BMW is embracing front-wheel-drive cars, and there is little enthusiasts or brand loyalists can do to stop the tide. BMW’s FAAR front-wheel-drive architecture is here to stay – and it's spawning several new models. While the Bavarian automaker is expanding its portfolio of anti-enthusiast machines, BMW’s M sport division isn’t keen on the idea of slapping an M badge on them and upping their performance. 

Front-wheel-drive architecture is almost counter to the feeling of a BMW M car. That’s how M boss Frank Van Meel put it when he spoke with  

“That challenge is the biggest challenge, because we want to have a typical M feeling which goes more naturally with rear-wheel drive,” he said when the publication spoke with him at the launch of the M2 and M5 Competition in Spain this week. “If you want to do that with front-wheel drive, I think that’s the biggest challenge you can have.” 

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However, Van Meel noted M wouldn’t ignore the segment altogether. Over the last few years, M has sprouted a lesser M Performance lineup to serve as entry-level offerings to the hardcore M brand. He said such M Performance front-wheel-drive vehicles are likely rather than those “single number” M cars fans have come to know and love.  

“The segment is big for us and of course it’s very attractive, it’s the entry-level segment to M,” Van Meel said. “The question is what kind of M and which cars of that segment would fit.”

Right now, BMW M fans don’t have to worry about BMW tarnishing the legendary performance marque just yet. The front-wheel-drive architecture is difficult to infuse with M’s tried-and-true performance DNA. Then again, the new BMW M5 did shift from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive so anything is possible. If BMW decided to make hardcore M models with front-wheel drive, they could get an electrically powered rear axle, which would certainly help add to the fun. 




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