BMW Confirms Development of the X3 M and X4 M
BMW’s already-extensive range of M performance models could expand to include the X3 and X4 crossovers once the upcoming 2016 M2 compact arrives at dealerships. That’s the word from BMW M chief, Frank van Meel, who confirmed the brand’s intentions of developing more high-performance crossovers at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show.
The former boss of Audi’s RS division declined to go into specifics, but he acknowledged that "there might be a business opportunity with the X3/X4." The small crossovers would enable the company to continue the success story that began with the X5 M and X6 M, he added according to Autocar. On the other hand, van Meel rejected the idea of an M3 Touring or M7 sedan: "There are more opportunities than at present, but not on every BMW as it makes no sense."
Speaking of other future products, van Meel confirmed that all-wheel drive would eventually be offered on upcoming M cars, likely starting with the next-generation M5 sedan and M6 coupe. However, he said the cars would still be rear-biased, with AWD technology used mostly to increase traction. “The philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, even if there is all-wheel drive," he noted.
Van Meel also revealed that the M division is investigating the possibility of electrification for its future range, as well as the introduction of electric turbochargers as a way of improving throttle response. A front-wheel-drive M car on the new UKL1 platform, an M version of either the i3 or the i8, and four-cylinder engines for M cars were among the things van Meel dismissed.
Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s future M models.
Why it matters
There’s a lot of info to chew on in this report, but while some scenarios are likely to become reality in only a couple of years, others will take longer to happen. With that in mind, the important thing here is that the M division is looking to add two new models to its crossover lineup by expanding the performance-enhancing package to the X3 and the X4.
An M version of the X3 is arguably the most anticipated performance addition to the range, especially with the Audi Q5 RS and the upcoming Mercedes GLC (GLK) underway. The latter is also expected to gain some attention from AMG. In the X4 M, BMW will have the proper weapon against the super-fast Porsche Macan Turbo.
The M2, essentially the successor of the hot BMW 1M Coupe, will be the first M car to arrive in 2015. While it has pretty big shoes to fill, the M2 looks quite promising on paper and based on the spy shots we’ve been receiving from our paparazzi throughout 2014. BMW is obviously aiming to build a shrunken M4, which is an excellent idea when you’re trying to offer a more compact and affordable solution to one of the most appealing sports coupes on the market. Styling cues aren’t the only M4-inspired feat the company prepared for the M2. The coupe is also set to receive the former’s turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six engine, albeit with "only" about 380 ponies on tap, 45 horses less than its bigger brother.