Many of us complain about the recent direction of the German performance divisions; that they're diluted, emotionless. And that may be true to a great extent. But what would you do if they were (drools) under your command?
The year is 2007 (or something close to that, just go with it) and you have a screaming V10 to make everyone drool over two otherwise controversial cars: the E6x platform. There's also a screaming V8 and lots of analog characteristics in the good one-size-fits-all new yuppie mobile, the E9x 3 series. Not to mention a screaming straight six in the light, small Z4 coupe/roadster. Before these, there are countless other cars that put driving feel and pleasure above all else (including raw numbers) and are similar in philosophy: M535i, E28 M5, E34 M5, E24 M6, E30 M3, E36 M3, E46 M3, Z3 M roadster/coupe. These cars all had high-revving normally aspirated engines and an emphasis on intimacy with the road. But times are changing, BMW is throwing turbochargers at everything, and numbers/ease of use are taking precedent more than ever to boost ever-increasing sales further. Something must be done to keep the cars relevant from a pure performance standpoint, and that means tough decisions that will aggravate the purist minority so often laughed at and outnumbered by bragging douchewads. Remember, the division must deal with more weight, stricter regulations, and appealing to non-enthusiasts, so I applaud them for preserving manual transmissions alone. But I'd do things differently.
-more marketing appeal
Develop a larger displacement I6 to make up for torque while retaining a more satisfying top end. To keep costs down, make it adaptable to a number of applications. The N52 is the lightest production straight six ever and is put in mere grocery getters, so the M division can develop something with its lightweight features while retaining better component strength for greater output. Instead of turbocharging, I'd turn to supercharging to retain the NA character while making turbocharged power. A high revving 3.2 liter running a small twin screw setup would be ideal in the M2, easily making 400+ hp (slightly detuned) with DI and better torque than the V8 for the naysayers. If need be, displacement could be bumped by .2l to keep in competitive well into the foreseeable future. The M3 (we shan't need any M4 badges, corporate) can use a higher displacement variant—3.6L to allow for a slight displacement bump to 3.8 for racing/future versions. Its supercharger can be intercooled with higher boost levels to both save money and help differentiate from the M3's power plant. 450hp reliably is not unreasonable at all, and the larger displacement translates to more torque to help lug the extra weight around. For fuel efficiency, the Valvetronic system would be used.
Now on to the M5 and M6. The E28 and E34 used 6 cylinders; the E39 used 8. Finally, the E60 uses 10. Naturally, a V12 will be the engine of choice. Weight from under the hood shouldn't be an issue, because the powerful N73 engine found in the 760(l)i is practically two N53 (N52 direct injected) engines combined. It's incredibly light. It's incredibly balanced and like to rev, with a 6,500 RPM redline in the stately 7er. With different power delivery, the incredibly powerful 48V plant should make an amazing noise and make peak power very high up as an M car should, while obviously having sufficient low-end grunt. While this would probably be more than enough power without FI, I would turn to a low-boost SC setup if it's not absolutely insane.
Anyways, that would be my course of action. How would you run BMW Motorsport? Also, please include your cute "you can't afford a new BMW anyways now go crank start your model T." It really has a great effect on my feeble mind until I forget a couple hours later and start ranting again about the "good old days." Next up: Mercedes' AMG.