Do BMW Drivers Carry A Bad Rep??? Say It Ain’t So!

Videos | October 27th, 2009 by 22

You must have run into this situation before, prior to you having your Bimmer of course…. You’re driving on the highway when all of a …

You must have run into this situation before, prior to you having your Bimmer of course…. You’re driving on the highway when all of a sudden some young 20 – 30 something cuts you off so badly you could have sworn that they took your front plate with them as they passed you. At that point your peripheral vision kicks in your angry, but once the car passes you and you glance at the license plate that reads M3ATY M3, the upper right corner displays an M badge and right smack in the center of the truck is that horrid roundel with those three letters B…M…W, your anger turns into rage as your shake your fist and shout, “Damn BMW driver….. typical jerk!” Now this situation seems like one you’ve been in before I’m sure, and coupled with a few choice expletives, who wouldn’t be angry!?!?

Now of course I feel like certain brands carry a certain, snobiety if you will (yes, I made that word up and yes you can use it), or reputation with them. Those brands are only defined by the people who buy them. So are we really to blame!?! Are we really the culprits?!?! I digress, what I think the entire mix up here is lies within the fact that those who do not own said “snobiety-esque” brands simple do not understand them. My example comes strictly from experience. Up until I purchased my E92, I had always LOVED Bimmers. I’ve loved them for countless reasons, reasons I simply do not have the time to list out.  Although I was a fan, I never really truly knew what they were about. Sure I knew they were fast, thought they were gorgeous,  knew they had great handling, superb brakes etc. But until you’ve owned one and until you’ve had the time to actually put one through the ringer and really drive the car, you have NO idea what it is about.

We still can’t tell if the video above is “real” or not

After the long break-in period, I really started to open her up on open roads. Felt the punch at highway speeds, noticed how the car really hunkered down and got settled once I passed a certain speed and stayed controllable. It had lived up to everything I had expected and more. But, there was one more test I needed to conduct….. how direct and predictable the steering was and how this thing handled in traffic! I always say it takes about a year to two years to really and truly learn your car. Essentially what I mean by that is it takes that long for you to really feel comfortable in your vehicle and anything that is thrown your way is handled with ease. The more I experimented and the more time I had spent in the car, it became more apparent to me…. BMW drivers really are &*#@’s!

Now wait a minute, don’t get all hot and bothered I’m making a point here. BMW owners love to DRIVE their cars. We drive often and we drive hard. We only do this for two reasons, because they are tons of fun and are capable of doing so. Plain and simple: BMWs are capable cars! They are able to be driven long and hard without missing a step and they consistently please their driver with outstanding performance and agility. BMWs may not be the fastest cars on the road, but they certainly are some of best all around cars on the road. They do everything well and we pay handsomely to own one,  so why shouldn’t we be able to enjoy and exploit those abilities!?!

Some of us, more than others, are that GUY in regards to the typical BMW driver. Young male, techno music, spikey hair and driving the car like we stole it. I don’t think that is such a bad thing to be honest. Sure it’s dangerous at times, but driving is one of the most dangerous things we do everyday. We are just a group of enthusiasts that know a good product when we see one and we enjoy it to the fullest extend we can. Do you think that we are just a group of crazies that know how to drive and know how to enjoy our fully capable cars? Or do you think that no matter what, a BMW will always carry a certain weighted moniker amongst society?

Share your story, what have people said when they’ve seen the emblem on your keys?

22 responses to “Do BMW Drivers Carry A Bad Rep??? Say It Ain’t So!”

  1. Chester says:

    Driving fast is one thing, driving irresponsibly is another. The problem is some bimmer drivers don’t distinguish between the two and that gives us a bad rap. I enjoyed driving fast and hitting the corners, but not in the middle of a busy traffic commute with school children and others on the road. The problem is when accidents (especially fatal ones) occur with bmws, it’s often the bmw driver at fault. There are places where you can go fast (empty twisting road) and others when you should not (school district etc). The bad rap will be there as long there is the inability to seperate the two among certain bimmer drivers.

  2. Matt Stokes says:

    Those above are bad, no question but lets be serious… This isn’t limited to BMW drivers.

    Fair play to the drifter in the E34 though, that was some quality drift!

  3. Joe McInnes says:

    @Chester I definitely think this problem isn’t some “bimmer drivers,” it’s just drivers in general. I think generally BMW drivers, even if driving like a bat out of hell, tend to be safer drivers because (a) they know the capability of their car and the car is designed to take that kind of stress – a Kia could probably not handle extreme moves as well as a BMW, and (b) I would think they would want to protect their ~50k investment.

    I, myself, would be burning rubber constantly had those tires not been so goddamn expensive ;)

    • Ron Harlan says:

      I drive a BMW 323i e46 2000 with low mileage and a silver paint job. I intend to keep it as long as possible because I consider 2000 the classic BMW transitional look. It is modern compared to the 20 year old vintage beamers, but, it has not had the German simplicity and clean lines lost like some of the newer beamers that have a little more going on. Maybe too much.
      I treat the car like a hanger queen, and I am always amazed by the smoothness, handling ability of my first BMW car. Other drivers often feel like they are going fast in the left lane, but many other vehicles are simply not the same as a beamer. Thus they get mad at the high performance. I am not trying to “cut people off” when I am passing legally, I am just getting past. And yes, I am faster and safer than the other cars because I actually pay attention and drive like a fighter pilot. Its those slow drivers that are just going somewhere that crash – as a sportsman in a road machine I am focused entirely and I am not going to crash due to driver inattention. Germans don’t crash that often on the autobahn – why? because they pay attention.
      If you drive a beamer too slow, in town all the time it can be bad for it I have heard. But money shifting is really a waste as well. I balance it out, drive smooth, quickly and vigilantly.
      I happened to get one, but you don’t need a BMW to be cool. That said, I feel pretty cool driving mine :-) or working on it.

  4. Roger1 says:

    Well, if your driving is consistent with your writing, than I would say you don’t have your license yet? Sorry, just not the quality of writing that should be “published” – but anyway, to the point of your story I would say the following;

    Racing is for race tracks. I have a blast in my BMW every day, particularly on off and on-ramps or any quiet curvy road thrown at me, but all-out driving on public roads is careless and stupid.

    The kid you describe as some of us with the spikey hair and bad taste in music should give his DAD the keys back and get back to his X-Box. Very juvenile, and not representative of BMW drivers at all.

    • Auday says:

      I agree here, if you are a mature responsible adult you cant talk about the danger of driving this way, it’s one thing to put yourself in danger another to change others life in traffic with a little mistake that could even be someones else mistake but because you drive on the edge you don’t leave room for errors and the outcome could take lifes and injuries.

      I love my M3 and I drive hard when the road is empty around me and I have no passengers, while it is still a bit irresponsible but at least I will be affected by my mistakes not some kid in another car or a passenger who trusted me to take a ride with me in my car.

      As for BMW stereotypes, when did BMW become the kids with spiky hair and techno music car? apart from Jeremy Clarkson who creates his own stereotypes, BMW was always the mature sport sedan, not the punked subwoofed kids car, what did you leave to Honda civic?

      my stereotype of BMW is a mature sport hightech car for the kind of owner who earns his car and knows everything about its technical details and drives her with a pride, …. a driver who gets challenged along the road by so many other cars but he/she would slow down and look at them with a smile that says “sorry but this is a BMW not a 300z or a Mustange, go look for some kids in Honda Civics to street race”.
      BMW drivers do the right thing in the right time, they are not afraid of pushing the limits yet they know how and where to do that responsively, they consider everyone around and everyone admire their stance and presence on the road, like a lion strolling calmly in the forest with his head up, even if he is not aggressive or hunting he is still feared and respected for his stance, elegant walk, and the knowledge that he could be a beast if he decides to.

      • Horatiu B. says:

        To be honest, the stereotype applies more in other parts of the world, for example, in Eastern Europe, the BMW community is fighting to change these misconceptions.

        But the stereotype also came from viral videos, like the one made by Audi, where they portray the M3 driver in a not very favorable light….

        I could honestly say that I went from a snobby BMW driver to a mature, professional, courteous, but still adventurous driver in a matter of years.

        I believe Joey was trying to show how those videos bring a bad rep to us, the owners, but honestly, the majority of us are exactly how you described: mature individuals.

        Would I do what these people are doing on the streets with their bimmers? Probably not, but if you give me the chance on an empty road/track, I will push that car like there is no tomorrow.

        • Mike Messer says:

          I do believe that the vast majority of individuals who own a BMW are “mature”. I know of a few who are not and try to stay away from them. I have posted on here (mostly in the redesign blogs) but most would not think that I’m barely even 20 by the way I write, express myself, and how seriously I take driving. I leave my racing to the autocross track (I found this out very early in my driving career) and I volunteer/instruct at the Street Survival course in Long Island. Don’t get me wrong, if I find a back-country road with no one on it and no else in my car, I’ll have a little fun. But nothing to the extent of putting some else in danger.

          And for Joe:
          It sounds like you seriously need to rethink your perception on driving. Just because you may have a fast, agile car, doesn’t mean you know how to drive. For instance in that M5 vs RS4 video, what would have happened if someone wasn’t paying attention and cut the M5 off, leaving him no place to go?

        • Joey Babs says:

          Exactly my point Horatiu. I mean I would be a complete hypocrite if I were to down talk BMW drivers and try to stain our name wouldn’t I? And to do it on a BMW Blog no less!?! Some of you are taking it too literally and I never intended it to be defamatory. I’m simply bringing attention to the stereotype and recognizing it exists. The same can be said for all brands and the people that support it not just BMW drivers. In all honesty I think that the X5 video is a viral video. I mean just look at the rims and beefed up tires on it, and bottom line who in their right minds would do that anyway?!?! It’s all in good fun and it was just an article to try and evoke some discussion, not disgust. Apologies all around.

  5. Andrew says:

    This isn’t a commentary on BMW drivers but bad drivers in general and people driving cars bigger than they can handle. That said, this person is an idiot and should be arrested for leaving the scene of an accident. How can you justify that other than no insurance?

  6. Adam says:

    In my experience, AUDI drivers are the biggest A$$ holes, jerks, or whatever you want to call them.

  7. lennardt says:

    i’m from germany and i can tell the same. audi a3s and optical ‘upgraded’ VW Polos, most with small engines but ridiculous big, cheap looking exhausts. Of course not ALL polo/a3 drivers are like that.
    I have a female friend, that drives a standard vw polo 1.4 of ’98 and in her opinion bmws are ps-monsters, senselessly annihilating petrol in the first place and that are just cars with a too little legroom. She never drove one and so she doesn’t know, that a bmw is a well balanced system, that can handle the more-power for example to her 65hp-polo, because suspension and chassis are first class. Another friend of mine drives E36 316 of ’94. It has 102 hp, but it needs around 7 litres of petrol, like her polo does. She also says, that her polo is more reliable, because its newer and has less kilometres, but her polo is more often in repair than the 316.
    I can understand, that people, who drive just smaller cars like polo or vauxhall/opel corsa, have prejudices, because with these cars it’s really uncomfortable to drive more than 160 at autobahn or not to brake at most turns. These people then see a fast bmw and think, they risk their live, because it’s driving 200 or more at autobahn.
    I’d rather drive 250 in the 545 of my father than drive 140 in the corsa of my sister, because I was able to test both, but most people don’t have the chance to drive a fast car (in my opinion fast means much hp AND -more important- a good chassis and every bmw since middle 80s has a better chassis than vw polo or other compact).

  8. Doug says:

    Some crazy, idiotic, brilliant stuff in those videos. That last one……. what I wouldn’t give to do that.

    However, endangering others like that is really bad. especially when you startle people, you have no idea if they’ll react in a way that causes disaster.

  9. Chester says:


    What Chester does have a point. Maybe it’s unfair to label bmw drivers, but the bimmer stereotype deos come from somewhere. Many here drives in a mature fashion but too many don’t, and it is those “rotten apples” that tends to tar the reputation for the rest of us.

  10. Chester says:

    Sorry, I meant to say what I said was the point, not does have a point, my typo.

  11. Choi says:

    There is a discussion on bimmer stereotypes in the bimmerforum, some of the comments there are quite enlightening:

  12. Shawn says:


    That was one of the most eloquent responses I have ever read, very well articulated!

    Another facet to this topic is insurance premiums. This type of immature behavior on the roads – whether it results in an accident and directly affects insurance premiums (through stats and $) or it does not result in an accident but 100s of drivers in the live audience develop stereotype and prejudice – will cause higher insurance costs to specific vehicles.

    As a rule, I’ve almost never experienced such barbaric behavior from fellow owners of late model BMWs. It’s typically only when a “Spiky-haired pimple covered teen” scrapes together enough coin to buy a 5 to 10 year old BMW that videos like this surface. The exception is when Dad or friend lends his keys out; parents take note! Do this with caution as not every one can “stroll through the jungle with their head held high” and their throttle in check – some do not have this presence of mind and self control.

    I feel that once you’ve fully pushed your BMW through a 10/10ths track day and mastered how to artfully drift – you are totally content to relax on public roads, fully content to enjoy your “stroll.” It’s those not sure of their cars or not sure of their driving ability that drive like animals to endanger other peoples lives.

    Generally speaking, it only takes 5% to create a bad image and ruin it for 95%

    To lennardt, there is a beautiful phrase coined further to your point:

    “In a BMW, the chassis must always be faster than the engine.” This is a BMW design philosophy as old as their RWD layout.

  13. lennardt says:

    “In a BMW, the chassis must always be faster than the engine.”
    Nice one! Thanks!

  14. SkullCrusher says:

    Sad to say, but most BMW drivers I encounter are A-holes on the road. Regardless of how you feel in the car, cutting off people, swerving, driving reckless, aggressive, etc. Whatever you feel about your car is no excuse for treating other drivers that way.

  15. bmwDriver says:

    Personally I drive and have never had problems anywhere with other bmw’s cutting me off or driving recklessly. I know someone who drives a 318ti and he is a real A-hole, and a monumental moron. But other than him and his annoying loud bass system, I think bmw drivers in general are just like other drivers. Smart and sensible, except for a select few. but maybe that’s because I drive one.

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