This year at NAIAS simultaneous fire breathing debuts occurred not 200 feet from one another. Motor Trend ended up sitting down with both Albert Biermann, VP of Engineering for BMW M and Yukihiko Yaguchi, Deputy Chief Engineer for Lexus F. They were both asked the same questions, but I want to focus on what Biermann had to say and why BMW knows they're about to enter a dog fight.
Obviously this is rote arrogance on the part of BMW. The 1M was certainly an exhilarating sportscar but to label it and its non existant successor as the top of the pops in a market teeming with vehicles like the C7 Corvette, Nissan GTR, McLaren P1. Jez even the Ariel Atom. The Best car doesn't existm but definitely a BMW LOL. As a contrast Yaguchi simply answered Porsche 911. I like that answer, its clear that Yaguchi is reaching outside of the company for inspiration.What is the best high-performance car out there today?
Biermann: That is a hard to answer question because I think we need to cut this in slices for segments, you know? But the best one would be the M1 successor -- if there were a successor.
A VP of Engineering is not supposed to sound like a Bimmerpost fanboy.If you were to give the previous car a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best, what number would you give the M4?
Biermann: Oh, that's a tough one. I mean, if it comes to lap times, speeds, overall acceleration, then we would be in a different league than the M1 successor. As a driver's car and driving involvement, it pretty much goes to a 10.
Here is where we start to veer off into hackneyed delusion from BMW. Unfortunately for BMW we know that the new M4 is simply using a tarted and tuned 435i engine, a great powerplant but by no means is it race bred. The new 3/4 series have been criticized for decimating what was left of the legendary feedback of the earlier 3 series, I havent driven the new M cars so obviously I cannot pass judgement entirely on those statements, but if the rest of the range is any indication...What are the five things about your car that you'd want people to know?
Biermann: First of all, to go on with the tradition of bringing race car technology onto the road. That's the job of the M3 and the M4. And there's a lot of race car concept in the new car. Then, our completely new engine, where we bring the high-revving aspects of the predecessor's naturally aspirated engine together with the efficiency and the performance of a modern -- very modern -- turbo engine. Then all the focus we put on the car regarding light weight. There's so much technological substance in the new M4, with carbon-fiber technology, like a carbon-fiber driveshaft, carbon-fiber roof. The trunklid inside layer is carbon fiber, so it's lighter, less weight than the predecessor. That's a very important statement. And then, for sure, the precision and the agility of the driving experience. We put a lot of effort into developing everything around the steering system -- the kinematics, the front axle, the rear axle, how they interact, and that was a big focus on the car. Last one is performance on a racetrack. This is not a pretender. Like all the M3s before, this a track car.
This is my favorite part. As already stated above, BMW does not have a racecar engine. But the RC-F in fact does. You will remember that during development of the RC-F the 5.0L V8 was transplanted into the IS F CCS-R race machine and run in the Pike Peak International Hill Climb and the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Not to mention that the stock 5.0L V8 forms the basis of the RC-F GT3 cars heart, pumping out 108 HP/Liter. We know the M4 does not boast that type of credibility in this case.What are your thoughts on the RC F?
Biermann: I need to understand more about the technology [Lexus] put into it. If [RC F] is just another IS F with a big engine, that would not make a competitor to an M3. I can only imagine that, for their customers, [5.0-liter V-8 and eight-speed automatic] is the right way to go. That would definitely not be the right way to go for our customers. We have kind of a race car engine -- the character of our engine is almost like a race car engine. Very precise, although it's a turbo, but it's very responsive and it revs up to 7600 rpm. Very sharp. And it's a car for the track.
Goofer, RC-F FTW!!!