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Frankfurt show: More M Performance models coming

3 way: BMW’s X3 M40i (left) is an M Performance model but the company is closing to giving the tick for a full-fat X3 M.

Pure M model range to stay lean but room for more BMW M Performance cars

BMW logo18 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON in FRANKFURT

BMW’S M fast-car division will expand its line-up with the addition of fresh ‘M Performance’ variants, but pure M models will remain limited to just a few key lines.

In an interview with Australian journalists in Munich last week, BMW M chief executive Frank van Meel said pure M cars had to satisfy rigorous criteria to be considered a genuine M model.

However, he said there was room for more special editions of existing models.

“The good thing is there are so many product lines within BMW Group and there are not as many M models, but what we won’t do is make an M model out of each car line that BMW Group has,” Mr van Meel said.

“We have a clear philosophy which is we come from motorsports, so every pure M we make has to fulfil our motorsports philosophy. And also there has to be a market for a car like that, because otherwise we can’t sell it. Those are the two prerequisites for pure M vehicles.

“So the pure M line-up will not be two times, three times as big as it is today. But you could see with an M2 or special models like M4 GTS or M4 CS that we are expanding our product portfolio, but not necessarily into complete new car lines, more into competition packs, special models.”

 center imageLeft: BMW M chief executive Frank van Meel

Mr van Meel said the M Performance models offered sporty performance without being as track-ready as the pure M cars and that they help bridge a price gap between the standard BMW variants and the full-fat M cars.

“With the M Performance vehicles it is a little bit different because what we have noticed was that there was a lot of demand for more performance, a little bit sharper suspension set-up and some design differentiation, but not as much as with a pure M and also the request for a car that is sportier but not made on the track for the track – just made on the track for everyday use,” he said.

“So the balance between performance and everyday useability is a little bit different there. Also price-wise the gap between pure M and the base car was really big so we introduced M performance and said okay, there is something in between where you have this unlimited everyday useability. But you have a sharpened car with M DNA in it. And there I see a lot of potential for additional models.

“It is more additional variants and some additional models for instance like the M2 which is now a new car line that we will never give up again now, of course.”

As reported, BMW is close to signing off on an M version of the third-generation X3 mid-size SUV to sit above the X3 M40i M Performance car that had its public debut at the Frankfurt show last week.

M already offers the M2, M3, M4, M5, M6 and X5 and X6 M in its portfolio, as well as a number of M Performance versions of the 1, 2 and 7 Series and the X5 and X6.

Recent special editions include the M4 CS, GTS and DTM Champion Edition.

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