too much or strongly confirming any upcoming products, Dr. Nitschke alludes to some interesting updates for the new M3 and M4 models in regards to electromechanical power steering.
“Without confirming any product speculation, it is safe to assume that we will offer electromechanical power steering in the future,” says Dr. Nitschke. “The technology is now fully on par with a good hydraulic power-steering system.”
In regards to the topic on naturally aspirated engines versus the new turbocharged technology, the M boss says that even with turbos the redline can be quite high, a limit that can be pushed either by the M Division or aftermarket tuners.
“Our V-8 turbo engines can easily top 7000 rpm, and it is safe to assume that there is room beyond that.”
Another interesting question posed by Car and Driver relates to the in-house engines developed by M.
Car and Driver: The current M3 was fitted with a unique M engine. Will future vehicles be derived from existing BMW engines, or will you continue to afford yourself the luxury of bespoke M engines, like the naturally aspirated V-8 and V-10?
Friedrich Nitschke: At the core of their architecture, our engines will be closer to BMW AG engines. But they will be optimized for the specific needs of M customers, so we can still essentially speak of standalone engines.
When it comes to all-wheel drive and M products, Dr. Nitschke gives the same answer we’ve been hearing for years: BMW looked at this subject, passed on it for now, might revisit in the future. “Yes, at least for the current model generation,” says the M boss. “Of course, we will re-evaluate the topic when we define the next-generation M5. But that is a long way down the road.”
The topic of three-cylinder engines came up as well but it remains to be seen if those amazing little bangers will fit somehow in the M or M Performance Automobiles strategy.
C/D: BMW is working on a compact vehicle architecture that will be fitted with three-cylinder engines. Is that a topic of discussion for you as well?
FN: The three-cylinder is an attractive engine. It is possible to reach around 185 to 200 horsepower per liter in a forced-induction three-cylinder and we have 1.5 liters of displacement. Such an engine, which, by the way, sounds very similar to a six-cylinder engine, would have over 310 horsepower. And we are not even at the limit there. Generally speaking, I could imagine such an engine.