Originally Posted by DeeezNuuuts83
Personally I'd have preferred for them to keep the 3-Series moniker, but I understand their strategy, even if it is leaving behind 30+ years of history. They want to move the coupe more upscale, likely help it compete better with the Audi A5. Plus it will help their intended resulting price hike be justified in the eyes of the typical consumer. But the name change was something that was rumored to be happening for the current generation, but obviously they delayed it.
I suspect there is an admission within BMW that Audi has been kicking their butt when it comes to product hierarchy (or whatever the business jargon is). Like you said, BMW positioning the new 3er coupe as the 4 series is a clear reaction to the success of the A5.
Moreover, this new idea of "M performance" models is very much in line with Audi's A-S-RS scheme. Audi basically succeeded in marketing their Sx cars as competitors to the top of the line regular BMWs, and the RSx as competitors to the M cars. The latter is maybe not so successful, but I think the former really worked. Audi doesn't even offer a V6 in the A4 and the V8 in the A6, and instead badges these big engine models as S something and managed to place them half of step above the BMWs with comparable engines. I now see that a lot of people view the S4 as a nicer alternative to the 335i(s), and the S6 to the 550i.
So apparently the new 2 series will only come with a 4 pot engine in the regular form, and the one with the turbo 6 will be called M235i. That is, there will not be a 235i, only M235i. This is exactly the same as what Audi is doing. I don't know if BMW will have the guts to phase out the 335i and 550i eventually to replace them exclusively with M335i and M550i, but I'm guessing that's the direction they want to go if they can pull it off. In the near future I suspect they will be offering M335i alongside a 335i.