BMW's push to expand the influence of its M brand throughout its lineup has resulted in some strange—even questionable—offerings. However, the division has drawn at least one line in the sand: There will be no front-wheel-drive-based M cars.
Enthusiasts have accused BMW of watering down its M brand over the past decade as the badge has often appeared on vehicles that many felt were unworthy. While BMW's SUV portfolio and larger plug-in hybrids will still get M variants, the same treatment will not extend to the likes of the company's new entry-level, front-wheel-drive-based cars, BMW M boss Markus Flasch told CarAdvice on Tuesday. That means no full M versions of the 1-Series and new 2-Series cars, as well as the X1 and X2 crossover SUVs.
"We have a very strong offering in the M2 so we figure there’s no need to have a high-performance car based on the 2-Series and then a performance car based on the 1-Series," Flasch told the Australian outlet. Flasch said that while all-wheel drive variants of its new small cars with some M components will be good performers, there's no sense trying to bridge the gap to its established, core M cars with a front-wheel-drive platform.
This dovetails perfectly with Flasch's recent comments on electrification, which BMW will reserve for its larger M offerings, such as the X5 M and X6 M SUVs and perhaps its larger sedans, but the core M2, M3, and M4 models will remain gasoline-powered well into the foreseeable future. Flasch even said that electrification of its larger M vehicles isn't guaranteed, as the division's philosophy is to stick to its proven approach unless an alternative provides a clear performance advantage.
In other words, M won't electrify merely for the sake of doing so. And while BMW is well into development of advanced, high-performance hybrid and battery-electric powertrains, those systems will have to mature to the point where their compromises are outweighed by their performance capabilities.