M Division head, Ludwig Willisch is blaming “likely insufficient demand.” Instead, Willisch’s skunkworks gang will turn their wrenches to M iterations of the (are your ears still plugged?) X5 and X6 SUVs.
This follows the recent news that the refreshed Z4 due next year will only come in retractable hardtop form only.
That’s right, the venerated Z4-based M Coupe is as dead as the M3 CSL.
Once upon a time BMW's M badge was sacred within the company. Only rear-wheel-drive, hardtops, and naturally aspirated mills qualified to wear the respected M badge on their metal rumps. But in the search for more sales, BMW is breaking it’s own code with AWD (the Xs from above), M3 cabs and the rumoured twin-turbo V8 that will replace the current naturally aspirated V10 M5.
Further blurring BMW’s brand qualities is its hell bent desire to not only fill every available product niche, but also create new ones.
For example, spotted hot weather testing, right, is essentially a tall hatchback version (hmm... isn’t that the niche the X6 was filling?) of the next 5 Series previously called the V5 or a Progressive Activity Vehicle. That’s on top of the existing 5 Series sedan, wagon and X5.
But wait, there’s more niche BMWs on the way…
Expect an SUV version of the compact 1 Series, the X1, to show up at the Paris auto show next month alongside the all-new 7 Series (including a hybrid using the same system as in the Chevy Tahoe) and a face lifted 3 Series.
So what do you think?
Is BMW bastardizing its brand by chasing profits?
Or is this the inevitable fate of all performance brands dealing with our post-cheap-fuel world?
[Source: CAR, Inside Line, Jalopnik]