What will BMW M stand for in ten years’ time? What is the future direction of the brand?
The company’s character will remain the same as it is today. From a technical standpoint, a lot will change, simply because of the transformation into the electric age. We are treading this path courageously and confidently because we know that our values will remain the same. In this context, I like to look back on the evolution of the M3, which came onto the market in the 1980s with four cylinders. Later it was available with a six-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, then as an eight-cylinder high-rev engine and finally with a six-cylinder turbo engine. After each stage of development, plenty of critics said that the M3 would no longer sell. And every time they were wrong, because the character of the vehicle has always remained the same, even with the new engine concepts. In the next ten years, we will certainly offer all M vehicles with electric drive systems, but not exclusively. The process of electrification is happening at different speeds. In our anniversary year, for example, we are launching our first performance plug-in hybrid vehicle. As was the case in the past, this launch is also geared towards fans and customers and the market-specific demand.
How exactly will you achieve this transformation into a new age of mobility?
The future will be electric, that is clear – and we are embracing this task. The important question for us is, if an M is always supposed to drive like an M how can we get the M feeling of a conventional vehicle into an electric vehicle? That’s exactly what we want to achieve. This is, to a large extent, about feeling, driving characteristics and sound. If I only drive in one gear, then I lack a certain acoustic feedback as well as the feel for the current driving dynamics. So we also have to answer the question of what M will sound like in the future. Coming from a motor sport background, our answer to this question should be immediately obvious to the community. We have to succeed in giving the driver the right feedback – and with it the typical M feeling.