BMW M to build more track- and driver-focused cars, nixes front-wheel drive

Why it matters to you

You can relax for now if you were worried that a front-wheel-drive BMW M car was on the way.

If you’re a fan of BMW or at least have been keeping tabs on Munich’s finest automaker, you’ll probably agree that it seems like Bavarian Motor Works lost its way a little bit. Over the past decade or so, BMW has been criticized for focusing a little too much on unneeded and overwhelming technology in its cars. Additionally, with the emergence of the “i” sub-brand featuring the i3 and i8, sustainability and advanced tech obviously took priority over truly building the “Ultimate Driving Machines.”

This change in focus also slightly affected BMW’s coveted M Performance division, the branch that brings us lovable greats like the M3 and the M5. With BMW also prioritizing sales volumes in a sort of quantity-over-quality bid, M cars also perceivably have taken a hit in various places. Don’t get us wrong — its still builds very nice cars, especially ones that drive well and at speeds that will clearly get you in trouble with the law. It’s just that, they simply aren’t the same when compared to the BMW’s we’ve come to love and appreciate from the 1990s and 2000s.

But alas, it seems there’s light at the end of the tunnel. According to a recent report from Autocar, BMW M revealed some details regarding future plans. They range from the impending arrival of a more “hardcore” version of the M2, to a downplay on any potential for front-wheel-drive M cars.


On the topic of the harder-edged M2, it sounds like a “CSL” or “GTS” model is in the works, if we were to postulate. Not at all a surprise given BMW’s tradition of making track-focused versions of its performance vehicles. Additionally, some spy photos are floating around and we’ve certainly heard from our friends at before on this matter. And because of this, BMW M vice president Dirk Hacker told the outlet that this will keep manual transmissions relevant.

But more importantly, it seems like the light went back on inside the heads of company bosses as they believe there’s a growing market for driver-focused CSL or GTS versions. BMW M cited market research, finding that the demand is certainly increasing. As an example, M2 sales are higher than expected with more than half of them being equipped with manuals. So this could mean a higher possibility of more harder-edged M cars.

“The M2 is tracking at 40-50 percent above our expectation in terms of sales, with almost half of buyers specifying a manual,” Hacker told Autocar. “Demand for cars like the M2, which is probably our purest M product today, has surprised us, and that opens opportunities for building more extreme cars, in the vein of GTS and CSL heritage models.”

If your paranoia set in and ever feared the possibility of a front-wheel-drive BMW M car, Hacker confirmed that no such product will exist. To elaborate, he hinted that rear-wheel drive is still the focus of BMW M and all-wheel drive will be used where deemed necessary, such as on the latest M5.

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Cars–Digital Trends

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