When customers go looking to buy a car, there’s usually a certain set of criteria they’re looking for, a list of specific attributes that they want in a car. When BMW fans are looking for a car, this criteria is often pretty similar among them. BMW fans are typically looking for a more spirited driving style so they usually look for sportier attributes. This tends to set them apart from the usual slew of customers who just want to get into whatever lease special 3 Series or 5 Series they can so they can have a car with a fancy badge.
For those particular fans, there are certain attributes of a BMW that are especially appealing. For instance, rear-wheel drive is usually a BMW-fan choice, as rear-wheel drive provides a better feel for performance driving, something enthusiasts like very much. Not to say that enthusiasts will always forego xDrive all-wheel drive for its simpler rear-driven counterpart, as there are many excellent BMWs with xDrive. However, many enthusiasts do prefer the more natural feel of having just the rear wheels driven.
Another must-have attribute for many BMW fans is a manual transmission. The mark of a true car enthusiast is having three pedals and a manual gearshift in between the front seats. Manual transmissions actually tend to make cars slower than ones with modern automatic or dual-clutch transmissions, but that’s not the point. For manual transmission enthusiasts, it’s the connected feel and excitement of honing their skills by shifting gears on their own. There’s a genuine pleasure of driving a manual transmission that even the best automatic cannot match. While BMW’s ZF-sourced eight-speed auto is brilliant and its seven-speed DCT is spectacular, there’s just something extra special about rowing one’s own gears.
Something that BMW enthusiasts will pine for, but is completely lost among modern BMWs, is a naturally-aspirated transmission. All of BMW’s current engines feature turbochargers, gone are all of the glorious free-breathing I6s of the past. Admittedly, BMW makes some of the best turbocharged engines in the world, engines that actually feel naturally-aspirated, but it still isn’t the same. There’s something to be said about having an absolutely free-breathing, free-revving engine that makes its power in a smooth, linear fashion. This is often a very sought after attribute in older BMW’s.
Now, there are some attributes that many car fans look for in any sports car from any brand that BMW seems to always nail. Things like a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, short front and rear overhangs and a driver-oriented cockpit come to mind. Every BMW has as close to a 50/50 weight distribution as possible, with most models getting it perfect. All BMWs have fairly short overhangs, which keeps most of the weight in between the axles thus providing sharper handling, though that’s getting worse on some of the brand’s new front-wheel drive-based models, naturally. And every BMW has a cockpit and seating position that are perfect for the driver, as BMWs are meant to be driven and driven hard, not just transported from A to B.
These are some of the features and attributes of BMWs that many fans hope for and that most sports cars require. They’re the sort of attributes that can take a good car and make it a great car. So what are some of the things you look for in a BMW?
Top photo: Sean LaFramboise at www.seanlaframboise.com