Get ready to see a lot more M badges in the next few years.
In a report by Autocar, BMW M is planning a massive expansion in order to take back some of the market share held by its domestic rivals in Mercedes-AMG and Audi Sport. The coup will reportedly be led by the next-generation G20 M3 and M4 tentatively scheduled for a September 2019 debut in Frankfurt. BMW M boss Frank van Meel is quoted explaining, "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."
The report goes on to say that the next M3 is poised to pack slightly less weight and more power than the current-gen M3 CS which weighs 1585 kilograms and produces 453-horsepower. Regarding rumors that the new car will feature hybrid power, Autocar's internal sources are refuting those claims head-on, citing a redesigned M3 that uses an upgraded version of the company's 3.0-liter, twin-turbo straight-six, and nothing else. It'll also reportedly come with the driver's choice of six-speed manual or eight-speed auto. More good news for traditionalists, the new M3 will also remain rear-drive-only, unlike the newly-all-wheel-drive 2018 M5. BMW originally wanted to fit the car with all-wheel-drive but decided against it due to the added cost and weight.
Following the M3 and M4's lead will be full-M versions of the X3 and X4 crossovers, a new Z4 M with bones made in collaboration with Toyota, and hardtop and convertible versions of the M8. In addition, a slew of softer (and most crucially perhaps, cheaper) M-Performance models are also in the pipeline. These include slightly pumped-up versions of the X2, the next 3 Series, 4 Series, and X7. In total, BMW M is plotting to bring 26 new models to the fold by 2020, with 11 being full-fat M cars and the rest falling under the M-Performance category.