M Division boss admits that BMW’s new front-drive architecture will pose a challenge, but M Performance might be the answer.

While the prospect of a part-electrified future M3 or M4 is an interesting one, the question that is seeing more heads scratched in Munich is that of how M Division will cope with the move of the next generation of smaller BMWs to a native front-drive architecture, with the list set to include the next 2 Series.

Given the excellence of the M2, it’s fair to say we’re not big on the chances of a transverse engined front-driver being able to offer something similar, even if it did use an electrified rear axle.

M’s boss, Frank Van Meel agrees.

“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 we talked to 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.”

Although Van Meel said that M would not abandon the segment, he did suggest that smaller M models in future might carry the branding of the lesser M Performance line rather than be “single number” M Cars.

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

In future we can safely predict there will be more cars with M badges, but probably fewer truly exciting ones.

BMW M2 Active Tourer rendering: X-Tomi.