The M namesake is something that does not just label BMW vehicles, it defines them. It’s called a badge for a reason—the distinctive tricolor emblem decorates some of the greatest performance vehicles BMW has to offer, awarding them some of the German automaker’s greatest feats of engineering. Since 1972, BMW’s M division has been keen on keeping motorsport heritage alive and well, hence the ‘M’ naming designation for their performance and race vehicles. For us enthusiasts, this means that the M namesake also carries a hefty dose of nostalgia along with it, paying homage to M cars both the past and present.
We have long associated the M namesake almost exclusively with four-wheeled performance, but now, we can look forward to seeing it applied to more two-wheeled models too. In 2018, we got a glimpse of the M-performance S 1000 RR—a nearly 200 horsepower, DOHC inline-four, high-revving superbike with incredible sounding straight-cut gears. It debuted with an optional M package and other optional equipment, a critical piece of foreshadowing for what was to come for the german automaker’s two-wheel division.
Motorrad enthusiasts now have something new to wish for this holiday season, following completed patent applications by BMW to trademark the model names ‘M 1000 RR’, ‘M 1000 XR’, and ‘M 1300 GS.’ While no official press release has been made just yet, speculation has already begun to stir as to why BMW’s top-tier track, street, and off-road motorcycles suddenly have a different letter before their designations. Was BMW’s decision to patent these M names for some of their top-performing motorcycles intended to broaden their performance-oriented model lineup, or to welcome Motorrad to BMW’s historic M Division altogether, creating a perfect performance duality?
Enthusiasts over at BMWBlog believe the decision may have come from more of a marketing perspective than an engineering one, a much tamer speculation, but a very logical one at that. BMWBlog mentions that this decision could mean replacing the ‘S’ and ‘G’ designations on each model’s name with an M, in order to designate a higher performance trim with optional M Performance parts, a move that would merge the naming strategies of BMW’s automotive efforts with Motorrad.
Considering this speculation makes perfect sense, it doesn’t hurt to explore what a full-blown M motorcycle could look like. The only M-adorned bike we have to currently look towards for inspiration is the new 2020 iteration of the S 1000 RR, which also has an available M package option. The package features a traditional BMW Race Red or tri-color motorsport livery, lightweight carbon fiber wheels, a special lightweight race battery, an M-embroidered seat, and ride modes including race pro, a configurable electronic option that allows you to control things like shift aggressiveness, DTC and ABS settings, engine maps, slide control, and yes—wheelie control.
The 2020 S 1000 RR now has a whopping 205 horsepower (999cc) exploding from its inline-four, producing an insane power-to-weight ratio that is on par with some of the industry’s leading supercars. To put that into perspective, CycleWorld pitted the S 1000 RR against the 903 horsepower Mclaren P1 back in 2015, where the supercar was only three quarters of a second faster to 180 mph than the Bavarian superbike, which ended up being the fastest motorcycle out of the three which were tested.
So, it’s safe to say that while a full-blown M bike may not be entirely in BMW’s future, we can look forward to possibly seeing some incredible new M-performance equipment making an appearance on our two-wheeled favorites.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]