By now most of us car folks know that BMW has been working on a line of front wheel drive cars, but today it has basically become official. I saw on Jalopnik that BMW will launch their first front drive car at the Paris Motor Show later this year. For me this marks the end of an era for BMW because they have finally made the commitment to stray from the ideals that made their great name. This is on top the fact that their entire line of cars has been getting bigger, heavier, and softer in recent years. In my opinion there are also no “true” M cars right now either, as all of the current ones put luxury as the priority over proper driving dynamics, when traditionally it was the other way around (see the fake engine noises in the M5). BMW has been going soft for some time now, whilst catering to the yuppy, poser crowd that just wants a status symbol in their driveway; the same people who buy X6s, X3s and whatnot. I see this as the end of an era for BMW because by making a front drive car they are showing their priority commitment to this plastic sort of customer at the expense of the brand’s own established identity and their previous customer base. BMW has always been about driving pleasure, now they are more about being a fashion accessory; going a similar route Toyota did back in the early 00s with the “green” stuff. They will likely be financially successful, but the BMW brand will have lost its significant reputation, in favor of becoming a cliché trademark of superficial and insincere culture. Cherish the memories folks, as there were some really great times over the years.
PS: Buy late model M cars soon because they will likely all be appreciating within a few years. I could’ve had an E30 M3 for 7k when I first got my license, now I’m kicking myself.
Back in 2009, The Truth About Cars editor Jack Baruth wrote an article on how the Japanese auto industry is losing its heritage to the point where its products are a shell of what they used to be. He talked about how Honda had lost its roots as a maker of cars with flair and engineering excellence, and how Nissan and Toyota were becoming too close to one another on retail lots. He reposted it on their website (thetruthaboutcars.com) and I found it to still be relevant today. But, in these three years, a few things have changed in the market. My question is this: Does Baruth’s argument still hold water, and is there any more evidence to support his side of this debate? I took a look into what the market is like today, and there are arguments for both sides. Read the rest of this entry »