The head of the BMW M division says the firm will continue to offer rear-wheel-drive variants of its smaller M-badged vehicles.

The comments come after Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers earlier suggested the Stuttgart-based firm’s performance division was likely to switch all of its models to all-wheel drive.

Speaking to GoAuto.com, BMW M chief Markus Flasch hinted the new M3 would be offered in both rear- and all-wheel-drive form, giving substance to an earlier rumour.

“With M3, we were able to take over the entire drivetrain concept that we offer in the M5, and we were able to do a rear-wheel-drive version as well plus manual transmission,” Flasch told the Australian publication.

“I won’t disclose today how we configure those opportunities, but we can do whatever the markets globally demand. I can’t confirm it, but I’ve driven the cars,” he said.

GoAuto.com asked Flasch if he could ever see BMW M no longer offering a rear-driven variant, and he answered: “No, I don’t see the point why this would happen”.

He went on to explain why some customers might prefer all-paw models.

“In the larger segments – SUV and also sedan – our customers typically drive the cars long distances, they drive them all year, they drive them on dirt roads. For instance, an M5 driver or also the X5 M driver, they clearly go for all-wheel drive,” Flasch said.

“We also know that on the M5, the current model, with the switchable all-wheel drive, people hardly ever switch off AWD because it’s just such a great drive with it.

“On smaller segments, more let’s call it iconic M2, M3, M4 cars, they are typically either ‘entrance’ cars to certain customers or they are second or third cars, and rear-wheel drive makes the most sense for these cars because they are taken out in good weather, for special occasions.

“This is not black and white, but in general there is a differentiation between the bigger cars – longer wheelbase, V8 – smaller cars, straight-six, more like ‘the good weather car’, are still asking for rear-wheel drive and manual stick shift.”