Speaking to Australian media in Munich, the boss of BMW’s M Division, Frank Van Meel, said the company sees the changing landscape as a welcomed challenge more than a threat, even if it is always keeping itself aware of newcomers to the segment.
“We look at a lot of cars [that compete in our segments]. We look at Cadillac because they are really moving into more performance with what they are doing. Of course we look a lot at Porsche because with the X5 M the main competitors is the Cayenne, and we also look at Jaguar because they are also moving up and going strong into performance,” Van Meel said.
According to Van Meel, Alfa Romeo used the M3 as the benchmark for its Giulia QV, and the Italian brand’s efforts were not wasted.
“Also Alfa Romeo with the new Giulia, they more or less followed the M3 completely as a concept, so for us it was really interesting to see how far they came and I must say for me they made a really nice car.
“We say that we are the best, I have to say that and I am also convinced about that. The closest one regarding vehicle dynamics in that segment really is the Alfa, I think they did a very good job.”
The praise comes as an interesting note, considering long time arch-rival offering that is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, no longer seems to pose a threat to the M3/M4 development when it comes to dynamic benchmarking.
Going further, Van Meel also acknowledged keeping an interest in what American brand Tesla is doing.
“Yes [we are looking at them], but Tesla is not coming from motorsport, they are coming from a completely different point of view," he said.
"For us, it is interesting to see what that means for future e-mobility issues regarding motorsport, because it doesn’t help if you can only accelerate three times and then you degrade and have to wait until you can drive again, because our customers would bring the car back to us.”
Van Meel says the challenges facing electric vehicles in the motorsport arena are something that BMW M is seeking to further understand for the future.
“For motorsport we have to look at how it can be constant performance output and how we can succeed in driving the Nurburgring and fast driving without any degradation in performance… but for that concept that Tesla has, I think it’s absolutely perfect, I like the car. I like the way they think.”
Whilst BMW’s i sub-brand continues to invest heavily into electrification, the M division is for now keeping its focus on high-performance, light-weight sports cars until the two technologies can meet a workable crossroad.