BMW M CEO talks about all-wheel drive, manuals, electric Ms and future models

Videos | September 23rd, 2015 by 9
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BMW M’s new CEO, Frank Van Meel spent some time with us at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show to talk about the future of the …

BMW M’s new CEO, Frank Van Meel spent some time with us at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show to talk about the future of the M brand. BMW’s sports division is seeing record sales year-after-year with a 40 percent increase in 2014 over the previous year. “Which means last year we sold 45,000 M and M Performance vehicles which is quite a lot,” van Meel says.

Hardcore enthusiasts demand more exclusive, limited cars, similar to what Mercedes has been doing with their Black Series. When asked about future M cars similar to the new M4 Concept GTS, van Meel says M is constantly looking at special models that are there to showcase innovative technologies.

So what’s the biggest challenge today for the M Division? Van Meel says staying at the top is the most difficult task, but also to figure out if there are more BMW platforms for pure M models that M can build on.

Van Meel’s favorite question is probably the all-wheel drive coming to M cars in the future. Being politically correct, the M boss has not revealed much on the M xDrive plans, but he did hint that M is looking into the topic. “First of all [M] it’s rear-wheel drive. If there is a need for additional technology for whatever reason, and that could be done, with a four wheel drive then it will be a rear-wheel drive with a bit more traction,” van Meel says.

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How about a successor of the 1M? We all know the M2 is coming, we even know the unveil date, production dates and launch date, but van Meel won’t yet mention the “M2″ name.” BMW sold 9,000 M235i units sold last year and that clears the path for a fully M version of that. “We’re keeping in mind that something like an 1M Coupe for the future, because in the community we have this strong wish for a successor to a car like that and we are thinking and a little bit working on something that might match that,” van Meel reveals.

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The enthusiasts’ favorite topic – manual transmission – also came up during the interview. Van Meel says that M still has a significant number of customers driving manuals and if that number will not decrease in the future, the M engineers will continue building manuals.

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9 responses to “BMW M CEO talks about all-wheel drive, manuals, electric Ms and future models”

  1. Giom says:

    I’m always disappointed after hearing what the M boss has to say… which is – nothing. Nothing we want to hear or have heard already. I don’t get the point of these interviews if nothing is to be revealed.
    Fact is: Merc is on their 3rd supercar, McLaren has three variants at the same time, Ferrari, Lamborghini and a host of others. BMW has the i8, which is great. But what does M have? A couple of sedans and 4x4s. Not even they fit the criteria of traditional M cars anymore. M products should be performance first, luxury second.
    My opinion is, the current batch of ‘M’ cars should all be labelled ‘M550i’ or ‘M440i’ etc. Put the M5, M6, M4 etc. badges on the hard core performance cars. Cars focused solely on performance figures – light, agile, loud and exclusive. This, makes sense to me.

    • Senne says:

      You can’t expect BMW M to make cars like the first M5 or M3. Times have changed. People want very exclusive, high performance LUXURY cars. That’s what modern M cars are: heavy (although the M3, M4 and upcoming M2 are everything but heavy), high powered very fast sedans. In case of the X5M and X6M VERY heavy, VERY luxurious and insane fast SAV/ SAC’s! And they’re very good at it. They should, though, make more hard core versions of these “normal” M’s. Like they’ll do with the M4 GTS; make it a race car for the road. But a lot of the BMW M owners don’t even take their M to the track…

      • Giom says:

        You misunderstood. I’m not calling on M to re-create the old cars, I’m suggesting they make the modern cars more hard core – in the spirit of the originals. Both versions have a place in the market!

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