Does BMW Need An Exercise In Vanity, Just To Prove A Point?

Interesting, Others | December 15th, 2014 by 22
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Design by committee or often product design based on mass feedback can be quite tricky. Building a product without a long-term strategy plan can be …

Design by committee or often product design based on mass feedback can be quite tricky. Building a product without a long-term strategy plan can be damaging to any brand or business and often ignoring customers’ requests can spark innovation and can lead to the birth of new magical products.

Throughout his career, Steve Jobs famously ignored market research and relied on his intuition, and he was often heard saying “Customers don’t know what they want.” But does the same apply to cars?

bmw m1 vs bmw i8 photo 5 750x500

For years, BMW fans have been very vocal about the need for the brand to build a new supercar. The successful launch of the Audi R8 has shown the world what a single product can do for the image of a brand, and the R8 has put Audi on the map of performance-driven automakers. BMW’s last supercar dates back as far as 1978 when the Munich engineers built the M1.

In recent years, several hints were given by BMW pointing at a possible supercar in the near future. Some designers said, under anonymity, that building a BMW supercar is their dream and several sketches have already been made. Board members, on the other hand, are reluctant to build the car due to the high costs and R&D efforts, comparatively to the low volume production and margins.

With those things in mind, we’re going to take a closer a look of BMW’s capabilities and strategy around a supercar.

BMW is definitely a company who needs to do an exercise in vanity, just to prove a point.

bmw m1 vs bmw i8 photo 750x500

Lately, we have been hearing all the naysayers who won’t shut up about how BMW can’t produce a supercar. Yes, the BMW i8 is a remarkable piece of engineering, a great design and a profoundly awesome take on the future of performance cars (or cars in general). But, it doesn’t serve a purpose of shutting everybody up, mainly because it doesn’t have a proper M engine in it nor the famous M chassis and engineering.

Overall, BMW excels in three things: engine development, exterior/interior design, and driving performance.

ROA070114FEA_BMWi8_001-md

That being said, all three of these things need to come together in a single package, without any compromises – the car should not be shadowed in engine power, exterior and interior beauty and appeal or the driving performance. We’re not saying it needs to be the fastest in a straight line, fastest around a corner or the flashiest on the street, but the BMW supercar needs to have that confident look and idle engine sound that hides its true performance until unleashed on the street or track.

What should they do?

Engine power needs to be around 750 horsepower. Hybrid works. But not mandatory. It needs to be a screaming showcase of a twin-turbo powered monstrosity and a growling exhaust sound that will show BMW means business.

With a weight of around 1,450 kilograms, an xDrive system for super road grip and an i8-like, or better, design, the new supercar will make every owner proud at any car meet.

Inside, BMW should aim for minimalism coupled with sporty features and accents. The sports steering wheel and the driver-oriented controls are a must. Two seats. Space in the boot for a set of golf bags, nothing more.

What should it be called?

The naming should revolve somewhere around the engine designation and M as the main idea behind it. Or, take another marketing play from Apple and simply call it: “BMW M”. The moniker will indicate the rebirth of the brand, and after all, it stands for a limited edition model which has all the ingredients taken from the M Department.

Who would be the preferred customer?

With only 500 of these made, this would be a lesson in brand loyalty for the most part. Future owners would be handpicked, champagne would be flowing in private events and people like Masakuni Hosobuchi, would be the best spokespersons for the brand. The car would instantly become a classic and a museum piece and for the next decades, lots of articles would flow describing BMW’s return to the supercar market.

What are the chances of BMW making such a model in the foreseeable future?

Slim to none. BMW is not wired like that. We’re probably not the only ones that thought about all these ideas and certainly BMW has “ran the numbers” and came up empty so far. We do know that designers, engineers, marketing folks and pretty much the entire company want to build the car, but that long-term strategy we’ve mentioned earlier acts a barrier.

On the other hand, sources within the company tells us that 2016 will bring a surprise for BMW fans. An M product is rumored to be in works, but the details around the tech and design are kept locked up, not surprisingly since the company wants to make a splash on their centenary.

So we pose the question: Should BMW just ignore all the economics and simply build a supercar to show the world what the brand is capable of?

Article co-authored by Horatiu Boeriu and Vanja Kljaic

22 responses to “Does BMW Need An Exercise In Vanity, Just To Prove A Point?”

  1. Jay Ell says:

    The bit about the DTM race car is a bit misleading. That has a purely bespoke racing chassis and power train: beneath the lightweight m4-lookalike shell it has nothing in common with a road car.

  2. bmwbl0ggggggggggggggggggg says:

    BMW will make a supercar after the i brand phase. thats when the M boys will have the greenlight it will happen remember this comment Horatiu B.

  3. Chris Llana says:

    “Yes, the BMW i8 is a remarkable piece of engineering, a great design and a profoundly awesome take on the future of performance cars (or cars in general).” Yes, indeed!

  4. tarena1991 says:

    I can’t help but feel like hardcore fans are growing weary of BMW ignoring what made them so revolutionary in the late 80s and 90s. I dreamt of having a BMW ever since I saw my first E36 M3 when I was a kid but I highly doubt teenagers these days are having wet dreams over the 3 series Gran Turismo

    • Vanja Kljaic says:

      What would you want them to do then?

      • tarena1991 says:

        I just think that BMW can afford to be more daring and aggressive. They market themselves as the ultimate driving machines but their current lineup is full of cars that can’t live up to their own marketing slogan. The 3 series has been dropped from the 10 best list…if that’s not a red flag, i don’t know what is.

        • Vanja Kljaic says:

          But the new BMW M3 and BMW M4 do go faster, provide more cornering speed and look better than their predecessors did, so I have to ask, where do you think the agressive upgrade should come from? I agree that a supercar should and must be made, but overall, we are talking about some rather impressive vehicles alltogether from the car maker. We always discuss more a potent M3 or M4 (now that they are out there), but in reality, who would want to spend 5000-1000USD more on a stripped down version of it? It all sounds great, but the reality is quite different.

          • tarena1991 says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I think the new M3 and M4 are fantastic machines , probably the purist BMWs in the lineup … But it used to be that you didn’t have to buy an “M-car” to have BMW’s legendary performance . BMW used to be sport first, luxury second…. which positioned it as the perfect contrast to Mercedes…. Somewhere along the line someone higher up in BMWs management decided to switch the company’s priorities and I personally think that BMW is mediocre at luxury…. So now the company excels at absolutely nothing.

        • Horatiu B. says:

          The next generation of cars will have a different DNA. The new 7 Series is the first step, but then the 5 and 6 will solidify “The new BMW”.

        • Freddy says:

          Yeah tarena i feel u man – the company needs some wakeup call as much as i love their M-logo i feel like that’s not enough more aggression nd more power should be considered here ,, this sketch ryt here is the way to go

          • Horatiu B. says:

            Hopefully the new M boss from Audi believes in this. Then he just has to sell it to the board and the new CEO, so the context might be right in the near future.

  5. Mark says:

    Yes they should, why? Because they can! :D

    And @Tarena:
    The next 3series will be even more sporty then the actual one, so dont worry! ;)
    I unterstand when you say thats the brand value, but you have to understand the mass customer. They want just this luxury car like you mentioned (For example: one study says that more than 50% of 1series customers dont know that they have RWD, I think it was in the US). So thats why they can make the next gen FWD without loosing market shares.
    As the brand or the board members you allways have to find the middle way, to get more satisfied customers. You really need them to earn more money and reinvest it in projects like we all want in this blog forum ;)

  6. Ryan says:

    whatever it is. i wish BMW make a Naturally-aspirated ///M engine. cause we really do miss the feel and sound of it. pray to god they make a 1!

  7. CDspeed says:

    I’d like to see BMW build something special, and then stick with it for a change. They have built some exciting cars that only lived for one generation the 328, 507, M1, the 8-Series, and the Z8 come to mind. They could stick with, and expand on the i8, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one, they haven’t even confirmed the i8 spider for production.

    • Billy The Hillbilly says:

      +1

      needless to say, it always been a bit of a commercial flop for BMW when they were producing cars u mentioned (with the possible exception of 328, I’m not sure about this one, and, of course, the M1), so no wonder BMW chairmans won’t accept any risks..

  8. […] The cat is out of the bag. We have previously published an article on a future M car that will arrive in 2016 to celebrate BMW’s 100 years of existence. […]

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