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Entry-Level BMW M Cars Will Now Be Competition Models, for Some Reason

This seems like a long-winded way of saying normal M cars weren't sporty enough.

Even with new trademark filings hinting at tweaking its naming structure for the better, BMW is now making another odd naming decision with its sports car lineup. During a recent discussion at the i5 launch, BMW M CEO Frank van Meel said that normal M cars are going to be phased out and M Competition cars will become the new normal.

For the last decade or so, BMW M has had a similar launch schedule for almost all of its models. First, it’d launch the normal M car—M3, M4, M5, or whatever—and then a year or so later, the M Competition model. The Competition version would look slightly different, have a few extra horses, and maybe have some subtle handling tweaks, but nothing too drastic. Since BMW started regularly making Competition models, they’ve become far more popular with customers, so BMW is just going to lead with those from now on.

BMW M is “not going to split any longer between M and M Competition, it will all be Competition in the future,” said van Meel, per Car Throttle.

BMW M3 Competition | BMW

Admittedly, this is just another way to say that M cars are going to get sharper and sportier from the jump. Perhaps some may think that standard M cars have long been too soft, lacking the edge that the brand was always known for. In recent years, you’d need to step up to the M Competition, or even spicier CS and CSL, models, to get that same edgy performance. So it’s good that entry-level M cars will be sportier right out of the box.

It isn’t much of a surprise, though. Competition models have become so much more popular that BMW M already stopped selling regular versions of its M SUVs and the M8. The M3 Touring is Competition-only, too. So it’s clear that customers aren’t as interested in low-fat M cars and BMW is finally realizing it. Either way, van Meel’s comments are somewhat confusing, essentially saying that BMW M will drop the normal vehicles and keep the Competition cars, which will become the new regular cars but keep the Competition badge.

Update: A BMW USA representative told The Drive that BMW M is forgoing the “Competition” name in future model series but the standard M models will keep the Competition sportiness. So the M Division’s model hierarchy will be as follows: BMW M models, M CS models, and M CSL models. That hierarchy won’t apply to every single M model but it will be the standard moving forward.

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