BMW M5 F90: Frank van Meel in an Interview about M xDrive & co.

In the context of the presentation of the new BMW M5 F90 we were the sixth Generation of the Power Limousine not only in everyday life and in the limits of dynamic driving performance on the race track experience, we also had enough time for an in-depth Interview with M boss Frank van Meel. We have used the opportunity to question him in detail the reasons for the technical modifications and the positioning of the M5.

Who asks, what time is the M GmbH to make the switch to all-wheel drive M xDrive or 8-speed torque Converter automatic has to be decided or the importance of the topics of lightweight construction, Sound and suitability for everyday use in a Power sedan are, in our Interview the right answers. Unfortunately, Frank van Meel has used the opportunity to bury all the hopes around a new BMW M5 Touring F91 Five generations of the BMW M5 have given the Business-sedan from Garching, a phenomenal Image. When it comes to maximum driving fun, the M5 is unmatched. Nevertheless, it is changed in the sixth Generation a lot of things, to some extent, is screwed to the pillars of success. The old saying “Never change a winning Team”?
Frank van Meel: I think the enormous fun is the only thing that has not changed in comparison to the last five generations. We, as the M GmbH stand for a philosophy and not a technology. We look at what technology is to what time is available and then try to make the most out of them. Now is the right time to M xDrive switch was exactly, because we can now offer a combination of the well-known rear-wheel drive with differential lock with the advantages of all-wheel drive – the Latter, however, only when you need it. The car drives so basically always like a vehicle with rear-wheel drive, only with much more traction. Just in terms of the increased performance and higher torque of the new engine, this switch was also useful. It is also important that we have managed through numerous lightweight-construction measures, despite its all-wheel drive lighter than the predecessor. The certainly most important and the most hotly debated Change is the switch to all-wheel drive, after they had refused to be part of the theme in Garching for many years. How does it come to this change of course, what are the main reasons: customer demand, competitive pressure, driveability, Performance, …?
Frank van Meel: The decisive point for us was the issue of driving dynamics. In the past, we had to ask ourselves the question ‘driving dynamics or all-wheel drive?’. Because for us, the issue of precision is extremely important, not only the longitudinal dynamics, but also the agility and highest precision. It was in the past generations, not combinable with all-wheel drive. Now we’ve done it with M xDrive for the first Time, to combine the precision and dynamics of a Rear-wheel drive with the traction of a Allradlers. As we have recognized, we have decided for this change and decided to bring this drive in series. Of course, this discussion was led internally hot, because at that time simply was Either an agile rear-wheel drive, or a not-so-precise movable four-wheel drive. That you can have both, was new. We have detected with our prototype, we have worked from the beginning with our Central control. This is extremely important, because it leads to many individual systems, and work against each other and their individual objectives, but a Central M driving dynamics Control in the DSC control unit, everything is regulated so that it drives like a cast and with our typical precision. After that, the discussion was easy, because every user using the System, was immediately convinced. One of the first, we had to go, it was our Board member for sales Ian Robertson. He is ultimately our voice to the customer and also the voice of the customer into the company. He confirmed to us that we should implement it immediately. Was considered in the development phase, also serious about a new M5 with rear-wheel drive or, the decision for M xDrive internally it was from the beginning a done deal?
Frank van Meel: of Course, there were internal discussions, and we have also built various cars. Finally, we came from a rear-wheel drive concept with dual-clutch transmission. But if you are afraid of change, not you at some point. Also, we wanted to wait and see whether this can really work and have therefore built up several cars. But as I said: M xDrive was so convincing that the decision was very easy. The all-wheel drive addition to the M of BMW, the usual xDrive in its name, but it has some technical peculiarities. Could you go into that shortly and explain what makes M xDrive to a worthy first all-wheel drive in a BMW M5?
Frank van Meel: In principle, the are two things. Equal to the actuator, so the center differential, which corresponds to the xDrive technology has remained. We use, therefore, the components of the well-known xDrive, in order to couple the front axle to the drive. But there is no private xDrive control unit with a control logic, instead, the force distribution device with the help of our M Dynamic control in the DSC control. DSC, differential lock rear and xDrive are controlled by common device of our control. The second difference lies in the control logic, because the front axle is disconnected always, we continue first with rear-wheel drive. The front axle is only taken when we need traction reasons. We use, therefore, the components of the xDrive all – but a completely custom control logic. Can you quantify the response times of the system? How long does it take to with a recognized need to actually force sent to the front wheels?
Frank van Meel: Since we are talking of milliseconds. The power distribution is constantly adapted, i.e., there is no Standard distribution of power as a starting point for the adjustments?
Frank van Meel: no, that’s just the beauty of our System. Because we have only one Controller in the System, we can adjust the distribution extremely fast. If control units must coordinate with one another, takes the control and feel when Driving. The M5 with M xDrive, you realize it’s nothing like driving around as any M. Is it theoretically Maxima in the force distribution, in extreme situations, even 100-0 or 0-100?
Frank van Meel: it goes 100 percent to the rear, the 2WD mode. To the front we can send in extreme situations, nearly 100 percent of the drive torque, which is in practice, but hardly relevant The typical points of criticism of the all-wheel drive, so the drive influences in the steering, as well as additional weight and as a result often drawbacks when it comes to driving fun, look at you so the bottom line is that as solved?
Frank van Meel: Exactly. That was exactly our Challenges, we wanted to solve, and also were able to solve: The car was not allowed to be heavier than its predecessor and precision of the front axle could not be due to the drive influences are reduced. How is the suspension different from the predecessor, so apart from the necessary adjustments in connection with the all-wheel drive?
Frank van Meel: The chassis is, of course, M-specific. The kinematics and Elastokinematics are made new, the rear axle is now a complete Five-link design. You can say that most of the axis-to distinguish the components from the previous M5, as well as from the current 5-series. On a four-wheel steering system of the M5, other variants of the 5 series-the series to use the technique of steered rear wheels. Why does the M5 not an appropriate Option?
Frank van Meel: it’s Because we have a cross-lock. These systems have similar driving dynamics-impact: I can cause with a four-wheel steering agility and stability, I can do that but also with a cross-lock. For us, the issue of cross-lock in the sum of the properties, but just on the high friction-surfaces and on the track, better than a four-wheel steering. A four-wheel steering also offers a low coefficient surfaces advantages, but we come from the racetrack point of view, and prefer, therefore, the transverse lock. And a combination of all-wheel steering, and a transverse lock would bring a functional yet further advantages, but also additional weight. Therefore, we have opted for the purist solution, and against the all-wheel steering. In the previous M5 generations were, as a rule, a basic change of the engine concept, on the in-line six-cylinder V8 and V10 followed, the predecessor was the first M5 with Turbo-charging. Now we see a Motor that moves to the first view extremely close to that of the predecessor. How does it happen and what was changed to bring the engine to the latest state of the art?
Frank van Meel: The most important issue from the customer’s point of view is that we were able to represent the 600 HP before with pull UPS for a few hundred units. Now 600 HP for each customer are the Basis, and that required quite a lot of measures to the engine: we have overhauled crank shaft, crank shaft bearings, piston and piston rings. Add to that, of course, the current emission standards, for which a completely new high-pressure injection system with 350 bar has been installed. Seen in this way, it is almost a completely new engine. A major Change was in the transmission, here is a Converter automatic for the first time in a BMW M5. Why have you adopted from the double-clutch gearbox?
Frank van Meel: it was from an overall concept point of view, simply the better solution. In this case also M xDrive plays a role, because it harmonizes very well with the M 8HP transmission. At the same time, the M 8HP can handle very well with the torque and the power. You must not forget that these two technology options are in competition with each other, and the switching times are nearly identical. Therefore, we have managed to speed up with the M 8HP in 3.4 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, which is already a house number. And on the high friction track in Estoril, perhaps even a few lashes blows less. This shows that the transmission super is in harmony with the engine and the M xDrive and why it was for us the best solution for this vehicle. The new M5 is the first M5 with Carbon roof, otherwise, much has been done for a lower weight. How important is the topic of lightweight construction is the customer in this class?
Frank van Meel: I don’t think many customers look at in your vehicle registration document and for the specific weight of interest. But the customer expects the M-promise with regard to driving dynamics, and the weight is incredibly important. You can grab more and more power in a car, but the agility and lightness of foot you get in the end with only a low weight. The customer can expect an agile driving behavior and need, in our view, the low weight. Now we have spoken a lot about technical measures, but in the case of the M GmbH, the success of a vehicle is measured in lap times. What do you hope the bottom line is that, in this respect, compared to its predecessor and, of course, to the competition?
Frank van Meel: We will be significantly better than the previous, because I expect a very big jump. And we also want to be significantly better than the competition. Significantly better for several seconds on the Nürburgring Nordschleife?
Frank van Meel: Yes. in addition to the Performance on the race track, the BMW M5 has to convince also in everyday life. What measures contribute to the fact that the new Generation can outdo their predecessors in this respect?
Frank van Meel: What relates to the comfort the car has become significantly better, including the significantly stiffer body of the base vehicle. We have made the M5 with various stiffening measures in the front and rear of the car stiffer than the 5er. This leads to the fact that the M5 is very compact to the touch, in the we will not find the driving dynamics over exaggerated hardness, but supple. Thus, we achieve a better driving dynamics and a significantly improved driving comfort compared to the predecessor. We meet the expectations of the customers, also to go in comfort and luxury is still a clear step forward, not only in terms of driving dynamics. That’s why we offer the BMW M5 for the first time, all of the driver assistance systems is also available in the basic 5-series, regardless of whether or not lane assist or radar-based distance control. on The topic of long-distance comfort also Sound always plays a role. Here is the BMW M5 has an ambivalent Image – some knowledge of the relatively slow-to-appreciate acoustic, other, the car was too quiet. How do you see the issues of Sound and noise comfort of the new Generation, also in comparison to the sometimes, according to the stronger competition?
Frank van Meel: Certainly, each brand has its own sound character. I don’t think we have particularly found with the optional Sport-exhaust system a Sound that is very present and very authentic – very Motorsport-like, too exaggerated, but typical m. And we have for the first Time in a M5 and a Sound-track button in the centre console, which does not lead us, however, to still more volume, but to long for a quieter Sound. As with any new M5 sedan, the question is, of course, as the odds for a BMW M5 Touring. Leave the Alpina B5 Biturbo, Audi RS 6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 S T-model of this market completely without a fight?
Frank van Meel: I think you don’t need to compete everywhere. We have a clear strategy at BMW M: We compete in the segments where we find the theme of Motorsport. The space-functional concepts, and also Tourings excludes, therefore, the answer is still no. Add to that, of course, that the Touring is a European issue, our largest market but the USA. Also China and the Arab States are big markets, but these markets want to all no Tourings. So that would be a product for only one Region of the world. We focus on products to worldwide customers. Where are the targets for the sales in comparison with the predecessors, also against the Background of increasing environmental consciousness of many customers, and potential restrictions, such as entry banned in various cities?
Frank van Meel: with all the new Features such as M xDrive, Carbon roof, increased comfort and more options in the car, we expect that we will exceed the volume of its predecessor. Although the previous segment leader. How do you see the in-house competition as a possible cause of the Problem for the M5-paragraph? V8 Biturbo, four wheel drive, torque-Converter automatic transmission – the new BMW M5, are there enough differentiation to the M550i xDrive or some potential customer will grab at a lower M Performance model?
Frank van Meel: First of all, I’m extremely glad that we have a M550i. The car is extremely good. Between the Top-5 series and the M5 so much air was that we were not able to reach a lot of customers who really wanted something. This gap in the M550i closes. But the typical M5 driver would like to have a M5 and not M550i and the typical M550i-customer would like a M550i and no M5, because the Balance between everyday practicality and track Performance between the two clearly differentiated. They are both impressive cars, but with a totally different Balance, which is why we appeal to various customer groups. Of course, there are also some that are now driving an M550i, because it was the Top-of-the-Line model, and take the M5 then the next. Is there finally, a personal Highlight, the power of the new M5 from your point of view is particularly noteworthy, and perhaps also the anticipation of your M5 is particularly large?
Frank van Meel: What I am particularly pleased about, is just this dynamic Superiority of the car. Also, the issues of trust and how I feel in the car are important. The M5 is for me like a tailored suit. Everything fits, because you simply like, it’s his or her job with all the M-specific Display, Instrument cluster, Head-Up Display, shift lever, center console, M-buttons on the steering Wheel, M-steering Wheel. And I am, of course, on the driving dynamics, every curve is fun, even when turning. I between the drive concepts can switch back and forth and when the first snow is, I’m going to have quite a lot of fun. Mr van Meel, we wish you much pleasure and thank you for the informative interview!

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