BMW's M Division will focus on rear-drive vehicles and inline-six-cylinder engines for the foreseeable future, according to a new report. The news comes from Carsten Pries, M Division's head of product management, in an interview with motoring.com.au.
That means the M performance division won't be entertaining the idea of four-cylinder-powered M car anytime soon. "I hope not, because six [cylinder] is part of our DNA," Pries said when asked about four-cylinder engines. "Not only the power, but that hallmark sound that we have."
Currently, the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe are powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter I-6, while the new BMW M2 coupe is powered by a 3.0-liter I-6 with a twin-scroll single turbocharger. The new rear-drive M2 goes up against the likes of the all-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA 45 and the quattro-equipped Audi RS3. Both of those cars are based on front-drive cars with transverse-mounted, turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
"We always determine what kind of performance do we want for a new car and which technical alternatives we have," said Pries. "And for us this car, also after success of the 1 M Coupe, including the essential dimensions such as sound and the level of feedback [the driver gets from the engine, we chose a six.]"
Of course there are exceptions among full-fledged M cars including the BMW M5 sedan and BMW M6 Gran Coupe, coupe, and convertible; and the BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M SUVs. Those models are powered by a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8. While the M5 and M6 are rear-drive, the M SUVs come with all-wheel-drive standard.
Additionally, some of the less-extreme M Performance models are available with all-wheel-drive like the recently revealed BMW M760i xDrive sedan. BMW's close performance partner Alpina also offers all-wheel drive, with models like the B6 xDrive Gran Coupe and B7 xDrive. BMW's plan to focus on rear-wheel drive differs from Mercedes-AMG, which has begun offering certain AMG models with standard all-wheel drive.