You already make great bikes. Don't spread your automotive naming madness to them.

As we reported earlier this week, some trademark filings for the as yet non-existent models M 1000 RR, M 1300 GS, and M 1000 XR indicate that BMW may be expanding its M division, known for its hot-rod versions of its cars since the 1970s, to its motorcycle division as well. While I understand the value of cross-branding, I think in BMW's case a move like this would do more harm than good.

I've owned a BMW myself, though of the four-wheeled variety. It was a 1983 320i, the unloved first-generation 3 Series, known among BMW snobs enthusiasts as the E21 chassis. Immediately upon bringing my Bimmer (not Beemer) home, I removed the M badge from the grill. It did not belong there, as BMW did not produce an M version of the 3 Series until the E30 chassis, the original BMW M3.

So, too, I don't believe the M badge belongs on BMW's motorcycles. It's not out of hate for BMW's performance division, but out of respect for them. M began as a car racing division, creating the highly successful 3.0 CSL and the M1. M branched out to cranking some of BMW's production cars up to 11 in the 1980s, sometimes to win races as with the E30 M3, and sometimes strictly for street performance as with the E28 M5. Either way, these were hardcore performance cars, and highly respected for that fact.

In more recent years, though, some have joked that the "M" is for "Marketing." The distinctive badge has appeared on some cars that enthusiasts feel didn't really deserve it, where the M treatment was more of a sporty appearance package than a true performance upgrade. And don't get me started on the rest of BMW's automotive numbering scheme. While model numbers used to reflect the series and the engine displacement, after switching to smaller displacement turbocharged engines the numbers kept getting bigger anyway, for no reason than to appear bigger and better than the last model. They split off two-door versions into their own model lines, the 2, 4, and 6 series. This is perfectly fine, but then they added "GT" models within some of these series, which are four-door versions. Essentially, as BMW critic Bill Caswell says, they're four-door versions of two-door versions of four-door cars. Why?

Meanwhile, BMW's motorcycle division has been spared from this model number alphabet soup. You know that anything with GS in the model is going to be an adventure bike, and anything with an S is going to be a sportbike. Looking at BMW's trademarked potential model numbers, though, the scheme doesn't make sense, An M 1000 RR would presumably be today's S 1000 RR, an M 1300 GS would be an upgraded version of today's R 1250 GS, a completely different model line. It would be more confusing, and the only reason to use the letter M to designate BMW's top-performing motorcycles would be for marketing.

Don't get me wrong. I have a great deal of respect for any company that builds high-quality motorcycles and cars. I just think that losing the model recognition already associated with the S 1000 RR makes as much sense as Honda introducing a CBR 1000 RR Type R. That designation is reserved for Honda's highest performance cars, just as M should be for BMW.

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