Hardened BMW fans may have questioned BMW for adding M-branded off-roaders to its range, but Carsten Priest, the head of BMW's M Division, is unapologetic: "From a brand perspective, I think we are extremely stable in terms of our identity.
"Even now, after more than 40 years of BMW Motorsport, we still produce cars that in a very particular way bring across the feeling you otherwise have only in racing."
The M3, M4 and M5 may be the performance car brand's bread and butter, but Priest has no concerns that the big and heavy X5 M and X6 M dilute the M recipe, saying the cars were primarily created for emerging markets, such as Russia.
"We sold almost 20,000 cars shared between the two. They did exactly the job we expected them to do in the markets we targeted – to establish BMW M as a performance brand."
Also playing a part in the future of BMW M are more affordable M Performance models, which aim to attract younger customers. Priest says the current M135i and M235i models "are clearly exceeding our expectations and bringing people to the M brand".
As for the future, Priest wouldn't reveal the next M models to arrive but did admit it would be lucrative to introduce new affordable M Performance models and lightweight driver-focused cars like the old M3 CSL. Additionally, creating an M2 "would be highly attractive in order to attract younger customers," he noted.