The Purist Perspective

Interesting | January 9th, 2009 by 13

This is my first time writing for BMW Blog. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do so because even though I’m supposed to be …

This is my first time writing for BMW Blog. I’m glad to have the opportunity to do so because even though I’m supposed to be an unbiased automotive journalist, the fact remains that I indeed have a soft spot for BMWs. That’s not to say I’m a cheerleader for everything with a roundel slapped on it.

In fact, I gave a negative review of the outgoing E66 750Li not too long ago. What I mean is that I’m particularly particular about BMWs. Some might even call me a purist.

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My first car was a family hand-me-down ’86 325. At that time I didn’t even especially like BMWs (I had my 16-year-old heart set on a cheap Jaguar XJS), but when I got behind the wheel of that E30, my perspective changed. I’ll restrain myself from ranting about E30s right now, but as anyone who has experienced that generation of 3-Series will tell you, they are magnificent.

That being said, I’ve remained partial to boxy Bimmers. Since then, an ’87 325is, ’89 325is, ’83 732i, ’87 535is, and ’83 633CSi have occupied my driveway. So what’s the appeal? The more I think about it, it’s not that I’m a BMW fan so much as that I’m simply an enthusiast that finds older BMWs to be an excellent value.

For a few thousand bucks, you’re going to be hard pressed to find any other cars with rear-wheel-drive, a manual transmission, an excellent chassis, and a responsive engine. As for newer BMWs, there’s some that appeal to me, but many that I find hard to swallow. Now, I know that there are plenty of people here that really like the X-Series vehicles, but I’m not one of them. Though if BMW made an X3 that shared more in common with its Dakar racing version, I’d be all for it.

bmw x3 dakar 498x373

So what does tickle my fancy? Well, there’s the M5 wagon and the 123d 3-door hatch, but those aren’t available in the US. Then there’s the M3, which is unanimously fantastic, but the problem is that you can’t easily bring yourself to buy it (unless money grows on a tree in your backyard) because the much cheaper 335i can easily be tuned to 9/10 of an M3’s performance. But then you might as well just buy a 135i if you don’t mind trading extra space for a bit more tail-happy excitement. Of course you could go for the awesome Z4M Coupe, but that’s on its way out, so it doesn’t really count anymore.

So what is the purists’ perspective? I think it’s that we want our BMWs to be honest. A sports car should provide visceral thrills. A sport-utility is sacrilege should work over any terrain. A 7-Series should be a competent performer, yet relaxing. Styling should be elegant. But above all else, each and every BMW should actually be an ultimate driving machine.

Photo Source: Flickr

13 responses to “The Purist Perspective”

  1. Gragop says:

    Great pic of the snow-laden bimmers!

  2. The Lee says:


    Great editorial. I tend to agree with most of it. I do think BMW has lost some of the things that made them appealing in the past, but all car companies (save maybe Lotus, Ariel and some others) have gone the same route. Unfortunately that’s just the way things are now-a-days. It’s pretty much impossible to mass-produce and mass-market cars that would appeal to us driving purists.

  3. MarcAnthony says:

    I agree with you about being ‘particularly particular’ about Bimmers. I actually hold BMW to a higher standard than many other brands because of what they have done in the past. So when something falls short of what we expect BMW will get the brunt of our wrath while another manufacturer may get a pass BECAUSE they are NOT a bimmer…..

  4. Gragop says:


    A good example of that would be the last gen Lexus IS. It’s a rebadged Toyota Altezza with a 3.0L V6. If BMW rebadged a Mini as a 1 Series they’d be done-for. That said, BMW’s successful models over the years have built a huge fan base along with big expectations of performance, driving feedback and generally sporting characteristics in cars you wouldn’t typically peg as fast(E28 M5).

    It’s no wonder Bimmer fans are so hard on the company when they begin to focus less on what made them great and more on the bottom line of the Profit and Loss statement. The E46 M3 CSL was probably one of the last, pure BMW’s we’ll get (well, Europe got) for a while.

  5. Josh B says:

    The 750Li is a :”competent performer, yet relaxing.” Its very fast of the lights in manual whilst having all the luxaries and room a large car can have. The new 7 series is especially brilliant. I am yet to see a car which combins such luxary with such “Styling and elegance.” and ofcourse performance. The drivers cabin clearly faces the driver and the gear leaver isnt on the steering wheel colom anymore. The return of the honest BMW for the purist?(Also the new Z4, that to me is the essance of an honest BMW)

  6. MarcAnthony says:

    @Josh: Z4??? REALLY? Maybe the Z4 drives the part but the MKI version didnt ‘look’ the part IMHO. Now the MKII is a return to form and takes some subtle styling cues from the old 507’s.

    As far as a bimmers small nimble car heritage goes the 1er to me is the closest thing at the moment and is what defined BMW in the mid-70’s to early 90’s when they started to go upscale starting with the E36. And when I mean upscale you can physically see the drastic jump visually on the interiors. Before it was just functional and WELL-MADE(as versus luxus)

  7. patricksixer says:

    You’re a former Shark guy? sweet…One of the best looking pics of a US spec 6er I’ve seen btw, very nice!

    But I didn’t know your views were really that close to mine. Must be that “unbiased journalism” thing, LOL. Then again, I’ve actually defended the X6 myself. Keep up the good work though!

  8. Horatiu B. says:

    Mark, great article and welcome to BMWBlog, great to have you with us and your experience in the automotive industry is welcomed.

    As far as the 7 Series, I think the 760Li will change your opinion on the 7, and…especially driving one, even the 750i. I was told by several friends at BMW that the driving experience of the new 7, it’s what makes the car special.

    But I agree, I didn’t like the new style either the first time. And yes, the 123d, great car and I have only heard good things about it.

    And here is a bimmer that I never liked: Z3. Many call me crazy, but that car did nothing for me.

  9. Auday says:

    @Josh B

    Performance in the sense of “very fast of the lights” is not what BMW drivers want and look for. BMW is more about handling, connectivity and most importantly feedback. This was the case in the older 7s, but it was almost totally lost in the E65/E66. I think that’s Mark and many others including me are complaining about. Maybe the new 7 is different, lets wait and see.

  10. patricksixer says:

    @Horatiu B.: Ohhh, I thought this was you! I didn’t even look at who wrote it, I basically assumed that you wrote pretty much everything on here. LOL.

    In that case, welcome Mark, looking forward to reading your posts here!

  11. Horatiu B. says:

    @patricksixer: Not always a one man show :) It used to, but now I have some great colleagues and Mark is one of them, he writes for Jalopnik and Autofiends also.

    Mark is good :) just look at all the compliments he received.

    And yes, I still defend the X6, I think it’s a great car for a certain niche or demographic.

  12. Josh B says:

    Good point. I can understand where you are coming from. what do you mean by feedback? And im sure its qeit hard for a LWB 7 series to handle like a sports car. At high speeds the car is qiet and responsive. But looking at the new 7 i can see what essance of a drivers car was lacking in the E65/66. I think the new 7 differs it self from the S-class even more so. Its clearly aimed at people who want do drive with all the luxaries. I think it was crutial for BMW to go down this road becuase more up market models are being released aiming at different drivers. (A.M rapid, panarama, new A8…..) they needed their own niche market

  13. Nice Picture of this snowed up diamond, i’m happy that i found this interesting blog.
    greetings from bavarians e24 friends to all BMW-maniacs.

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