Speaking at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW board member, Klaus Frolich, confirmed that the M2’s rear-drive layout would be granted a stay of execution unlike other members of BMW’s compact family, which will switch to front-wheel drive.
“It was such a good car... I think it would be a very good idea to continue that legacy,” Frolich said when asked about the M2’s chances of retaining a rear-wheel drive chassis.
The development means the M2 will continue to offer a unique point of difference compared to its closest rivals, the Audi RS 3 and Mercedes-AMG A 45, which both feature transverse engines and all-wheel drive systems derived from front- wheel drive underpinnings.
Enthusiasts are certain to be buoyed by the news that the M2 will retain a traditional rear-drive configuration with a longitudinal six-cylinder, as per the current generation model
The news was also welcomed by BMW Australia CEO Marc Werner, with the M2 already representing around half of the M-division’s current sales volumes, despite its relatively recent introduction.
Werner also hinted that the M2 would also benefit from a wider range in an attempt to capitalise on the interest generated by the critically acclaimed M2
“Our company has clearly decided that there will be regular impulses of the M2, which I believe is the right way forward,” he says.
The impulses Werner refers to are BMW-speak for additional variants or limited edition models, which will be used to keep sales on the boil.
The idea isn’t without precedent, with the larger M4 Coupe range growing to include not only the regular car offered from launch, but also Competition Pack and CS variants, plus a limited edition flagship GTS model, each with tweaks to dynamics, performance, exhaust sound and styling.
Economies of scale, and market influence will see other small BMW models, like the 1-Series hatch range, move to a front wheel drive mechanical package to reduce weight and increase efficiency and interior accommodation.
An uprated M Performance model is still likely, potentially with all-wheel drive grip, however a pure M variant is less likely.
“We are really happy with our six-cylinder because for BMW and BMW M that is a heritage engine… it’s got a long history,” he said, adding that one option for a four-cylinder would be a hybrid system, which can bolster low rev torque.
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