Pries sees the combination of six (or more) cylinders and rear-wheel drive as defining features of the division. "These are cars that attract new people to the M brand and that is very important," he said to Motoring. He doesn't think it's time to deviate from that strategy yet. "I hope not, because six is part of our DNA. Not only the power, but that hallmark sound that we have."
We certainly like Pries' sentiment, but the division's current lineup shows a willingness to compromise the purely rear-wheel drive focus when necessary. For example, the latest X5 M and X6 M already feature all-wheel drive systems, which can send 100 percent of the power to the back at times. Spy shots and rumors heavily suggest a similar option for the next-generation M5, too.
The latest M4 GTS proves BMW knows how to tune a fantastic sounding six-cylinder, but there's no reason a well engineered four-cylinder model couldn't be great. The original M3 relied on one to speed around, and it became a performance icon of its period. Pries even admitted in 2014 that a new four-cylinder M vehicle could happen eventually. For now, he isn't ready to introduce a new four-pot model.
Pries admits that the division's strategy might need to change someday, but he still expects to create M-badged models. "If the framework changes in the future, we have to look then at what we can do in terms of a proper or decent M offer," he said to Motoring.