BMW’s performance arm wants to make a bespoke car — but it can’t convince BMW
24 October 2011

BMW’s M performance division would like to follow its Mercedes-Benz AMG rival and create its own bespoke car, product development chief Albert Biermann has revealed. Mercedes’ AMG performance offshoot was responsible for the SLS supercar and Biermann admits that it’s a path he’d like M engineers to follow, although BMW has yet to be convinced of the business case.

“From an engineering perspective, we have the skills and we’d love to do it,” he told Autocar. “We’ve discussed it several times but we’ve never been able to make the business case. Everything we do has to make money.”

Biermann also claimed that M is trying to convince BMW to allow them to develop a version of the Z4. “There are days when it hurts not to have one but there was no business case at the time when the decision was taken. We are trying to make a case but there are so many factors to consider.”

Biermann said that M was ready to adapt to the development of alternative powertrains. “Our job is to sell emotion and fun using the technology that’s socially acceptable at the time. Whether that’s a combustion engine or an electric motor, we don’t care.”

The new M5 swaps a V10 for a twin-turbo V8 and Biermann expects this trend to continue. “It’s about employing the right technology at the right time and we’re on a steep learning curve with turbos. We’re getting damn close to matching the response of a naturally aspirated engine but with much lower fuel consumption.”

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Biermann also refused to rule out a long-rumoured diesel M car. “We’d never say never if the technology becomes available, but right now we don’t have the diesel technology to match the responsiveness of the new M5.”

Alistair Weaver

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