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      11-28-2012, 10:19 AM   #51
bradleyland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
I don't think it is a silly argument at all. Most buyers of BMW today couldn't care less about, weight distribution, drive-squat, brake-dive, suspension control, brake modulation, steering feedback, etc., all the things that BMW pioneered (maybe prioritized is a better word) in street cars. Most manufacturers match, or come close to matching, these once BMW-only attributes in a lot of their models. 95% of BMW buyers can't appreciate what still (hopefully) separates the BMW DNA, which is how the car behaves at 9/10ths and 10/10ths limits (my E90 still has it) and don't really need a BMW; and would do fine with other manufactures nameplates on the hood. BMW now caters to these buyers, which is not a bad thing, and in consideration of proper business practice, the right thing. But if that leaves us BMW aficionados relegated to buying far over-priced M models then I'll shop elsewhere. And if the M division needs to sell M-versions of overweight X5 and X6's then watch me leave, laughing out the door.

The poster I responded to tried to say BMW is a unique manufacturer that "thinks differently” than other auto manufacturers. Really, a FWD hatchback (or 4-door sedan) that drives well? Heck, there must be at least 5 or 6 models by other manufacturers on the road right now.

Just a few short years ago BMW touted this same mantra, that they were the only independent manufacturer left and didn’t have to compromise like other (mainstream) manufacturers by being forced to chassis-share between models. Now comes word that the 1-series and mini will share major chassis components. Right, BMW is different. Sorry, I’m not buying it. Having a naturally aspirated, in-line 6, rear wheel drive sedan with a manual transmission, now that’s thinking differently…
I think you kind of reinforced the argument that BMW "thinks different".

Quote:
Most manufacturers match, or come close to matching, these once BMW-only attributes in a lot of their models.
Yet BWM remains the benchmark used by all the major automotive journals. They're the target, because they continue to lead in their way of thinking. The "difference" is that they arrived at this design philosophy of their own volition, rather than chasing another manufacturer.

Quote:
The poster I responded to tried to say BMW is a unique manufacturer that "thinks differently” than other auto manufacturers. Really, a FWD hatchback (or 4-door sedan) that drives well? Heck, there must be at least 5 or 6 models by other manufacturers on the road right now.
We haven't seen the product yet, so we can't say what ways it will, or won't, be different from the competition. You said in your post, "what still (hopefully) separates the BMW DNA, which is how the car behaves at 9/10ths and 10/10ths limits." I think that really hits the nail on the head. If you look at the BWM trim lines in each range, you can find a car that's good for 7/10ths, 8/10ths, and 9/10ths driving. Because a car is FWD does not mean it's driving character can't be superlative for it's driveline type. That is what characterizes BMW: superlative driving character.

It's a matter of scope. BMW used to scope their models to a very specific formula, but if they want to survive as a company, they can't continue to do that. This is true for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which are environmental concerns. Manufacturers must maintain a minimum average fleet fuel economy in both the EU and the US. I'm sure other markets have these kinds of requirements as well, but the US and Europe are their primary markets. Simple physics dictate that FWD packaging provides more opportunity for reduced fuel consumption: it's lighter and has less drive line friction. This is the same driving factor that has caused the moved to forced induction. High revving, naturally aspirated engines are desirable for enthusiasts, but they're thirsty. Something has to give, so BMW does the best job they can building a driver-focused turbocharged engine.

By introducing (and selling lots of) FWD models, BMW is essentially "buying" fuel economy in a new segment. This pulls the average down and allows them to continue building driver-focused RWD automobiles for those of us who care about that sort of thing. It's a strategic decision on many fronts, and it's essential to their survival.
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