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M-division boss back to his roots

2011-04-05 10:01

WHAT'S UP DOC?: Dr Kay Segler has left BMW’s M-division after three years in charge, returning to Mini. His legacy is a controversial one.

The man who presided over the most controversial chapter in BMW performance car history has left.

Dr Kay Segler was Mini boss from 2004-08 and now returns to that position after leading the M-division for the last three years.

Under Segler’s management BMW’s hallowed M-division has done all manner of things to its products that they promised theynever would, including the first all-wheel drive M-cars, first M-badged SUV's and first autoc transmission M products.

There is the little issue of Segler telling engineers to add forced-induction, too.

Ironically, all four of these anti-M-heritage engineering features debuted on a single line, the X5/6 M models

SAVIOUR OR SIMPLETON?

After his three years at the helm Segler has been vilified by BMW traditionalists for basically ensuring that the M-division will never produce another naturally aspirated car.

Industry analysts see things quite differently. They believe Segler secured a future for the M-division’s values of performance and engineering excellence by forcing a significant change in mindset upon engineers and product planners operating at BMW’s Garching facility.

Segler now returns to Mini, and from Mini comes his replacement - the rather interestingly named Dr Friedrich Nitschke, former head of Mini's product planning.

In the minds of M-division fans the question is simple: Can this man Nitschke lead M-division design smoothly through a future of pending existential crisis regarding its position in a world of ever-tightening environmental regulations?

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