BMW M2 GTS anyone?
With just ten derivatives, BMW's M Division is highly selective in choosing what models to apply to M treatment to. We sat down with Peter Quintus, BMW M's marketing chief, at the Auto Shanghai to discuss the new BMW M4 CS, which made its global debut this week in China. But before we got started on that, we made a quick plea for a BMW M3 Wagon. "This isn't the first time I've been asked about that! But, the market is just too small. Wagons are only popular in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, which is not enough to justify such a car."
Having been given the answer we anticipated and our dream car dashed, we refocused on the BMW M4 CS – a car that has nothing to do with the special edition model created for the Spanish market last year, before you ask. What we learned is that the new model owes its existence to the popularity of the M4 GTS. "We were surprised by the demand for the M4 GTS. All 700 units were sold out within four weeks. For various reasons we couldn't build anymore, but there was a clear business case for a more track-focused M4 to slot in above the M4 Competition and below the GTS. And that's how the M4 CS came about," revealed Quintus. 3000 units will be built over a two-year production run, and they will all set out with ease.
Interestingly, the success of the stock M4, and the M4 GTS and Competition variants, coupled with anticipated success of the M4 CS will lead to this four-tier strategy rolled out across a number of M models. We asked if we should expect a BMW M2 CS. Without giving a firm yes, Quintus acknowledged this would be a car where the four-tier strategy would likely work well. "Customers want a variety of different M models. The BMW M4 is an attractive proposition price wise, the Competition appeals to buyers wanting a bit more power and aggression, and the GTS is geared towards a niche audience of track day enthusiasts.
The M4 CS slots in perfectly above the Competition and anyone who missed out on the GTS will want this car." Having established this four-tier M4 lineup, BMW plans to adopt the same structure with other members of the M portfolio. The aforementioned M2 and new M5 set to be unveiled later this year would be our bets for the next models to get Competition, CS, and GTS variants.