By on April 23, 2014

photo (22)

3-Series. 3-Series GT. 3-Series Touring. 4-Series. 4-Series Gran Coupe. X3. X4. Not too long ago, it was simple to decipher BMW’s model lineup and nomenclature. One sausage, many lengths. These days, you need the Rosetta Stone for niche variants to figure out what’s what. But I did have a brief moment of clarity on the floor of the New York Auto Show.

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It turns out, the 4GC is really just a 5-door hatchback/liftback, like the old Plymouth Horizon (or Sundance, as shown above) or the Skoda Octavia. It’s a very practical bodystyle, but hatchback is a dirty word to American car buyers, so it needs to be dressed up in what Paul Fussel would call “BAD” language.

 

 

 

 

 

photo (21)

I still don’t understand how the 3-Series GT, 4-Series Gran Coupe and X4 aren’t entirely redundant, to say nothing of the 3-Series Touring aka station wagon. Even with the insatiable quest for volume, they are all basically the same thing, just riding a little higher and gaining a little height, right?

Then again, the 3-GT (above – ignore the F-Type) is just…the same thing. But dressed up as…a pseudo-crossover hatchback thing…? So, tell me again BMW fans, what’s the difference between a 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and a 428i Gran Coupe xDrive? Oh hell, I give up.

 

 

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99 Comments on “New York 2014: Outtakes Part 2 – Expand Your Horizons...”


  • avatar

    Everyone at NYAS I observed was most attracted to the M-vehicles , and the i8. Everything else was boring.

  • avatar

    Hi Derek, 3GT has regular rear bench seat which means it’ll sit 3 adults vs. 4GC’s 2 rear passengers.

    Also, 3GT is based on Chinese’s LWB chassis and it is the roomiest 3 series. A very nice grocer and kids hauler.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    The 3GT is the taller, but still a car version. The 4GT is the long, low, and swoopy version. The X4 is the “coupe” CUV version. And of course the X3 is the traditional CUV version.

    I don’t disagree that they are kinda/sorta redundant, but on the other hand, I would never, ever contemplate buying a 3GT or an X4, but I WOULD buy a 4GT. I HATE jacked up cars, they don’t ride OR handle properly compared to a lower car. Physics, you know. But I insist on a 3rd or 5th door in anything that is a daily driver for me. I prefer the traditional station wagon form factor, but I will settle for a hatchback. Either is infinitely more useful than a sedan. have been sedans.

    So obviously there is a business case for all these variations for BMW. After all, this is not historically unusual at all. There was a time when most lines came in coupe, sedan, maybe pillarless sedan, convertible, wagon, and even faux pickup truck versions. The only difference is BMW has different names for them all.

    • 0 avatar

      FYI, it is 4GC at the moment not 4GT. I’m sure most readers are already confused by current nomenclature.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Yeah, yeah, it was a typo. I don’t find it particularly confusing – try remembering which Lincoln or Acura is which. The BMW names DO mean something.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Like X1 28i xdrive? Who’s kidding who?

          • 0 avatar

            Seriously, it means the smallest SUV/CUV (X) with 4 pots (28i) & AWD (xDrive). LOL.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            When the X5 came out, the X referred to its AWD, a system previously offered on the 325iX. When some of their cars started wearing 28i badges, it signified that the engine was a 2.8 liter. Now it means 2 liter. Engine deflation? Badge inflation? BS? Throwing xdrive on an X anything just shows that they want to test their buyers’ limits for self-flagellation.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            No, the _28 nomenclature was a detuned 3L engine. As Jack described, naming conventions have never been particularly consistent and always put marketing above accuracy. By and large it’s easy enough to understand what any current BMW is, especially relative to other current BMWs. The only model where I do think they screwed the pooch is the 2 Active Tourer, which is on a completely different platform than the 2 series and is FWD. Otherwise the rest all make perfect sense.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The first US 28i BMW was the 1980 528i, with a 2.8 liter injected I6. The next 28i BMWs were the 1996 328i and 528i. They had 2.8 liter injected I6s. Using the suffix to denote different engines came later, like BMW building cars solely for status buyers instead of enthusiasts. Sure, there were examples where they made engine displacement changes or used numbers like brands instead of model descriptors, but sticking 28i badges on a car that should have been a 30i or a 20t isn’t something they’d have done when they built great cars.

          • 0 avatar

            CJ, the problem is BMW has 320i which is also powered by 2.0L 4 pots. They are reserving _28i for high output 4 banger which used to be powered by NA I-6. As I’ve mentioned most readers are confused by current nomenclature.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/avoidable-contact-an-immodest-proposal-to-solve-the-german-nomenclatural-nincompoopery/

            Except for the 320 which had a 1.8L back during BMW’s glory days. Numbering is about marketing first, relative positioning second, and accuracy a distant third.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The E21 320i launched with a 2 liter engine. The European market 320 switched to a 2 liter I6 and production of the 2 liter M10 4 cylinder ended in 1979. BMW had lots invested in establishing the 320i in the U.S. so they kept the name when the engine shrank. They rectified it when they launched the E30.

          • 0 avatar
            Chris FOM

            Except for the 325e, which had a 2.7 L engine. You can find at least one car in every generation of the 3 series where the engine displacement was at least 0.2 L off the model number. They were certainly more consistent in the past, but nevertheless consistency still remained secondary to marketing. And with the switch to turbochargers the numbers become even more meaningless. The current N20 2L _28 cars have an engine that makes more torque and more power across a broader rev range with far greater area under the curve than the previous N52 3L _28 they replaced. For marketing reasons the desire to keep the _28 badging as opposed to _20 makes perfect sense. Turbo and NA engines simply play by different rules.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            @Chris FOM: “No, the _28 nomenclature was a detuned 3L engine.”

            Maybe in America, maybe recently elsewhere too.

            But yes, originally it meant a 2.8 litre engine: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_E23#Motorendaten_bis_1979

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            It all started in 1980 when BMW called a turbocharged version of the e23 745i, despite the fact it only had a 3.2l engine.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            @Vega: Heh, you got that edited in time, it appears — I was just going to nit-pick that from 3.5 to 3.2 for you.

            You can take solace in the fact that apparently, they raised that from 3.2 to 3.4 from 1983: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_E23#Motorendaten_ab_1979

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Both of the former brands should just admit their model names are decided on during drunken Scrabble games.

    • 0 avatar
      b787

      Same here, 4GC is the only one worth buying. Actually its probably the best bimmer you can buy, so lumping it together with a SUV-with-an-identity-crisis-X4 is downright insulting.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris FOM

      I agree entirely. The nomenclature really isn’t all that hard to figure out once you move beyond the fact that coupe/sedan isn’t shorthand for the number of doors. The modular architectures make these variations both simple to produce and frequently wildly profitable, so you have significant gains for minimal opportunity cost. And honestly it’s nice to have a few extra ways to differentiate. If I’m paying BMW money, it’s nice to feel like I can have something that gives the impression of being more tailored to my personal desires. When I bought my 335 18 months ago the single biggest point against it is that a BMW sedan is what I was “supposed” to want (young doctor, fresh out of residency). It felt somewhat generic, like all the other BMW sedans on the road. That it was a 335 instead of a 328 made it a bit more distinctive, especially to me, as did the sport package, but it was still ultimately a black BMW sedan (bought CPO, so color choices were… minimal). If it had been available I’d have gladly forked out just a bit more money for a Gran Coupe to inject a bit more personality into things.

  • avatar
    salhany

    Just bring the Octavia to these shores and all will be forgiven.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    While not the biggest Bimmer fan, the X4 in NY seemed to me an attractive size compared the the bombastic X6 or obese GT. My guess is BMW will do well with it and the new 2.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Yup.

    I, too, miss the bygone days of yesteryear where you could have a 3-Series, a 5-Series, or a 7-Series.

    Keep the X5 in the mix, too. Why the hell not.

    All the rest of those models are unncessary and ludicrous. Really.

    So pardon my no holds barred subjectivism, but half of them look like sh*t.

    Try trimmin’ the fat there, Bimmer.

    You see?! Everyone really does benefit from an exercise regimen!

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      You still can have a plain old 3, 5 or 7.

      Personally, of all the body styles, I am most drawn to the gran coupes (which are essentially what the sedans should have been) and the X-even numbered CUVs. I don’t think the “confusion” (read: choice) in their lineup is as bad as the fact that they don’t have a real sports car… but rumors say that is coming.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Not only is BMW nomenclature confusing but when the fanboys start using the internal codes like E93 or what ever, I just glaze over. Oh well I can’t afford one anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      It’s easier to use internal codes to identify a body style. For example, it is a lot easier to say E92 than ’08 328i coupe. It isn’t fanboism, there is a practical region for the shorthand.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        ” It isn’t fanboism, there is a practical region for the shorthand.”

        And that region is populated only by people fascinated with BMWs. Seriously, I’ve been a car nut since 1957 and never learned BMW chassis codes. Nor Mercedes chassis codes. Why in hell would I want to?

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          So you know what car is being talked about. There is a huge difference between a 1983 Mercedes 230E (W123) and a 1986 Mercedes 230E (W124).

        • 0 avatar
          CRConrad

          Why would anyone want to know all this “Panther” and “K-car” and “J-body” shit, then — or does this “Why in hell would I want to?” only apply to non-American cars?

          • 0 avatar
            fredtal

            Personally I don’t know what a J-body is, but I do know the difference between an Audi 8P and 8V, Austin Healey BN6 and BJ8.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            J-body is a small car platform developed by GM introduced for MY82 and ran through MY05.

            North American models

            1982–1988 Cadillac Cimarron
            1982–1988 Oldsmobile Firenza
            1982–1989 Buick Skyhawk
            1982–2005 Chevrolet Cavalier
            1982 Pontiac J2000
            1983 Pontiac 2000
            1984 Pontiac 2000 Sunbird
            1985–1994 Pontiac Sunbird
            1995–2005 Pontiac Sunfire

            International models

            1982–1988 Opel Ascona C (Europe and South Africa)
            1982–1988 Vauxhall Cavalier Mk II (United Kingdom)
            1983–1989 Isuzu Aska (Japan) (originally called Florian Aska)
            1982–1989 Holden Camira (Australia and New Zealand)
            1982–1996 Chevrolet Monza (Brazil)
            1995–2000 Toyota Cavalier (Japan)
            1990–1997 Daewoo Espero (South Korea)

            “Approximately 10,150,000 GM J platform cars were sold across eleven marques on six continents from 1982 through 1997, not counting Daewoo Espero sales.[5][6][7][8] Consequently it is the fifth best selling automobile platform in history.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_J_platform

            @CRConrad

            Demonstrated ignorance notwithstanding, many commentators will never have exposure to Austin Healys and the like whereas they do with generic domestic platforms which could impact them. I personally have only seen one AH in person outside of car shows, ever, and couldn’t tell you anything about their models.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            @28CL: Sorry if I misled you to believe I care one whit more than that other grumpy old man does about E39s and W221s.

            But yeah, I was of course hoist on my own petard there, citing one series that actually was (at least partly) European. (Maybe it came to mind because I used to know that, once upon a long ago?)

            But anyway, to get my point, just substitute G- or Y- or E-body (or W-hatever…) for my “J-body”.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          “region” is a typo; I’m sure you figured it should be “reason,” which is what I meant.

          I don’t think it’s limited to those fascinated by BMWs. Most popular parts catalogs and retailers use the BMW chassis codes. If you need to search the forums to address a problem, you are going to run into the chassis codes. If you own an out-of-warranty BMW, you are going to learn the chassis code for at least your model. I assume the same is true for Benz and other brands were internal designations become common in public usage. It isn’t fanboism or some weird fascination, it’s just the most efficient means of identifying the car being discussed.

          I do understand someone who doesn’t own a certain brand and isn’t interested in that brand not knowing chassis codes or other formerly internal designations. I don’t know the Benz codes well, or Toyota engine codes, Honda engine codes, or the exact model years for NA/NB/NC Miatas. I don’t own them and there is only so much space in my head for trivia. I get it. That said, if someone is interested in a discussion where those designations are used, take the two seconds for a google search rather than crying about fanboys because you aren’t familiar with the topic.

  • avatar
    xantia10000

    BMW couldn’t let Audi A5 Sportback steal all the fastback sales so they made the 4 GC. I think it’s a perfect combination of driving fun, good looks, and practicality. Just like that Sundance ha ha ha.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Twenty years from now, they will be back to 3, 5, 7 because, by then, a manual E39 M5 with will be THE classic BMW ageing hipsters will lust for.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I like the 4GC of all of them.

    Hey, how about a visual of all these 3/4 series models?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I think it is just an indication of the expertise the BMW engineers have developed in using modular architecture to develop new models very inexpensively. Thus the business case does not require high volume to make a profit, and every market niche can find just the right model to satisfy their needs and individuality. Individuality also has become more important because at current sales volume, if all they made was the basic 3, 5, and 7 series of old they would be seen as more common than most Chevrolet and lose some prestige. As some point, however, it is probably going to get too confusing to customers and marketing dis-economies of scale will hit them.

  • avatar
    godomatic

    Ignore the F-type?! I don’t even see the BMW in that pic.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Ahhhhh yes . The current Automotive [ and especially BMW\'s ] Numbers n’ Letters game

    Where now the 1 .. is a 2 [ unless its a MINI based FWD BMW and then its a 1 ] … a 3 becomes a 4 [ unless having an i before it in which case its an EV ] .. the 5 [ so far ] remaining constant .. unless of course its a 6 . The 7 no longer knowing what in the hell it is . The X moniker before any number slowly losing all meaning . The 8 having gone god knows where [ unless having an i before it which in this case denotes a Hybrid ] And a 9 appearing out of nowhere for no good reason what so ever . Oh but at least a Z is still a Z . Fingers crossed .

    The only company playing an even more confusing game being Infiniti with their ” Now everything is a Q ” alphabet soup

    Confusing ? Hell … they passed confusing the minute they called a 3 a 4 .

    Somehow methinks the wingnuts playing these Numbers/Alphabet Soup games are ignoring the fact that its mainly the over 50 crowd buying their cars and mainly the over 50 crowd they’ll be confusing the holy hell out of .

    Well …. them and the 20-30 something crowd too involved with their SmartPhone/Pads/Twitter/FaceBook etc to be paying attention to any of this .

    Fact is . The decision makers creating this mess are confusing the hell out of everyone that doesn’t have the most up to date and current scorecard on hand

    Automotive Insanity personified

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      I’d like to buy a vowel.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Yet you gtrslngr save them with your leadership and wisdom

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Your complaining would be more valid if you knew what you were talking about. Your the master of the unfounded, sounds-good-on-the-surface, ‘amiriteguys?’ kind of empty comment.

      The current 1 series is not Mini-based or FWD. The 7 series is still the flagship sedan it has always been. The 6 series has been around since the late 70s

      I don’t know what is so difficult to understand about it. The less utilitarian, more elegant versions based on the 1 series are called 2, based on the 3 series are called 4, and based on the 5 series are called 6. Same thing in the X line: X4 vs. X3, X6 vs. X5. The only deviation from that matrix admittedly is the 2 series minivan (or ‘active tourer’).

      And if automotive insanity means that BMW is selling more high-priced cars than ever, then your definition of insanity is clearly the way to lead a successful car brand.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        @Vega: “The only deviation from that matrix admittedly is the 2 series minivan (or ‘active tourer’).”

        You could fit even the 2-series minivan / “active tourer” into the nomenclature if in stead of “less utilitarian, more elegant versions” you went with something like “not standard-sedan or standard-SUV body style”.

        (Or, hey, let’s just define the minivan as “more elegant”! :-) Honestly, I must belong to the “granola brigade”, according to some commenter here, because I often find the tall-roof versions of hatchbacks better-looking than the original lower ones. Case in point, I definitely prefer the Golf Plus over the just-Golf, and perhaps the C-Max over the Focus hatchback.)

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          Interesting, though I’m not sure the 3GT and 5GT would fit a “standard-sedan, wagon (my addition) and SUV body style” category…

          And really, Golf Plus over standard Golf? That’s some mighty special taste there…;)

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            Duh, I plain forgot that the GTs wear 3/5 designations. It seems I’d finally managed to suppress all memory of the hideous 5GT (thanks for reminding me — not!), and the 4GC kind of proved the point of those who argue that there are too many variants: Being exactly the same thing as the 3GT, a five-door hatchback based on the 3 — only much uglier — it replaced it in my memory. (Seriously, that pair really does seem to indicate the tiniest bit of actual genuine redundancy.)

            So, OK, no, that won’t work then.

            And yeah, in the previous generation I definitely preferred the Focus C-Max (as it was called then) over the hatchback… Whaddayamean, “mighty special taste”?!? I’m perfectly normal; it’s just that the rest of the world is crazy!

          • 0 avatar
            Vega

            I’m with you on the C-Max. The Golf Plus however *shudder*…

  • avatar
    jbreuckm

    The F type is the only interesting car that appears in this article.

  • avatar
    vvk

    > tell me again BMW fans, what’s the difference between a 328i xDrive Gran Turismo and a 428i Gran Coupe xDrive?

    Derek, I am assuming you really do not know.

    Gran Turismo is based on Chinese market long-wheelbase 3-series, so it has much more leg room for rear passengers. Gran Coupe is the five door hatch version of the regular (short) wheelbase 3er. Any styling differences between them are secondary.

    Personally, I like having choices. I see nothing wrong with this.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Choices are all well and good and fine . The problem being when those choices are labeled so confusingly as to stymy even the most ardent of fans/pendants/pundits etc .

      Which to be blunt about it is all BMW [ and Infiniti ] is accomplishing with this current very misguided Name Game strategy

      Confusing the living hell out of everybody !

      • 0 avatar
        fredtal

        And by everyone it includes the salesmen. In a 2013 brochure the 3 series wagon was called the Touring. At the 2014 show it was called a Sport Wagon. When I went to the dealer they showed me a SUV since they didn’t have any in stock.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    If other manufacturers follow VW’s highly-publicized modular assembly strategy, we should expect to see an increase in the wild number of slightly different variants within a single product line. I don’t see this as a bad thing. Why not have the ability to extend your brand name to more of the market?

    For enthusiasts, this could be a good thing. Think about how many cool cars were cancelled or otherwise stillborn because it was too expensive to tool-up for.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      ….. because as Subaru is showing the rest of the automotive world so well : Specialization and Niche marketing defines a brand and leads to profit and success : whereas the attempt to be Everything to Everybody as GM has so well shown ultimately leads to the brand becoming a watered down shell of its former self . Not to mention profits falling to the wayside

      e.g. ; ” A jack of all trades yet the master of none ”

      That … added to the fact that with the Worlds overall [ especially including China ] economy heading in the very obvious direction that it is [ downward ] .. along with the fact that every expert in the field who’s opinions are worth a damn saying the automotive market place will reach its peak by 2018 , then heading into a rapid decline from that point forward ……..

      e.g. ; Becoming a Lean – Mean – Focused and Specialized Manufacturing Machine is the key to survival over the next decade or two

      You’ll see ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      This won’t help because you can’t make a cool car by refactoring uncool cars. A cool car has a purposeful design through and through.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        + 1 …. and …Jeeze ! Three today who ” Get It ”

        Damn ! At this rate I might just have to put my cynicism aside for a moment and become a downright optimist when it comes to my fellow posters .

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Hey ! I just realized what BMWs problem is with this current misguided Name Game strategy of theirs

    They haven’t figured out ” I’m My Own GrandPa ” is a novelty song . Taking the lines…..

    ” Cause my Sister is My Mother
    And My Father is My Brother
    And I’m My Own GrandPa ”

    ……. seriously thinking that a strategy to better reach the US market

    Scary thing in light of the current situation we’re in ? They might just be right .

  • avatar
    cartoon

    @gtrslngr:

    Are you about 18? If so, please find another sandbox.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      @ Cartoon – Oh look . Yet again another little pretentious * bundle of Zeros and Ones attempting in vain* to be ever so cute and critical : albeit* more than a bit hypocritical * in light of its chosen moniker*

      But sorry to disappoint junior . Older than you no doubt [ what so every ]

      Old enough in fact to appreciate that a bit of humor and levity * in and amongst a somewhat ( though not really ) serious conversation is in fact a desirable * personality * trait * . Humor being a sign of both maturity* as well as creativity* and adaptability*

      But you not being any of the above nor * having any of those highly prized traits * wouldn’t know that now … would you my fine little bundle of ever so pretentious * Zeros and Ones .

      * Apologies for exceeding the limits of your vocabulary .

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      @cartoon

      By the way Toon Boy . Do you even have a clue who’s photo that is I’m using as my Avatar ?

      Here’s a hint . If you’re over the age of 50 – been following the automotive industry [ as well as M/C and Audiophile ] Worldwide since the late 60’s – Have a real appreciation for both genuine , forthright and literary automotive writing – Not to mention bold and blunt critique .

      You’d know exactly who this photo is of and have a damn good idea just how old I most likely am

      • 0 avatar
        The Heisenberg Cartel

        Too old to be this addicted to arguing on the internet. Maybe some fresh air would do ya good.

      • 0 avatar
        thefool

        Is it George Washington crossing the Delaware? Is it the Beatles? Is it Godzilla? Katy Perry? Okay I got it, it’s Rasputin.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        Yeah, but LJK Setright also went grumpy and senile and irrelevant towards the end.

        Perhaps you’re using his pic as fair warning to the rest of us? If so, thank you!

        But it seems more probably you just haven’t realised this is a warning you ought perhaps to heed yourself.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    On another topic, does anyone else experience a bit of nausea upon encountering that miserable marketing phrase “The First Ever “?

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    It’s the same damn car with 6 body styles. Nothing wrong with that, and who cares what the name is? If I were in the market to buy new than a 4GC would be replacing my E46. Then a 3GT after the second kid comes along, since the length makes it so I could have two car seats, two dogs in the footwells in back, two adults up front and a good bit of luggage in the trunk.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I can think of at least one very significant point that none of the blogosphere seems to have mentioned, yet, about the NYIAS. For those of you who have never attended, one of the aspects of this show that’s quite fascinating is that in years past, all the GM products are separated from the rest of the show in the north wing of the convention center.

    So you, the potential car buyer (let’s not forget…this show is about nine days of selling cars, and two days of “press previews,”) enter this room from the top of the stairs and BEHOLD! … it’s GM in all it’s glory.

    Except this year was different. They put Cadillac products in the same big room as the premium European brands.

    But back in GM’s world, they had multiple new Corvettes to lure people in, and Chevrolet’s Spark and Sonic were basically hidden in the back. And given that Chevy has no problems selling the Cruze, they brought one, only one. And Buick? It was way up front in the GM pavilion. You had to get past Buick and GMC (higher margin products than Chevy) to see the Vettes.

    What I pointed out to my son was that Buick is trying really, really hard to appeal to someone other than old people. So he made note of the old people sitting in the Lacrosse, Regal, etc. and then we went back to find the penalty box that Mrs. Panhard had recently rented. … the Sonic. Five minutes later, we went back through Buickland and saw that all the old people, same ones, were STILL sitting in the Buicks.

    The other thing I noticed, and maybe it was just because it was “Monday,” it seemed that the fanboys were out in full force. You could barely get close enough to see the new Mustangs. The VW stand was equally crowded and you’d almost think they were celebrating “50 Years of the Guigaro Design-inspired Golf.”

    Meanwhile, over in Kia land, you’d have sworn, SWORN I say, that they’d sprayed Acme Customer Repellant all over the place. Nobody was there, except for a few middle-aged folks getting in and out of the Souls.

    The enthusiasm displayed for the VW products is not reflective in sales, nor is the lack of enthusiasm displayed for Kia indicative of sales.

    So here’s the perspective from this bald fat guy. Next time you go to one of these, don’t look at the cars. Watch the people. You might actually learn something!

    • 0 avatar

      Not to be pretentious, but I know all about the cars before I go to the local show (granted the local show is Tampa, so its just like going to a franchise version of CARMAX) and because the local show is so tepid with last year’s concepts and no debuts whatsoever (I think save Suzuki’s Reno back in the day), I go to crowd watch.

      Plus, I see the same stuff at Manheim Ocoee two weeks later…where I can actually BUY one.

  • avatar
    cartoon

    @gtrslngr:

    Obviously, I’ve hit a sensitive nerve. Please save the cutesy, curtsey remarks…you are very boring and a distraction to otherwise reasonably commentary.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    Does anyone remember when you could get 6 different bodystyles on the Toyota Corolla? 2 door sedan, 4 door sedan, 3 door hatchback, 3 door liftback, 2 door coupe, 5 door wagon, and, then 3 bodystyles of Corolla Tercels to make a total of 9? I thought that was cool. And I think its great that BMW is filling the niches. Vancouver is crawling with 3 series and now 4 series sedans. People want BMWs, but everyone seems to have a 3 series sedan. With the proliferation of bodystyles, one can still be part of the BMW owner experience and stand out from the crowd, to some degree. I like the 3 series GT. I like the utility of a 5th door, but not feeling it for wagons, so the 3 series GT would be awesome. Finding a bigger 5 door hatchback is hard – I long for a Saab 9000, or a Mazda 626 GT Touring. And Audi denies us that great A5 Sportback. Hopefully they will bring that tasty treat over. The new Mazda3 Sport would be grand fun.
    Kudos to BMW for offering choice!

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I was unaware of this Fussell (note: two l’s) book. Must read.

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Don’t know what the fuss is all about. So…

    1) BMW is giving us all a lot of options. Which is great and far better than when they had three sizes of the same bratwurst, with some brown mustard on the side (M) and a roadster nobody wanted;

    2) Naming BMWs is no precise science. Yes I liked better when 540i meant a 5 Series with a 4.0 V8 in it, but BMW does not care about me or about the average gearhead. Should they? They’d have to pump out only stick-equipped, diesel-powered brown wagons, and then face a pride-ridden Chapter 11 into history;

    3) We can’t tell similar cars apart. Maybe that’s our fault and we all suck at being gearheads after all.

  • avatar
    bd2

    While 7 body styles for one platform may be a bit much, really doesn’t cost BMW that much to develop them as most of the cost is sunk in the platform and powertrains.

    If BMW finds that it is financially worthy to do 7 body-styles, don’t see why more choice would be a problem.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I kind of like the Gran Coupe… that one could see me (or my wife) in a BMW. Lease it only of course, but still.

    And I’d debadge it to really drive people crazy LOL

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    The German automakers (with the exception of VW) are all about buying status.

    There is no semblance of practicality in any of their cars.

    What I’ve never understood is why there are so many weird variants.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ60LandCruiser

      I’d rather have a FEW well-executed models than DOZNES of half-assed platform sharing crossovers, wagonoids, and 4 cylinder sedans because there’s some unexploited niche in the market.

  • avatar

    This must be first world problems. Since when we are complaining about too many choices?

  • avatar
    wmba

    ****Newsflash****

    This just in:

    Local BMW dealer principal goes apesh!t at City Council meeting when his application for 4 more acres of land behind his $5 million building is turned down unanimously by alderpersons.

    “I need that land paved to display the 43 distinct models BMW makes, plus the 19 further M and X plus GT variations. How is a customer supposed to choose wisely?” groused Billy Gross, waving his jewel-bedaubed fingers around in a fair imitation of a belly-dancer’s graceful hand motion. “Council just does not appreciate all the rich people with no taste who elect them and those with the bi-weekly wherewithal to own a genuine German supercar. I’ve applied to add three stories with a spiral roadway on top of the dealership instead!”

    “But they’re now saying it will destroy sightlines for the seniors across the way in the old folk’s home.”

    “Does no one understand Modern Commerce and Freedom of Choice?”

  • avatar
    threeer

    Sigh…I grew up an avid (some would say rabid) BMW fan, thanks in large part to a kind man who took our family in as renters when my father deployed to Korea without us back in the mid 70s. When I graduated from college and bought my first car (a 1991 Nissan Sentra SE-R that was advertised as the modern-day 2002), I sold it within a year to buy an actual 1974 BMW 2002. The things that made me love BMW are sadly mostly missing from today’s line-up. I suppose the market in the USA has spoken, and decontented, lightweight and nimble BMWs aren’t what sell. I’d love to see a stripped version of the both the 2 and 3-series (the 320i comes close, but at a low $30k price tag, it becomes a tad hard to justify), but they’d never move enough of them in our market where the Roundel means more than the metal the badge is placed on. Cars like the X4 and X6 just make me sad for BMW, although they’ll sell enough of them to justify foisting them on the general driving public. Maybe when I get back to the US I’ll buy a late(r) year E30 and put it in the garage for weekend flashbacks…

  • avatar
    thornmark

    OT

    For those w/ a new car that specifies a need for “Top Tier” gas, Costco gas now qualifies.
    http://www.toptiergas.com/retailers.html

    There still is a debate over whether TT gas actually helps w/ carbon dep in direct injection engines.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Honestly, BMW’s economies-of-scale are leveraged so that the company can afford to introduce and support ten variants of the same car. And why shouldn’t they? As long as you know which one you want (for me, it’d be the 3-Series sedan or wagon), you can just ignore the rest of them. Now does the lineup confuse *new*, non-enthusiast customers? Perhaps…

  • avatar
    Baldpeak

    BMW’s biggest sin is naming their turbo cars as though that have bigger displacement than they do. A 2.0 turbo is a 328i instead of a 320T or whatever. The rest of their naming scheme is fairly easy to understand as long as you accept that a “coupe” is just a car with a sleek profile rather than a 2-door.


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