Look out AMG, BMW can stick an M badge on everything too.
Though it has only been on the market for four years, the F80 generation BMW M3 is already going out of production. In its place will be the 2019 M3, codenamed the G80. The new M3 will kickstart a major expansion of the M Division, which is said to include 26 new models. Autocar reports the expansion will be spearheaded by BMW M chief Frank van Meel, who was poached from Audi Sport (formerly Quattro GmbH). The goal of the expansion is to match Mercedes-AMG with M Performance and M sales of over 100,000 units per year.
Both Mercedes and Audi have announced expansions to their performance brands, so it only makes sense for BMW to do the same. Van Meel said “Along with the M5, the M3 is a crucial car for BMW M. It wasn’t the first fully-fledged M car but it continues to stand for everything the brand is based upon.” In addition to the M3, the M division is already working on performance variants of the third-generation X3, second-generation X4, upcoming fourth-generation Z4, and resurrected 8 Series. The 8 Series in particular will fill the gap left by the M6 coupe and convertible. Within the next 18 months, we will also see several mid-range, AWD M Performance models.
These M Performance models will likely include quicker versions of the X2, 3 Series, and upcoming X7. The main rival for the M Performance cars are Audi's S models and Mercedes-AMG models in the 43 and upcoming 35 range. Other M performance models have been spun around the rumor mill, but have yet to be been confirmed for production. BMW's plan will culminate by the end of 2020 with 26 new or enhanced models. 11 of which will be hardcore M models and 15 of which will be M-Performance variants. These M models will trickle down market to include relatively affordable cars as well, including a rumored M Performance variant of the third generation 1 Series.
The car is rumored to be called the M130ix M Performance, and it could be the first FWD M Performance car. Van Meel said “BMW itself has significantly more models than BMW M. But we are looking at where we can expand our program in the future. There is huge potential for growth. We are looking at all BMW models to see if we can make an M or M Performance model out of them, although there must be sufficiently large customer demand before we commit. With M Performance, we can reach buyers not possible with classic M models.” So long as the cars still drive, well, count us in.