Could it be a production version of the BMW Vision M Next?
BMW's M division hasn't made a standalone sports car since the legendary M1 finished production in 1981, but that's finally about to change. Speaking to Top Gear, BMW M boss Markus Flasch confirmed the division has "some very concrete plans for something new."
But before you set your expectations too high, this isn't going to be a new halo hypercar to challenge the Mercedes-AMG One. Flasch didn't reveal what form the new standalone sports car will take, but we're hoping it will at least be BMW M's answer to the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car.
"It's a fascinating idea as we have a lot of competitive engineers, so a halo car is always a thrilling idea," Flasch said when asked about the possibility of BMW M making a Mercedes-AMG One rival. "But M is so strong – 2019 will be our best year of sales ever – the brand doesn't need a halo car. Business- and image-wise I'm a little bit mixed about if this is necessary. I like the idea, but it needs to do a job."
There is a strong chance, however, that BMW M's standalone sports car will be electrified, either as a hybrid or a fully electric model. "We are working on electrified combustion and we are working on fully electric cars, but we will only bring those options to customers when they offer an advantage in terms of character, in terms of performance," said Flasch. "We won't do it just to be first on the market with a particular type of powertrain. That's not what our customers are after." He went on to add that "a brand new model without a predecessor is more suitable than a model with a predecessor."
According to Top Gear, we won't have to wait too long to see BMW M's new project. There have also been rumors that the Vision M Next, which made an appearance at Frankfurt alongside the BMW 4 Concept, will enter production as a replacement for the aging i8, so this could potentially be BMW M's first new standalone project. It's surprising, then, that the i8 never got the high-performance M treatment.
"We have never worked on the i8," said Flasch, "but the i and M divisions are in constant interaction, we meet a minimum of once a week and there are no dogmas or taboos between us. We share thinking." Other reports have claimed the Vision M Next will enter production in 2022 and be called the i12