Losing customers to Mercedes-AMG and Audi doesn't sit well with Munich.
It’s a trend that Mercedes-AMG has already picked up from Audi. Although BMW denies it at the moment, the fact is that all-wheel-drive, called xDrive in BMW-speak, will soon be available on several M-branded models. A few purists will be pissed off but BMW, like any automaker, exists first and foremost to make money. And its rivals have been banking on sales of AWD high-performance sedans, especially in the US. For example, some 70 to 80 percent of Mercedes E63 AMG buyers went for AWD in the US last year alone.
Technically, BMW already has everything in place for an AWD M car. The question is which one(s) will get this option. Yes, rear-wheel-drive will remain standard, but US buyers, especially those who live in parts of the country where winter regularly strikes, prefer not to fishtail. BMW is fully aware of this. That’s why, in order to counter those growing E63 AMG sales, the next-gen M5 will without a doubt offer AWD. Same goes for the next M6. Its SUVs? You betcha. The X5 M and X6 M already have it. But what about the M3 and M4? xDrive isn’t likely because these two are the very core of the M brand in terms of absolute performance and heritage. That’s why people buy them. The larger M5/M6 and SUVs cater to a slightly different crowd.