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BMW M open to releasing standalone model

by Ronan Glon

The company is considering several projects.

BMW's M division is open to the idea of creating standalone cars not based on existing models. The company has several sports car concepts in mind, but the projects remain at the embryonic stage of development.

"We are investigating M variants that may also be standalone, that don't have a predecessor," revealed BMW M boss Markus Flasch in an interview with Australian website CarSales. He added his team has identified several potential segments, though he declined to reveal which ones he has in mind.

The company isn't opposed to a hypercar, but it's difficult to make a business case for a car in the vein of the Mercedes-AMG One and the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

"Economically, hypercar projects are always difficult, and so the prerequisites to turn such a project into reality are obviously very difficult, but I would not rule it out," he said. Regardless of what the company comes up with, the model(s) will need to fall in line with other M-badged cars in the BMW line-up.

"It has to fit our character, a combination of precision, agility and luxury. And we are not copying, we are doing it our own way," he explained. He didn't reveal when we'll see a standalone M car break cover, but it sounds like it's more of a when than an if.

It's a strategy that makes sense. Rival Mercedes-AMG already sells two standalone sports cars: the GT, and the GT Four-Door. Rumors indicate a third car will arrive sooner rather than later to replace the SLC and take the Porsche 718 head-on, and the aforementioned One is on its way to limited production; it's already sold out in the United States. Meanwhile, Audi Sport's R8 is well into its second generation, and it's planning an electric four-door model inspired by the 2018 E-Tron GT concept.

Historically, a vast majority of M-developed cars have been based on existing BMW models. The M3 is a hotter 3 Series, the M5 is a more powerful 5 Series, and so on. The only standalone car in the division's history is the M1, a mid-engined coupe made between 1978 and 1981. The M1 Homage concept (pictured) unveiled in 2008 shed insight into what a modern-day successor could look like, but insiders suggested it was never a serious candidate for production.

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