This many models is an extraordinary increase on the BMW M line-up that we’re used to, but the number of times that ‘X’ appears alongside ‘M’ suggests there’ll be a lot of M-Performance cars, as with Mercedes-AMG’s halfway-house models.

Will that undermine the true M models? I suspect not: full-fat AMGs are still massively respected and so, too, you suspect, will be the next M3 and M4.

New M3 to lead 26-car M division onslaught

What's coming when from BMW M

It’s a mark of how far the car industry has come that it almost feels like a surprise, to me, that we’re talking about a new performance car and that, hey, it’ll probably just be another straight internally combusted vehicle. It seems unlikely that M would think about weight reduction sufficiently that its car would need a carbonfibre roof, but that at the same time they’d burden it with the weight of batteries, unless it was a very lean, very mild hybrid.

That there’ll be a track-focused car in the plan from the off, though, could mean that your regular M3 and M4 could be if not ‘soft’ then certainly easily daily usable. That approach hasn’t done AMG saloons any harm. So, almost certainly automatic only and compliant for regular road use, the next M3 or M4 might not sound on the face of it like the M car the purists want, but it’ll probably be the M car that BMW needs.

Read more: 

BMW M4 review 

BMW M2 review 

BMW M5 review