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BMW Has Big(ger) Plans for its High-Performance M Brand

Maker also hopes to see extensive use of fuel-saving carbon fiber technology.

by on May.24, 2012

Expect an M version of the new BMW Gran Coupe, the maker's U.S. CEO tells

Even as it gets set to launch sales of its new M6 model, BMW is looking at ways to further expand its  high-performance brand-within-a-brand, a senior executive told

Once limited to a handful of limited-production offerings, BMW now offers M versions of more than half of its line-up – with several key omissions, including the flagship 7-Series, but that may soon change, noted Ludwig Willisch, CEO of the maker’s North American sales subsidiary.

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Willisch said he also expects the maker to eventually make extensive use of strong and lightweight carbon fiber, perhaps even in such models as BMW’s best-seller, the 3-Series.

The German executive was in Santa Barbara for the first U.S. media drive of BMW’s new M6 and Gran Coupe models.  The latter is a 4-door version of the maker’s classic coupe, the 6-Series – and intended to go up against the likes of the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS.


Shifting Gears: BMW’s M Division Wants to Redefine Performance

“The dogmas are gone,” says BMW M chief Kay Segler.

by on Mar.30, 2010

"Forget about dogmas," suggests Kay Segler, the new chief of BMW's performance M brand.

Forget raw horsepower numbers, don’t worry about 0 to 60 times.  To Kay Segler, it’s all about what “your butt-o-meter…tells you.”

For performance aficionados, few cars command more respect than one with the vaunted BMW “M” badge bolted onto the back.  This brand-within-a-brand is, perhaps more than anything else, the reason the Bavarian maker has been able to defend its long-standing claim to being “the ultimate driving machine.”

Yet, at a time when even the most mainstream manufacturers are emphasizing performance, and mid-market entries like the 2011 Ford Mustang are nudging past the once-unimaginable 400 horsepower barrier, M chief Segler says it’s time to rethink what his division stands for.  And the new definition doesn’t necessarily require BMW to deliver either the fastest, or the most powerful cars possible.

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“The measurement of 0 to 100 (kmh) isn’t as much a thrill anymore,” Segler proclaims during a long dinner in downturn Munich, not far from BMW’s headquarters.  What matters more than raw numbers is how a car feels, he explains.  “You can measure a lot of things by the numbers, but your butt-o-meter is what tells you” whether you’re satisfied, Segler contends, as he sips a glass of sparkling water, reminding us of Germany’s tough drunk driving laws.