There’s been some talk, lately, that BMW is losing its Ultimate Driving Machine mojo. Some say the Bavarian brand has gotten too soft and lost its edge. My question is, compared to what?
When I first got my driver’s license, I test drove many cars before buying my first, as most people do. I drove all of the typical first car brands; Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, yada yada. Basically all bore-mobiles. Those cars were four-wheeled Ambien. However, I didn’t realize just how dull they were when I was driving them, I had just thought that’s what cars drove like. Until I tested my first BMW.
My parents had an old E34 525i and finally let me drive it. I was hooked. It just felt so much more focused than the others, it felt like it was made to make you a better driver. It talked back to me, it let me know what it was doing, it felt alive.
So on went my quest to find a used BMW. Admittedly, it was hard to find a good one on my meager $5,000 budget. So I started looking for anything similar; Audis and Volkswagens.
While both were good, neither had that secret sauce that BMWs had. Then I found it, a 1996 BMW 328i Sedan in silver with black leather and 142,000 miles for $5,000. I didn’t like that it was automatic, but I had searched long enough with no results so I needed this Bimmer.
When I test drove it, I fell in love. It was so much better than not only all the other cars I drove, but to me it was so much better than my parents 525i. It felt so sharp, so focused. The suspension was planted and firm yet compliant — perfect. The steering was tight and accurate. The engine, an M52, 2.8 liter I6 that just soared to redline with a mechanical roar that only BMW straight-sixes have. It’s a feeling I have yet to experience driving any other brand.
And I feel that in the new ones too. If you’re comparing their Ultimate Driving Machine traits to older BMWs, I can understand your argument, but compared to other brands, it’s still the Ultimate Driving Machine.
Over to you: Why do you love BMW?