Exclusive Interview: BMWNA\’s Martin Birkmann

Todd and I sat down with Head of BMWNA Product Planning and Strategy/BMW Motorsport Manager Martin Birkmann amidst all the debuts yesterday for a candid talk about all things BMW. It was clear that our readers wanted not only hints and future products, but a clearer understanding behind some of the recent decisions involving the DCT transmission. Specifically why it ‘s the sole option for a few forthcoming performance related BMW products.

We also talked about M, motorsport and of course effeciency and how it relates to BMW as a brand. It ‘s rare that anyone gets a chance to talk so candidly with Mr. Birkmann. Enjoy!


Download (30 MB MP3)

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  • Great interview… just would have loved to hear his take on the sportwagons!

  • ralf

    Good to see that there are enthousiasts like Mr. Birkmann working at BMW. What a nice guy and also the good respons on the questions! Go BMW, so we can have a lot of JOY with BMW products in the future.

  • All that and you didnt ask about the changes to the 2011 M3 and the e90 M3???

    I was hoping this would clear it up… Doh!

  • Oh, and great interview by the way!

  • Micah

    Wow, excellent questions and equally well articulated responses by Mr. Birkmann. Thanks Gabe and Todd!

    Fully understand the reasoning behind the move toward forced induction motors and DCT…from a pure driving perspective it’s somewhat heartbreaking that the high-revving NA motor is on its way out due to emissions concerns, and the 3-pedal manual due to lack of demand.

    Perhaps for the upcoming FI ///M vehicles, BMW could at least offer a turbo motor that pulls through a redline of over 7000 RPM? For me, the current trend toward delivering a massive wallop of torque from 2-5.5K with falloff thereafter leaves a lot to be desired from a driving perspective. Leave this for the turbo diesels, then tune the gasoline engines for the M cars for higher compression, lighter internals, and shorter intake paths to increase throttle response and ability to rev.

    Again, nice work and excellent interview!

  • Barry

    Great interview! 🙂

  • Gary Busey

    Kudos Gabe and Todd. Well conducted interview, and huge thanks for transmitting some of the questions we had.

    Martin comes across a pretty genuine person, and it was great to hear him give us the birds eye view of the landscape.

    I’ll echo Micha’s comment about the decline of the 3rd pedal and NA engines…but unfortunately that’s the reality of the times.

    Cheers dudes!

  • JonPD

    Great interview!

    Only one other comment, for me personally the difference between a auto gear box and a manual is that the latter is a drivers car.

    The E86 is still an far away the best car hands down to me personally from BMW. Between what is likely one of the best motors of the century and match it with a solid manual and you have a seriously great car.

  • JonPD

    Also sad to hear my dreams of a E89 coupe /M are dashed. The silky smooth classic lines of the E89 with a proper fixed roof, manual clutch, and the M3’s monster V8 would have made me be the first in line for this car. Especially if it went on a diet.

  • Great interview… just would have loved to hear his take on the sportwagons!

    That was off-camera… we’ll be talking about this in this week’s podcast 🙂

    All that and you didnt ask about the changes to the 2011 M3 and the e90 M3???

    There are no changes on the E90. The E92 and E93 get LED taillights from the standard LCI Coupes. We’ll see pictures of those taillights in a little over a week.

  • chas58

    Nice interview. Gives us hope for BMW!

    I think he summed up the response to sport wagons with the clutch statement – We will build it if there is a demand (and currently there isn’t much demand).

    Like Micah said, it would be interesting to know if they will be building high reving ///M turbos, or sacrifice top end for torque.

  • RJ

    For anyone who has listened, how long approximately is the interview? Thanks!

  • Babak

    32 minutes.

  • Mark

    Thought that tis was a FANTASTIC interview and it truly lets you know that BMW is working for the customers and is listening to the customers.

    I am glad that you touched on the 4-cylinder diesel future which I am very interested. He did not say when that would happened but hinted that work was being done on this.

    I loved that he mentioned that he reads the Bimmerfile.com website and actually reads the comments! That is a big compliment to the professionalism of this website.

    Thanks guys… Mark

  • RJ

    Thanks, Babak!

  • Dude, where’s the file?

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  • Off topic i know, but whatever happened to all of those great PDF’s you were pushing thru iTunes?

    • Damien: Not sure- we’ll look into it! Always feel free to express a comment/concern/tip etc via the contact link.


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