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      12-13-2017, 09:12 PM   #111
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While Design is a very subjective matter BMW has lost key elements of its brand identity. Some of it may have to do with the fact that their focus shifted to export markets. Their past great cars were developed predominantly for the German/European market. Nowadays they built cars developed for China, the US and other emerging markets. Luxury and gimmicks are more important than sportiness to most buyers in those markets.
The sure footed handling and sweet sound of their in line 6's are no longer the norm and reliabilty is average.
While researching the M40i I had an opportunity to drive the new 540i. I was truly schocked how dead and lifeless that car felt. The steering was numb and felt disconnected. Huge dissapointment.
My last 5 series, many moons ago, was the E 34 (535i), spruced up with some engine goodies it was a real fun, and reliable car at the time. The E39 was already a "watered" down BMW and I moved away from the brand mostly for that reason. BMW used to be the antidote to Mercedes Benz by building relativ luxurious cars with amazing feel and handling. Those days seem to be over.
Fortunately,(for me) the new X3 M40i has some of that old spunk that BMW used to infuse into their vehicles. I realize its an SUV but I found it to be more engaging and more practical overall than some of the other options on my short list. it feels a lot more like the BMW of yore than most of their current line up, M series excluded.
I hope BMW won't turn the new 3 series into what their 5 series has become. That would be a real shame.
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      12-13-2017, 09:53 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by 9krpmrx8 View Post
Has any one her driven a Camry? Any Camry? My GF has a new one, it's good reliable transportation but a performance car it is not. Nice car though for 30k on the XSE.
I put 279,000 miles on my '95 Camry 4cyl LE wagon. It was a hideous looking thing, but you couldn't kill it. Overall, it didn't do anything wrong, was comfortable enough, and was great for my dogs, plus I slept and camped in it for many years when I was on the road.

The engine still ran fine and it didn't even burn or leak much oil when I donated it this past summer, but many other things were on the edge, including the gas tank which I would only fill up half way because I was fearful it would fall off the car while on the highway. I would have included it as one of my favorite cars if it weren't for the fact that it kept me from buying anything new and exciting for nearly 20 years.
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      12-14-2017, 08:19 AM   #113
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Well... if BMW can remove the crap steering 'feel' that would be a move in the right direction. The BIG turn off on the M4 was the horrible steering. Heck, my wife's 2013 X1 drives/feel better than the 2016 M4. Am NOT saying the X1 performs better, it simply drives and feels better. Now if BMW took the 2013 X1 feel and put that into the more powerful / capable M4.... but BMW couldn't bother with that and so I didn't but the M4.
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      12-14-2017, 08:30 AM   #114
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They've gone in a different direction and the people that bought BMW's for the way they drove are making their voices heard.

My 2018 S5 drives significantly better than the 440i M-Sport. Steering is a tad light but the overall drive is fantastic. They also did a fantastic job with the Dynamic Steering system. It's not sloppy and unpredictable.
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      12-14-2017, 10:59 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Germanauto View Post
The problem with the F30/F80's interior is that it barely looks any different from that of the E9X generation cars, which debuted around 2006! To add to that, they took a step back in material quality. BMW's conservative "evolutionary" design theme works when your cars have other things going for it, like say best in class driving dynamics. However, that advantage is now long gone and we are left with cars that are lazy redesigns.

Merc changes their interior and exterior designs radically with every new generation. Their cars still look uniquely Mercedes, but offer a different take on the design language, much like what Bangle did with BMW exteriors and interiors.

In these photos, the Merc's interior clearly has a more engaging design, better and more "exotic" material quality, and overall feels like a very special place to sit inside. On the flip side, unless you haven't sat in a BMW since the E46, the current 3er's interior is more of the same we've been seeing over the past 11+ years.
This. BMW's interiors are massively boring, never understood the love for them.
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      12-14-2017, 11:20 AM   #116
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Some of us like 'boring' interiors - aka simple, clean, and with few chrome bits to throw sunlight. The excitement is out in front of the hood ornament. Only thing I miss is a way to bury that screen down in the dash like the Audi's will do.
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      12-14-2017, 11:22 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger8 View Post
While Design is a very subjective matter BMW has lost key elements of its brand identity. Some of it may have to do with the fact that their focus shifted to export markets. Their past great cars were developed predominantly for the German/European market. Nowadays they built cars developed for China, the US and other emerging markets. Luxury and gimmicks are more important than sportiness to most buyers in those markets.
The sure footed handling and sweet sound of their in line 6's are no longer the norm and reliabilty is average.
While researching the M40i I had an opportunity to drive the new 540i. I was truly schocked how dead and lifeless that car felt. The steering was numb and felt disconnected. Huge dissapointment.
My last 5 series, many moons ago, was the E 34 (535i), spruced up with some engine goodies it was a real fun, and reliable car at the time. The E39 was already a "watered" down BMW and I moved away from the brand mostly for that reason. BMW used to be the antidote to Mercedes Benz by building relativ luxurious cars with amazing feel and handling. Those days seem to be over.
Fortunately,(for me) the new X3 M40i has some of that old spunk that BMW used to infuse into their vehicles. I realize its an SUV but I found it to be more engaging and more practical overall than some of the other options on my short list. it feels a lot more like the BMW of yore than most of their current line up, M series excluded.
I hope BMW won't turn the new 3 series into what their 5 series has become. That would be a real shame.
I totally agree that the 540i feels disconnected.
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      12-14-2017, 12:12 PM   #118
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Throwing out the electronic steering racks and run flat tires would be a huge help. Hire Yamaha's music division to tune the exhausts so they sound nice again would be another good move. Piping engine noise into the car's cabin through the stereo? Seriously? How lame is that? Reminds me of Shtakker on an old episode of Get Smart. Where is Zeigfried to tell BMW that "Zees is KAOS - ve don't "vroom vroom" here".
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      12-14-2017, 12:44 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynard View Post
Some of us like 'boring' interiors - aka simple, clean, and with few chrome bits to throw sunlight. The excitement is out in front of the hood ornament. Only thing I miss is a way to bury that screen down in the dash like the Audi's will do.
Audi does "simple and clean" interior design way better. BMW's version is just plain lazy. Look at what a colossal flop the new 7-series is, 100% of that is due to lackluster design inside and out.
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      12-14-2017, 12:54 PM   #120
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I was really speaking to the 2 series, which I think of as a performance car rather than a luxury car. Granted that in s/t costing as much as a small house, I'd want more design and coherence - I agree that the higher series that I've been in (5's and 7's) are a train wreck of mixed up styles and materials.
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      12-14-2017, 07:29 PM   #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynard View Post
I was really speaking to the 2 series, which I think of as a performance car rather than a luxury car. Granted that in s/t costing as much as a small house, I'd want more design and coherence - I agree that the higher series that I've been in (5's and 7's) are a train wreck of mixed up styles and materials.
Fair enough. I think the 2er's interior is better than any of its competition (A3, CLA). And even if it isn't very posh, it fits the price point and market for a driver-centric car well.
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      12-15-2017, 03:48 PM   #122
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Yes, the CLA was shockingly bad - made me feel like I should be wearing a white polyester suit.
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      12-15-2017, 05:12 PM   #123
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Yes, the CLA was shockingly bad - made me feel like I should be wearing a white polyester suit.
For a CLA, one would need to wear a white poly pantsuit with the right heels, of course.
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      12-15-2017, 07:08 PM   #124
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Interesting thread. I just took delivery of a 2018 M3, my 22nd BMW, and am considering selling it and going “back” to an e39 chassis perhaps M5 (compare size for example). So much more connected, so much cheaper to get into, but so many more maintenance costs (although i have little confidence in the long-term service life/costs of the F80). Maybe an older M6 or 850 for long trips. Cars that had style, comfort, performance (which we can enhance for much less than a new M3) and even hold their value fairly well these days.

BMW is very successful, but we are no longer it’s major market focus in the USA, and real enthusiasts are not its core target demographic. So they don’t really need to care about C&D, or us.

BMW is also kind of stuck at a weird price point for F80/2. Jaguar F-Type, Porsche, and many others (even Alfa?) are easily much more money new. But there are the Cameros, Mustangs and the Dodges nipping at their heels, for comparable or less money. Do they move M3/4 up and compete with their traditional nemeses, or try to beat the domestics? All while worrying about vastly bigger markets elsewhere.
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      12-16-2017, 10:27 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinylengraver View Post
Just last night I watched a documentary on Amazon Prime Video depicting hundred years of BMW history.
It is pretty amazing how in the past the company used to stand head and shoulders above the competition.
Their cars and their business model were templates others were striving to follow.
And now? Seems as though competitors have caught up to them and surpassed them in many ways.

Before I posted this, I re-read C&D's instrumented review of 2013 135is.
The title of that article was: "Last of its breed"...
So true... so very true...
The building and sale of a front-wheel-drive BMW is the tell tale sign. If in the 1980's when BMW really started to increase its sales numbers from Roundel-hound YUPPIES, but the cars were still real BMWs, if BMW came out and said we are going to release a FWD 3-Series, you'd never have believed them and consider the PR announcement as an April Fools joke.
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      12-16-2017, 10:39 AM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000cs View Post
Interesting thread. I just took delivery of a 2018 M3, my 22nd BMW, and am considering selling it and going “back” to an e39 chassis perhaps M5 (compare size for example). So much more connected, so much cheaper to get into, but so many more maintenance costs (although i have little confidence in the long-term service life/costs of the F80). Maybe an older M6 or 850 for long trips. Cars that had style, comfort, performance (which we can enhance for much less than a new M3) and even hold their value fairly well these days.

BMW is very successful, but we are no longer it’s major market focus in the USA, and real enthusiasts are not its core target demographic. So they don’t really need to care about C&D, or us.

BMW is also kind of stuck at a weird price point for F80/2. Jaguar F-Type, Porsche, and many others (even Alfa?) are easily much more money new. But there are the Cameros, Mustangs and the Dodges nipping at their heels, for comparable or less money. Do they move M3/4 up and compete with their traditional nemeses, or try to beat the domestics? All while worrying about vastly bigger markets elsewhere.
So I've broached this subject many times on this Forum. If you want a real 3-series, the Cadillac ATS is a far better driver's car than any non-M BMW F3X 3-series. Yet Car and Driver had now gotten to the point that the ATS is admittedly the better ultimate driving machine yet C&D shits on it for things like the size of the green house and the quality-look of the gauges, and of course the crap-tastic CUE. Oh, and the mix of the cabin materials...

The Camaro is built off the ATS chassis, and is even by C&D standards a great driver. The Camaro is even worse to see out of than the ATS, but C&D overlooks that because the Camaro drives so well.

And in their Alfa comparo against the M3, ATS-V, C63, the Alfa won despite a problem with the remote start feature triggering a CEL. The CEL event was forgiven by C&D because one of the editors carries around an OBDII code reader and cleared the CEL code. Had the ATS thrown a CEL at it's introduction, C&D would have banned it from any further completions and chastised GM for producing a POS. The Alfa gets a pass because "it reminds you it's Italian." BS.

I've pretty much stopped reading Car and Driver.
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      12-16-2017, 10:44 AM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger8 View Post
While Design is a very subjective matter BMW has lost key elements of its brand identity.
I hope BMW won't turn the new 3 series into what their 5 series has become. That would be a real shame.
They already did with the F30...
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      12-16-2017, 10:46 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by swanson View Post
C&D were HUGE fans of BMW in the 90's and early 2000's. If any of these guys actually read C&D from that time period, they would see that too. Face the facts, the BMW that the world loved is dead.
The highly-vaulted E30 never made their 10-best list. Not even the E30 M3.
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      12-16-2017, 10:51 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by impulsE89 View Post
Well said Stooker!
If you added up the pages of advertising in recent Car and Drivers, Alfa Romeo, G.M,Ford, would dominate. Clearly there is a feud going on between BMW and C&D, probably because BMW doesn't spend enough. For a while they were Mustang fanatics. Lately its Camaro.
As for the decline of the Ultimate Driving Machine, don't drink the Kool Aid. Yes they are going for overall volume and have become a SUV company in volumes and profit that sport sedans could never achieve. Be happy for SUVs with M features. Have you ever followed an X5? Glad I don't have to buy those huge tires. How about the 600 hp twin turbo "hot v8". BWM still has performance center activities and training for owners , they heavily support a road racing program that is very successful. They make beautiful practical high performing cars. The capabilities and power of these cars is so effortless that yes, it is more fun to drive the MT, low torque, high winding, early model that came to us when almost everything else was a joke. They still sell some good affordable cars like that. If you can afford any BMW drive it and be happy. And give the media jerks our very own BMW finger.
I have to disagree. The M-series SUVs kill the 3-Series and we get stuck with a stupid 4-cylinder turbo (like everyone else has) car. Mega M SUVs kill the BMW corporate CAFE numbers, so they make up for them with the 3-series (their highest volume seller) and a crap engine and automatic trans for fuel efficiency.
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      12-16-2017, 11:45 AM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
The highly-vaulted E30 never made their 10-best list. Not even the E30 M3.
Think the tail end 325 (first 2 appearances on the list) was an E30. I was not a subscriber until E36 era, had to look it up but I believe that should have been an E30 as E36 was 1994 correct?

Agreed that BMW never made the list for quite a few years, partially perhaps because of the early 5/5 rule, and partially I think because of the list price limits for the list, BMW wasn't exactly priced friendly: it was a yuppie mobile in the 80s, and Frasier didn't help its image as 1990 came around

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      12-16-2017, 12:41 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by bvanlieu View Post
Think the tail end 325 (first 2 appearances on the list) was an E30. I was not a subscriber until E36 era, had to look it up but I believe that should have been an E30 as E36 was 1994 correct?

Agreed that BMW never made the list for quite a few years, partially perhaps because of the early 5/5 rule, and partially I think because of the list price limits for the list, BMW wasn't exactly priced friendly: it was a yuppie mobile in the 80s, and Frasier didn't help its image as 1990 came around

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Nope. First 3 Series on the list was the E36 in 1992. The E30 was a better car than the E36 IMO.
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      12-16-2017, 12:58 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by ilikebmxbikes View Post
I work in advertising and while it does play a role in this, they cannot skew the figures. Cars are out performing BMW in performance, price and value. Its a crazy time to see Mustangs and Camaros beating the m3 in lap times. BMW owners only defense is "does ur mustang have as nice of an interior, or X tech etc. etc. " which are all claims the m3 did not brag about. The m3 was never supposed to be a premium luxury package which BMW has been turning the //M Badge into an emblem of.

BMW is doing very well at catering to the mass audience and is always promoting record sales. You cannot argue that. But their success at catering to the mass audience in many regards is coming at the expense of the enthusiast audience. I dont understand why it has to be one or the other as I feel many brands, particularly Ford is doing a terrific job at releasing models which check both boxes both with their trucks and their cars.
BMW is living off its Roundel legacy from the 1970s through 1990s, where they still made enthusiast cars and enthusiasts bought them. Now that most BMW owners lease and don't keep the car past 30,000 miles, it's a false positive. BMW is now just a small maker of mainstream sedans and SUVs. BMW could barely handle the Takata airbag fieasco where the other large car companies replaced defective hardware without lengthy waiting periods. If BMW didn't have such a scheme going of lease-then-resell, which is highly profitable they'd be much worse financially. BMWs legacy/lease scheme is a good business model, but we'll see how long it lasts.
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