BMW will have a standalone M model in the works, to eventually become the flagship model for the German high-performance sub-brand, former BMW M CEO Markus Flasch told Auto Motor und Sport. Just replaced by his predecessor Frank van Meel who returns to the lead role at M division, Flasch moves to lead the BMW luxury, upper- and mid-range classes as well as for Rolls-Royce.

With initial reports of an standalone M flagship model having first surfaced in 2019, Flasch said at the time that it “doesn’t necessarily have to be a mid-engined supercar, but definitely it has to stand out from the crowd.” Now, Flasch has told Auto Motor und Sport that “there will definitely be an independent M model again,” but the former head of M remains furtive about its exact direction.

“Our brand core is still racing and high performance on the road. However we also want to retain customers who are into expressive luxury. With the M8 and its derivatives, we have already succeeded in some cases, but there is a segment in which there is a lot going on and in which we are not yet represented,” Flasch explained.

That said, that standalone M model is likely to be not so much a car in the traditional sense, but an SUV tipped to be the XM. Given that model’s future flagship positioning, that would be positioned above the X5 M and X6 M, the former being sighted in upcoming LCI (facelifted) development vehicle form.

Fully electric driving is the future for BMW M, too, Flasch said, though an exact timeline “is currently not clear”, because the internal combustion engine will continue to play a major role in customer and top-class motorsport for a very long time, the former head of M reiterated.

“For this reason alone, [a product offering] is needed in the [series production line-up]. But I can promise, from the second half of the decade, we will have all types of drive on offer – combustion, high-performance hybrids and purely electric models, which complement each other perfectly,” Flasch said.

Further afield within the BMW M project queue, there will be an even more performance-focused version of an existing M car, Flasch hints. Might that be a ‘CSL’ version of the current M4? “Seen in this way, the car is an open secret. In contrast to the [M2 CS and M5 CS], the four-seater [configuration] does not play a role. The car is much more purged and pointed than a CS,” Flasch said, adding that weight savings will be in the region of 100 kg.