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      07-24-2007, 02:17 PM   #1
M3onTwomps
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Interview: Gerhard Richter

Interview: Gerhard Richter

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The M Power Strikes Back

Gerhard Richter is vice president, BMW M Gmbh the man responsible for the new generation of M cars. He began his career at BMW in the chassis development department, helping to engineer the first-generation BMW 7 Series. He then became the project engineer for BMW M's first everyday road car, the 1979 M535i, and he has worked at M ever since. Gerhard Richter was interviewed at the launch of the new 2008 BMW M3 by Inside Line's Alistair Weaver.

How would you define the role of the M3 in the BMW M range?

The M3 stands for our philosophy. It is the best representation of the M character, combining the feeling of a racecar with that of a normal street car. We concentrate on what we call "concept harmony," by which we mean that we look at the car as a whole. This is what separates us from everyone else.

How difficult has it been to replace the old inline-6 engine with a V8?

It was not so easy. The six-cylinder is the traditional engine for an M3. But the old engine had reached its limits. We had to develop an all-new engine and it made sense to design a V8. For fans of the six-cylinder engine, we have the M Coupe. This is our entry-level M model.

Will there be a new version of the lightweight M3 CSL?

We built the last M3 CSL to test how many euros customers are willing to pay for less weight. For 20 years, they've learnt to pay for more power, not less weight. The reaction to the CSL was very positive and you will already see in the new M3 that we've spent a lot of money bringing down the weight.

The last M3 CSL was very successful and fun to drive. From now on, there will always be a CSL version of the M3.

The M3 has grown up, both in terms of size and price. Is there room for a smaller, entry-level M car, based around the new 1 Series coupe available in Europe?

Theoretically, yes. A 1 Series coupe would be a good base for such a car, but there has been no decision yet.

It is true that the M3 has grown over several generations and the latest car is a similar length to an old 5 Series. But we also have the M Coupe for those who want a small car that concentrates on driving fun.

How do you decide which engine to develop for each car?
We're looking for the best performance for the type of car. For the M5 and M6 we use a V10, and for the M3 we use a V8. If you only develop one engine for all your cars, then you cannot have the perfect car. If the engine in the smaller car is too big, you will not have the right harmony.

What are your main targets when developing a new model?

We concentrate on several targets high revs, lower fuel consumption. There are lots of targets but our main target is that the car must be fun to drive. Raw horsepower is not as important as how agile the car is and how the driver feels.

The power-to-weight figure is the most important figure more horsepower and lower weight equals more agility.

Will we see alternative engine technologies in the future, such as diesel?

When a diesel is able to achieve high revs, why not use it? But for now it's not possible. We need that special, high-revving character in an M engine. It's not enough just to increase the boost pressure [of the turbo]. We need to change the character of the car.

What about a hybrid?

We already have a brake-energy regeneration system in the new M3, but it's not our target to put 100 kilograms [220 pounds] of batteries in our car. We need much smarter hybrid technology.

Or turbocharging?

Maybe in the future. In 2011, the F1 racing regulations could change to introduce turbocharging. If we were able to bring our character together with a turbo engine, then why not? Formula 1 is very important for us; BMW M's heritage is in motorsport. Changes in the F1 regulations might be good for us. If the change fits with the M character, it could be a solution. The most important thing for the customer is to have this special character.

Or hydrogen?

Maybe in 15 years time. It's important to remember that the car is only 100 years old and technology moves very fast. The new M3 engine has 17 percent more horsepower than the old, but it has 7 percent less weight and 8 percent lower fuel consumption. This is one of the most efficient V8s on the market.

What do you see as the key rivals for the M cars?

The characters of our rivals' cars are so different that customers can find the right car for them. The Porsche is a Porsche very successful and fun to drive. And when people think of Porsche they think of the 911 a modern-day Beetle.

(laughs)

Audi Quattro Gmbh uses front- or four-wheel drive, and so the handling is quite different. It's a good solution if you live in the mountains. Mercedes AMG uses a relatively low-revving big-block engine and an automatic gearbox. Every car is different.

AMG has recently started to offer a limited run of tuned cars called Black Series. Can we expect a similar range from BMW?

This is not our philosophy. The Black Series is a way of trying to change the character of the cars, but we wouldn't do this because we have a clear idea of what our cars need to be. We have a personalization program Individual which caters to owners with special tastes, but these changes would never affect the driving characteristics of an M car.

Audi recently introduced the R8 to much acclaim. Will BMW build a supercar?

That's a very difficult question to answer. A car like the Porsche Carrera GT could reflect our character, but the Carrera GT was not a commercial success. Below this supercar level, anything we could offer would just be on a level with the M3 or M6.

We could build a car that used the technical aspects of the M3 or M6 but clothe it in a new body, but such a car would be more expensive and no more fun to drive. That is the reason why we're hesitant to build such a car, although as an engineer I'd love to do it.

If you build a 1 million supercar, no one will ever have the chance to see it. For us it's better to make an M3 or M6, where the price is OK.
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      07-24-2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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Interview: Gerhard Richter

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Edit
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Now:'05 G35 6MT\Laser Red\Beige\Sport\Premium

06/2008: M3, 335+Dinan, or ...

Last edited by aerisolphaln; 07-24-2007 at 04:37 PM.
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      07-24-2007, 03:14 PM   #3
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And oh yeah, repost...
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Now:'05 G35 6MT\Laser Red\Beige\Sport\Premium

06/2008: M3, 335+Dinan, or ...
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      07-24-2007, 03:20 PM   #4
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We'll live.
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      07-24-2007, 03:59 PM   #5
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"The M Coupe is the entry level model"

Get out your checkbooks.....
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      07-24-2007, 04:19 PM   #6
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Spin

"we've spent a lot of money bringing down the weight."

Wow that is "spin" if I have ever heard it. Technically it is incorrect. Perhaps you might argue that the implicit copmparison is the unrealized design of the new M3 that was not carefully weight managed. However, the way I read it is that the implicit comparison is the previous model M3. The new car weighs more than the last, period. Of course I do agree that the efforts in weight savings have been extreme, like hollow cams and hollow axles, forged aluminum suspension components and wheels, CF roof, etc.

However, I still thin the correct statement would be "we've spent a lot of money offsetting the weight gain with weight savings in many areas."
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      07-24-2007, 04:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
"we've spent a lot of money bringing down the weight."

Wow that is "spin" if I have ever heard it. Technically it is incorrect. Perhaps you might argue that the implicit copmparison is the unrealized design of the new M3 that was not carefully weight managed. However, the way I read it is that the implicit comparison is the previous model M3. The new car weighs more than the last, period. Of course I do agree that the efforts in weight savings have been extreme, like hollow cams and hollow axles, forged aluminum suspension components and wheels, CF roof, etc.

However, I still thin the correct statement would be "we've spent a lot of money offsetting the weight gain with weight savings in many areas."
Splitting-hairs-post of the week!
Sure you're right, but I think we all know what he meant.

Best regards, south
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      07-24-2007, 04:41 PM   #8
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Disagree

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Originally Posted by southlight View Post
Splitting-hairs-post of the week!
Sure you're right, but I think we all know what he meant.

Best regards, south
I disagree, a matter of interpretation I guess. IMO these guys are slippery, just like politicians! I think the distinction is very important. How awesome of an achievement would it have been if the new model was truly as light as the previous. I simply find the quoted statment misleading and likely PURPOSEFULLY misleading. It is all so careful though so as you can't really call, "LIAR".

Just my humble 2 cents...
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      07-24-2007, 04:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
"we've spent a lot of money bringing down the weight."

Wow that is "spin" if I have ever heard it. Technically it is incorrect. Perhaps you might argue that the implicit copmparison is the unrealized design of the new M3 that was not carefully weight managed. However, the way I read it is that the implicit comparison is the previous model M3. The new car weighs more than the last, period. Of course I do agree that the efforts in weight savings have been extreme, like hollow cams and hollow axles, forged aluminum suspension components and wheels, CF roof, etc.

However, I still thin the correct statement would be "we've spent a lot of money offsetting the weight gain with weight savings in many areas."
Because the idea that M spent a lot of money making the new car weight less than the old one it is directly contrary to readily available and published figures for weight, I think it is more reasonable to conclude that the intended meaning was the non-misleading first one you proposed. The idea of a unrealized design of an M3 not weight managed is not as speculative as it sounds, considering the M3 is based heavily on the E92 and is not a true "clean sheet" design.
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      07-24-2007, 04:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
I disagree, a matter of interpretation I guess. IMO these guys are slippery, just like politicians! I think the distinction is very important. How awesome of an achievement would it have been if the new model was truly as light as the previous. I simply find the quoted statment misleading and likely PURPOSEFULLY misleading. It is all so careful though so as you can't really call, "LIAR".

Just my humble 2 cents...
Now you go too far. You're right, his claim could be understood in different ways. But in one way it would be correct (assuming he's comparing to the weight the new car would have with no more light weight materials used than on the outgoing car). So we're far away from being "purposefully misleading."

But that are also just my 2 cents (of course meaning EURO cents)

Best regards, south
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      07-24-2007, 06:57 PM   #11
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So.... (since there is no such thing as a stupid question, right? )

Why *did* the M3 gain weight?
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      07-24-2007, 07:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Delbruck View Post
So.... (since there is no such thing as a stupid question, right? )

Why *did* the M3 gain weight?
I asked the same question a few weeks ago. I doubt that there is a definitive answer in the absence of detailed weight data on subsystems, but it is most likely mainly the larger chassis.
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      07-24-2007, 07:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
I asked the same question a few weeks ago. I doubt that there is a definitive answer in the absence of detailed weight data on subsystems, but it is most likely mainly the larger chassis.
Hopefully it is not carrying 100 lbs of fiber optic cable for all of the electronic systems!!!
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      07-24-2007, 07:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Delbruck View Post
Hopefully it is not carrying 100 lbs of fiber optic cable for all of the electronic systems!!!
Better yet, I heard it was the distributed intelligence this car is meant to have with its many many really heavy CPUs!

Actually, the cables are probably a factor. Anything that scales up according to the larger chassis dimensions like seats, panels, carpeting, glass, cables will all add up in small increments. And, DCT will probably add even more weight.
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      07-24-2007, 07:39 PM   #15
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40 lb

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And, DCT will probably add even more weight.
Yes, I already made an estimate (and posted it) of 40 lb more weight for M-DCT compared to 6MT!
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      07-24-2007, 07:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Yes, I already made an estimate (and posted it) of 40 lb more weight for M-DCT compared to 6MT!
Yes, I vaguely remember that. I also remember that there might have been a link to the manufacturer. Is that so? Can you repost please?
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      07-24-2007, 07:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Delbruck View Post
So.... (since there is no such thing as a stupid question, right? )

Why *did* the M3 gain weight?
The E92 platform is 100+ lbs heavier than the E46, which was too much to overcome. It's more than 100 lbs heavier than its predecessor though, right? Is that what you mean by the question?
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      07-24-2007, 08:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
How awesome of an achievement would it have been if the new model was truly as light as the previous.

well shit, if they did that they wouldnt have much room for a CSL.


be patient, the new CSL will be the runaway winner that we've all been waiting for...
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      07-24-2007, 09:25 PM   #19
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well shit, if they did that they wouldnt have much room for a CSL.


be patient, the new CSL will be the runaway winner that we've all been waiting for...
1) Will it be sold in the US?

2) How much? The E46 CSL was quite a bit more than the base M3.

3) If it's like the last CSL, it won't really be much of a daily driver and thus defeats the purpose for most people.
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      07-24-2007, 11:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyB View Post
The E92 platform is 100+ lbs heavier than the E46, which was too much to overcome. It's more than 100 lbs heavier than its predecessor though, right? Is that what you mean by the question?

Yes, good points all!
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      07-25-2007, 03:22 AM   #21
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Here

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Yes, I vaguely remember that. I also remember that there might have been a link to the manufacturer. Is that so? Can you repost please?
Link
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      07-25-2007, 03:24 AM   #22
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Exactly

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3onTwomps View Post
1) Will it be sold in the US?

2) How much? The E46 CSL was quite a bit more than the base M3.

3) If it's like the last CSL, it won't really be much of a daily driver and thus defeats the purpose for most people.
There are absolutely the 3 biggest drawbacks probably for me personally as well as anyone considering the CSL in the US.
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