BMW Readying Line of M Performance Vehicles to Slot Between Normal and M Cars
A recent BMW teaser video left us with the above blurry blank to fill in. Here’s the missing word: Performance. BMW’s M GmbH division will reveal a new M Performance line at the Geneva auto show in March. The new cars will be hotter than pedestrian Bimmers, but not as hard-core as M models.
BMW is short on specifics for now, but a company spokesman confirmed that the models will go beyond both the current M Sport packages and the “is” treatment that’s applied to the 335is and Z4 sDrive35is. The M Performance cars will get unique engine variants, which likely means they’ll use existing engines with a unique state of tune for extra power. Handling will be improved, and the styling will be “laced with emotional appeal.” BMW alludes to the M535i it produced in the 1980s as a hint of what to expect from M Performance. That sedan coexisted with the M5, but packed more power than other 5ers, lots of M styling bits, and a specially tuned suspension setup.
BMW also says its xDrive all-wheel-drive system will play “a significant role” in the M Performance lineup. We’re told that xDrive may be used to serve up a driving experience that’s unique from the rear-drive M cars, in addition to adding a factor of all-weather usability. Currently, only the X5 M and X6 M SUVs send M-level power to all four wheels, so the availability of xDrive on a higher-performance BMW sedan or coupe would be new. In Europe, M-tuned diesel engines also will be part of the mix, but we probably won’t get them here. The diesel X6 BMW teased previously will be a part of the M Performance lineup.
In the case of the current 3-series coupe, the progression from 335i (with or without M Sport pack) to 335is to M3 is already nearing overlap. The M division has its work cut out both in differentiating the new models and improving on the old ones. We’re eager to see what M Performance is all about at the Geneva show.