BMW M Gmbh's Friedrich Nitschke recently dismissed the possibility of an all-wheel drive M car but recent events have him changing his tune.
Speaking to Motoring, Nitschke said he looked at the numbers and discovered that "70 to 80 percent of [Mercedes] E63 AMGs are all-wheel drive in the US now." He then confirmed "We are thinking of all-wheel drive, but it won’t come before we get the successor of the M5 and M6." The executive went on to explain the decision is a result of timing because it's no longer practical to make significant changes to the M5 or M6 this late in the product lifecycle.
Nitschke declined to say when we can expect to see an all-wheel drive M car but stated “The M5 and M6, maybe in the next generation they could get AWD, but not with the M3 or M4. Never." He added that any potential all-wheel drive system would be optional as most M buyers prefer rear-wheel drive.