I was watching Married With Children and Steve and Al were sitting down discussing which car to get to celebrate his new promotion. We’re talking circa 1987 here.
The options were “The Volvo, The Baby Benz, or the BMW 3-Series”. During the important discussions it was determined that the BMW was the “Driver’s Car.” I laughed a bit, and cried deep down inside.
This is because, today, BMW offers anything BUT the Driver’s Car. We’re in an era where BMW’s sportiest models (keep in mind I refrain from actually calling them Sports Cars) weigh in the neighborhood of 3,505 lbs for the M235i (don’t get me started on the liberal use of ///M badging on anything with four wheels . . . ) to 4,387 lbs for the M5.
Keep in mind, the 2-series is supposed to hearken back to the compact, lightweight 2002. A car that weighed in at 2,073 lbs.
Now, of course we’ve got modern safety equipment, and exponentially more horsepower, and high strength and stiff bodies, but if a company like Mazda or Lotus can still build a light weight, affordable sports car, why doesn’t BMW?
Because BMW doesn’t give a shit about you, Mr. Car Enthusiast. BMW is building cars as a full line automaker now. They just don’t give a fuck about being the “driver’s car”. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between an A4, a 3-series or a C-Class these days – what with all of them weighing a billion pounds, and even worse,all of them offering an all-wheel drive option for all the housewives and people with heart problems.
Let’s take a look at some of the other monstrosities and sins against God BMW is currently engaged in:
– 4000 lb + “sports cars”
– ///M badging everything that moves
– Abandoning naturally aspirated, high revving motors
– Creating FWD electric bitch buckets
– Offering AWD variants of every car they possibly can
– “Performance” SUVs.
AND they’re even demolishing their formerly awesome sub-brand, MINI. MINI has an SUV now. MINI. SUV.
In fact, I’m going to just go out and say that other than their “built for racing body in white” cars that are delivered to race teams, BMW no longer builds sports cars.
Alright, I’m about to get even crazier here.
The only people who I feel that are building sports cars today are
And here’s where things get kind of weird . . . Toyota used to make some of the greatest sports cars on the planet, but at some point they realized that kind of thing wasn’t profitable, so they stopped. They churned out gigantic bimbo boxes and bland mid-sized sedans and cashed the checks.
BMW is doing the exact same thing. They are abandoning their core brand of “the driver’s car” in an attempt to be everything to everyone, and to maximize profits. Along the way, they’re alienating the enthusiasts.
Toyota realized that the enthusiasts may not be the ones generating the most profit, but they are the most vocal. They realized that they had become the automotive equivalent of a toaster, and that enthusiasts weren’t afraid to tell that to people. They became “uncool”. This WILL happen to BMW if they continue on the same path.
BUT Toyota realized, hey, we’re actually cool guys, here’s a car to prove it! And what a car they made. My sincerest hope is that BMW does get back to building sports cars one day.
And I promise I’ll buy one – 10 years after it’s reached the bottom of its depreciation curve and I can afford it.