Originally Posted by advantage20
The pretention behind it is that some M car owners here do not appreciate the fact that a non-M product is badged M and therefore sucks from the M aura, thus diluting the quality and exclusivity of "real" M vehicles.
Maybe for a select few, but I guess I am just ignoring them since the ship sailed on that argument long ago. BMW has been offering MSport vehicles with M badges throughout the car for... well for a long time now - I believe since the E30 days. So there are plenty of BMW products with M's on them that are not actual M3s or M5s, or what have you. I really don't think that point is lost on many at all. There are perhaps a few. Again, just ignore them since they are clearly ignorant of the facts.
As far as I can tell, though, a far greater number of people who are taking issue with the new line of M Performance vehicles are very much aware of these already existing M products. Their argument is that the new lineup and naming scheme is taking it one step too far. Is it hair splitting? I suppose one could argue that. I honestly am pretty neutral on the whole issue myself. But the fact remains that this is a new strategy for BMW and M, and I can see some substance to both sides of the debate.
If I have any issue, it would not be with the marketing side, but rather a question of keeping the brand values alive and the actual viability for traditional M vehicles as we know them as things go forward. I am the first to acknowledge that there has been a systematic "softening" of the M brand (if you will) over the decades. Every new model is more accessible than that before it. But, what I don't want to see is a complete break from the philosophy of offering the hardest-core model that can be built profitably. The reall concern is, if in the future everyone buys this new M440i (say) instead of an M4, then how long can we expect them to even build an M4? Not long. Instead, maybe eventually what they would have marketed as a 435i (say) just gets renamed to M440i, and what would have been called the M440i is now an M4. So where is the M4? It is either gone, or maybe its now a very low production vehicle like an M4 GTS. I am not saying it will happen, I am just saying its yet another concern to put on the pile of concerns about the brand that has been stacking up recently (M SUVs when they said they'd never build them, forced induction when they said they would stay N/A, Ms with mildly tuned engines from series vehicles, etc, etc).