We give it another 5 years before we see this change again.
The world of BMW M is confusing, but it's about to get a little simpler, as BMW M Boss Frank van Meel has confirmed there will no longer be "standard" M models and that Competition derivatives will become the new normal.
As reported by Car Throttle, van Meel addressed the media at the international launch of the new BMW i5 on how the high-performance division wants to simplify the M lineup. Currently, M Performance derivatives, like the M340i and i4 M50, are the entry to the M sub-brand, with full-fat M models available in base, Competition, CS, and CSL derivatives, in the case of the BMW 4 Series and M4 families.
Competition models were meant to be slightly more hardcore versions of the core M lineup, which had softened to buyers' tastes over the years. According to van Meel, BMW M "introduced the Competition layer, which actually now has become the new normal."
Van Meel explains that the regular M models "will go away or more or less already has gone away," clarifying that BMW M is "not going to split any longer between M and M Competition, it will all be Competition in the future."
Certain models have already adopted this approach, and if you want a BMW M8, X5 M, or X6 M, your only option is to get those in Competition spec.
However, some derivatives can still be ordered in both forms, for the time being at least. BMW USA markets the M3 and M4 base and Competition models separately on its customer-facing site, while the X3 M and X4 M are base models with the Competition Package classified as a $7,000 option rather than a trim designation.
The BMW M2 is only available in base form, with BMW previously saying there were no plans for a Competition model. At the time, it said there were no plans for it, but it couldn't rule out the possibility. However, if BMW adopts the "Competition is base" philosophy, a hotter M2 may be the M2 CS instead, and an even hotter variant may come to fruition in the form of an M2 CSL - Lord knows it could do with losing a bit of weight.
While the move is a step in the right direction towards simplifying the brand's naming and model structure for clients, there are still outliers, like the BMW XM. The XM is a dedicated M model with various trims globally, including the XM 50e, XM, and XM Label Red - or XM Label as BMW is now calling it. Such a model will seemingly not adopt this standard, but then again, even though it's technically an M model, it's not really an M model as we know it.