By on July 8, 2013

Members of the media are still speculating why Audi’s R&D chief Wolfgang Dürheimer was sacked and replaced by Volkswagen’s engineering rock star Urlich Hackenberg. Today, the market delivered the reason:  With BMW in the passing lane in China and America, global sales of the roundel brand keep rising faster than those of Audi and Mercedes.

Sales at BMW’s core brand were up 9.4 percent in June to 153,000 units, while sales at Mercedes rose 8.3 percent and Audi slowed down to 5.5 percent r growth, Reuters says.

For the half year of 2013, global sales of BMW are up 7.7 percent to 804,000 units, with Audi up 6.4 percent to 780,500 units , and Mercedes also up and 6.4 percent to 694,000 autos.

Envied by other European carmakers Germany’s three leading premium manufacturers are maintaining production in July and August to meet soaring export demand, while the rest of Europe is going on – often extended – summer vacations.

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40 Comments on “Überholprestige: BMW Makes Audi And Mercedes Eat Dust...”


  • avatar
    fredtal

    Everyone likes to talk about outright sales but isn’t it more important on how much money you make on each car you build?

  • avatar

    I’m glad BMW exists.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    While I’ve owned several BMWs in the past, 3,5,Z, I am getting more than a little sick of all the hype. Yes, they are good cars, but are they better than all the rest? I don’t think so. The vast majority of the buyers NEVER explore the handling provided by BMW, but they do experience the terrible ride on runflat tires that BMW supplies to save weight and provide a modicum of trunk space. In China, I just read yesterday that Audi is the premium car of choice since all the gov’t officials drive black A6s. Audi continues to set sales records in the US and is closing in on MB and BMW by all the reports I’ve read. And BMW’s 7 Series doesn’t come anywhere near the sales of MB’s S Class which outsells BMW, Audi, Lexus and Jag combined in the top class. The simple fact is that folks buy BMWs based on hype and for perceived status. Even BMW’s vaunted racing successes are history. They no longer can compete with the R8 or Porsche with any degree of success beyond the occasional win by Turner or RRL. So just give it up and join the real world or stay with C&D, R&T, et al, sucking on the BME teet of “cool”.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      TybeeJim – - –

      I feel some obligation to respond here, with both agreement and disagreement. Please bear with me.
      I should note that I currently own a 3-series and Z4 3.0si

      1) “Sick of hype”. I agree. The BMW mystique has gotten way out of bounds.

      2) “Better than the rest – don’t think so”. I agree. MB and Audi are comparable, as are many others now.

      3) “Don’t explore handling”. True. Unless you do performance driving, you’ll find it hard to tell the difference going to the market for groceries.

      4) “Run-flat tires”. Yes and no. More modern “cushy” RF’s like Continental Conti-Pro Contact are OK; older ones like Turanza’s were terrible. None are Michelin PIlot-Sports, however, for performance driving. And none can compete with non-RF, high-profile “balloon” tires for comfort that you can optionally put onto the 5 series (at your own cost).

      5) “Trunk space”. Not so sure. This seems to be reasonable in my 2006 3-series.

      6) “Audi US sales closing in”. Yes and no. Check “Goodcarbadcar.com”. Plot the data. As of June, Audi Brand has a greater slope (360 units/month) for positive growth than MB (237 units/month); but neither is anywhere near BMW in the USA (867 units/month).

      7) “S-Class outsells 7-Series (and other)”. I agree. MB makes a REALLY good car in this category.

      8) “Vaunted racing success is history”. Again, yes and no. The M3′s were no longer competitive in ALMS, which is why RLL switched to the Z4 GTE’s, which are OK. Current half-season standings in rank positions in ALMS are: Corvette, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, and Viper, in that order. Here, BMW can easily compete and win over Porsche. And no one ever suggested that a Z4 could compete with the AWD Audi R8 Quattro, essentially a super-car that does not qualify for ALMS.
      In the 24-Hours of the Nürburgring, Mercedes SLS AMG won and BMW Z4 came in 2nd; the “vaunted” Audi R8 LMS Ultra (RWD) came in 6th. So, I hardly think that BMW is “history” in racing. See link:
      http://www.24h-rennen.de/uploads/media/24h_Rennen_Provisional_Result.pdf

      And, BTW, when I drive my Z4 in the empty county roadways of northern WI and MN, you better believe that I appreciate every bit of its performance capability! Few other cars can come close to it…

      ———————

      • 0 avatar
        TybeeJim

        NMGOM, I don’t disagree with most of your items but they are all tinged with “yes, but”. I too had a Z4 3.0 , 6sp, and really liked the car but the dealer was awful (I went to trade for an M coupe and they said no one would want my car since it wasn’t an automatic! I bought a Cayman S.) I have Contis on my cars now and had Pilot Sports on the Cayman. Wonderful tires. Virtually every article I read makes excuses for the RFs usually ‘stones, and they hate them but BMW persists. I haven’t tried some of the newer RFs, e.g., Michelin but they share a common trait, unrepairable (which is important if you track your car). And as far as racing is concerned, BMW simply no longer “rules”. I concede the occasional win, but on the other hand, they don’t even compete in the WEC against Audi and Benz (I own one of each). We can bandy numbers all day, but the facts are that for the average consumer who aspires to own a BMW does so because of advertising. For the record, my Cayman S was, hands down, better than the Z4! Perhaps the best car I ever owned.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          TybeeJim – - -

          Thanks for the response.

          “And as far as racing is concerned, BMW simply no longer “rules”.”
          Yup. That certainly is true. Corvette is proving it in ALMS.

          “For the record, my Cayman S was, hands down, better than the Z4! Perhaps the best car I ever owned.”
          Yup. I almost bought a yellow one this Spring. But “slightly” CPO’d turned out to be slightly more than “slightly”. It would have brought back memories for me, though, since I raced a beaten-up 356B in Germany in 1968. Never won a thing.

          Even ardent Porsche-phyles, who may love 911′s, will have to tip their hats to the new Cayman S. It is indeed a spectacular creation, as almost every review I read has concluded. Congratulations on your purchase!

          (BTW: Being bi-polar with regard to vehicles, I have 2 pick-up trucks and two sports cars: nothing in between. But they are all manuals. Can’t wait to see what dealers will say when it comes to trade-ins!)

          —————-

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      If i wanted an audi in my price range, id get a VW. just sayin…

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I’ve decided that the further BMW moves away from making the kind of cars I like (engaging, driver-focused, fun things that can last for decades if maintained well) to the kind of cars I hate (expensive imagemobiles for deeply in-debt partner-hopefuls which will drain the bank accounts and mental stability of those unfortunate enough to buy them out of warranty), the better the company does. Maybe I should become a focus group consultant for auto companies: the more I like it, the worse it’ll sell.

    Oh yeah, my point. I’m a little concerned, then, that VW/Audi/Porsche and everyone else will follow suit and put even more of an emphasis on developing cars which aren’t meant to last much beyond lease periods and appeal to the image-conscious consumer.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Wait a second.

    Is that an E36 wagon with an M3 bumper, or the holy grail of practical sports cars – a custom M3 wagon – with standard side mirrors? I’m daydreaming it’s the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Sorry to disappoint you, it’s just a spoiler. It was called M-package in Germany.

      http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/$T2eC16hHJH8E9qSEYOqUBRtwttIIGg~~48_72.JPG

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    @tbp0701

    This is utter crap.

    I have owned BMWs dating back to the 70s. The new ones are generally better built and more reliable than any of them ever were, new or old. BMW did get caught out in the general industry cost-cutting woes of 15 years ago, AND they got burned by being a bit too cutting edge with the twin-turbo DI sixes initially. But they really are no more expensive to own than they ever were, nor are they any more expensive than anything else in their class today. German car mechanics have NEVER come cheap in the entire history of the cars being sold here. Try getting a 2002tii fixed back in the early 80s… The stuff nightmares were made of. Yes, lots of people buy BMWs for the badge, but that has been true for 40 years too. And they make some pretty unsporting cars these days – guess what – the gutless wonders that were the original 320i and 325e/528e were not exactly racecars. NOTHING has changed but the level of grousing on the Internet. Plenty of badge whores bought them all.

    I do agree that the cars aren’t perfect, nothing is. They COULD be more reliable. They COULD be cheaper to fix. They COULD be cheaper to buy in the first place. But ultimately it is either worth it to you or it is not. As I have said on here before, if you love driving a Camry, you are a lucky guy – you just saved $20K on your next car up front, and a fair bit over time. I would rather walk.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      I think this is a good point you make here. The reality is that for decades, BMW was a niche brand and like many niche brands, the loyalists are…well, protective of it.

      However, the realities of the car industry dictate that you are one of two things: high volume or high profit, and BMW, rightly, recognized about 15 years ago that they needed to break out of their niche and expand if they were to remain viable in the future.

      Remember BMW’s move to acquire Rover and Daimler’s fabled merger of equals with Chrysler? Those were moves to get them into the volume game and expand their footprint. Both were disasters for reasons we do’t need to get into here.

      Expect the German luxo brands to continue their march downward to continue increasing volumes and keeping people in the brand. BMW has been much more successful than MB and Audi because they underscore their leases so heavily. A $299-$349/month 3-series lease is a pretty good deal if you’re looking at Accords, Camrys and Chevys.

      BMW got bit hard on residuals during the financial crash, but they seem to have picked up the pieces nicely. Audi, at least under Johan DeNysschen, was focused on profitable growth so they were very reluctant to heavily underscore leases. Rumors are that Audi AG is pushing for 30,000 units annually of the new A3 in North America, which is a lot more than the 5,000-8,000 they were selling up until now. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of $299-$349/month leases there.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ krhodes1 – I disagree mildly on a few points.
      - The badge-whore demographic didn’t really kick in for BMW until the mid-‘80s.
      - IMO, BMW caters to the badge whores more now than it did in the ‘70s or early ‘80s.
      - While the 528e caught flack from BMW purists for being slower in a straight line than its immediate predecessor, it wasn’t gutless compared to the rest of the market. What midsize sedans on the US market were faster in ’82? I’m guessing turbocharged Volvos but can’t think of anything else.
      - I’d also argue that the 528e’s advantage in driving dynamics over the average midsize of 1982 was greater than the advantage held by today’s 5-series over the Camcordibu.

      You make an interesting point in recognizing your BMWs’ flaws and your willingness to live with them. I’m glad owners like TybeeJim, NMGOM, and you are out there. My sweet spot in terms of cost, reliability and performance is more the performance version of a mainstream car. (Note that I’m referring to actual hardware, not appearance packages.) I wouldn’t drive a Camry LE for the sake of saving $20,000. However, I *would* drive a Camry SE for sake of saving $19,000 (http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/review-2013-toyota-camry-le-2-5-at-nelson-ledges/).

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I get to drive new Camrys all the time, I rent cars about 35 times a year. No thanks. I don’t care how well Jack can cane one around a racetrack, they still suck. A Camry V6 is a sucky car (compared to what *I* value in a car) that goes faster than the one with the 4.

        I don’t disagree with you entirely. The world HAS caught up with the premium cars to some extent, and there IS less difference between todays 3-series and a Camry than there was between an ’82 528e and an ’82 Buick Century. Ordinary cars have gotten FAR better than they were – there was a loooong way for them to go. How far can BMW really take a car beyond where they are now? Seriously? They could ditch runflat tires, but reality is the latest ones are so good it won’t make THAT much difference in ride and handling. They could go back to hydraulic steering. Spend a few more bucks on the plastics. The cars would be that much MORE expensive than they already are, and they are already no better and no worse than their actual competition. They would also probably be even more expensive. I prefer the way that a BMW drives, even an F30, to a Lexus ES350. Some folks prefer the isolation and quiet of the Lexus. Great! We each can buy what we want! But people need to quit the bitching about BMW not being what they once were, because it doesn’t matter! If you don’t like the product, buy something else. Plenty of other fine choices out there. Just stop WHINING about it.

        As to what was faster than a 528e? I can’t think of much that was European in it’s price range that was slower that didn’t have a diesel under the hood. Saab and Volvo Turbos. Peugeot Turbos and V6s. Mercedes with gas engines. Most Audis. The Pontiac 6000STE even. Nissan Maxima and Toyota Cressida. Probably lots I am forgetting. My Stepfather and then Mother had an ’83 with the oh-so-sporting 3spd automatic from new to just 4-5 years ago. Great car, reliable to the end, but just about as sporting as a Buick Century. Actually, a Pontiac STE would have blown it’s doors off when new (then fallen apart). The thing was a dog of the first order, and with the steering box setup no great thing to steer either. Decent brakes, but again, nothing any other European car didn’t also have. Now my ’86 535i with 5spd was a different animal entirely – THAT car would move out, and it was nowhere near as softly sprung. But then as now, BMW sold sporting and non-sporting cars. It was and is all in what boxes you tick. Some people want a Buick with a BMW badge, some people want a 5dr sports car. Tick the boxes appropriately and BMW will sell you either one.

        I also think what gets forgotten is that OF COURSE the 1-series is the most sporting BMW these days. It really is the descendent of the e30 325i. The current 3-series is the old 5-series. My e-91 is FAR bigger than my e28 was. It absolutely dwarfs it. It’s even a bit bigger and heavier than an e34, and really virtually the same size as an e39. And I would not want it any smaller! If I had wanted a pocket rocket, I would have bought a 128i. No different than the current Civic being the size of an older Accord.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          “Great car, reliable to the end” Now we know whose parents’ 528e was built the Monday after Oktoberfest and whose wasn’t. Our ’82 had over $7,000 in warranty repairs during the six years we had it. Bear in mind that’s *not* adjusted for inflation. And these were legitimate problems that we had, not crazy stuff that a stealership was inventing.

          While I don’t doubt that there were faster cars available–I’d forgotten about the Peugeot 505 Turbo, e.g.–I think you’re confusing some of the 528e’s 1982 competition with faster cars that came later in the decade. The comparable Audi in 1982–and remember, I’m only talking about mid-sizes here–had 130 hp in turbo form and a mighty 103 in non-turbo form.

          A 6000 STE would not have blown a 528e’s doors off; my grandmother had an A-body with the 2.8 V6. You do raise a good point though: for better or for worse, the 528e’s performance metrics would have been in line with the performance variants of the GM A-bodies (STE, Century T-Type, etc.). But the STE didn’t debut until ’83. There were rare Century T-Types and Ciera GT’s later in the decade that had the Buick 231. Now those would absolutely smoke a 528e in a drag race.

          Don’t diss the A-bodies’ reliability. Properly maintained–and that’s a big “if” for an A-body, as they usually ended up being owned by somebody poor and/or careless–they were reliable. I know four people who owned them from new (plus a fifth who owned a 15-year-old survivor), and they had zero issues with them. Now granted, that may’ve been because the X-bodies were the QA cycle for the A-bodies . . . .

          Someone with spare time and money on his hands needs to race this against contemporary BMWs: http://classiccarsofthe1980s.blogspot.com/2012/07/1987-oldsmobile-cutlass-ciera-gt.html

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Why is it only people on the Internet seem to get these European disaster cars? I’ve owned more than three dozen European cars and every one of them has been reliable and easy to deal with. Many more among friends and family. VWs, Peugeots, Volvos, Saabs, BMWs, even my Triumph and Alfa Romeos have been reasonably reliable. My Moms car had plenty spent on it in maintenance over the years, and had a transmission rebuild at around 175K, but it had over 250K on it when sold out of the family, and I still see it around town occasionally 4-5 years on. When was the last time you saw anything from GM from that era? I still see e28s DAILY here in the road salt capital of the world.

            I think you are the one with memory problems. The “eta” was offered in its original form until ’87, and in “Super Eta” form in ’88 with a little more power. They got a 4spd automatic eventually, which helped a bit, but they were never fast cars. A bit better with a stick, but also a lot more frustrating with the diesel-low redline. We had an early 6000STE in the family – it both would have blown the doors off that BMW, AND it fell apart in short order. Utter crap. Same with every ’80s and ’90s GM vehicle anyone in my family ever bought. Can’t say on anything newer as no one has bought one since.

            IMHO, the eta engined BMW was the ultimate form of the poseur mobile that people complain about. It had the badge with no performance at all. The 2.0T may not sound special but at least it is fast! The 528e was a nice car, and well-built, but it was no performance car in any way shape or form.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I recently bought a low mileage CPO 335d and I must say it is an amazing car. Running her 70 mile per day commute my wife is averaging 32 mpg, and that includes pulling a long 7% grade coming home. When I play with it, the car will effortlessly pull 0-60 in a little over 5 sec and when passing will go 70-120 so fast its shocking. As far as handling goes its like a heavier (3800 lb) M car. There really is something to be said for having 425 lb ft available from 1750 rpm.

    • 0 avatar
      graham

      Yes, they are amazing, until BMW’s first attempt at urea-injection emissions controls rears it’s ugly head. If you keep it past the CPO warranty you’ll be asking for trouble. I enjoyed my 335d when it was working correctly, but definitely not a “keeper” for me.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        From what Ive read from other d owners,the urea injection is is for the most part reliable, and easy to refill yourself. The DPF has been know to have issues and the EGR system tends to leave a buildup in the intake manifold (like on most modern cars). Once the 100K warranty is up I may have a diesel car performance specialist remove all three and install the chip that makes the computer think they are still operating. After that crazy levels of reliable power are easily achieved.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I’ve never liked Audis as I’ve always classified them as front drive, small displacement turbo-boosted cars. A 2 liter engine in a car the size of an A5 seems wrong to me.

    I’ve owned:

    1996 328is 5 speed, purchased in 1997
    2003 Z4 2.5i 5 speed, leased new for 3 years
    2006 330i sport premium auto, purchased new
    2000 Z3 2.5 5 speed, purchased in 2007
    2003 M3 convertible 6 speed, purchased in 2010
    2007 X5 4.8i (still have it) purchased in 2013
    2001 M roadster 5 speed (still have it) purchased in 2013

    Random thoughts:

    BMWs have gotten worse over recent years. First Chris Bangle messed up the styling–I bought my Z4 in spite of the styling, not because of it.

    Then they ruined the steering. The older cars have telepathic steering; you can always tell in the wheel when the car is drifting off line; no so in the Z4 and the 330i.

    The run flats suck–I was stranded for several hours on a road trip because no dealers in the medium sized town I was in stocked the correct tires for the 330i, which also rode like the Flintstone-mobile on its run flats. I bought the sports package for the seats, but had to accept the low profile tires as part of the package.

    Now they’re moving to turbo-boosted engines, and the styling continues to go down hill on recent models. I love my M Roadster and the X5, but I doubt I would buy a newer BMW.

    (BTW, all my BMWs have been bullet proof in terms of reliability, however I’ve never had more than 80K miles on any of them before moving on to something else.)

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      E46M3_333 – - -

      Well said. Good perspectives. My two (2006 and 2007 have been “bullet-proof” as well.

      From comments made by others in the Club here, the Turbo-4′s may give comparable HP, but the exhaust sound is weak, the top-end rev’s don’t have the “uummph”, and the mileage benefit is not that great. And the “start/stop” feature is a bummer: their cars shudder starting up from red lights. Boy, I’ll bet they can’t wait for turbo repairs to start rolling in at about 100K miles. How much will that goody cost?

      —————-

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Why do you think that turbos have to fail? I have owned numerous turbocharged, Saabs, Volvos, VWs, and Peugeots, and a FIAT, and I have never, ever had a turbo related issue. And other than a new VW TDI, all were bought WELL used. They are, in my experience, very nearly life of the car parts. I did have an ’85 Saab 900T that was on its second turbo when I bought it, but that was one of the old non-watercooled ones, and it STILL went 175,000 miles. Closest thing you will ever get to a free lunch under the hood of a car. Power when you need it, economy when you don’t. Use it and lose the economy of course, there is NO such thing as a free lunch.

        Ultimately, I have no doubt that BMW would LOVE to keep selling the n/a inline sixes. If nothing else, they are probably cheaper to make. But CAFE in the US and C02 regs in Europe make it impossible. So please direct your anger at our elected officials, not the automakers. Personally, as a long-time serial Saab turbo owner as well as BMW owner, I like them both. Different means to similar ends. The BMW six sounds far better and is smoother, but the Saab turbo had FAR more torque and got better gas mileage in a same size car. And if you have folks that aren’t seeing a significant economy increase out of the 2.0T, then they have mighty heavy feet. I like the start/stop concept and would probably leave it enabled, but BMW is nice enough to make it possible to default it to off. Don’t like it, have it set to off. Problem solved.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    I can’t buy a BMW because of the lack of a spare.
    Run flats are a great safety feature. They are not a replacement for a spare tire. And I won’t put a spare in my trunk when smaller BMWs in the 90′s had them.

    As for BMW handling. Its good. But given I typically “out-corner” most BMW’s in my 2dr Wrangler, I don’t think most people are buying them for their handling traits.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      See 7 up – - –

      ”….I don’t think most people are buying them for their handling traits.”

      Yeah. I’m afraid that most people nowadays buy them because the hood has “B M W” on it in a cute little blue-and-white circle. That trade-marque alone is worth about $27B, according to my last information.

      But, no, unless your Wrangler (which I also admire) can pull more than 1.0 g’s on a skidpad, you will not be out-cornering my Z4.

      ——————

      • 0 avatar

        You, I like you.

        My sister has a 3 series convertible, she bought it because it says BMW, that I’ve driven harder and faster than she has.

        Heck, I was driving it after she got it and was ribbing me that I was poking along at the speed limit, she was wondering why I wasn’t driving it any harder, so the road opened up, I punched it up to about 130 and asked her if it was fast enough, she got the scared look on her face that I’ve seen a few times when she’s way out of her depth, and slowed back down to the speed limit. Since then she’s never bothered me about my mostly sedate driving style in town. She finds my choice in automobiles rather amusing that she’s got a ’11 hardtop convertible, and I’ve got a 77 Chevy Malibu Classic sedan. I find the 77 to be more engaging and fun to drive that big ole boat more briskly and in an unseemly manner befitting a 4 door on whitewalls and full wheelcovers, at lower speeds than her car. I mean the old Chevy’s got slow steering, brakes that while good, offer no feel whatsoever, good cornering power, but no straightline power, and to get it over 70mph takes some conscious effort.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        To clarify, I can’t out corner a BMW in my Wrangler, but I can out corner many drivers that are in BMWs in my Wrangler.

        I remember reading a study that tested normal drivers. On average, most people would not push themselves past 0.2-0.3 g’s in a turn and were very reluctant to pass 0.5 g’s in an evasive maneuver. I may be wrong, but I do not think your average BMW driver is an outlier, especially given the recent fact that majority surveyed didn’t even know their cars were RWD.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I have said many times, the average American cannot find full throttle with a GPS. Why would you think the average BMW buyer is any different? To most people, they are just nice cars. Just like a MB is a nice car, a Lexus is a nice car, etc.

          The difference is that there is a core group of BMW drivers who know and appreciate what they are driving. That core is larger than the number of enthusiastic Camry drivers, but it is by no means a majority. I’m just heading out to my monthly local BMWCCA meeting – how many people are in the Camry Owner’s of America Club?? And I can assure you, this is an enthusiastic bunch indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            RE: Average American driver…

            Especially when merging onto a freeway!!!

            (50mph into 65+mph traffic behind the average oblivion. *** I’m *** the one who’s gonna get slammed into next week by the oncoming soccer mom in her SUV monstrosity while we’re both trying to get to work! Not you! Unfortunately!

            Nine days out of ten, I use my ** hazards, ** instead of the turn signal, to merge, just for this reason, hoping that the extra lights will attract a little more attention from aforementioned mouth-breeder!)

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          See 7 up and krhodes1 – - -

          I think this whole concept of an “average” BMW driver is getting about as complicated as defining an “average” American. When you have a product line as diverse as BMW now has, all sorts of folks are attracted to buy them.

          In earlier times you could almost depend with 90% certainty that a person who had an E30 or E46 knew how to drive it, and do so at or near limits. Then came M-cars to be the enthusiasts charm, and those guys were the limit drivers. Then the Z sports cars arose to continue the trend via Z3 and early Z4′s.

          But now look at what is happening: M’s are growing 4 doors; M-Performance is being sprinkled on all cars like holy water; we even have the oxymoronic X6M; and Z’s can’t even offer a manual transmission! So where do we find the real BMW enthusiast in this new mix of things?

          Probably over at Porsche buying the Cayman S…..(^_^)…

          ————-

          P.S. to See 7 up – - -
          “….the recent fact that majority surveyed didn’t even know their cars were RWD.”
          You were quoting Norbert Reithofer’s speech in Germany last year, in which he summarized a survey that found 80% of German (!) drivers did not know that their BMW cars were RWD.

          ————-

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            BMWs being bought primarily by enthusiasts has not been true since the days of the 2002. And even then, I am sure plenty of them were bought because they were “cute”. The e30 and e46 were both standard yuppie accessories whether the driver knew what the car could do or not.

            As I keep saying, it has all been the same for 40 years now… Same whining, just the Interwebs give a wider forum.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve surprised a few BMW hotshoes in my decidedly not-friendly-to turns ’95 Explorer on winding roads, Even my ancient Chevelle has been known to hang with a 3 series on winding courses, its general lack of power was the only thing holding it back.

      It’s easy to tell when you got a driver that absolutely knows and trusts their vehicle that they will almost always be the faster driver than someone who rarely explores the limits.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Those BMW drivers either didn’t know you were there or didn’t care. I assure you that any attempt to keep up with ME on a windy road in an SUV less capable than a Cayenne is going to result in an off-road excursion of the unintended kind. And I am no Jack Baruth! :-)

        The overwhelming majority of people have been buying BMWs for the badge since the days of the ’77 320i and The Preppy Handbook. Doesn’t mean they don’t make some great to drive cars. How many Corvettes do you see being driven in anger vs. Corvettes being driven (slowly) by Grampa and Grammy in their Korean War Veteran hats and wraparound the eyeglasses foggie shades?

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I’ve been surprised by a water truck in my Boxster S. I pulled away, but still he was surprisingly fast. Granted I didn’t know the road and he apparently did very well. Not that I condoned his driving style. He really really hugged inside blind corners. Any cyclist that showed up in front of his truck would toast, or he would crash given he had no room for error as I assumed he was at 10/10ths.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    A last note for me. All the professional pundits are now starting to say that the best BMWs are the 1 Series cars. These BMWs make a lot more sense as a driver’s car and remind me of my first, and ’85 325 coupe which was a damn good car in its day. And there is no dispute re sales of the 3 series, but like Porsche today, the really big sellers in the US aside from the 3s are the X3, X5 suvs which will never see an autox, track day or muddy off-roads. I’m just so weary of the wonderfulness that is BMW.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    R&T has an interesting comparison of the E90 vs. F30 model 3-Series. Conclusion is that the E90 is the better car and that the competition is now closer to the F30 than it was before the new model.

    As it is, the F30 is the car BMW is now selling. I’m interested in looking at it and the A4 as my next purchase sometime next summer.

    Don’t cry for Audi in the sales race. The new A4 is about to debut along with a new A3 in sedan form. Probably a Q3 to follow as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      I do like all the German cars – but I’d think twice before buying a mexican built VW. Ingolsladt, Munich, sindgefeldon (sp?) all seem to build better cars then the Mexicans. Some mexican factories are supposed to be pretty good – but the ones Ford and VW aren’t.

      The gripe with BMW of late is some shoddy cost cutting engineering..but seems they have been able to overcome this problem. I always think about the engineering, quality control of parts, and assembly as seperate issues.

      It really does matter where your car is made I think – too many people lump all car makers stuff together. But I’d buy one of the Canada Challengers in a second and wouldn’t touch a Mexican VW or Ford..

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        Not true regarding the mexican vw plant. We have a 08 Rabbit made in wolfburg and a 12 JSW tdi made in Mexico, and much to my surprise the JSW is screwed together tighter than the Rabbit ever was.


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