Is BMW just protecting the name or could the company actually build an M7?

BMW filed paperwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 27, 2018, to secure the rights for the M7 moniker. The move indicates that the company sees value in owning the name, but it's not clear whether the German brand intends to use the high-performance name on a future production vehicle. 

Just applying for a trademark doesn't guarantee that the USPTO would grant BMW the rights to the M7 name. Plus, the process to reserve a title can be quite slow. For example, Ford recently needed over a year and a half just to get to the point where the trademark office made the filing for the Maverick nameplate public to see if any other companies opposed the Blue Oval's use of the moniker.

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BMW has held the rights to the M7 name in the United States in the past – very recently in fact. From April 24, 2012, to April 24, 2018, the company had the trademark on the name. According to USPTO documents, the firm had the ability to renew this application but didn't for some reason. Instead, the automaker's lawyers waited three days after the rights lapsed and filed new paperwork.

The German automaker has been pushing back against rumors of an M7 for many years. According to some execs, the M badge is for vehicles that an owner could conceivably take to the track, and that's not something a 7 Series buyer would do. 

BMW already offers two options for folks looking for a more performance-oriented 7 Series. The Alpina B7 (gallery above) features a subtly sporty appearance and packs a biturbo 4.4-liter V8 with 600 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. If someone wants to spend even more, the M760i features a 6.6-liter biturbo V12 with 601 hp and and 590 lb-ft. With this pair already available, there doesn't appear to be much room for an M7.

Source: United States Patent And Trademark Office via Bimmerfest

Gallery: 2017 BMW M760i: Review

Photo by: Jake Holmes