Back in February, we reported that BMW was planning to stay the course with developing rear-wheel drive models.
“If you also look at the M performance models we have added over the last three or four years they have rear-wheel drive as the standard setting and also have six cylinder engines. These are cars that attract new people to the M brand [and its core models] and that is very important,” said Carsten Pries, BMW M's head of product management.
Pries also mentioned that this current strategy could change.
“If the framework changes in the future, we have to look then at what we can do in terms of a [providing] a proper or decent M offer.”
Jump ahead to late April, and BMW's M division CEO Frank van Meel said all-wheel drive is inevitable in the long run. van Meel told Autocar that M is sticking rear-wheel drive for philosophical reasons, despite the power outputs are reaching a point where all-wheel drive would make sense. Engineers are working hard to improve traction, stability control and torque vectoring systems, but there comes a point where these systems will be overwhelmed.
van Meel also said that it is getting tougher to try and sell their 600-plus horsepower vehicles in certain markets such as Canada and Switzerland.
Whenever M decides to offer all-wheel drive on their sedans and coupes, it will not use the xDrive nomenclature. van Meel suggested a name like 2+2WD or something similar could be used to emphasise the car’s rear-biased set-up.