If we needed extra certainty on this matter, well, there we have it. On the occasion of the M Festival held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in South Africa, BMW M CEO, Markus Flasch, said that pure M versions derived from front-driven models are a no go for the performance brand.
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BMW M is associated with peak driving performance and, invariably, with rear-wheel drive platforms (or, lately with xDrive-sourced chassis). This is in complete contradiction with the newest generation of the 1 Series (F40) or the all-new 2 Series Gran Coupe (F44).
Flasch officially ruled out any chance of seeing a fully fledged M model developed on the basis of the FAAR front wheel drive architecture. This means no 1 Series M or M2 Gran Coupe models are planned.
For those model generations, the current M Performance versions in the form of M135i and M235i are more than enough. If you are complaining about the lack of any direct competitor to Mercedes’ A45 or Audi’s RS3, then check out the might M2, and you might have the answer.
Markus Flasch added on the subject: “We have a very strong offering in the M2 so we figure there’s no need to have (both) a high-performance car based on the (long-standing rear-drive) 2 Series and then a performance car based on the (new-gen, front-drive-centric) 1 Series”.
The M2 has already proven its qualities and its character in traditional BMW M style. The current F87 model series is also very popular in the market, with sales exceeding expectations. So maximizing on this winning cards is just about the right strategy. It also sets BMW apart from its competitors: a true high-performance compact is always RWD and the Bavarian constructor is the only one in the industry to offer such a configuration.
In the case of BMW M, it is not all about sales volume of clerk-oriented business decision. The BMW M culture is more about limitless driving performance, pushing the automotive perfection to its utmost boundaries. So, the entry point in the lineup will always be represented by the rear-driven M2. If you take into account the choice of a manual gearbox and the perspective of the M2 CS joining the current M2 Competition model, then you really have an exclusive formula for success.
Flasch further commented: “(The M2 CS) is probably the most crisp and pure BMW M model we have launched in quite some time. It’s phenomenal and drives like a race car with license plates.”
So, the M2 will live on as long as it is needed. An all new generation (G87), based on the future G42 2 Series (that will stay committed to rear wheel drive), could arrive in around 4-5 years from now. And, as well, the choice of M2 models could be diversified even further.
The current M2 Competition boasts a massive 302 kW / 411 PS (405 hp), while the 6-cylinder powerplant equipping the upcoming, hardcore M2 CS, scheduled for mid-2020, could be rated at a staggering 450 PS (444 hp). This is already more than what Mercedes-AMG A 45 S and the Audi RS3 offer. Not to mention the outstanding dynamism of the chassis, which is certainly superior to that of its competitors.