Created in 1916, BMW is one of the oldest surviving automotive companies out there. When us enthusiasts hear of BMW, we always think about the driver engagement, sublime engine notes, and beautiful styling. However, recently, there has been a few changes BMW has made to its cars. It has shifted its focus to be more technological and luxurious, while losing the driving engagement that the company has always been known for. So has BMW lost its soul? Is BMW still the “Ultimate Driving Machine”?
A simple answer might be--- no. Take a look at the new 5-series. While it’s more powerful and quicker than the previous generations, and certainly has more tech gadgets, it lacks the steering feel, which is what makes BMWs so fun. Where is the heritage? What is left from the icons of BMW like the M1, E30, E36, E39, E46, and so many others? They are what defines BMW. From the beautiful inline six in the E36 M3 to the monstrous V10 in the E60 M5, they are probably the best and most beautiful-sounding engines in the world. But listen to the sound on a M4 today. It sounds very artificial, and BMW even had the audacity to pump fake engine sound through the speakers. Frankly, it is pathetic to see that BMW’s M division, the best of BMWs, using such a ridiculous method to enhance their engine sound.
It may seem like BMW is dying, but it’s absolutely not. In fact, it is going the opposite direction. BMW sold over two million vehicles, excluding Mini and Rolls Royce in 2017, and that is no small number. While BMW sales in the U.S. have been decreasing since 2016, it seems BMW has found a new market in Asia. It sold over 800,000 models just in China, which is now BMW’s largest market. Most Chinese people still see BMW as a sign of prestige, and its luxuriness and new, innovative technologies add to the appeal. In fact, these appeal to a large amount of people in the United States as well. After all, BMW knows exactly what its customers want, and its marketing strategy is based exactly on the technological superiority as well as the sense of status owning one.
So, has BMW lost its driving machine heritage? Maybe so. However, with the brand new F90 M5, BMW has revived some of its driving experience. And let’s hope the company will produce more driver’s car for enthusiasts for the years to come.