BMW Considering Front-Wheel Drive M Performance Models

After embracing all-wheel drive, there’s a chance BMW may put its fabled M badge on front-wheel drive vehicles, too.

Now before you cry foul, the German marque doesn’t intend on making the next-generation M3 or M4 front-wheel drive. Instead, BMW is contemplating the introduction of select front-wheel drive M Performance models.

Speaking to Car Advice at the launch of the M2 Competition and M5 Competition, BMW M boss Frank Van Meel ruled out the possibility of any bonafide front-wheel drive M models, but left the door open for lesser performance cars.

“[The challenge of building a sporty front-wheel drive vehicle] is the biggest challenge because we want to have a typical M feeling which goes more naturally with rear-wheel drive,” Van Meel said.

“[However], the segment is big for us and of course it’s very attractive, it’s the entry-level segment to M. The question is what kind of M and which cars of that segment would fit.”

The next-generation 1-Series will be the company’s first vehicle to use the FAAR front-wheel drive platform. After the 1-Series launches, BMW will follow it up with a new 2-Series Gran Turismo, 2-Series Active Tourer, 2-Series Gran Tourer, X1, and a baby electric SUV dubbed the iX1.

While Van Meel wouldn’t be drawn on which of these models could be sold in M Performance guise, punchy variants of the new 1-Series and X1 seem particularly likely. BMW could also give future 2-Series customers something to get excited about with M Performance versions.

Whatever happens, purists can rest easy knowing that no true BMW M car will be front-wheel drive. At least for the foreseeable future…

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  • Doodz

    BMW becoming as exciting as Toyota!!! Bravo!

    • Six_Tymes


    • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

      It will be amazing if Toyota take BMW performance and mixed it with its own reliability

      • Honda NSX-R

        The new Toyota Supra will be exactly that. BMW performance with (hopefully) Toyota reliability

        • chuck2

          >Toyota reliability

          isnt what it used to be.

        • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

          Need some more time to be tested and if it’s really this combination, it will be amazing

  • Six_Tymes

    “quit jammin me”

    i know its an obscure reference, but some may get it

  • Mr. EP9

    If it was hot hatch, that’s great. But if it’s sedans or crossovers? They’ve lost their mind.

  • Julien Lachemoi

    I’m probably the only guy happy the 1 series will be FF now.

    • Doodz

      Trust me, you are.

    • Bo Hanan

      Thanks Julie!

  • Ilbirs

    It wouldn’t be late for front wheel drive to dillute a brand that was previously dilluted by some other measures. Now it’s time for Motorsport to be associated to this. Instead of BMW gets more and more associated to rear wheel drive and perfect this configuration by eliminating the weak points (for example, create a less intrusive layout allowing a lower center tunnel), it opted to go the same way everyone followed and becoming as everyone is.

  • Perry F. Bruns

    Simple: Use a small “m.”

    Or a “meh.”

    “New BMW meh3 Slightly Warms Up Whole Foods Parking Lots”

    • Belthronding

      the best idea ever

  • Dennis James

    Lately I don’t even look at BMW for my next car, although I am a BMW owner. They just lost everything that made them what they are: latest designs are awfully boring (look at the new 7-series, 5-series, X3), out of ideas and copying Mercedes and Audi, front-wheel drive, underpowered M cars compared to competition (look at the M3 vs Giulia QF for example). The excitement of seeing a new BMW launched is simply gone.

  • ToniCipriani ✓pǝᴉɟᴉɹǝʌ

    Translation: the top trim 1-series will still be called M1xxi.

  • botornot387

    I would venture to guess, this isn’t a question of if, but rather when. When you sit and watch your two rivals from Germany doing well with their S3/RS3 models and A45 AMG, you aren’t going to sit back and not touch that pie. Not to mention, its smart business sense, because the parts share economies of scale with a global BMW/Mini platform. And what does BMW M feel mean anyways because the current BMW M cars don’t have old BMW M feel, and a lineup that best sellers include SUVs.

    • botornot387

      And totally not harping on BMW for this, cause at the end of the day you build what people buy. Alfa built a car to appeal to the driving character people think they want in the 4C, but now they can’t sell them. The majority of people who shop in these classes buy a very competant car to get around town, but don’t want to sacrifice ride/handling, comfort, or gadgets. They are looking for easy, not something you work at. The same reason why manuals are disappearing.

      • LeStori

        Two things wrong with the 4C. Access and Auto. Why bother buying something like this if it is a boring stompomatic that turns just about enyone into the fat guy trying yto get into a Ferrari.

        It is also the reason I am finding it difficult to justify buying a Giulia. Stomomatics are only fun in an enviroment where there a few speed restrictions. Where I live thier is a Speed Camera on ever corner (exagerating slightly) and more and more speed restricitions. A manual gearbox puts the fun back into driving.

        • botornot387

          you must live in a place sans traffic. I like manuals, but when you cant get out to a road to enjoy it, or you sit in bumper to bumper, a manual is a no go for me.

  • Vassilis

    Is there anyone in BMW that was around when they had the E46 M3 and the E60 M5?

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