BMW M Head Frank Van Meel has announced that BMW M will go all in Competition models eliminating the entry level M models on all cars. Why? As always it’s complicated and confusing. And we can’t help but think that BMW M has done this to themselves essentially cannibalizing it’s own products
On one end it would appear the M Performance Models has successfully become the ideal M daily driver which has made the standard M car less appealing for potential buyers. On the other end you have the competition models which offer more power, performance and track oriented capabilities.
CarThrottle spoke to Van Meel about the move and the head of M opened up about how the lower-level M Performance models have “filled the gap”. The reality is that M Performance cars (which we tend to love as the ultimate daily drivers in BMW’s line-up) offer all the performance most could ever need for the street. Case in point is the M3 versus the revised M340i. The M340i xDrive has an identical 0-60 time, averages 8 mpg more and costs $16,400 less.
Typically those looking to step-up into a full M car want to feel something distinctly different. As much as the standard M car is radically re-engineered under the skin, its straight-line performance isn’t all that different than M Performance cars.
With the competition models BMW has created something that appeals to many in what it’s capable of on the track. Van Meel expanded a bit (when M) “introduced the competition layer, (it) has become the new normal. So that will go away or more or less already has gone away…we’re not going to split any longer between M and M Competition, it will all be competition in the future.”
But we can’t help but wonder the template BMW should have been following was in front of them all along. Porsche has successfully added variant after variant while keeping an almost mythical status intact for its base GT cars such a the GT3. And that’s with the GTS models playing a similar role as M Performance.
Part of this strategy is also going all in on the CS and CSL models for more cars. We’ve reported on this strategy for the last few years and we’re seeing it come to fruition now. Perhaps the market can’t sustain a standard model along with everything else but it does make you wonder if BMW could have saved the standard M3 for instance by making the M3 Competition have a higher-level spec as standard and keep it truly a more track focused car.