Car and Driver (USA)
10 Minutes with Markus Flasch
Markus Flasch has been the CEO of BMW's M division for a little over a year. The 38-year-old sat down with us to talk about the future and past of BMW performance.
C/D: How do you see electrification playing out at M? Hybrid, plug-in, EV?
Markus Flasch: That’s to be decided. There won’t be one solution that fits all. We will have the appropriate powertrain for the segment. We don’t believe there is one answer for the entire M fleet.
C/D: What are the goals of M-car electrification?
MF: I can assure you that we will bring only technology that adds performance and character.
C/D: Do you see manual transmissions staying in the lineup?
MF: We will offer it as long as customer demand is there and as long as customers are willing to pay for it. They ask for it in the 2-, 3-, and 4-series, and I’m happy to supply it, even in future models.
C/D: What's the demand for manuals like?
MF: Pretty much flat. People like mechanical things. An M2 CS with 444 horsepower and a manual is a great experience, although it’s not quicker than the automatic.
C/D: Will there ever be another naturally aspirated M car?
MF: Today we have nothing in the lineup, and the development costs for new engines are so incredibly high, I can’t imagine investing in this technology. It doesn’t have any advantages other than sound, and sound is going to be limited anyway by regulators in the future.
C/D: What's your favorite M car of all time?
MF: There are so many. I own a Z3 M coupe. It was my first car. It’s not a beauty at first sight, but it’s a car that develops character over time. Then, of course, the M1 Procar. This is the foundation of the company, and it was genius. And then the E30 M3, obviously. It’s hard to name just one.