After four years on the job, current BMW M boss Frank van Meel will exit the role. BMW has appointed van Meel, formerly of Audi Quattro GmbH (Audi Sport), to chief of total vehicle development. Replacing van Meel will be Markus Flasch, chief engineer for the new 8-Series.
Evo reported on the executive shuffle on Friday and said the shift from van Meel to Flasch shouldn't create any major diversions from the M division's current product plans. Van Meel championed a four-tier M strategy that introduced "M Performance" models beneath proper M cars. M cars themselves will start at base M, then move through a performance hierarchy: Competition Package, CS (Coupe Sport), and finally the revered CSL (Coupe Sport Light). The former M boss also introduced all-wheel drive to the division's cars with the 2018 M5 sport sedan. It had previously been on the X5 M and X6 M SUVs.
2019 BMW M5 Compettiion
While van Meel is leaving the top position at M, we'll see his fingerprints on numerous new vehicles soon. Van Meel guided the development of the upcoming X3 M, X4 M, and M8. However, van Meel dismissed the idea of a standalone M supercar or hypercar.
Flasch will have one tough assignment as he steps into his new role: the next M3 and M4 sports cars. While the standard 3-Series is nearly ready for a debut, the M3 still has a couple of years to bake inside the halls of BMW. Expected as a 2020 model, the next M3 is tipped to weigh less than the current M3 CS and perhaps introduce rear-wheel steering. Unlike the M5, AWD is rumored to be off the table to keep the final weight figure down; plenty of carbon fiber is expected to be onboard for the same purpose.
Flasch will officially begin his new role on October 1.