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      11-26-2020, 08:29 AM   #53
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Drives: E90 & Z4 Coupe
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MARLAND

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Originally Posted by New2Roundel View Post
This is an example of clever marketing, plain and simple. It's designed to make potential K5 owners comfortable about a purchase decision. I've done a very similar dance before. Back in 2010/11, C&D had an article showing that the then new Mustang with the new coyote engine got similar numbers to the then new e92 M3 for half the price. I owned both cars. There's a reason why the M3 was more expensive. It's just a nicer, better built car.

I learned my lessen at that point that there's no real replacement for the real thing. Perhaps the numbers can be made to look more favorable for the cheaper alternative, but the experience behind the wheel--the intangibles are what you're paying for. I have not driven either car in this particular test, nor do I have any interest in owning either. But, IMO, it's the intangibles that sell the car. For others, it's the badge. I suspect that there's way more people wishing they could get into a 3 series but only have K5 money than people looking to buy a 3 series cars also seriously considering the K5 class of car.

The only thing that BMW has failed at is having equally as clever marketing. Although not a base 3 series, I very much enjoyed my time in a current gen M340.
Clever marketing? How about "The Ultimate Driving Machine"? BMW has been running off that marketing tag-line for more than 40 years now. The problem is the last iterations of BMWs core driving machines, the 3-series and 5-series, are not the ultimate anymore. BMW has recently concentrated on other aspects of automobilizm (i.e. bullshit phone app tech) and other manufacturers have caught up to BMW at their own game. Go drive a Cadillac ATS as an example. Not having yet driven a G-series I can't make a comment on the intangibles, but I can surely state the F30 was a demarcation from BMW's decades of sport sedan dominance and being the benchmark; BMW dropping the manual trans from the G20 for the US market is a giant statement of proof. My familiarity with the BMW 3-series dates back to the late 1970s from the E21 through the F30. Four versions of 3-series sit out in my front yard as I type this (E36 - E90) and I have 18 years of E30 ownership under my belt as well.

The problem lies with computer-aided driving software. Once Ford developed software to keep it's under-inflated Explorers from rolling over on their tops, the tech propagated through the industry. By being able to control torque input at each wheel separately, almost any modern chassis can be made to be feel equally balanced both at high-speed stability and in the corners. BMW pioneered these handling traits for mass-market automobiles through mechanical chassis design of suspension geometry, frame architecture, weight balance, braking performance, and driving better wheel and tire design.

A decade ago, maybe there was no place for BMW to go engineering-wise and it's just the natural progression of the machine; but progress is making a BMW-esque machine at a lower price. My opinion is BMW has decided that is not the way they are going. Hyundai seems to be moving in that direction.

My 2 cents.
A manual transmission can be set to "comfort", "sport", and "track" modes simply by the technique and speed at which you shift it; it doesn't need "modes", modes are for manumatics that try to behave like a real 3-pedal manual transmission. If you can money-shift it, it's a manual transmission. "Yeah, but NO ONE puts an automatic trans shift knob on a manual transmission."