BMW M CEO Friedrich Nitschke gave some insight into certain aspects of future M models when speaking recently to Autocar
AWD vs RWD
While current non-SUV M models all remain RWD, as horsepower numbers climb for each successive generation of models, the question has arisen whether future models would benefit from AWD xDrive offerings, to help with traction and getting all that power down to the ground effectively; especially considering the AWD offerings from competitors - such as the E63/CLS63 AMG 4Matic and upcoming RS6/RS7 Quattro models.
To this, Nitschke reaffirms M's stance on RWD: "Our philosophy in regards to steering feel and precision is that rear-wheel drive is the best solution," ... "xDrive brings an 80-90kg weight penalty and the M differential is the industry's best rear-drive set-up."
The M traditionalists/purists/self-rowers' fear is that as BMW M's dual clutch M-DCT transmission gets better by each generation, and as manual transmission take rates decrease, manual transmission will be eliminated as an option altogether. It hasn't happened yet, as the current M5, M6, M6 Gran Coupe, as well as the upcoming F80 M3 and F82 M4 all offer (or will offer) manual transmissions.
To this, Nitschke basically says it's on us (as customers). "From a production aspect, it would be much better to only offer the dual-clutch gearbox," said Nitschke. "But as long as there is demand, we'll offer the manual."
This does however, somewhat contradict with a report last year
in which BMW M's head of engineering, Albert Biermann let on that there are no plans to fit the next generation M5 or M6 with a manual transmission.
Finally, regarding the move away from naturally aspirated engines, Nitschke said: "It's not a change in philosophy, it's a change in technology. Turbocharging is better for fuel savings and CO2."
The F80 M3 / F82 M4
has been confirmed
to be powered by an inline 6 cylinder multi-turbo engine, which looks to output 415hp