BMW’s biggest mistake?

Interesting, Others | August 29th, 2015 by 38
BMW 318ti Compact 2001 750x500

We’re all fans of BMW, whether it be your one and only car brand or just one of the many that you like, we’re all here for the same reason, most likely. But only the truest of BMW fans can admit its faults and be okay with it. Kind of like how only true fans of a certain sports team can admit that they aren’t very good but love them anyway (ahem, my Giants). But if you aren’t one of these fans, let me be the first to tell you that BMW isn’t perfect and has had many blunders throughout its history.

Like every automaker in the history of the automobile, BMW has had its fair share of duds. Admittedly, BMW hasn’t had as many as other companies, like GM or Ford. But it also hasn’t had nearly as many vehicles as those aforementioned companies. Either way, however, BMW isn’t perfect. There have been BMW vehicles, as well as certain features, that make us all scratch our heads in wonderment as to how such an incredible company with infinitely talented people could come up with such things.

02bmw550igtreview2010 750x498

The first that comes to mind, well my mind at least, is the 5 Series GT. I know that many people greatly enjoy that 5er GT, and I’m not saying that it’s a bad car, but it has been called the German Pontiac Aztek by many. It’s not a good looking car, it’s not a sensible car and it’s not even an easily affordable car. Yes, it drives very well, but so does the regular 5 Series. Yes it’s practical, but so is the 5 Series Touring and the X5. It just seems like a niche that didn’t need to be filled. At least niches like the X4 and X6 look cool. To me, the 5 Series GT is a Bavarian dud.

Related: BMWBLOG Drive Review: 550i GT – The Practical Athlete

The second thing that comes to mind is the original iDrive system.

first generation idrive 750x303

However, I’m going to cut BMW some slack on this one because, as the inventors of such infotainment systems, being the first to do anything always has its bumps in the road. Still, the original iDrive system was a hateful thing to use. It was slow, unresponsive, had the strangest control dial and what seemed to be an abyss of infinite confusing menu screens. My parents have an E60 5 Series with the original iDrive and it seems even worse in comparison to the latest iteration, which is the best in business at the moment. It’s just curious as to how the brilliant BMW engineers couldn’t have come up with something better, especially considering the wonderful job they do now.

Lastly, I think of the E46 BMW 318ti.


Now, I’m one of the few who likes the E36 318ti, as it’s an affordable way to get a fun BMW hatchback. It wasn’t the best BMW ever, I know, but it was plucky and didn’t look bad. The E46 iteration, however, looked like a troll. It also wasn’t bad to drive at all, in fact it was probably better than its E36 counterpart, but it was just so ungainly looking. I think it looks so bad because the E46 sedans, coupes and wagons looked so fantastic, so in comparison the 318ti looked like some strange beast. It kind of looked as if BMW designed it on a napkin during a lunch break. It’s one of the worst looking BMWs and, in my opinion, one of BMW’s biggest mistakes.

Obviously, we’ll all have different opinions, as some may love these aforementioned BMWs while some may agree with my distaste for them. So, while keeping it civil, what is BMW’s biggest mistake, whether it be a car or technology or whatever else?