Despite the obvious shift to all-wheel drive and automatic transmissions, BMW M’s smaller passenger cars will stay true to their roots. This means that they will still be offered with rear-wheel drive and manual gearboxes because, well, that’s what customers want.
In an interview with GoAuto, BMW M chairman Markus Flasch confirmed what was already on everyone’s lips: the next M3 will get a RWD version and a stick shift. In fact, Flasch clarified that the RWD and manual ‘box combo won’t go anywhere any time soon.
“With the M3, we were able to take over the entire drivetrain concept that we offer in the M5, and we were able to do a rear-wheel drive version as well, plus manual transmission”, he said. “I won’t disclose today how we configure those opportunities, but we can do whatever the markets globally demand. I can’t confirm, but I’ve driven the cars.”
Flasch also explained why larger vehicles need all-wheel drive, whereas smaller ones don’t. It’s all in the details, as while those who typically buy an M5 or an X5 M tend to use them on a daily basis, the M2, M3 or M4 are usually “taken out in good weather, for special occasions”. Also, the latter are mostly second or third cars, and this makes even more sense to stick to RWD and manual transmissions.
The CS moniker won’t go anywhere, Flasch revealed, but the GTS will. The reason is that BMW might bring back the CSL nameplate.
“We will see more limited editions, especially like the CS and, I can imagine, the CSL. We won’t do this for every car, but I would go as far as to say that we also don’t have to stick to coupes only. I can imagine CS and other special versions also will turn up. We won’t see the GTS sub-brand in the future. There will be CS and maybe CSL. There won’t be a GTS in parallel with CSL.”
The obvious product expansion might have some thinking of all sorts of M-branded cars. And while we have a pretty clear picture of what some of them are, like the upcoming M8, we also know, thanks to Flasch, what not to expect. According to the company’s official, the 1-Series and X2 won’t get the full-blown M treatment, and neither will the new Z4, because it will be difficult to stuff a big engine into it.