Jalopnik: “The Death Of BMW’s M Brand”

Interesting | July 10th, 2012 by 40

Bill Caswell of Jalopnik writes a controversial article on the “death of M brand.” As one would expect, the lengthy editorial created some buzz and …

Bill Caswell of Jalopnik writes a controversial article on the “death of M brand.” As one would expect, the lengthy editorial created some buzz and heated discussions in the BMW community.

We will follow up on the article with some of our own thoughts on the BMW M brand, but in the mean time, we would like to open a channel of communication, so feel free to share with us your impressions of the article and the M brand in the comments section below.

Here are some paragraphs from the article:

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BMW’s announcement today of the Lime Rock Edition M3 was the final nail in the coffin for me. The company that claims more 24-Hour wins at the Nürburgring than any other manufacturer just launched a track edition M3 that offers no serious performance improvement over the current M3.  It’s basically bolt-on Pep Boys parts like a flat bottom Knight Rider steering wheel and special paint. And I’m guessing there is a Lime Rock track map sticker somewhere or a plaque on the dash that tells you this is something special. But that’s just it. This isn’t something special. It’s simply a marketing exercise. A fraud. Not unlike pumping a fake engine noise through the car stereo like BMW does with the M5.

It’s for guys who want to be associated with racetracks but don’t actually go to the track themselves. It’s for the modern poser racer. A luxury version of those fast and furious Honda civics with race seats and belts but stock engines that kids drive around on the street.

To fully appreciate this you need a little history in BMW M brand.  It was created to build homologation specials.  Cars built for specific racing series in minimum quantity to meet the rules.  It started with the M1 in 1978. Then came hand-build 5 series cars that at one point were the fastest sedans in the world – as delivered from the factory.

Next came the original M3, known to us car guys as the E30 M3.  Built by BMW for one purpose. To win races.  And it won so much its known as the most winning chassis in touring car history. This was BMW’s M brand.

So what is it now?  Besides the M3, we have an M1 (or 1 Series M Coupe so it’s not to be confused with the real M1).

To be fair, this car is amazing. I love it. But BMW built 800 or so and called it a day. Did one go racing?  Not that I know of. And then there are the M brand SUVs: an X6M and a X5M. Did either of these go racing?  Sort of.  BMW gave one to a journalist to compete in One Lap of America this year and it got beat by a Jeep Cherokee. A Jeep Cherokee took down the M Brand.  (Ed. Note: Matt Farrah should be along soon to explain how the Jeep was modified and the X5 M was not.)
Now to be fair BMW ran the new M5 — yes the one with the fake engine noises — in One Lap and it won its “Luxury Sedan” class. So my point is that BMW no longer makes high performance automobiles known as the Ultimate Driving Machine. They now make luxury automobiles that are the ultimate motorsport poser mobile.

The Death Of BMW’s M BrandThere is no car that says “I want to pretend I’m a performance driver, a racer, but never go to the track” more than the curren

The full article can be found here and the comments section is opened below.