BMW Puts Another Bullet in the Supercar

News | December 29th, 2011 by 25
BMW-M1-homage-01

An interesting interview surfaced from egmcartech.com, wherein they sat with BMW of North America’s M-Division Product Manager, Matt Russell. BMWBLOG has known Matt for some …

An interesting interview surfaced from egmcartech.com, wherein they sat with BMW of North America’s M-Division Product Manager, Matt Russell. BMWBLOG has known Matt for some time, and we’ve always admired his passion for the brand and no nonsense focus on performance. The fact Matt owns and has in fact raced E30s only adds to his credibility.

In his interview with emgcartech.com, Matt fired back when pressed about M’s intentions of building a supercar. Here, in part, is his rebuttal to the supercar question:

“A lot of people come to me and ask, does M need a supercar? We’ve had the choice to do something like that that when we were planning the 1-Series M Coupe. Amongst its development, we all pondered: do we do a supercar as in a mid-engined wedge, or some super high-priced front-engined wedge?,” said Russell. “We’ve discussed these possibilities. But ultimately, we didn’t feel the need to make a very exclusive high-end supercar and we still don’t. I already firmly believe that we produce supercars, except that they’re two in one: an executive car with supercar performance. They are the essence of BMW M-Cars.”

BMW Puts Another Bullet in the Supercar

“The new M5 is undoubtedly a supercar from the driver’s seat. It can accelerate with a Lamborghini if not faster in some cases, it will brake with almost anything out there, and again, we like to build two cars in one: this is what M does. Nobody offers that perfect combination of a driver’s car and an executive car that you can use everyday. So technically, we already build supercars.”

When pressed further about M building an Audi R8, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG or Lexus LFA competitor, Matt responded to egmcartech.com,

“I look at those cars in two different ways: cosmetically and at a performance stand point. Sure Lexus, Audi, Mercedes and Porsche all created supercars with a great deal of sex appeal. But I see our M cars as sexy too. Performance wise, they’re not doing anything that we haven’t already done in a two-door sports coupe or four-door sports sedan, thus there’s no huge performance breakthrough on those cars that we can’t create or sell at a lower price point. All of that said, we don’t think the BMW M buyer needs a super exclusive and super expensive car because of what they get from our current M-Cars. Most buyers already have second cars that have more of an emphasis on performance and BMW M shows the world how versatile and livable a supercar can be. BMW M cars are for those buyers who don’t want to make that sacrifice in performance for practicality.”

After driving the M5 to the very edge of its abilities (read our racetrack review), we are inclined to agree that BMW produces a super fast, super product. But can it be qualified as a supercar? No, it can’t. Supercars evoke more emotion, rubber necks and jealous stares than any 4 door sedan ever could. They focus on performance while pushing practicality down the list of priorities. They break performance records, they don’t exist to merely match them or come close.

After driving the M3 back to back with the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 on a racing circuit, I can say that the M3 does hold its own, and is massively fun to drive. But can it be called a Supercar? Again, not in the strict definition of a supercar.

We call upon the urban dictionary to help you decide this one:

“A supercar is a term used for a sports car, typically an exotic or rare one, whose performance is highly superior to its contemporary sports cars. The proper application of this term is subjective and disputed, especially among enthusiasts. In addition, the use of the term is dependent on the era; a vehicle that is considered to be a supercar at one time may not retain its superiority in the future. Nonetheless, the automotive press frequently calls new exotic cars “supercars”.

Bugatti Veyron
Koenigsegg CCX
Pagani Zonda F
Enzo Ferrari (F60)
Porsche Carerra GT
Mercedes McLaren SLR

These are probably the six most undisputed supercars at the time of this entry.”

BMWBLOG would point Matt Russell in the direction of this editorial, published some time ago on our website. Perhaps someday BMW will offer a change of heart. Until then we’ll relentlessly pull on their heart strings…

[Interview source: www.egmcartech.com]

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  • RWD

    Great article, BMW needs a true supercar, all M cars are supercars in thier souls, but they’re not supercars from the outside.

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  • FreudeKing

    What a pathetic argument @5b278bc2e6082efeaaf325dc352a838f:disqus or not having a supercar… for your information, a supercar has to have a specific style and appearance! You cannot just put a nice engine in a sedan shaped car with good handling and expect people to have emotional attachment to these ordinary looking cars. 

    He must clearly define what he means by not having the need to have a proper looking supercar that generates tons of public emotion. Is it because of financial matters? or even laziness? He must just realise that the reason why Audi is the fastest growing brand is due to its brand building exercise with the Audi R8… and yes, reality check for BMW, YOU ARE LOSING MARKET SHARE TO AUDI EVERY SINGLE MONTH! There are lots of things that cannot be seen just from a surface financial point of view. The brand image and recognition of having a supercar will boost the entire brand’s sales. Look at Audi! BMW is currently losing to Audi and I am afraid they will be taking over BMW’s thrown in one or two years’ time… and you know what’s the worst: THEY ARE GOING TO OUTSELL BMW WITH INFERIOR PRODUCTS TO BMW and the reason is because they know how to generate a desirable public image and create emotional attachments.

     

    • RWD

      Ok dude, you’re on the wrong page, you’re talking about Audi and emotions in the same sentence, currently BMW is killing Audi on every field, go to Audi fan page or Volkswagen or some other wanne be premium brand.

      • chris

        i don’t think so. looking at how much market share audi has been gaining, it may still be “losing out” to BMW, but it’s on the way to catch up. freude is right, BMW should look into building a supercar to specifically boost their brand’s image, or risk losing out as a brand that targets “older people”. they have such good build/ride quality, making a supercar should not be a difficult feat for the engineers at BM anyway.

        • Mvp1234

          bmw kills audi. opps i mean volkwagen ahahahahaha

  • Trillionblaze

    super car is not really important, however to avoid receiving insult from small boys just make one.a super M1 (just pave the way for them to continue their journey)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/rtcalo Ricky Calo

    I’m sorry but his argument IS pathetic, BMW needs a supercar like the Audi R8 to boost it’s image.I think they are haunted by the thoughts of the 8 Series and Z8, which had supercar prices but weren’t that super.

  • Martinus

    I think BMW should approach the problem from other side. They should build something with doors arranged like Mazda RX-8, a supercar for 4 people, a true sport shape with a litte more room, but looking like a two door super coupe. This would place BMW in its own market place, a true supercar for drivers with families.

    • http://twitter.com/paultantk Paul Tan

      Is that not the 6-Series Gran Coupe?

  • Mvp123

    HURRY UP AND MAKE A SUPERCAR FFS

  • Viper

    wow…..Im speechless…..it seems that ONLY in bmw they think that a ‘supercar’ is a bad idea… you start asking ur self is bmw really from Germany because all other german rivals had/have/ will have one , no doubt….there is something wrong here because you dont get a clear answer from this guy….everybody must be crazy except bmw , bmw has no cue how to do a clever market , they stick with same stuff over and over , a supercar is a must have….SADLY , not everyone thinks clearly these days.

  • AR

    BMW already builds executive supercars that everyone can use on a daily basis. If executive is not the choice, then the series 6 coupé might do or one of the Z series. No need to make a ultra expensive and impractical car that we can’t use for everyday. If I had a ferrari I wouldn’t use it on a daily basis to go to work, and I want to drive BMW everyday.

    • FreudeKing

      What part of super car do you not understand??? BMW is currently not building any super car. They are merely just building very good executive sedans, coupes and convertibles (with sporty engines and handling), which are all regarded as NORMAL cars. A super car is one that has a certain appearance that creates emotion. Look at the R8 – that is a super car. Look at the M1 from the 80′s, that is a supercar. It must have some sort of emotional effect on people. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ID4X4IJCBHZ6YGYHHX22RFT3JQ Rolitto

        I agree with FreudeKing. BMW which built the BMW M1 back in 1977 should ultimately build that supercar now, in these days, in these aching moments of marketing and competency. I hate to say that but the Audi R8 is awesome (except the rear-end) with its stunning V8 sound. I am a die-hard BMW fan and would love to see BMW build such a car.

  • Mose121

    Matt Russell answers and then contradicts his answer in the same sentence.  It just goes to show that BMW is totally out of touch with their client’s and continue building cars on completely unfounded “gut” feelings and market intuition that usually turns out to be completely wrong.
     
    “…we don’t think the BMW M buyer needs a super exclusive and super expensive car because of what they get from our current M-Cars. Most buyers already have second cars that have more of an emphasis on performance and BMW M shows the world how versatile and livable a supercar can be. BMW M cars are for those buyers who don’t want to make that sacrifice in performance for practicality.”
     
    Yeah, that’s exactly right Matt.  Most ///M drivers do have to go out and buy a supercar because BMW doesn’t offer supercar performance, exclusivity, or looks in any of their current vehicles.  So that would mean that yes, there is indeed a market for a BMW supercar and you still refuse to build it because you are too busy building Lexus knock offs and worried about volume sales numbers these days.  And since when did the ///M owner really start to care about practicality over total performance?  Isn’t the whole idea of an M car to be performance first, everything else second?  I’ve owned several M cars and practicality was never a factor in me purchasing a performance car, although it is nice to have.  M cars have never been very comfortable due to their performance chassis/drivetrains/other components, and if they need the space/functionality then they won’t buy a two door mid engine supercar as their only car, because as you said they’ll already own a M3/M5 sedan to haul the kids around in.  Are you getting the picture yet, Matt?  You are trying to justify not having a need for a supercar because the potential client probably already owns a supercar that’s made by a competitor.  I’m starting to wonder how the hell you or anyone else running the show these days at BMW got hired.  I’m sure it was a fancy degree that means absolutely nothing in real word applications, but hey good for you.  All of this just goes to prove that all BMW is worried about these days is volume sales and stealing as many Lexus/Benz/Audi/Acura client’s that they can, instead of building a product that defines the company.  That’s why BMW used to be such a great and unique product, and why now they are just like everything else on the market.  They have abandoned their core values and it will eventually catch up to them.

    • Keybe

      I completely agree. These so called management (new) at BMW should be fired for their short term financial gain logic, completely disregarding the fact that BMW as a brand need to improve its public image, letting VW’s Audi get all the glory and brand recognition with the R8.

      Just a thought: is new management doing this to let Audi get an upper hand and take BMW’s crown because of some kind of interpersonal relationships between these people? Because what they are doing is illogical in a long term perspective. But then again, this management team would all have left or retired when the long term comes. 

    • Realist

      HALO CARS ARE JUST MASTURBATION.They do not make money for the brand. Besides R8 sales just pull away porsche 911 Buyers so it is a double loss for the Volkswagon group. The battle of the Big 3 premium brands rages on. And, once again, BMW is on top.BMW beat out its arch-rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz for the title of global leader in premium brand sales for 2010. BMW AG sold 1,224,280 units last year, up 14.6 percent over 2009. BMW Group, which includes the MINI and Rolls-Royce brands, sold a total of 1.46 million units with global sales up 13.6 percent on 2009 figures.The Mercedes-Benz brand came in second with 1.17 million unit sales in 2010, a rise of 15.3 percent over the previous year.  Including the Smart brand, which saw an astounding drop of 17 percent, Daimler’s car sales rose 12 percent in 2010 to 1.27 million.Audi placed third, but the VW Group premium brand also saw a 15 percent rise in sales with 1.09 million units for 2010.The boost in sales seen by all three automakers was mainly the result of a rebounding market in the United States and exponential growth in China.BMW and MINI sold 168,000 units in China in 2010, a rise of 86.7% over 2009.BMW Group’s volume, larger than its own prediction of 1.4 million units, was boosted by a new 5-Series which increased deliveries more than 22 percent over the previous model in 2009. BMW sold 211,968 units of the 5-Series in 2010.”2010 was a very successful year for us. We are “spot on” with our new models and are building the cars people desire,” said Ian Robertson, sales and marketing chief at BMW, at the Detroit auto show.Read more: http://www.worldcarfans.com/111011130401/bmw-tops-mercedes-and-audi-in-2010-passenger-car-sales#ixzz1maJZWNvJ

      • Mose121

        This says it all really…”We are “spot on” with our new models and are building the cars people desire,” said Ian Robertson

        Yeah, if you were Toyota/Lexus you’d be right Ian.  You are building cars just for people, not for the drivers/enthusiasts/loyal followers as before the current regime of penny pinchers took over mid 2000′s.  I don’t pay too much attention to those sales figures because if your model lineup grows by 15%, you damn well better be selling 15% more volume.  It’s a useless figure to use in compairison to prior years.  Take out all the new models that came out after 2009 and then you can have a somewhat accurate number to compare.  Plus, I’m not sure about the other brands but BMW had at least 3 models in which the new generation was released in 2009 or later, which obviously drives sales numbers up as well.  Most people (even though it’s probably the worst idea ever…ask any MY2002 7 series owner) would rather have a brand new first year production model over a 7 year old outdated one.  Even knowing that the first year is going to have lots of issues and the old model has been perfected and s basically trouble free by then.     

        If halo cars are just “Masturbation”, then what is it called when your company takes a $30,000 hit just to build a product (X6 hybrid) every time they sell one?  Or a 7 series hybrid that loses over $10k on every sale.  At least a halo car is a statement that can be used for marketing and PR purposes.  Everyone knows or talks about a super car, most people never even knew there was a X6/7 series hybrid available.  BMW should stop wasting money on models that no one cares and then sells at a loss and start building a car that everyone will care about…even if they could never afford it.  At least that way the brand is still benefitting from it.  Stop with the 5GT/X4/3GT crap and go back to building real BMW’s.  One’s that makes a statement instead of showing a loss on one.     

  • V8

    They should make this one with V8 or V10.

  • brock k

    i’m not buying the logic to not building a competitior to the Audi R8… that car is legendary.  Maybe he is afraid to attempt to compete with it.  I’m a BMW driver, but I don’t know how anyone can’t acknowledge the progress Audi is making… they’re gaining market share.

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