So far, BMW has resisted the lure of adding all-wheel drive to their top-performing M lineup like Mercedes has been doing lately and Audi has always done. Expect that to change soon: the all-wheel drive M cars are coming.
So sayeth BMW M boss Frank van Meel, speaking at the Detroit Auto Show to the UK's Autocar. Van Meel confirmed that all-wheel drive is coming to future M cars, with the M5 sedan and M6 coupe (and sedan, but they call it a coupe) being the most likely candidates.
This makes sense. These days those cars are laying down 560 horsepower, and if BMW wants to go more powerful than that, all-wheel drive will surely aid in both traction and keeping their customers alive to buy more M cars.
Don't expect them to become understeering pigs all of a sudden, van Meel says:
But he said the models would still be rear-biased, and the technology would be used to increase traction in order to avoid the understeer traits with which all-wheel-drive performance cars are associated.
"The philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, even if there is all-wheel drive," he said. "As we increase power and torque, then the M5 and M6 will have large outputs, so we'll look at those solutions [all-wheel drive] with these cars in the future."
Other things van Meel is into include something similar to the old 1-Series M Coupe (hopefully the upcoming M2), electric turbocharging and maybe even M versions of the X3 and X4.
Things he's not too keen on include four-cylinder M engines and M cars built from on the new front-wheel drive UKL platform, but the latter would be possible "if we can make it sharp enough."
An M hot hatch? I wouldn't kick that out of my garage...