Originally Posted by midlifecrisis
The fact of the matter is that for the past dozen or more years almost every other premium car company has been chasing BMW's benchmark - the definition of sport sedan - and many of them are catching up quickly. Audi and Lexus come to mind.
At the same time, some people are starting to wonder whether BMW has lost its edge or if they've started valuing luxury over sportiness, which lessens their unique image as a builder of sport sedans.
Back in the good old days, you'd climb into a 3 series, fire it up, drive it away, and be delighted with the athletic responses of the chassis, steering, and brakes. It was a sports car with 4 doors - right out of the box.
Today, if you climb into a F30 and you want to drive a sport sedan you have to push an extra button to find the sports car hidden inside. Even then, the combination of run flats, electric steering, and other factors dull the sport sedan experience. Is this a case of too many focus groups and not having the confidence that the characteristics which defined the brand will carry it to the next level? If so, too bad. Bring back the car nuts that knew what they wanted and built it!
BMW's new powertrains are brilliant. As far as I'm concerned, its too bad the rest of the car has lost the sporty feel that defined BMW. I hope the upcoming M3 addresses these issues - but I'm getting ready to have a plan B.
You are correct, one of the reasons BMW became the "it" brand, was that they really did build nothing but Ultimate Driving Machines at one time and they were definitely "the" brand for enthusiasts.
Every car rag loved and drooled over BMW and they won all the comparos. Being an "enthusiast brand" and loved by the media, is what drove the sales, so all the plebeians and unwashed knew it was the "it" brand and everyone wanted to be seen driving a BMW. When a company stops being true to their brand, start alienating enthusiasts, stops winning comparos and diluting their image, they head down a slippery slope towards being "just another car brand".
So all the concerns about the drop in sales and the direction of the new models (i.e. FWD models coming) are definitely justified.