You and I might argue that the engine represents the heart of a sports car, but an internal study conducted by BMW paints a surprisingly different picture. As it turns out, most M owners don’t really care what resides under the hood. In an interview with CarExpert, the M CEO Frank van Meel is quoted saying the vast majority of those who buy performance models have other priorities when shopping for an M car.

“We’ve been asking them the same question for a long time during our driving experiences, driver training sessions, etc. and most of the people, I think that 95 percent of all of our customers said: ‘I don’t care what kind of drivetrain is in the car, as long as it feels like an M, and you have to deliver that as M.’ Of course, there are some people who say ‘if there’s not a V8 or six-cylinder inline engine in the car, I won’t buy it’. But most of our customers, and that’s more than 95 percent, at least the ones we questioned, say as long as the [car] drives like an M, feels like an M I don’t actually care.”

In the same extended interview with the Australian magazine, BMW M’s boss revealed the inline-six and V8 engines are not going away anytime soon. Despite stricter emissions regulations, these larger-displacement powertrains will be able to survive thanks to electrification. The XM got the ball rolling, with next year’s M5 Sedan and M5 Touring both set to use a similar plug-in hybrid V8 setup.

Frank van Meel’s statement is hardly a surprise considering his predecessor, Markus Flasch, promised to keep the six- and eight-cylinder engines in production until at least 2030. Consequently, the dynamic duo still has about six years left, which is plenty of time for a variety of special M cars. No fewer than three CS-badged models are in the works, starting with the M4 CS in 2024 and continuing with the M2 CS and M3 CS Touring in 2025.

BMW’s most powerful production vehicle ever, the XM Label, suggests a hotter M5 G90/G99 might already be in the planning stages for a potential debut in the latter half of the decade. After all, the outgoing F90 generation did get the CS treatment as well.

But love it or loathe it, the future is inevitably electric. In fact, the M division won’t wait until the end of the decade to release an M car without a combustion engine. We believe the confirmed electric M3 will come out as early as 2027. In addition, some of today’s ICE-powered M cars might not live to see another generation with gasoline power. We’re talking about the X3 M and X4 M as both high-performance SUVs are widely believed to go purely electric on the Neue Klasse platform. The first M3 Touring might also be the last with an inline-six since Munich insiders claim the speedy wagon will also embrace full electrification.

Source: Car Expert