There was a time, not too long ago, when a BMW M-badged vehicle was feared. In the late 1990s, the E36 M3 Coupe was often regarded as the best-handling two-door on the planet and its sibling, the E36 M3 Sedan, was the fastest four-door in showrooms. The droptop M Roadster offered a viable alternative to a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, while the bad-to-the bone E39 M5 ran without peers thanks to its 400-horsepower V8 .
Today's M models offer excellent performance, but the bar has been raised so high that cheaper upstarts like Mitsubishi and Subaru can give them a run for the money on tracks, not to mention surging premium competitors like Audi and arch rival, Mercedes-Benz and their AMG offerings. Kay Segler, the new chief of BMW's performance-oriented M brand, has taken notice. However, instead of pushing the well-respected division to the head of the pack with even greater levels of performance, Segler says it is time to rethink what his division stands for – meaning BMW M may no longer offer the fastest or most powerful cars possible.
"The measurement of 0 to 100 (km/h) isn't as much a thrill anymore," Segler tells TheDetroitBureau.com. He goes on to explain that it's how a car feels via the driver's "butt-o-meter" matters more. Furthermore, he says the performance M brand needs to shift directions. "We want to make M young again." Segler's goal "is to go towards affordability and freshness." Those are big changes considering the current M lineup represents the flagship of each model range – priced accordingly – along with gigantic SUVs like the 5,368-pound X5 M. Undeterred by the news, we are still holding our breath for a production version of the Concept 1 Series Tii.