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Editorial: Why Build a Supercar?

Featured Posts, Interesting | January 29th, 2010 by 27
BMW-M1-homage-01

As a toddler, you walked the enormous isles of the toy store, looking up at the shelves as though floors of a skyscraper. Filled with …

Editorial: Why Build a Supercar?

As a toddler, you walked the enormous isles of the toy store, looking up at the shelves as though floors of a skyscraper. Filled with wonderment, you contemplated what you would really like to play with and you tried to pick out the perfect toy. Stumbling upon the toy car isle, your little heart raced with excitement. As Mom and Dad promised, you could pick out any one you liked, and bring it home forever. Your eyes finally fell upon the sparkling beauty, and in the days, weeks and months that followed, your new companion inspired dreams.

Unable to put it away, it was responsible for a few late nights spent driving across your pillow. It was responsible for the spilled orange juice from a head on collision. And it was no doubt responsible for your current love of cars.

“…it was responsible for a few late nights spent driving across your pillow.”

This is the case in point: our days spent gawking at passing Porsches and drooling over Ferrari posters are closely linked to our current passions, opinions and purchase decisions. And yes, I still gawk at passing Porsches and the occasional Ferrari poster; if I had the liquid funds, I would put pen to paper in a heartbeat to own one of these cars – because they make my heart beat faster.

What do we have if we don’t have dreams?

At the core of any purchase you will find a measure of passion, gratification, purpose and necessity (Yuckhh, necessity). For the few of us who can afford to ignore the latter two in exchange for copious amounts of the former two, the keys to a supercar are hanging near the door. For the rest of us, we look to find a vehicle that will provide a measure of the first two while still meeting the demands of the last. Enter BMW – few cars in the world are able to exact so much utility and function while never losing sight of the primary goal: ultimate driving pleasure. Even BMW’s ///M cars provide incredible practicality and usability in a blistering quick package.

“I would put pen to paper in a heartbeat to own one of these cars – because they make my heart beat faster.”

But ultimately, those of us who can afford it long for the exclusive car in our garage, the one that no one is allowed to eat in, the one that requires freshly scrubbed shoes prior to admission, the one that leaves the garage for only one purpose: a thrilling Sunday drive or an excursion on the track. Let’s throw in a special night on the town, polished paint glistening in the darkness. Those of us who can’t afford it, equally lust after such a fabled car, and would be proud to own a lesser car that shares its emblem.

Editorial: Why Build a Supercar?

Sexy by association.

Most of us revere the beauty and technology of a supercar, and savor the fact that more than the emblem on our keychain is shared between said supercar, and the car in our driveway. Remembering the passion and gratification of our purchase equation, we may even sign on the dotted line for a car the bears worthy resemblance to the flagship sports car of the company. Technology transfer peaks our interest while scaled down performance and similar craftsmanship secures our satisfaction, our joy. Brand loyalty is won, and a strong relationship is established between car and owner, one that will no doubt extend to later cars. The effective point I’m documenting is that a supercar can go a long way in effective marketing and can build energy and enthusiasm for the brand. It can make great business sense even, perhaps especially, in turbulent economic times.

“Let’s throw in a special night on the town, polished paint glistening in the darkness.”

The last time I checked, Ferrari was not a charitable organization. That’s right, they actually make a great deal of money selling ultra exclusive supercars. While a company like BMW would stand to profit from secondary sales within the brand more than direct sales of a supercar, it still makes excellent business sense. Of greater concern is “image” – what would it look like if the world’s greenest car company, BMW, produced a supercar that kills more trees per second than a forest fire? Those of the tree hugger denomination would not be too happy, and it would stand to contradict BMW’s efficient dynamics strategy. Thank goodness for the Vision Concept – a brilliant sports car that treads lightly on the environment.

With BMW’s extensive F1 experience and supreme sports car building prowess, a dominant supercar is not out of reach for the Bavarian automaker. Let’s distill this to a simple analogy. If BMW doubled the displacement of the Vision Concept diesel, we would have a 3.0 L producing in the neighborhood of 326 hp with total power output reaching 519 hp. The additional engine power would now give the sports car exceptional acceleration, the likes of which only supercars could pace. Let’s go a step further and suppose BMW dropped their superb S63 Twin Turbo V-8 ///M engine behind the driver. Now we would have a collective output of 748 hp and 0-60 times that would cause competitive supercars to sweat under the collar. We now have a plug-in hybrid supercar with staggering performance and less carbon footprint than a 7 series. Tree huggers rejoice, automotive enthusiasts drool, and wealthy enthusiasts open their wallets. The best part of this supposed supercar is that all the existing technology is readily available for production – it’s not a pie-in-the-sky “if we can perfect the nuclear reactor under the seat she’ll fly!”

“Let’s give our kids a worthy supercar to ponder, one with world-class performance and world-friendly emissions.”

The supercars kids dream of tomorrow will not be fitted with conventional internal combustion engines. The world is changing quickly and the automotive world is changing faster. Lets give our kids a worthy supercar to ponder, one with world-class performance and world-friendly emissions.

BMW, on bended knee I implore you: please build a supercar worthy of the roundel.

To all our kids, and to all kids at heart – sweet dreams.

Editorial: Why Build a Supercar?

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    I personally hope that in the next 5 yrs we will see a supercar, regardless if it’s a beautiful 6 CS or just another flagship.

  • atr_hugo

    What would it be? A sports car, a real GT (not an estate by another name ; -)? What would capture the essence of BMW’? A new Z8, or an ultra 860 (swan song of the V12)? Was the M1 representative of what BMW is, or was it an outlier?

    Thought provoking article Shawn.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      There will be a Z2, but far from a supercar. There are also talks of a 6 GT/CS, I think CS is the final name. There also discussions around a 7 CS, but don’t think they advanced.

      So a true supercar will be something along the line of the old M1, a high-end model ready to compete with some of the fastest and iconic cars out there. And I have to admit, I’m a fan of the Audi R8 and I know lots of BMW people are also.

  • _Auday_

    It’s a myth that engine size and HP power are the main factors in fuel consumption. They are factors for sure but not the main ones. The main, and by far the most effective, factors are the weight (especially in the city) and the aerodynamics (especially on the highway). I bet you that if you drive an Audi R8 and an X5M exactly the same way then the R8 will be much better in fuel efficiency.

    If BMW’s main concern is the Greenness they wouldn’t have produced cars like the X5M/X6M.

    A light weight mid-engine car even with 500HP would be a much more to the point BMW brand representative than those monster trucks, but it would cost them more and profit them less, so they don’t care.

  • michael

    I love the M1 homage and I would dearly love for BMW to build it – even though I could most likely never afford it (my affordable supercar is more the mini roadster).

    From a competitive standpoint it also makes sense in that Audi has the R8, Mercedes now has the SLS AMG… BMW has ???

  • John

    @atr_hugo: I love the M1, but strictly taken: It is NOT a real BMW since it was designed and produced in cooperation with Lamborghini and designed by an Italian. Actually, it has too much Italian flair. For that matter, i prefer the 8-series which looks much more robust.

    I think the whole ‘green’-talk is nothing more than a marketingthing, since the real lovers don’t a car for the greenness. Since the latest articles, the whole IPCC can be flushed down the drain anyway (OK, it’s true, i never believed in the ‘green’ mumbo jumbo anyway, and luckely i’m right … again :( )

    BMW should, imho go straight to hydrogen, and forget the whole hybrid-period. I can remember an article from BMW in which they state that BMW would never build an hybrid, and in no way an electrical car, because the only real engine to provide 100% driversatisfaction is a fueldriven engine. They let the hydrogen-possibility open, but now they are on the electricaltrack too? I might consider buying a real car instead of a new Bimmer next time :(

    I mean, come on, i’ve had the M5, i loved the power, the roar of the engine, doing 180 mph on the Autobahn, and now they want me to buy a car that sounds like ‘woesh’ :( No way, EVER. I’ll get me a nice classical one instead!

    I’m sorry to say that the Dutch police are so childish they had to pull me over and over again, sometimes 3 times a day, just because i wasn’t driving an Opel Vectra, or another dead man’s car for that matter. That is the only reason i got bored of the car and sold it with pain in my heart.And no, i wasn’t speeding, i actually never had a speedingticket with this car (how in the world did i do that?) and i scored two in the first month with my new car.

    I call to all engineers @BMW: I know you can deliver us hydrogen, why don’t you? What political motivations are there to step down from the hydrogencar? I’ll invest in an home-operated fillingstation, no problem. Just give me a nice car with a real engine! I don’t want no batteries or other electrical powered cars. That’s for my handicapped grandfather, i want real POWER and lots of it ;)

  • lennardt

    If they build a supercar, it has to be the best and i have no problem with waiting long for it, as long as it isn’t a second audi rs8 or lambo.

  • L1ndja

    Nice article and i like the part for kids..You see im 17 and am eagerly awaiting to hit 18 and get a bmw to drive and what will i get ? an hybrid i mean in about 10 years what are we going to drive ? electric cars ,yack i hate that .. there is absolutely no pleasure about them without the sound of a combustion engine..Thats why I hoped bmw would keep developing hydrogen cars but it doesnt seem likely and i gues im doomed to drive electric cars after the next 10years or so..I will not have a chance to drive great cars like the N/A engines of bmw the Inline 6…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1631237176 Vaybach Khan

    bmw need something like supercar,but as a bmw it must be special…the m1 concept is beautiful,and i hope it would look like that…of course we have to have 6gt or cs the 5dr coupe…great article..

  • Babken

    cars like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini are totally useless since they can be driven only on racetracks, i.e. they have 0 practicality. If BMW can make such incredible sedans just imagine what kind of supercars they can make. But since supercars make no profit at all, producing them makes no sense. BMW have M5 which I wouldn’t change for any other car in the world.
    BMW RULES THE WORLD!

    • Auday

      BMW RULES THE WORLD…BMW RULES THE WORLD…BMW RULES THE WORLD…. ok turn it off and wake him up…BMW RULES THE WORLD…BMW RULES THE WORLD…BMW RULES THE WORLD… very good, bring the next fanboy…
      [ just a joke :) ]

    • adc

      Cars like Porsche can definitely be driven daily and many models are reasonably practical. What they aren’t is affordable, not in the way that BMW’s are.

      And supercars can definitely make profit – just look at Ferrari. However, BMW is reluctant to produce a supercar because “BMW supercars” in particular may not generate profits.

    • plaxico

      ”cars like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini are totally useless since they can be driven only on racetracks” OMG…..you need help mate….,and dr..Phil wont do,you need a team of doctors

  • adc

    Shawn, I wanted to thank you for a beautifully written article that resonated a lot with my inner child (and brought back fond memories of past pillow drives in a white Porsche 917K).

    Nicely done!

  • BMfan

    Like R8 too but saw a video where an M3 effectively put it behind or was it a gimmick?

  • Joe

    Not sure I totally agree – I really don’t know if BMW needs a super car right now although I am sure they will eventually build one. I have definitely never bought a Mercedes or a an Audi – they have super cars. I just drive ///M models – the best cars money can buy.

  • michael

    @adc now that VW owns porsche – they may become even more practical – porsche golf anyone? ;)

    • adc

      Well now that Mini is apparently coming out with a “Rolls Royce” edition (no joke), Aston Martin is developing its own version of the Toyota iQ and Fiat came out with a Stylo “Ferrari edition”, why not?

      I wouldn’t mind a 300BHP AWD Porsche Golf R, in RS orange and with an integrated rollcage. =)

  • John

    LOL, in Sweden there’s an old 5-er with 1200 BHP. That drives very neat :) and yeah, it’s used on the open road (also ;) ) Just look for it and see it overtake a lorry :)

    If BMW builds a supercar, and they should, it has to something with at least 900BHP!

    I’m still waiting desperately on the upgraded M5/M6 (there were some rumors) with 750 BHP, but it neveer came :(

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  • Spade

    Even though we all love to see another BMW supercar, I don’t think it’s happening. BMW has become so conservative with their cars in the last decade. They’re not the same company as they were in the 80′s and 90′s. They’re the Toyota of the German car manufactures now.

  • Spade

    Even though we all love to see another BMW supercar, I don’t think it’s happening. BMW has become so conservative with their cars in the last decade. They’re not the same company as they were in the 80′s and 90′s. They’re the Toyota of the German car manufactures now.

    • Mzone

      hey hey hey man ar u mad!, don’t compare a piece of shit like TOYOTA to a BMW.!

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