By on May 23, 2014

When the fire department assigned to BMW’s plant in South Carolina spotted a 55-gallon drum behind a vehicle in Lot D, they did what everybody does nowadays: they assumed it was a “chloride granulated bomb”. The area was cleared and BMW temporarily suspended production of the X3, X4, X5, and X6, an action that was immediately applauded by Roundel magazine, the BMWCCA E30 M3 Special Interest Group, and possibly Satch Carlson.

Turns out that the drum contained water-filtration chemicals.


BMW has in the process of resuming full production, which will come as a great relief to everyone who’s been waiting for their X4 to be completed.

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19 Comments on “Nobody’s Trying To Destroy BMW’s American Operations, Except Possibly BMW...”

  • avatar

    Well thank god for that. BMW without the X-series would be like Porsche without the Cayenne.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Not really. Some of the X-SUVs actually drive as well or better than the BMW sedans they share showroom space with.

      Case in point: The X1 is the only BMW that still offers both hydraulic steering and a non-electronic parking brake.

      • 0 avatar

        But the X1 is also the first slated to be converted to FWD, IIRC.

        • 0 avatar

          If a non electronic parking brake is more important than dynamic weight transfer and roll couple distribution FWD may not be enough to change feelings about what represents superior driving dynamics.

          • 0 avatar


            Physics dictate that you simply CANNOT jack a vehicle up several inches, make it heavier, and still expect it to ride and handle as well. You can possibly make it do one or the other, you cannot make it do both.

            I have an e91 328i wagon, a friend has a very equivalent X3. The X3 does actually handle almost as well as my car, but it rides like it has solid steel rods where the springs should be. Utterly horrible.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The X1 is made of leftovers from the old E90 and its derivatives, which had hydraulic steering and a handbrake. It is also designed to be an inexpensive way to gain entry into the BMW brand…and I’d rather BMW lower the car’s price by using older, cost-amortized components (that are probably *more* durable than the newer ones) than by trying to replicate $70K engineering for a $30K price…as Mercedes-Benz probably did with the CLA-Class.

        • 0 avatar

          The CLA is nothing more or less than the FWD B-class that they have sold in other countries for ages put into a less useful sedan form-factor for American consumption.

          Seems like a perfectly decent car, if you are looking for a Jetta with a three pointed star on the hood. I haven’t driven one, but I looked at one at the dealer. Seems perfectly adequate for the price. Like every German car, the value proposition diminishes as you ladle on the options, but all the reviews say it drives like a Mercedes.

          They do have a distinct feel – I had a C250 for a rental last week, and eyes closed it could easily have been my old W124. It felt the same, it smelled the same, it even sounded much the same. The interior was a little cheap (as was the w124 to be honest), but it is a relatively cheap car, as such things go.

          I’ll add that the drivetrain in the C250 is phenomenal. 1.8L turbo with 7spd automatic. Which was one of the least annoying automatics I have ever driven. Trip was to suburban Detroit, commuted from the DTW area to Bloomfield Hills for a few days, so freeway and suburban toodling around. Put 200+ miles on it at an honest 38mpg! And it would scoot nicely if you put your foot in it. I was impressed.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I wasn’t that fond of the CLA-Class or the way it drove. It seemed high-strung, plus I hate the looks. I’d rather have a Jetta, honestly. The outgoing C-Class that you mention feels like it has the mechanicals of a proper Benz, but not the interior. And the new C-Class is looking to rectify *that* shortcoming by becoming a mini S-Class instead of staying on the “small sport sedan” bandwagon. So I’m not hating on Mercedes-Benz as a whole…just the CLA.

  • avatar

    Waiting for the iX4.5 Sdrive 25TDi, a Z4 that’s been jacked up, given a humpbacked rear end (but it’s CARBON FIBER!), and powered by a three-cylinder diesel.

    Come on, BMW, you know you want to…

  • avatar

    I’d hazard that Satch and the Roundel crew didn’t notice as they were too busy listening to what BMW NA and their ad agency are telling them to say about the X8 s-drive 2.0 M-sport.

  • avatar

    Come on now, Jack. It’s snide talk like this that means BMW USA will have to run even more spots on the TV to comfort their select clientele. Don’t worry, present and future lessees and CPO pretenders, YOU are driving the Ultimate Driving Machine, and everyone knows it.

  • avatar

    terrible danger: a bomb would have made those cars look better!!

  • avatar

    I wonder if Satch is still with his student.

    • 0 avatar

      It was not a long lasting relationship. Someone familiar with that case described it to me as a combination of bad judgment, a “very high mileage 17 year old”, and an ambitious prosecutor who decided to use a statute targeting stepparents who commit incest for a situation not terribly unlike that in my own high school. Our varsity basketball coach was known to be dating one of the senior girls who was not quite yet of legal age. After she graduated they married, he kept his job and went on to win a state title with Tim McCormick at center. Etlekh folk er glikn.

      While it hurt his teaching career, the case doesn’t seem to have made Carlson a pariah with the BMW folks.

    • 0 avatar

      It is exactly for that reason that I refuse to read his column in Hemming’s S&E, and skip over anything he contributes to Roundel (not that I am going to be renewing my membership in the CCA anyway- after 15 years that club left me far behind).

  • avatar

    Dude, where are the VWAG NA MK7 Golf&GTI reviews you promised us?

  • avatar

    It’s that bunker mentality…

  • avatar

    It makes perfect sense to make the trucks here. It saves a lot of transportation costs.

    In Germany, the big gas engined cars we think of as “german cars” are rare. Many more of the same body style but with much smaller engines, and oft diesel. (The diesels we get here are the top ones there).

    I saw in two weeks of Southern Germany two Q7, six X5, and zero big mercedes trucks. I saw lots of 116d, a some great Opel Wagons (not all diesel), and a lot of Golf sized cars…a C class is big, an E huge, and a truck just won’t fit a lot of places. Even if the gas was free, you couldn’t get an Escalade through some city centers.

    If you afford to feed it at 10 dollars per gallon….

    • 0 avatar

      Transportation costs are largely irrelevant – it costs very little to put 10,000 cars on a boat. The trucks are made here because historically they were mostly sold here. This insulates BMW from currency exchange risks. The fact that labor is a bit cheaper here is a nice bonus too.

      In Germany, most German cars are not luxury cars. They are just “cars”. Ultimately a 520i is not that much different than a mid-size Buick, and fills a similar market niche. The taxi that took me from the Munich airport to BMW Welt was a late model short-wheelbase S-Class with a small diesel. It was nothing special, just the next taxi in the taxi queue at the airport. The US arms of BMW and MB in particular have worked very hard to give the cars here a different image than they have in much of the rest of the world. I don’t think my 3-series is some sort of luxury car, it’s just a nicely made car that is terrific to drive. And I would have been perfectly happy with a smaller engine or a diesel.

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