Through various sources it ‘s become clear that M has plans to expand it ‘s line-up from the traditional 3-4 products. Crucial to this are the X5 and X6 M twins. With the Chinese, Russian and Brazilian markets showing dramatic appetite for big M cars, it ‘s clear that there ‘s a lot of market share to gain and profit to be hand. For instance China ‘s M sales grew 355% alone last year. That kind of number doesn ‘t go unnoticed in Munich.
Because of this M is likely looking to add another M SAV to the mix. However whether that ‘s an X3, the forthcoming X4 and even a hot version of the X1 is still up in the air. There ‘s even talk of a X1 iS has to help bridge the gap. But the future story of M is also about getting back to its basics and not forgetting about the enthusiasts that they ‘ve traditionally relied on.
Currently M is looking at two proposals for future sports cars with one being (according to sources) very limited. Our guess is that limited model would be a Z4M based on the GT3 race car. The other (and perhaps even more appealing) would be a car based on 1 and 3 Series architecture that would have a front mid-mounted or even pure mid-engined set-up that would be completely unique to M. As you might expect the car would slot agains the Porsche Boxster and Cayman in terms of size and performance. But even more interesting is that M is toying with the idea of an AWD system that our sources believe is similar to what is found on the Ferrari FF. What ever wheels are driven this would be the first M car without a standard ‘series ‘ equivalent since the original M1. Bold move for M but one that clearly signals that M is serious about building sports cars.
But what about the core products; the M3 and M5. The M5 is still a bit of a mystery to us as far as weight savings technologies but we do know the twin turbo V8 will have around 560 hp. However in our mind, it ‘s the M3 that stands the best chance at being in sync with the less is more philosophy. Going from a V8 to an twin turbo inline six and making liberal use of weight savings techniques, we expect the next generation M3 to deliver more power but weigh in no heavier than the current car. More specifically we expect a greater emphasis on weight savings techniques than any other mass produced M car to this point. How is M going to accomplish this?
Enter BMW i.BMW M won ‘t have blind eye to the other BMW sub-brand in the coming years. As with other parts of the BMW Group, M will slowly start sharing technology from Project i. In fact this has already taken place as the air curtains on the 1M show us. We expect BMWi ‘s expertise in Carbon Fiber design and construction to ultimately make their way to the next generation of M cars. Look for a Carbon Fiber concept M3 later this fall to signal some of this thinking.
With all this long-range planning going on behind the scenes the next six months will still be a busy for M. This June they ‘ll be officially showing off the BMW M3 GTS Sedan (name is TBA & no it ‘s not coming to the US) and following it up with the production version of the M5 at the IAA in Frankfurt. From there we ‘ll see the M6 and perhaps one more very special M3 next year.
Our man on the inside Herr26 helped with this report.