Originally Posted by James T. Kirk
///M Variant = Diet M = Nonsense
It's either ///M or it's not. Anything in between is simply a dilution of the badge for marketing purposes. Highly corrosive.
Ideally and in a purist sense yes, M cars should remain rare and exclusive. But in today's global competition and constant growth of sport and luxury products demand, BMW can't keep its myth pure and virgin just to satisfy a handful of enthusiasts, there is simply too much to lose. Hence M SUVs, hence turbocharged Ms, hence M Sport packages... M cars are indeed at the pinnacle of performance and engineering, but they aren't religious relics nor archeological artefacts. BMW, including M, are worth what they can do on the road, against their competitors. The brand must evolve according to market demand and competition.
In the end we all know that a genuine M will remain radically different from its downmarket siblings, so rather than a watering down of the iconic M badge, this M Performance range should strengthen the BMW brand by shedding down some of the M light and value over the regular models.
Originally Posted by Alumac
As for the people worried that others will not be able to tell the difference between a M335 and a M3; who cares?
I guess that most buyers who will pay more for a more upmarket version (e.g.: ///M3 vs ///M335i, or ///M335i vs 335i) need to feel not only a different driving experience but also an additional share of exclusivity, not necessarily in other people's eyes and admiration and to their ego's gratification but merely because they need to perceive their money's value and not feel ripped off, or else they will not buy the more upmarket version (these specific examples are theoretical of course since, at the extreme, a fanboy who knows he wants a raw M3 won't buy an M335i even if they look similar)...
Exclusivity doesn't mean everything against nothing, M's potential allows for several levels of exclusivity for covering several market layers. In the end, keeping the M brand exclusive and confidential is foolish because it has an extremely high selling potential, and so far BMW have been selling cars, not making artwork (yet, successfully selling cars allows them to massively invest in research and development, to remain the best, and from time to time to issue some iconic model which could be qualified as art). But keeping a few models exclusive and rare for the brand's image (like the 1///M), yes, why not. Anyway, even with the growing demand for powerful M cars in certain countries, BMW's global core sales will remain medium range 1 and 3 series, so no panic, we won't see the M badge trivialized at every street corner