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Editorial: Will the Real Mille Miglia Please Stand Up?

Featured Posts, Interesting | May 8th, 2010 by 26
BMW 328 Mille Miglia

Today we brought news that the soon-to-be-see Z4  sDrive35is will soon debut a special edition called the Z4 sDrive35is: Limited Edition Mille Miglia. The car certainly …

Today we brought news that the soon-to-be-see Z4  sDrive35is will soon debut a special edition called the Z4 sDrive35is: Limited Edition Mille Miglia. The car certainly will not disappoint either – with 340HP, Dual-clutch transmission, custom 19 inch wheels and a revised M-designed body kit – in addition to a number of other sporting aspects both inside an out to distinguish the standard “iS” Z4 over the Limited Edition.

For those unaware, the Mille Miglia(meaning One Thousand Miles) was a famous, world-renown race focused around sports car racing not unlike an older version of the WRC combined with GT racing across the open Italian countryside. While it was an excelerating testament to man and machine it was also an often deadly, unecessarily risky venture resulting in the death of drivers and bystanders alike.

Editorial: Will the Real Mille Miglia Please Stand Up?

However, despite the danger, there was a long line of drivers and manufacturers lining up to prove themselves against the clock and each other – storming across the idyllic countryside, juxtaposed to the brutal racing that would be carried out on the narrow Italian roads. The “MM” as the race was known saw the likes of Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz  and many others entering to demonstrate what their best engineering could do over a 1,000 mile endurance race. It was the kind of race that drivers of today would never consider entering just due to the potential dangers that lay at every turn.

BMW generated quite a name for themselves in the pre-World War II era with the iconic 328 winning its class for the 1938 Mille Miglia and then going on to an overall victory in 1940 as the tides of war began to sweep across Europe. Needless to say, BMW developed a reputation as a world-class competitor for major sportscar events ( this isn’t including the BMW 328’s victory first in class/fifth overall victory at the 1940 Le Mans). So if you think about it – the Mille Miglia name should stand for quite a lot to BMW as a defining racer early on in the company’s legacy as a manufacturer of sporting cars.

Editorial: Will the Real Mille Miglia Please Stand Up?

So why is it that the “Mille Miglia” name, with such a presence in the history of the brand, is being attached to the special edition of the hotted-up Z4? I have no doubt that the Z4 sDrive35is will be an incredible car( I’m itching to get my hands on it) but that being said, why couldn’t we just have a “streetable” verison of the 328 Mille Miglia Concept Coupe that debuted at the decadent Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in 2006?

In looking at BMW’s existing line-up, there is  no flagship vehicle that could tie in the principles of the company to an elegant yet sexy design – especially a coupe. In the 1990’s the 8 Series ( an incredible car hampered in sales due to poor economic timing) and in the early 2000’s we had the Z8 – a veritable throwback to the legendary 507. Retro is a played out theme in the automotive world right now thanks to Ford, GM and Chrysler cashing in on their respective styling heritage of the late 1960’s but the 328 MM Coupe Concept just oozes with panache and style that manage to set it apart from anything else out there right now – retro or not  – with a strong mix of avant garde cues such as the striking slash across the body denoting the brake lamps.

The 328 MM Coupe Concept(based on the previous E85 platform, first generation Z4) debuted at the 2006 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – Lake Como, Italy to us common folk  –  and widely received acclaim for its near-timeless design as a throwback to the legacy of the 1930’s and ’40’s but with a modern styling flair from the era of Banglian design that has forever altered the path of BMW’s exterior renderings. The underpinnings of the car (drivetrain, platform, etc.) came straight from a E85 Z4 M Coupe – a suitable donor if ever one – to motivate the 328 MM Coupe Concept.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MOcTPVsejs[/youtube]

With that said, why attach the Mille Miglia name to a “Limited Edition” of a car that has barely been released in the United States and Europe?

I suppose I understand the correlation between the drop-dead gorgeous drophead that is the E89 Z4 and the historic 328 Coupe open-top( it was success as both the coupe and open racer) but why cash in historic relevance on a successful name on such an early model that will surely be successful like the Z4 sDrive35is?

Why not just give the world what it wants and provide a flagship or one-off model?

Something unique, brilliant, elegant and high performance. With the Z8, it was a Heidi Klum of early 2000’s sportscars when it came out – many would directly compare it to the Mercedes-Benz SL Class but the Z8 was truly a class of its own with its rugged, masculine looks but with a penchant for history in its cues – a car for both past and present and one that lives on as a special car denoted through its near-new grey market pricing.. Bring back this magic with the 328 Mille Miglia Coupe Concept in the form of a production car to lead at the head of the pack of an already impressive line of brooding Bavarians.

Give us the avante garde styling and sculpted, deeply creased lines of the coupe with its GINA-Concept-influenced body with the guts of a champion sports car – perhaps something like a Z4 sDrive35is?

Call it a suggestion, but either give us our flagship or reserve the name deep-rooted in a motoring history for a true soul successor to the original 328 Mille Miglia of pre-war legend!

  • Aaron

    To use “Mille Miglia” name just for a special edition is sad, and this is just BMW having to use an existing vehicle to celebrate with and keep the dealers happy. Too bad the Z4 competes with the Boxster, because the Boxster is just blowing away the competition. So the “MM” name used to celebrate the ’40 win on a car (which is great by the way) that goes head to head against the Porsche and loses on almost all fronts is embarrasing to a bimmer guy like me.

    • FreudeKing

      That badge design doesn’t suit the car, the front is wierd and looks like an aftermarket sticker add on for those who don’t know. It’s like putting a Winnie the Pool sticker next to the 335i badge.

  • n8n

    Extraordinary car :D

  • Laszlo

    The Z4 35is or whatever the name of it isn’t a bad car at all. in fact unless BMW comes out with a MZ4 which they won’t it is the best convertible/roadster they got. As far as the Boxter S beating it, well – name a car that doesn’t get beaten by that car in the category ? Porsche cars of today are really good. even the not so good looking (oke fugly) panamera is awesome to drive.

  • paul

    coudnt agree more with Aaron…just sad. The current bmw board decided to tone down the Z4. The first Z4 they used the boxter as the car to beat…they tried and failed so this time they didnt even bother and serves them right that they cant sell this tossers car that the Z4 is with its girly soulless electric steering – bmw UK are giving huge discounts on the Z4 cause they cant sell that crap…and this MM edition is just a way of selling some cars and getting some exposure in the mags…just sad…and btw i think the first Z4 is actually better looking than this one

    • Doug

      What do you mean by saying that the electric steering is “soulless”? I haven’t driven it, but surely it’s not without any feeling like some of detroit’s electric systems.

  • XC

    I wouldn`t call it sad, but anyways BMW has all rights to use the name. By the way the last time I checked the current Z4 is doing great. So at the end this car is succeeding where it counts.

    • Aaron

      More disapointing than sad, agreed. The Z4 does succeed where it counts ( I said it was great), it”s just a combination of several things that I said previously that made me react like I did.

  • XC

    But on a second thought, BMW should build a R8-SLS-rival-supercar and name it Mille Miglia… just an idea… (I like M10 name too, though). (Just day dreamin’ here)

  • Andrew

    Please keep in mind that my argument wasn’t that the Z4 isn’t a good car – its great and I think that the Z4 sDrive35is is an excellent car with out the needed MM designation. That said, I think the MM namesake could be put to better use by applying it to a more special car or something that might need the extra clout. The new Z4 is doing well on its own without the extra historical oomph through its name.

  • paul

    if its doing so well why are they offering huge deals on it…some more than 2K???
    same thing for the butt fugly GT btw…the car is only a few months old and they are already giving up free goodies word more than 2K to shift the “thing”…go see if audi is doing the same with the R8 or Merc with gullwing….im guessing no

    • Andrew

      I think comparing an Z4 to an R8 or SLS AMG is truly apples to oranges. If you have the cash to buy an R8 or SLS, you will buy it – it isn’t a car that people would be wishy-washy about buying due to its high cost and the demographic of people who would buy one. With a Z4 costing half the price of an R8 and probably one-third that of an SLS – the Z4 has to compete with different market conditions. People buying an Z4 might only have a one or two car household where a Z4 at $60k isn’t practical and cannot be justified if the buyer has children – thus the sale is harder to make on a Z4 for its market.

      I don’t think that incentives on cars are necessarily indicative of poor sales. For the record, it would appear from Yahoo Autos that there are no cash incentives on the Z4 – only special financing rates. I didn’t see any cash incentives on BMWUSA’s site either.

      http://autos.yahoo.com/2010_bmw_z4_sdrive35i-rebates/

    • Giom

      Rest easy… The GT is selling like hot cakes (globally, I don’t know the UK figures). And I’m sure the Z4 is doing just great too.

  • paul

    or porsche with the panamera…aston with the rapide…saw one on the M6 last weekend…OMG!!! stunning

  • paul

    i was only talking about the uk market…dont know others…and .that doesnt mean shit. bmw gave huge discounts on seven series in the UK and other markets and those cars can cost almost as much…if not the same as an R8. Reason? looked ugly as shit and people prefered the Sclass (i am talking about previous gen 7 btw)

    but go to bmw.co.uk and search latest offers…last week there were loads…as i said the biggest surprise – or maybe not – was the brand new GT…the car only a few months old and already “ON SALE”…serves them right…now they are panicking and came up with that half finished concept for the coupe 6 series cause audi is just about to passed them as worlds biggest premium manufacterer.

    • XC
    • Andrew

      XC pretty much dunked it with that link.

      Also, the 6 Series is still on schedule, as it has been, for its release in 2011. How is Audi going to surpass BMW in the 6 Series category? On price and performance they do not align in this niche – in the UK or the US. Audi is very aggressive in seeking market shares from BMW but I would not say that BMW is about to be passed by Audi for the title of “World’s Biggest Premium Manufacturer.”

      Just for clarification – in 2009, YTD of December, BMW outsold Audi by 7,000+ units in the United Kingdom and with total 2009 sales of BMW UK of about 98,600 that puts there sales at 2.5 times less than the 2009 sales from BMW North America of 241,000 units. I would say that does mean something.

      UK Sales figures
      http://www.am-online.com/NewCarSalesFigures/index.asp

      US Sales figures
      http://www.bmwblog.com/2010/01/06/bmwusa-sales-up-9-in-december-2009/

  • paul

    i said “just about”…didnt say it did already. .but it will be interesting comparing these figures by Q3 or Q4. we will see whos right then

    keep in mind that audi just havent passed bmw cause of the problems they had years ago in the US market with some law suits that caused serious damage to its reputation…hence the reason they sell alot less than bmw does.

  • paul

    also XC u r talking about the companies value not sales and thats what usually bmw means when they say they are the worlds n1 premium manufacter. for instance i think i read mercedes just sold more vehicles than bmw in US and yet only figures 4th on that list.

    • XC

      One stubborn lad…

  • Andrew

    If Audi surpasses I will be very impressed. However, it will not change my mind on which car I find superior. I don’t work for BMW and my job isn’t to sell you on one – only report it.

    Obviously you’ve made up your mind on which brand you prefer. As for the link XC provided, you obviously missed the point of brand value versus gross sales.

  • paul

    XC my mother coudnt agree with you more. LOL and Andrew currently there are 4 cars in my household…all BMW.

  • Giom

    Back to the article… Andrew, I agree with your sentiment.

    My feeling is that BMW is over carefull lately. I don’t know if it is as a result of recent flack over design or performance, and if it is over the economic instability. But, who can blame them…

    Having said that, why is BMW the last to believe that if they build the super car everybody is asking for, it WILL sell.

    They passed the opportunity for a new M3 CSL… reason, didn’t think it would sell…? Why then is the GTS sold out…? I think, we all agree, that there are reasons beyond our understanding or security clearence, preventing BMW for going – guns blazing – after R8 and SLS.

  • paul

    and the reasons are a clear lack of midterm and longterm plan for some products.

    Let me explain – this board is very clear on matters of reducing fuel consumption and beeing green and kudos to them for beeing the first premium manufacter, if not the first manufacter, to introduce their efficient dynamics program – audi, merc and all other brands now have one but bmw was the first…but they seem to think that the sporty carachter that the brand bmw is usually recognized for, might actually damage it – take the audi adds where they portraid the bmw driver as a lunatic on the asfalt – so they are trying to slowly move from that – take the new joy campaign…for me at least they coudnt be more wrong. And ill prove my point…if this current board thought they should persue the sporty orientated angle than why are they developing a fwd bmw and electric bmw´s and 5ser GT´s and making every new model more tame and less sporty than the previous (for instance the new z4 is more soft than the previous gen and some magazines actually think the old 5 ser was a better drive than the new gen) while a brand that was never recognised for beeing overly sporty is building R8´s ???
    Dont get me wrong. As I said before i think bmw did the right thing with the efficient Dynamics program and the electric concepts.

    And I can prove my claim that they dont have a plan for the future with a very simple example. Take the new 6 ser coup….they made the CS 2 years ago and canceled it 2 years ago on account of the current economic climate all the while mercedes, audi porsche Amartin worked on theyre own 4 door coups…Now all those manufacters have a car ready to hit the streets and bmw will be the last because they coudnt decide what to do….they just dont have the vision to look 2 5 10 or 20 years into the future and realize that markets will always have up and downs.

    • Giom

      You couln’t be more wrong about your claims that they don’t have long term plans. I think, BMW is farther ahead than the rest.

      Concerning your opinion on the Z4, all models ‘grows up’. And if you remember correctly, the previous Z4 was slammed for being too hard. Now they get slammed for getting too soft. Everybody has their opinion, but BMW has their eye set on the future – and their ‘buying’ customers – as well as new costomers.

      I, and most of us here, might not always agree with what BMW is doing, but as I said before, we don’t know everything. Therefore, it’s easy to accuse the BMW board of short sightendess and in general ‘what the hell are they doing’.

      They cannot please everybody. But at least, they’re selling cars, lots of cars and there’s no sign of them deteriorating the brand.

  • FreudeKing

    I have to agree with Paul on this. The decisions that the board are making of late don’t seem to be strengthening the brand for the future. In fact, it is decreasing brand and product appeal. ED is important, however it shoulod be a value added to what BMW’s core values are – SPORTINIESS, QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE.

    I have made my point on this site with regards to the various poor decisions and strategies that the management team is taking and it may be due to poor performance evaluation based on short term earnings. And the facts have proved it as BMW failed to stop losing chunks of market share to Audi every single month. And how pathetic is it that Audi is just 1700 cars away from BMW in the last Q? This is just poor performance from BMW!

    As for Goim’s comment: “I, and most of us here, might not always agree with what BMW is doing, but as I said before, we don’t know everything. Therefore, it’s easy to accuse the BMW board of short sightendess and in general ‘what the hell are they doing’.” Yes, we may not know everything, but we do know enough about BMW and know what it should be doing. We, in fact, may care more about the brand as fans than management who have their eyeballs set on earnings and profits (and may I say, SHORT TERM, because how long do you think those members are going to be at BMW for? 5 years? 6 years?, what incentive do they have to strengthen the brand for the next 20 years if their bonus and options are for the current 5 years?)…at least this is the feeling I am getting from all the news.

    Your comment about BMW is at least selling cars is also wrong. BMW is not Toyota, it is not just about selling cars! It is about building a strong brand and being superior with lots of competitive advantages. Deterioration of the BMW brand is faster than you think and Audi’s brand image is improving by the day. Sad thing but the truth and it boils down to a few things accumulated to make a big difference.

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