BThe CEO of Mercedes-AMG, Tobias Moers, recently announced his company would no longer consider RWD cars for Mercedes’ go-faster division. All performance vehicles from Affalterbach will have a 4Matic setup. While this may seem like a progressive choice, BMW’s Markus Flasch sees the subject differently.
As the Chairman of the Board of Management for BMW’s M division, Flasch has taken a distinctly separate approach to the issue than Moers. Flasch argues that rear-wheel drive is still relevant for some segments of the market, and the BMW M3 will sport the feature. His logic is relatively easy to follow.
An AWD layout is more suitable for medium and larger cars, which customers tend to drive throughout the entirety of the year. Smaller and cheaper M cars — like the M2, M3 and M4 — usually remain in an owner’s garage in inclement conditions. They’ll often take them out when the weather is good, less so when it’s not.
Because of this, Flasch is determined to keep RWD alive as he continues to pursue xDrive, and in doing so, remain faithful to the spirit of the M division. Though he won’t please everyone, Flasch believes he’ll satisfy most BMW enthusiasts. Regardless, he has other exciting developments in line for the coming decade.
Progress and Innovation
Beyond the BMW M3’s rear-wheel drive, Flasch has also announced plans for new CS models. They won’t necessarily take the form of a coupe, and you may even see that CS suffix attached to an SUV sometime in the far future. Of course, these comments strongly suggest that BMW may bring back the CSL.
Flasch didn’t provide any model names, but the M2 is the likeliest candidate to benefit from this treatment if the Coupe Sport Leichtbau makes a comeback. However Flasch chooses to proceed, BMW enthusiasts can feel secure knowing the company’s highly regarded performance division is in capable hands.
With Flasch behind the wheel, it’s safe to say that BMW is on the right track. His ambition for a hypercar in the M division is one of the prime examples of his innovative mindset. Though his predecessor, Frankus Van Meel, ruled out the possibility of a hypercar in 2017, Flasch is taking things in another direction.
In the past, BMW has shown a reluctance to broach the subject of supercars and hypercars. However, Flasch feels that a low-emissions supercar is feasible with help from BMW’s i division. He’s shown an interest in collaboration between the M and i divisions, and the product of their teamwork will likely turn heads.
Looking Toward the Future
Flasch has a clear vision for the future of BMW’s M division. In addition to the rear-wheel drive for the BMW M3, enthusiasts should remain on the lookout for more exciting developments in the months and years ahead. The potential release of a low-emissions supercar is only a taste of what’s to come.
As Flasch moves forward with his plans for BMW, it’s reasonable to speculate his division will see a significant transformation. As it evolves and takes shape, enthusiasts will likely view the changes as positive, if not well-intentioned.