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The new boss of BMW’s M division has suggested the next-generation BMW M5 and BMW M6 models may feature an all-wheel drive system.

Franciscus van Meel, formerly the head of Audi RS and now the leader at BMW M, spoke to members of the British motoring media, including Auto Express and Autocar at the Detroit motor show.

Speaking on the record, van Meel said, “If we continue the power increases in the future — especially regarding torque and also horsepower — then probably the next generation M5 and M6 will have so much torque and power that we need to think about [all-wheel drive] solutions.”

The go-fast division’s boss did move to reassure M fans and buyers that any future move to all-wheel drive for the brand’s flagship sedans, coupes and convertibles would not lead to “straightforward driving”. Instead, “if we go on a direction of four-wheel drive, for us it will really be like a rear-wheel drive with more traction”.

When asked about new M-branded models, van Meel ruled out wagon variants of the M3 and M5, stating that high performance wagons were too closely associated with his former employer, Audi. He also explained that wagons aren’t popular in China or the US, the latter being the M division’s largest market.

Van Meel didn’t rule out the possibility of X3 M and X4 M models in the future, simply saying that “there might be a business opportunity [there]”.

The M boss refused to comment on the yet-to-be-unveiled BMW M2, which our spy photographers have caught testing on multiple occasions.

Although there’s currently no chance for an M version of the i3 hatch or i8 coupe, some form of electrification may take place via electric turbochargers.

Out of the question, though, is a front-wheel drive M car based on the UKL1 platform, which currently underpins the 2 Series Active Tourer, and will serve as the basis for the next-generation 1 and 2 Series. M Performance variants of UKL1 cars are a possibility, though, if the team “can make it sharp enough”.




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