08 Oct 2018

New M2 a "drift machine"

Baby coupe to remain rear-wheel drive
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BMW has given a big clue to the performance of its next generation 2-Series coupe and its M2 offshoot.

The all-new entry-point to the BMW M car range is known internally as the “drift machine”, a reference to its apparent ability to slide its rear wheels when powering through corners.

That’s according to BMW board member and the man in charge of product development, Klaus Frolich.

“The next generation 2-Series will be called the drift machine,” he said. “So, whenever I look at the design I can say ‘Adrian [van Hooydonk, the head of BMW design], does that really look like a drift machine? It should have more thrill, do something more’.”

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Many cars are switching to a front-drive configuration, including the BMW X1 and upcoming 1-Series hatchback. As well as being better for packaging – no drive shaft down the centre of the car makes for more interior space – there’s less weight, so lower fuel use.

But Frolich pushed hard for the 2-Series and M2 to remain rear-wheel drive, the traditional BMW layout and a configuration considered by many as essential in a full-blooded performance car.

“People asked ‘does it [rear-wheel drive] really matter because the segment is too small’ and I think it is so important for the brand and it’s so important for M, because the M2 is the entry model," Frolich said.

“So I fought hard and I won, so you will have also a 2-Series successor that will have the power where you need it.”

As for the “drift machine”, BMW has taken to giving its cars internal nicknames.

The X5 that’s arriving within weeks was “the boss” and its coupe-inspired sibling, the X6, is “the beast”.

The upcoming BMW X7 large off-roader – a car to take on the might of Range Rover – is “the president”.

Presumably a good one…

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