When the “F01″ 7-Series arrived in 2008 followed by the “F10″ 5-Series in 2009, I saw the writing on the wall; BMW is the new Mercedes. My theory was “proved” after a week with the 2011 335is and 2012 X5M. BMW fans decried my prophesy as blasphemy. I repeated my statement with the 2012 328i and caught the eye of egmCarTech. A Mercedes fan tried to run me over in a parking lot. My colleagues in the press thought I lost my mind. BMW’s media watchers were eerily silent. A month later I was told that BMW would allow me a week in the all-new 2012 M6 Convertible. Would the most expensive M car change my mind or prove the point once and for all?
If you ask a certain segment of the automotive press, it seems that BMW is rapidly losing the plot. While I agree that BMW’s latest wares are bigger, heavier and more leather-clad than ever before, I can’t say thing is a bad thing in my mind. I upset a few people when I reviewed the then-new 335is by saying “BMW is the new Mercedes”. I’m not sure why noses were “rankled”, but there seems to be a large segment of TTAC’s readership that believe BMW has abandoned “sport” for “luxury”. Maybe they are right; the M3 and M5 have been gaining weight an alarming pace and now we have the X5M and X6M, a pair of 5,400lb SUVs wearing full-on M badges. The burning question at TTAC is: should the guy responsible for designing it be committed? Or should the vehicle be put in a straight-jacket for being a totally insane machine?
Some cars just have to be seen in person to be properly fathomed. I think that’s what’s going on with the new Infiniti M. In any case, it’s hard to imagine that this model will be able to fly under the consumer radar with the stealth of its predecessor. Luckily Nissan will have the off-putting eco-pedal option to blame for a tepid consumer response. You know, in case the hints of Maserati about the design don’t translate into real life.
Think the new Z4 is a bloated boulevard cruiser unworthy of the roadster-implying Z badge? We’d tend to agree. Which is why we were chuffed to see renderings of a possible BMW 1 Series-based Z2 roadster in the most recent Auto Motor und Sport (print edition). Several Einser engines will be available say AM und S, up to and including the 306 hp 135i engine. BMW M division boss Kay Segler even hints that an M car based on the 1 series is in the works. This roadster seems like as good a variant as any for the treatment.