UK magazine CAR sat down at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show with BMW M’s new CEO, Franciscus Van Meel, to talk about the future of the M brand. Topics like a M5 xDrive, M hybrid or M supercar have come up, including a M version of the highly sought BMW i8.
“I can see a marrying of BMW’s M and i brands, but I can’t see an i8M just now,” says van Meel. “There is a very close collaboration between M and i – we have an open-book policy, and each brand can look into the other’s magic box of technologies and ideas. The i team used that making the i3 and i8, looking at the carbonfibre technologies M cars have used for the past ten years,” adding further on the topic.
Furthermore, van Meel talked abut the carbon fiber technology which helps future M cars as well as the vehicle dynamic control system which he deemed as “very interesting on the i8.”
He concluded with the following statement: “We are not trying to make an i8M though – that would be a mixing of cultures that wouldn’t work. We want to retain our positions without ignoring the good ideas each one has.”
This goes hand-in-hand with our sources who have previously said that an M car on the i8 is not feasible, and that BMW M would rather focus on developing their sports car, based on their own philosophy. Does that mean a conventionally-powered M car or a hybrid solution?
“Again, [a hybrid M] has to enhance the properties we have right now without making anything worse. I wouldn’t exclude it but we haven’t found the right system yet to fulfill all these requirements and stay with the philosophy of M. The power-to-weight ratio is the problem – of course you can simply add more power, but that isn’t the smart way. The car may be fast but it will still be heavy, and that is not M.”
The M3 or M5 xDrive topic came up. Just as he mentioned before, M doesn’t believe in the all-wheel-drive buzzword. The way they define all-wheel drive is “a rear-wheel drive with added traction.” Something similar to what the X5 M and X6 M SUVs employ today.
When questioned on the product outlook for 2015, van Meel was evasive, but he did let slip a few information:
“I’m not allowed to talk about them. We will show a few of them this year – we showed the organic LED lights at the recent Consumer Electronics show, and they will be on our cars – and we will show a very interesting high-tech new USP that is even more M-like at the Geneva motor show in a few weeks’ time. I am very excited about this so I have to stop talking now.”