Drives: BMW 335i - Coupe
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Washington, DC
I would think the "lines" thing might have a good deal to do with it. Unless one chooses sport or M sport, every thing about the lines is cosmetic. Moreover, if you want an interior color besides black or beige, you have to choose a line and pay for that cosmetic BS. And frankly, most people (not people on this forum) won't notice the difference. Both the Modern and Luxury force you to get the premium package, which any clown can see is a huge waste of money.
Personally, I think the average person wants a 3er that doesn't feel like a Lexus, Buick or Benz to drive and that has interior and exterior colors of their choosing and a few simple options they think they need, probably heated seats, sunroof and navigation, maybe an upgraded stereo system. If that's what they want with black or beige inside, no problem, get the base model, add the options and out the door with a reasonably priced 3er. If that's what they want with grey, or tan, or chestnut, or whatever, they have to add a damn line and pay a couple grand more and the couple grand buys nothing that'll hold value come resale time, and as that cosmetic stuff has no wholesale value, the car's depreciation is greater come lease end time. Thus, if one is little bit price sensitive, the lines will exacerbate that sensitivity.
Then, look at all the useless crap BMW package with things folks may want. For example, comfort access is bundled with the premium package. Now granted folks may want comfort access for it can be handy, but not for $2k+ (assuming one doesn't choose the luxury or modern line.) The rear view camera is useful, but you have to get parking distance control with it. What is the point of PDC if you have a camera which allows you to see what the hell's back there and gauge how close you are to it? And if you don't have a camera, you don't need the car screaming at you to let you know you are close to the car behind/in front of you; you already know that. (I realize there can be exceptions, but by and large, folks are very aware of what's around their car before they start to move the car.) You want to know how close. One inch, three inches, etc. And if you aren't parallel parking, it's completely useless, perhaps even annoying, when you are just pulling into or out of a shopping center parking space or your garage/car port.
Another factor, I think, is the motor. I don't know one soul who thinks a sport (or luxury if one thinks of a 3er that way) anything comes with a four cylinder motor, regardless of how good in fact that motor is. It just doesn't seem right. And truthfully, at higher speeds, the four cylinder's power delivery does begin to wane, well before that of a six or eight cylinder. Now how sporting is that?
In short, the things that made BMW different from its competitors -- a la carte, "have it your way" configurations, driving characteristics, and value for dollars spent -- has been watered down. As a result, BMW competes with Caddy, MB, Audi, et al on price more than on the car's merit.
Personally, I think BMW would be struggling to keep cars on the lots were they to simply make a car that was pure BMW and didn't need stuff added to it to be convenient for most folks. Make the 3er standard with sport suspension, sunroof, nav, comfort access, rear view camera (sans PDC), xenons, sport seats and lumbar support, along with the stuff that's already standard and they'll have a well equipped car that most folks would find quite satisfying. I say these things should be standard because a person will experience and appreciate them every single time they get in the car, save maybe the xenons for which it needs to be dark when they get in the car. This approach would differentiate BMW from the competition because the competition forces one to get these things along with stuff that doesn't provide palpable, daily value. After all, for most buyers, their 3er is their daily driver, and what else does one want in a daily driver other than stuff that provides value every damn day, and if they can get exactly that for $42K - $45K, and it's a BMW, they are quite content.
That formula keeps Hondas and Toyotas flying off showroom floors. The slightly, and it is just slightly, upmarket buyer is not any different in desiring a relatively decision free, hassle free way to choose a car.
, e92 335i, Sparkling Graphite
, Coral Leather