BMW M to remain faithful to rear-wheel drive

BMW M550d xDrive
BMW M550d xDrive

xDrive would add weight

BMW's M division will continue to launch only rear-wheel drive models according to M boss Friedrich Nitschke.

Although competitors like Mercedes-Benz and Audi are offering all-wheel drive versions of their hot performance models, BMW M will not go down this route since installing the xDrive AWD system would increase weight by 80-90 kg. Nitschke also said BMW's M differential "is the industry's best rear-drive set-up."

In a discussion with Autocar about the future of manual gearboxes, he declared as long as there will be demand, BMW will offer them. In the interview he mentioned an M version of the recently unveiled 3-Series GT is not under consideration at the moment.

He also motivated the move from naturally-aspirated engines to turbocharging by saying "it's a change in technology" and "turbocharging is better for fuel savings and CO2."

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Comments (28)

ovia ovia
The novel 4RM system pioneered by Ferrari should take care of all this 4WD weight fears expressed by Beemer. It weighs no more than 30% of typical 4WD add on weight implications!!. I recommend it to BMW...couple this to your obviously class leading power trains and R&Ds at ingolstadt and Stuttgart will be scratching their heads for quite some time to come!!
Feb 23rd, 2013 12:07pm
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amhirst amhirst
"...BMW M will not go down this route since installing the xDrive AWD system would increase weight by 80-90 kg..." While installing the "fake engine sound system" in the M5 does not increase weight??
Feb 22nd, 2013 11:56pm
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jub_al jub_al
Would it be too obnoxious of me to suggest that M cars are not meant to be driven in "challenging" weather? The way I see it, AWD should not even be a question because when you're driving a "performance" version of any car (M, RS, AMG), it should be for performance, not going to get groceries in the middle of a snowstorm... That's why M SUV's are counter-intuitive to me, and IMHO, people who buy M SUV's either a) have too much money or b)Don't know anything about performance model cars... You can argue that Audis have made AWD on their performance models their unique trait / specialty, but that's due to their roots in rally racing right? same with Subaru... But that's why Audis don't and probably won't handle better than a BMW M vehicle... Anyways, my point is, if you're planning to buy an M vehicle, it probably shouldn't be your only vehicle of transportation or daily driver... it should be your track vehicle, your weekend fun car, and driven in good weather.
Feb 21st, 2013 10:39pm
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dbehmoaras dbehmoaras
That goes against why the M vehicles were created in the first place. The M535i was designed according to the philosophy that you should be able to access high on command. In other words, it was designed to make those mundane errands special. That's why it was built in the first place. If you're going to buy a car that you would only use on certain occasions, like on a track day or a Sunday joyride, why would you choose a big luxury sedan, like the M5? For that price tag, a Boxster S, 911 C2, F-Type, second-hand Aston, are all more logical choices that are purpose built for the job. I agree that cars like the 1M, M3, and even the M6 should remain RWD. But if there's one M car that could benefit from AWD, the M5 is it. That's not to say that I would prefer it, because RWD is more enjoyable. But think about the people who would actually buy the car. There's a reason why the Panamera 4S outsells the S. Also, AWD offers more grip, so the performance is more accessible to an amateur on the track.
Feb 22nd, 2013 8:35pm
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Bozzor Bozzor
Here is the reason that BMW M cars will, at some time in the near future, have to go to 4WD http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search-Results/First-drives/Mercedes-E63-AMG-S-4MATIC-2013-CAR-review/
Feb 21st, 2013 4:11am
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Han Solo Han Solo
Yes...I agree... M cars should maintain pure RWD set up... Leave the XDrives for original BMWs...unless you are talking about a Mid Longitudinal Supercar which requires an AWD set up to handle the immense Torque...
Feb 21st, 2013 2:18am
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kimbo kimbo
No M SUVs. No turbocharging on M cars. Bunch of liars.
Feb 21st, 2013 12:19am
2 4
94geo 94geo
Do you have a source when they said they would NEVER use those things? Porsche build an SUV, no one has a problem with that. I guess BMW should be flattered people hold M to a higher standard than porsche. Also adding turbos is not a change in philosophy its a change in technology...there is a difference. the M core values are still intact.
Feb 21st, 2013 3:09am
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Shumy Shumy
copy paste :)
Feb 21st, 2013 5:51am
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Porsche3054 Porsche3054
Plenty of people had a problem with Porsche building an SUV but facing bankruptcy they had no choice.
Feb 21st, 2013 8:09am
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kimbo kimbo
2008: BMW M remains committed to no SUVs. 2007: BMW M remains committed to naturally aspirated high-strung engines only. 1994: BMW M remains committed to manual transmissions only.
Feb 21st, 2013 10:28am
1 3
Teddy Teddy
BMW M GMBH didn't even develop the X6M or X5M, they were developed by the BMW GROUP, which is a whole different division. If you think the M cores are still intact you are delusional.
Feb 21st, 2013 11:08am
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moodyaaa moodyaaa
Good news
Feb 21st, 2013 12:18am
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Microice Microice
I thought they considered xdrive on the current M5 for the Russian market. When you see people denying what they weren't asked you better believe its coming. Hello M4 xdrive and M3 GT
Feb 20th, 2013 10:31pm
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dbehmoaras dbehmoaras
Is there a technology that allows you to switch between RWD and AWD? I don't mean the way Quattro does it electronically. I mean a separate gearbox that allows you to select the powertrain setup, mechanically. Maybe it's time for a company like BMW to start looking into this. Rather than have to decide between the two, I want a car that will allow me to have both. We're seeing self-driving cars, battery-powered cars, hybrids, self-braking/accident mitigation, etc... I don't think I'm asking for too much.
Feb 20th, 2013 9:54pm
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autoficianado autoficianado
Yes...and it has been around for a long time and normally called "Traction control" or AWD on demand...
Feb 20th, 2013 11:34pm
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DBaskov DBaskov
Read the article, it says awd is heavier, increases weight by 80-90 kgs. That's a lot!
Feb 21st, 2013 12:06am
1 1
dbehmoaras dbehmoaras
Traction control is exactly what I DON'T mean. What I was referring to is the ability to engage AWD like you would engage a gear. Traction control is not that. Traction control is an ELECTRONIC system that applies the breaks to the wheels that lose traction. I don't mean rear biased either, like the R8. I mean a rotating cog that MECHANICALLY engages/disengages the front wheels to the powertrain. That is rather different from traction control. Whether TC is enabled or not on a AWD powertrain, the car is still AWD. And 80-90 kg on a 2000kg car like the M5 is not that much of a difference, especially if you prefer a car that you would like to use during challenging weather conditions. That weight difference matters on a track, not on a road.
Feb 21st, 2013 3:36am
1 1
DBaskov DBaskov
90kg is a lot of weight, for 1m, m3, and even m5. Regardless if it does weight 2000kg (which I think you are slightly exaggerating), as much as 90kg can definably impact your performance.
Feb 21st, 2013 6:10am
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dbehmoaras dbehmoaras
Again, 90 is a lot weight on track. For the 1M and M3, maybe as well. But for a big car like the M5, trying to make it a light-weight track star isn't really the point of the M5. In absolute terms, 90kg is about as much as the weight of a sizable passenger. But for the sake of year-round usability, it's a fair price to pay for those who would prefer the feature. Let me be clear: I think it makes sense for BMW M to continue to offer RWD exclusively, as it is one of the defining traits of the brand. However, in reality, it is reasonable to ask for versatility from a car that many buyers would consider as the daily driver. Every M5 owner that I've known used it for the daily tasks, not for the occasional Sunday joyride. It goes without saying that the latter is also a purpose of this car. And again, 90kg for the option to choose between TRUE AWD and TRUE RWD is a more reasonable sacrifice than 90 kg for only AWD. All I'm saying is that it is worth considering, for the sake of enriching the blend of every day practicality with high performance. That is the philosophy that brought us the M535i.
Feb 21st, 2013 7:20pm
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Shumy Shumy
actually porsche's pdk transmission has a mode that allows the 4s models to be two wheel drive. No so many people know about it though and I never tested or saw it
Feb 21st, 2013 5:50am
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JonnyRose JonnyRose
Quattro isn't electronic, there are still mechanical diffs involved. Haldex in Lamborghinis could work like this. But if you have the weight of the 4WD system, then not using the benefits of it would be stupid.
Feb 22nd, 2013 6:33pm
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bert2578 bert2578
Hey, check this out. Its a start :p -------------------------------- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm_QeljGwY4
Feb 22nd, 2013 9:52pm
1 0
amhirst amhirst
Other than the transfer case lockable 4WD system used in pickups which is unsuitable for tarmac use, the only other system that could switch from 2WD to 4WD and vide versa was the first generation of the 4MATIC by Mercedes Benz in the W124. There, under normal conditions power was transfered only to the rear wheels but when loss of traction was detected the rear differential locked automatically and also the center and front differentials were engaged, giving "proper" 4WD. This generation of 4MATIC was a purely mechanical systems and faced serious complexity and reliability issues, that's why Mercedes benz chose to discontinue it and develop a full time 4WD system for the next generations of 4MATIC cars.
Feb 23rd, 2013 12:05am
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Amgforlife Amgforlife
Thats soo true
Feb 20th, 2013 9:19pm
1 1
miladjuckel miladjuckel
only a matter of time, until they follow the rest of the pack with all wheel drive. these are the same guys that kept saying "no turbos" and what happened! smh
Feb 20th, 2013 9:17pm
7 7
Kakumbaz Kakumbaz
The X5 and X6 Ms are AWD dont they count? Yet these are the same people who said they wouldn't make an M SUV because its high center of gravity would be uncharacteristic for an M car.
Feb 20th, 2013 9:32pm
5 8
94geo 94geo
Lol when did they say they would never use turbo? have a source? Probably not right? Also adding turbos is not a change in philosophy, its a change in technology. M core values are still intact. But hey keep hating.lol.
Feb 21st, 2013 3:12am
7 2