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Cadillac 95 STS, 02 SLS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been hearing comments lately about the BMW make departing from its' much lauded position as a "driver's" car. This would truly be a shame. Is this true across the board or only within certain model ranges?

As a manufacturer of some of the best handling cars with the best "feel" in the world .... and for many years the best driving cars available in the U.S. market it would be a shame for their cars to become just another brand. The "bangle" years certainly put off a lot of potential buyers, but at least the 3 series still had the handling and feel drivers love!
 

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2002 Seville STS F55, 2006 Mazda Miata
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Far as I know (and Gary can probably back this statement), the 3-series is the same kind of driver's car its been for the last 15 or so years. The 1-series is ugly as sin but sharp as a pin on the road. Muscle sedans like the M5 live up to their promise.


But everything else...

My god...

 

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The 3 series has lost a bit of feel compared to older models (mostly in part due to the numb run flat tires that come as standard), but it still has that unique feeling of being completely connected to the road, and the steering still feels telepathic and communicated well through the wheel.

The 5 series has been getting some complaints about the steering since they switched to electric pumps which kills a lot of that connected feeling and feedback through the wheel. My dealer just started getting F10 loaners so soon enough I'll get the chance to drive one.

I'm pretty excited for the new 1 series M. I saw one at the auto show and IMO it looks pretty great in person. The 135i is already fast, but now when you add an extra 30hp along with the suspension, brakes, and diff from the M3 you have some real potential.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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The new X3 just by sheer luck has been getting a ton of praised heaped on it for how close they stuck to the classic BMW formula with it. Granted it's not quite a 3 series, but it's about as close as you can get in that category. The interior and exterior styling FINALLY quit looking like it was some kind of IKEA minimalism experiment on wheels, with much of the horrid black plastic removed and a modern technologically correct interior. It's now manufactured and exported out of the U.S. with Steyr completely out of the picture.
 

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Oh HELL yeah...

If that thing didn't promise to be a repair nightmare, I'd be VERY tempted... It is DECKED for an i.
 

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Oh HELL yeah...

If that thing didn't promise to be a repair nightmare, I'd be VERY tempted... It is DECKED for an i.
And the thing is, it will still be much less complicated and be easier for an independent BMW mechanic (or DIYer) to maintain than the 2002 and up models. Having to pay $500 to have a battery changed, because the car computer has to be told about it? No thanks.
 

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Can you rip the sad nav out of those?
 

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Can you rip the sad nav out of those?
It already has the "widescreen" display unit so the most you can do is change the Nav computer in the trunk to a newer DVD one. It of course gives you updated DVD maps, but also brings the graphics forward about 5 years.
 

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Past: 95 Fleetwood, 91 Brougham. Now: 92 Lexus SC300
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I don't know how these drove, but for style inside and out they are by far the best 7 series IMO.
Agreed. Out of all the 90's uber-sedans, the e38 is by far my favorite. Although I'd actually own the Lexus LS400 because it won't eat me out of house and home on repairs like that BMW or a Benz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
^^^As the wise man said when ask what his "yacht" cost, "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it!"
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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I love the E38s, they are my favorite BMW ever. The exterior and interior design was untoppable, and it drove very tight. The only bonus the later 7 Series have is more power and more features.

But out of the '90s era uber sedans, here how it goes for me:
W140 S Class
A8
E38 7 Series
LS400
XJ

Back to the original topic:
BMW lost it's purist "edge" when it released weird stuff like the X6 and 5 Gran Turismo. They're filling spaces in the marketplace that don't exist, much like Acura with the ZDX and Mercedes with the R Class.
 

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Past: 95 Fleetwood, 91 Brougham. Now: 92 Lexus SC300
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Agreed with Chad on releasing straight up ugly ass X6 and 5 series grand turismo.

Also, BMW brags that the new Z4, their two person sports roadster, now has a softer ride and is more luxurious at the expense of handling. Weight is up as well. Same thing with the new 5 series, weight is up, and handling/steering feel is several notches number.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I don't care if BMW is messing around with weird body configurations, I do care if they are adding even more weight to an already heavy car, that they are changing steering components and in the process losing the excellent steering feel for which BMW is rightly renown, that the emphasis seems to now be on "fat burgher" luxury and not on sporting performance. If all this is true Fiat and Alfa Romeo can't start selling in the U.S. market too soon!
 

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It's interesting to note BMW's "losing it's edge" of making small, luxurious cars that are a dream to drive, and making larger, softer luxury cars. Compare it to what Cadillac had to do 15-20 years ago, when they decided to abandon their "edge" or "niche" of selling large, soft luxury cars that they were known for and venturing into the world of european styled and engineered luxury sports sedans.
 

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I don't care if BMW is messing around with weird body configurations, I do care if they are adding even more weight to an already heavy car, that they are changing steering components and in the process losing the excellent steering feel for which BMW is rightly renown, that the emphasis seems to now be on "fat burgher" luxury and not on sporting performance. If all this is true Fiat and Alfa Romeo can't start selling in the U.S. market too soon!
I agree, I'm not bothered by the expansion into other body styles. BMW is not a niche brand and they have to explore new markets, but there are limits, and the FWD BMW proposal is an absolute slap in the face to everything the brand stands for. BMW has plenty of room for rollerskates at Mini, and Mini is a GREAT brand on its own. Badge engineering should NEVER trickle back the OTHER direction. I can already hear the reply now saying "but every automaker needs to move downmarket and sell tiny engined rollerskates, in the end they have to sell cars!"... Not BMW, they have ALWAYS been an enthusiast and/or IMAGE driven brand whose sales are directly tied to these traits. Like I said before, it's sad to see that while the design language is slowly correcting course, the vehicles are moving even further in the other direction.
 

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BMW decided a while back that they were shooting for Mercedes. Thus, they softened their edge a bit.

Mini is a great brand on its own? Seriously? Mini is like the Bizarro-Hummer - they only produce small retro cars that all look the same. If Mini is BMW's "brand for the masses," there are issues. Mini has no way to expand its market to include 1) people who don't like the general Mini styling, 2) people who feel retro is out, 3) anyone requiring a larger car. Sadly, the only thing Mini can do to expand its marketshare is produce variants of itself, and it should wear thin quickly.

Mini is BMW's Scion, and BMW Group doesn't have a general brand like Toyota to fall back on. And BMW is probably too worried about getting one, seeing as how well the Rover acquisition turned out.
 
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