Popular Tags Cars

Will BMW M Cars Ever Go Front-Wheel Drive?

Interview / 2 Comments

It’s certainly a possibility for future entry-level BMW M Performance models.

Love it or hate it, BMW's is embracing front-wheel drive cars. The automaker's new FAAR front-wheel drive architecture is spawning new models, but BMW's M division isn't keen on applying this layout to its performance models. After all, a full-fat BMW M car without power being sent to the rear wheels would be blasphemous in most enthusiast's eyes. And yet BMW is considering applying its fabled M badge to select front-wheel-drive cars in the future. The Honda Civic Type R has proved it's possible to build a performance car with front-wheel drive, but this setup wouldn't deliver the driving experience enthusiasts expect from a BMW M car.

"That challenge is the biggest challenge, because we want to have a typical M feeling which goes more naturally with rear-wheel drive," BMW's M boss Frank Van Meel told CarAdvice at the launch of the M2 and M5 Competition in Spain. "If you want to do that with front-wheel drive, I think that's the biggest challenge you can have." However, Van Meel admitted that BMW's M division can't completely ignore the segment. In the last few years, BMW introduced the M Performance entry-model lineup slotting below the full-fat M range.

Before you start worrying the next-generation M3 and M4 will be offered in front-wheel drive, Van Meel said these entry-level M Performance models are more likely to get the front-wheel drive treatment. "The segment is big for us and of course it's very attractive, it's the entry-level segment to M," he said. "The question is what kind of M and which cars of that segment would fit."

You Might Also Like
Off Roaders For Those That Like To Go Topless
Off Roaders For Those That Like To Go Topless
Cars Of The Rich And Famous Crime Lords
Cars Of The Rich And Famous Crime Lords

The next-generation 1-Series will be the company's first vehicle to use the FAAR front-wheel-drive platform, followed by a new 2-Series Gran Turismo, 2-Series Active Tourer, 2-Series Gran Tourer, X1, and a small electric SUV dubbed the iX1. Van Meel didn't say which of these models could be sold in M Performance guise, but at least purists can rest easy knowing BMW isn't planning to introduce full-fat front-wheel drive M cars. Then again, the new M5 has shifted from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, so we wouldn't rule anything out just yet.