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A fresh report out of the United Kingdom suggests that BMW’s M division has plans to add as many as 26 new or updated variants to its high-performance range by the end of 2020.
According to Autocar, BMW hopes that this massive expansion will allow its performance division to match the growing sales of its burgeoning Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport rivals.
The British publication reports that the new models will include both full-fat M derivatives (as many as 11) as well as “slightly softer” M Performance variants (numbering 15), with the next-generation M3 – expected to be revealed late in 2019 – leading the charge.
“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,” BMW M chief Frank van Meel told Autocar.
“BMW itself has significantly more models than BMW M. But we are looking at where we can expand our programme 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,” Van Meel added.
The report furthermore suggests that “full-blown M variants” of the latest X3, upcoming X4, next-generation Z4 and revived 8 Series are currently being developed, with M-badged versions of the latter set to be offered in both coupé and cabriolet configurations.
“Well-placed” BMW M division sources also told the publication that the company was working on various mid-range M Performance models (ostensibly to take the fight to Mercedes-AMG’s 43-badged and Audi Sport’s S-badged models), including warmed-up versions of the new X2, next-generation 3 Series and the upcoming X7, with M Performance variants of the next-generation 4 Series Coupé and Cabriolet as well as the upcoming 4 Series GT also under consideration.
Expect more track-focused derivatives along the lines of the M4 CS and recently revealed M3 CS models to feature in the expansion, too, with an M Performance version of the next-generation (front-wheel-drive) 1 Series also on the table.