Dr Kay Segler is settling in nicely with his new job as the new head of M GmbH, BMW's in-house hotshop. He has only had the position for three months but Segler is actually a BMW veteran of 22 years. The man has got quite hefty qualifications and his loyalty is unquestionable. He spent 4.5 years as head of BMW's Mini division.
Many say that Segler's entry at M is a critical moment in the company's history as he ponders the performance expectations for the next generation of M cars. Contrary to what most people think, Segler believes that he can no longer simply throw more motor at the problem.
Like most cars currently in development, M cars in the future will have to be fuel-economic and have less CO2 emissions. With this goal in mind, the next M5, nearing the final stages of development, will have V-8 instead of V-10 power.
In fact, the next M3, the touchstone of the M franchise, and a car whose development Segler is involved in, will have six cylinders instead of eight. Segler sums it up with this statement: "Downsizing doesn't mean downgrading."
He says the downsizing process has already begun at M. He cites the X6 M, which is powered by a 4.4-liter V-8. He claims that 5 years ago, what's expected would have been 5.0- or 6.0-liters. Segler believes that the X5 and X6 SUVs belong in M-world.
While BMW will always have an M car based on a 3-series coupe and 5-series sedan, he said that we will now also have M vehicles in the X-series. Aside from powertrain technology, the focus would also be on making the car lighter and ensuring better power to weight ratios than the current models. He says that another 50 hp won't "give people the dynamic experience they want."
He says that the number of cylinders under the hood of an M car, or whether or not it has turbos, is less important than the performance experience it delivers. He realizes that M car powertrains have to change to deliver the efficiency tough new emissions and fuel consumption regulations demand and that there are limits. When asked whether there's a plan for electric-powered M cars, he rejected the idea.