10-22-2010, 02:56 PM
Drives: Amazonite Silver Beauty
Join Date: Jan 2007
In both the E46 and E90 generations we have been - oh-so-close to introducing an M3 Touring , it's no secret that competitors Audi with the (then) RS 4 Avant and Mercedes-Benz with the C63 AMG T-Modell are very popular in continental Europe. But as soon as we get close to official they pull back. In hindsight though those customers who wanted an M3 Touring ended up going for the M5 Touring instead.
BMW has never built an M3 touring either, for example, so the mere fact that a given M vehicle could exist and share most of its parts with similar existing vehicles is not a good indicator of whether such a vehicle will actually be offered. As SCOTT hints above, it is more about what makes the best business case. For example, there would likely be some sales canibalization between an M3 GT and M3 sedan, and perhaps it would be just enough to hurt overall profitability and ruin the business case.
Whether the F31 M3 Touring will make an appearance during this decade is not decided yet , but the X3-M will probably fill that role.
The 3er Gran Turismo will follow the same philosophy of it's 5er GT brother.
If this M3 GT is built I do not see why BMW would not offer the 4dr M3. I would think the wheelbase would be the same, the power plant would be the same, front hood, front quarter panels, front doors, all the same. The rear doors and roof line would have to be adjusted but it would go toward BMW's Modular platform of building cars and maintaining efficiency in building those cars.
To which if you compare the 5er GT to the 5er sedan there are only a few areas in which they share - being the door mirrors , indicator unit on the front wheel arch and door handles. The 5er GT is not just a fastback variant of the sedan. In design it stands alone in appearance and and purpose, although the DNA is apparent with it's 5er kinship.
And 3er GT follows exactly the same formula , customers did not want simply another variant. It had to be a completely different car to which it is even though underneath is heavily shared.
BMW invested heavily in developing new modular architecture for the 1er and 3er , because future projections show that the Citycar , Compact and Premium Entry segments are targeted for future growth.
Thus the decision was made to invest in developing the new modular architecture so that additional variants could be produced cost effectively within one set platform. The new modular structure can be shortened , lengthened , to accomodate a huge range of models which BMW are investigating for production.
During the economic crisis BMW and every other premium manufacturer learned that customers were willing to downsize to more smaller vehicles if they had the same level of luxuries in a larger car. This is primarily the decision to look at expansion within the 1er and 3er segment.
Both the next generation 1er and 3er will feature optional equipment , normally found in a luxury model of a higher segment.
Next years important (F20) 1er launches with a significant list of new innovations and tech normally reserved for a high end 7er. It is designed to increase the appeal of compact luxury cars and move the 1er into a higher profit region.
You have to look at the future aswell? Could we eventually see the demise of the high end premium market?
One particular segment which is forecast to increase by 50% in europe is the compact, large MPV market which BMW are investigating due to high demand for a BMW with more space.
Although BMW wants to take the flexibility , space and purpose but translate it more to a car like concept. You may be shocked but in latest auto industry editorial. Mercedes-Benz are developing a range of "Gran Sport Tourers" for the C and E-Klasse for exactly this reason - growth and increased profit.
Audi will be next - watch this space.
And about BMW and FWD? I say this , I think the new BMW Compact City Car will be a success. Why? because in order to sell the idea the packaging has to stand out and in design , boy, does this car stand out. Very sporty and very futuristic looking - take the front of the Vision Efficient Dynamics , shrink and translate that to a city car. The shape is more sporting looking , with a very striking character line. It is not a conventional typical hatch.
They drove an A1 into the design courtyard at the FIZ and by impressions alone the Audi looked old even though it was launched (in Germany) this month.
As for driving? Why cant typical BMW attributes not be applied to a FWD car?
The dynamics brief is to make the car drive like you expect a BMW to do.
Make it Sporting to drive and offer excellent handling qualities but not sideline the R63 MINI in which it shares , again using highly invested modular architecture in which the BMW Compact will share with the R63 MINI.
I dont think we will capture the same level of success as did the first BMW developed MINI as Lightning does not strike twice (normally) If it did I would not be surprised as they know that this car has to stand out in more ways than one.