BMW M would love a standalone supercar
Boss of BMW M division says a supercar to rival the Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG GT is highly desirable, but hugely expensive
With a new RS-designed Audi R8 arriving next year and the Mercedes-AMG GT also on sale early in 2015, you could forgive BMW M for feeling left out. But Carsten Priest, head of product development at the performance division, has revealed that there’s a strong desire within his sub-brand to build its own standalone supercar.
He said: “If you called any of the 550 employees at BMW M and said you’d pick up the cost for this project, we would always say: ‘Yes, let’s go for it right away’. But larger companies have to see the overall context. We always have more ideas than budget is made available – we have to see which priorities will be decided upon.”
Although there’s clearly room above the BMW i8 for a faster, more extreme, petrol-powered supercar – the huge investment in the i8 is clearly a hindrance to its production prospects. A spokesman revealed that as a rule of thumb a brand new model costs €1bn to develop, whereas the i3 and i8 were more like €2bn each.
“We have to be forward thinking, the decision has been made to establish BMW i, including an i8 supercar type of model in its line-up and that’s obviously a huge investment that’s been made,” Priest added.
He also kept the speculation alive, hinting that with a significant anniversary coming up, anything is possible: “I still remember the days of the M1. It was 36 years ago that the car was introduced. The question is at what time do you need something to reactivate what you’ve established?”
BMW introduced the M1 Hommage concept (see gallery) back in 2008, but no technical details were revealed and the model hasn’t progressed since. “The name clearly indicates what the primary purpose was, it was not meant to twist anybody’s arm,” Priest told us.
“I was excited for us to see what the reaction was like and it was overwhelmingly positive, but noone at M is surprised. Everyone would be ready, they would probably even do this in their spare time if the project order was given.”