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Interesting news (from Autoweek), hope it is not a repost, sorry if so.

M-badged SUVs? BMW considering expansion of high-performance unit’s model lineup



JENS MEINERS | Automotive News Europe
Posted Date: 5/17/05
MUNICH – BMW could expand its M range of high-performance cars into SUVs and other models.



The X5 and X3 premium SUV models are possible contenders for new M variants, as are the 5 Series station wagon and the Z4 roadster.

Extending the M range would spell the end of the purist approach that the M division has followed since it launched its first car, the 1978 M1. This was a supercar co-developed with Lamborghini and styled by Italdesign Giugiaro.

Currently, BMW sells the M3, M5 and M6.

“We have great potential to go into new segments with M models,” said M division CEO Ulrich Bruhnke.

Bruhnke said the success of the X3 and X5 SUVs shows that BMW can break out of its traditional segments.

No M badge for 1 Series

“If we were asked to do such a model [an M-badged SUV], I am convinced we could do it,” he said.

Bruhnke feels there is room at the top of the X5 range for an M model. The current high-performance model would not be considered for an M-badge, he said.

An M-version of the 1 Series is unlikely, because it is not offered in the U.S., where half of BMW’s M models are sold, Bruhnke said.

Even with an expansion of the lineup, an M model will never be just a higher-powered BMW, said Bruhnke.

“We don’t do labeling. M models cannot be just a variation. Handling and dynamic behavior are as important as linear acceleration,” he said.

BMW’s M division employs 500 people. Between 1978 and 2004, BMW built 228,454 M models. More than 70 percent were M3 cars.

The company does not disclose the M division’s profitability. But making a profit is not the only reason for the unit’s existence.

It gives BMW cars that highlight the automaker’s core value, which is to build cars that deliver performance and agile handling.

M models also serve as a test platform for new technologies, such as carbon-fiber applications:

“We are a small experimental field for BMW,” said Bruhnke.

Bruhnke, 50, took over BMW’s M unit in December 2003 after previous head Adolf Prommesberger retired. Earlier, Bruhnke ran Mercedes-Benz’s AMG high-performance division, where he raised AMG’s sales to 24,000 units from 10,500.

BMW has not yet decided how to expand the M range. Said Bruhnke: “It’s very comfortable to have more ideas than capacity.”

A broadening of the M range could also eventually lead to a future mid-engined supercar in the tradition of the M1, Bruhnke said.

BMW displayed a 700hp V-12 concept X5 at the Geneva auto show in 2000. Said Bruhnke: “This showed what an M car based on the X5 could look like.”
 

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Another piece of news that shows how BMW is being run by accountants these days.

Not surprising but I really hope they don't end up diluting the M brand :(
 

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I think to say Diluting the M brand is a little unfair.

Each model deserves to have it's M really, and they already did the concept Le Man's X5, which I think was probably just a precursor to an M car to test ideas on.
 

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I've always appreciated that M cars are RWD with a manual transmission.
 

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The X5 LM was just a gimmick using the running gear from the V12 LMR... anyone remember the Ford Supervans?

An X5M could be interesting, though I'm not fully convinced - imagine a CF roof and hood to get the CoG down and an M/// V12 - sadly, however, they'd probably just slap the V10 in there - lovely engine, but I'm not sure the torque characteristics would suit a 2300kg SAV...

Now, a nice mid-engined lightweight supercar with a 550bhp V10, that's more like it!

It really is a shame they never did the M8 all those years ago.
 

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FelixSweden said:
Look at AMG is that brand "diluted"?
Imagine a 600 HP V10 ///M X5
I imagine a crash with the M X5 rolling 27 times instead of the normal 10.

Ridiculous.

"High performance" and "SUV" should not describe the same car.
 

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I do think the AMG brand name is dilluted. They put the '55 engine in any vehicle that will fit it and then slap on the AMG sticker with little other modification or thought (besides somewhat beefier brakes, suspension and tires).

I can imagine BMW wanting to compete with these AMG variants, but rather than using and dilluting the prestigious M brand, they should create another.

Tom
 

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At the end of the day, if US dealership owners are seeing $$$ going "next door" to Cayenne Turbos, ML 63s, Range Rover Supercharged , potential RS version of Audi Q7 , rumored Bentley version of the Q7/Cayenne/Touareg platform for Americans who despite the spike in gas prices still like " trucksters " more than sedans , then BMW M will be pretty much forced to go along.
BMW hired the guy who helped proliferate the "AMG" badge across the MBZ range- must be a strategic reason for that.
 

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If you read what Mr. Bruhnke said in the article, he states very clearly

“We don’t do labeling. M models cannot be just a variation. Handling and dynamic behavior are as important as linear acceleration,”

That said, I don't believe we have to worry about the M-Brand being diluted ala Mercedes AMG. If anything it will keep the people at M busy doing research and design on a multitude of platforms.

Also, don't lose sight of the fact that he mentioned a M Z4 would be included and possibly a M1! :thumbsup:
Cheers,
Kevmmm
 

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FelixSweden said:
Look at AMG is that brand "diluted"?
Imagine a 600 HP V10 ///M X5
I believe AMG IS diluted.
G55 AMG? You've gotta be kidding me.:nono: Dodge Caravan55 AMG makes more sense.:1:
But if they build ///MX5 they'd ruin the ///M philosophy and after that we sould be waiting for the ///M7.
But I wish to see a supercar from BMW.lovelove :rolleyes:
 

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Grey_ashes said:
I believe AMG IS diluted.
G55 AMG? You've gotta be kidding me.:nono: Dodge Caravan55 AMG makes more sense.:1:
But if they build ///MX5 they'd ruin the ///M philosophy and after that we sould be waiting for the ///M7.
But I wish to see a supercar from BMW.lovelove :rolleyes:
AMG doesn't work with Dodge. Dodge, Chrysler, and now Jeep have SRT.

bernhtp said:
I do think the AMG brand name is dilluted. They put the '55 engine in any vehicle that will fit it and then slap on the AMG sticker with little other modification or thought (besides somewhat beefier brakes, suspension and tires).
The SL55 AMG has a stronger rear subframe than the SL500.

The CLK DTM AMG doesn't have the usual AMG modifications.

http://fast-autos.net/mercedes/mercedesclkdtmamg.html
 

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Rickcoin said:
I thought BMW (or BMW M) said M cars would never have awd.
i remanber the president of BMW AG used to say, with state of the art traction control and the excellent chassis BMW has, nobody will need AWD. and guess what happned.
 

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Rickcoin said:
AMG doesn't work with Dodge. Dodge, Chrysler, and now Jeep have SRT.
Actually, I have read that they do in some aspects. There have also been rumors that in the future AMG will be more involved with the Chrysler side of the DC family.
 

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vndkshn said:
Actually, I have read that they do in some aspects. There have also been rumors that in the future AMG will be more involved with the Chrysler side of the DC family.
Didn't they build a Crossfire concept car with the running gear from an old SLK32AMG?
 
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