BMW says it would rather build high-performance cars for the masses rather than focus its efforts on producing a super sports car or supercar to compete with the likes of the recently unveiled super-limited Mercedes-AMG Project One, or the AMG GT lineup and Audi’s R8 range.
Speaking to the Australian media in Munich today, the boss of BMW’s M Division, Frank Van Meel, said that his brand is maintaining its focus on reaching as many people with its cars as possible, rather than focusing on small niche vehicles.
“We are trying to make cars for customers, and trying to reach as many customers as possible – but to build a car for 200 people would not be our main target,” Van Meel said.
Mercedes-AMG has confirmed it will build around 250 examples of the Project One worldwide, with all examples already sold. Local pricing for the Formula-One-based hypercar is expected to be in the multiple millions, with less than 10 examples destined for Australia.
“Of course, it’s a dream for every engineer to do such a thing, we are always dreaming about something like that. But, to be honest, instead of having one flagship, we would rather have an armada of fast vessels to attack a broader range of possible customer groups.”
According to Van Meel, BMW M has the capacity to build its own unique platform and compete directly against the likes of the Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG GT-S, but that is not what the company stands for.
“Yes, it could be possible yes, because we do have the engineering power – but if you look at the tradition of M, we came from being the first company to take a series production car and making a high-performance car out of that, and it was copied by a lot of other companies, also AMG.
“That’s what we stand for and what we grew up with and what is expected from us. Of course, it is always the question of ‘can’t you do this or that’, because someone else has this or that, but I don’t see the need for M to make such a very niche product.”
Van Meel says BMW has nothing to prove with a supercar, having already established itself as the manufacturer of the ‘ultimate driving machine’.
“I think also M is the ultimate driving machine, and I don’t need something to make clear that we really are the ultimate driving machine. We have the M2 to the X6 M to say that – I don’t need a halo car to bring out the message. I don’t feel the need to have a halo car.
“I would like to make one personally, because it’s fun to do, but we don’t have the necessity,” he added.
The upcoming BMW M8 may well have to serve as the performance brand’s range topping model for the time being, with any chance of a successor to the mighty BMW M1 rather unlikely for the foreseeable future.
“Definitely the M8 will be a very, very interesting car, very fast… of course the M1 is the only thing where I must say is something I would really love to do – another M1 – but again first things first.
“We are still working on broadening our product portfolio and bringing more special models, and not attacking this ‘I would like to do that because I can things’, unfortunately, because we have many other things to do right now.”
Should BMW build a supercar? Does the existence of the Audi R8, Mercedes-AMG GT and Project One elevate its rival German brand offerings over BMW’s M vehicle portfolio?