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6 min reading time

An interview with BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel.

BMW M CEO Franciscus van Meel on the manual gearbox, electric drive systems and a strong future.

10 May 2022

Franciscus ‘Frank’ van Meel is the man behind the most powerful letter in the world. Under his leadership, BMW M GmbH developed the sporty M xDrive all-wheel drive system to production readiness a few years ago. Now the Dutch-born CEO is poised to transform the company for the electric age. And even that won’t rattle the father of six.

BMW M3 Competition Sedan with M xDrive:
Fuel consumption combined in l/100 km 10.2
CO2 emissions combined in g/km 230
CO2 class G
Frank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbHFrank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbH

What do you stand for at BMW M GmbH?

Evoking emotion is my signature.


What evokes emotions within the M community?

I have fond memories of my first tenure as CEO of M GmbH. Under my leadership at the time, the company developed the sporty all-wheel drive M xDrive to production readiness. It’s a rear-based system that distributes power perfectly, allowing you to accelerate out of a bend in such a way that you can drift easily. Exactly as you’d expect from a proper M vehicle – with an authentic M feel that evokes emotions.

If I only drive in one gear, then I lack a certain acoustic feedback... So we also have to answer the question of what the M will sound like in the future.
Frank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbH
Frank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbHFrank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbH

How important is motor sport for BMW?

Motor sport is about pushing boundaries, including in technical terms, being a pioneer, going as far as possible. It is, of course, also about measuring yourself against the competition and seeing what your competitors are testing. A company with ‘sheer driving pleasure’ as its slogan will always attach great importance to motor sport.


What would you like to wish M GmbH for its 50th birthday?

An exciting 2022 full of unforgettable celebrations with the entire community. Although the company’s actual birthday is 24 May, as this is the date of its foundation, we will be celebrating it with our fans for 365 days. M has only become so big thanks to this extraordinary community. And it, in turn, grew out of a passion for motor sport. We have always had a close relationship with our fans – and that is exactly what they love about the brand.

It’s important to me that everyone stands up for their opinion.
Frank van Meel, CEO BMW M GmbH

What does luxury mean to you?

Luxury is difficult to describe because it is an emotional concept that needs to be made tangible in the real world. If I treat myself to something that has a history, then that could already constitute luxury. Applied to us, this could be the heritage of a brand upon which every car that comes along is built again and again. Or it’s surprising gadgets and materials in the vehicle that one wouldn’t have expected. An example of particularly expressive luxury is the material mix of carbon and woven bronze threads. After all, this is really something that not every car has.


Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who think ahead, who see the big picture and tackle challenges far beyond the plainly obvious. Visionaries who also get things done.

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