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05-17-2005 09:34 AM #1
It is official No M badge for 1 series
M-badged SUVs? BMW considering expansion of high-performance unit’s model lineup
JENS MEINERS | Automotive News Europe
Posted Date: 5/17/05
MUNICH – BMW could expand its M range of high-performance cars into SUVs and other models.
The X5 and X3 premium SUV models are possible contenders for new M variants, as are the 5 Series station wagon and the Z4 roadster.
Extending the M range would spell the end of the purist approach that the M division has followed since it launched its first car, the 1978 M1. This was a supercar co-developed with Lamborghini and styled by Italdesign Giugiaro.
Currently, BMW sells the M3, M5 and M6.
“We have great potential to go into new segments with M models,” said M division CEO Ulrich Bruhnke.
Bruhnke said the success of the X3 and X5 SUVs shows that BMW can break out of its traditional segments.
No M badge for 1 Series
“If we were asked to do such a model [an M-badged SUV], I am convinced we could do it,” he said.
Bruhnke feels there is room at the top of the X5 range for an M model. The current high-performance model would not be considered for an M-badge, he said.
An M-version of the 1 Series is unlikely, because it is not offered in the U.S., where half of BMW’s M models are sold, Bruhnke said.
Even with an expansion of the lineup, an M model will never be just a higher-powered BMW, said Bruhnke.
“We don’t do labeling. M models cannot be just a variation. Handling and dynamic behavior are as important as linear acceleration,” he said.
BMW’s M division employs 500 people. Between 1978 and 2004, BMW built 228,454 M models. More than 70 percent were M3 cars.
The company does not disclose the M division’s profitability. But making a profit is not the only reason for the unit’s existence.
It gives BMW cars that highlight the automaker’s core value, which is to build cars that deliver performance and agile handling.
M models also serve as a test platform for new technologies, such as carbon-fiber applications:
“We are a small experimental field for BMW,” said Bruhnke.
Bruhnke, 50, took over BMW’s M unit in December 2003 after previous head Adolf Prommesberger retired. Earlier, Bruhnke ran Mercedes-Benz’s AMG high-performance division, where he raised AMG’s sales to 24,000 units from 10,500.
BMW has not yet decided how to expand the M range. Said Bruhnke: “It’s very comfortable to have more ideas than capacity.”
A broadening of the M range could also eventually lead to a future mid-engined supercar in the tradition of the M1, Bruhnke said.
BMW displayed a 700hp V-12 concept X5 at the Geneva auto show in 2000. Said Bruhnke: “This showed what an M car based on the X5 could look like.”
05-17-2005 10:26 AM #2
05-17-2005 11:01 AM #3
05-17-2005 11:01 AM #4
05-17-2005 04:48 PM #5
Re: It is official No M badge for 1 series
I'm not saying that they will build an 1M, but, these quote hardly make it sound 'Official'!!
An M-version of the 1 Series is "unlikely"
BMW has "not yet decided how" to expand the M range
A broadening of the M range "could" also eventually lead to a future mid-engined supercar in the tradition of the M1, Bruhnke said.
05-17-2005 11:39 PM #6
Re: So they rather make a 2,5 ton MX5,than a sport
he only said they could build an MX5 if asked to do so, not that they are going to build one. besides that would represent a massive shift in the thinking of the M divisionand i dont think thats going to happen soon. also the article only says that an M badge 1 series is unlikely because it is not in the US market, when it does enter the US market, they may well build an M badge 1 series. rembmber they said they wouldn't build an M Z4, but they recently did an about face on that too.
05-18-2005 07:00 AM #7
An MX5 would be first ever M-car with 4x4,hope it
Right,good that the MZ4 is finally coming,maybe recent SLK55 had something to do with it?
Personally I am not too eager to get M models of the Suvs (X5 and X3) nor from the 7er,but no doubt some rich ppl might like them?? Next M3/M4 may be exciting,but only if it stays under 1700 kg / 3750 lb.
05-27-2005 10:49 AM #8
06-22-2005 01:14 PM #9
M1? May be possible
BMW continues to blast the opposition, this time with a hot version of the 1 Series that comes complete with a brand-new body kit that apes the 2007 superfast M1.
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