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      12-05-2017, 10:01 AM   #1
radiofrequency
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I am about to be an empty nester and, as a result, I am looking for a small efficient driver's car. It felt so good to sell my LX570 now that I am no longer hauling kid stuff around. My job requires me to carry some fairly sophisticated equipment in my trunk, so I need a good size trunk. I love the feel of a car that handles well with appropriate power. It also needs to be stealthy; I don't want to be a cop magnet. I am currently driving a 2018 M4 as my DD (total cop magnet - I know, I know!). I enjoy the car, but see it more as a weekend car and would like to acquire a separate vehicle for work purposes.

Given that my requirements are excellent handling, appropriate power, good size trunk, small car and stealth, my attention turned to hatchbacks. My first company vehicle was a Golf GTI (1985), so you'll perhaps get where I am coming from. That car was a total joy to drive with more than enough power, taut handling, and so darn usable! I also enjoy watching vehicle reviews on YouTube, specifically CarWow and Joe Achilles. "Why?", you may ask. These two guys typically test and review vehicles based upon their everyday usability. In other words, how most of us here tend to use our vehicles. Most of us aren't racing from traffic light to traffic light. A lot of reviewers tend to obsess about 0-60 times, but do I really care that the new M5 is 0.1 seconds faster than the AMG 63s from 0 to 60? No, I don't give a shit. I cared about that when I was 22 and couldn't afford vehicles of that nature. Now that I am able to afford them, I don't want them.

Joe Achilles loves BMW's, and specifically the M140i hatchback. What's not to love? It's a stealthy vehicle with a large trunk, superb handling, 300+ HP, and it's a BMW! If this vehicle was released in the USA today, I would head off to my local Dealer and place the order. Overseas it comes with xDrive, and yes I would add that option, as it would be my "everything car". It would take me and my snowboard everywhere during the winter, carry my mountain bike everywhere during the summer, and it would be great for my work. I can't get my head around the X1, the X4 M40i is just too big and tall, so I am stuck. These vehicles are also challenging to load your ski's, snowboard, or whatever you want to place on the roof racks. My LX had me standing on the tires to load anything on my roof racks - try that in your snowboard boots.

I am looking at alternatives, and believe me, I have researched this topic exhaustively. The Lexus NX200 hurts my eyes, the Mazda 3 has great styling, but I don't want a four banger, the Subaru's are just too weird and so low on power, and I literally bled from the eyes when looking at the new Civics. I am not convinced that the Ford Focus RS has the quality one would expect @ > $40,000, though it's a really stealthy and good looking car with 300+ HP.

The only hatchback I would currently consider is the Golf R. AWD, 300+ HP, high quality interior, superb handling - you get the picture. Though I do think that the final design of the Golf R was sent to VW's accounting department for final approval, and those folks decided to rework the design to make it as bland as possible. Although that does make it stealthy, unless you are a car guy, you really wouldn't know a Golf R from the base model Golf. So I am leaning toward the Golf R when what I really want is the M140i xDrive. I love the sweet silkiness of a BMW straight six; the effortless power of that motor is what caused me to buy my first BMW more than 25 years ago and currently has me driving my 8th BMW.

So why isn't the M140i xDrive in the USA? I keep hearing the argument that Americans don't buy hatchbacks - total bullshit! Look at all of the Mazda 3's, Subaru Imprezas, and so on out there. And arguably, all crossovers are really just a tall hatchback, and those are selling like hotcakes. My appeal to those at BMW is to bring that M140i xDrive stateside. For economies of scale, limit it to 3 models: a base with a four banger aimed squarely at getting younger buyers into a BMW early, a luxury variant with the naturally aspirated 3.0L six for Moms and Dads, and the turbocharged M140i xDrive for hoonigans like us who populate these forums. IMHO, these would sell all day long, and open another demographic to the BMW portfolio. I can't be the only one thinking about this. So hopefully someone at BMW reads these posts and carefully considers bringing these vehicles to the USA.

Any advice on what to buy, absent the 140i, from my brothers and sister here on the Forum, would be much appreciated.

Last edited by radiofrequency; 12-06-2017 at 09:19 AM.
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      12-05-2017, 10:28 AM   #2
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May I suggest to break this into a few paragraphs for easier reading.

Moderator: So grave was the situation and the lack of readability, I considered this one an emergency and did some immediate triage. Prognosis good!
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      12-05-2017, 11:51 AM   #3
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You are definitely not the only one who wishes this car were sold here. This discussion has come up more than once before.

As you point out, contrary to what some say or have said in the past, hatchbacks do have a dedicated, if relatively small (compared to sedans and SUVs), customer base in the US. However, there is currently not a strong enough market here for compact luxury hatchbacks in particular to support their sale. This is not specific to BMW - neither Audi nor Mercedes sell their compact hatchbacks here either. You mention the Lexus NX200 - that's an exception since its a hybrid only and fulfills the luxury green car niche. The Audi A3 hatchback is also sold here too, technically, but again, only as a hybrid.

The problem with bringing these vehicles to the US isn't customer interest, it is a matter of pricing. They would start at over $30k for a model with entry level options, engine, and interior specification. But small hatchback buyers tend to be looking for value. Since that is somewhat at odds with the selling proposition of a luxury automobile, manufacturers no doubt simply do not project enough demand to make a profitable case.

As for suggestions for alternatives to those you mention, have you seen the Mercedes-AMG GLA45? It is an SUV, but it is low slung and also very powerful. It does get some mixed reviews, due mainly to the somewhat unrefined DCT gearbox and high strung engine, but nevertheless it may be worth looking into. Also, the new X2 is launching very soon, and sometime next year they will add an M35i model with 300hp.
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      12-05-2017, 12:37 PM   #4
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I looked at the GLA45, and where I have one disagreement with you is that it is a hatchback, not an SUV - Mercedes has poured an intensive effort into their advertising and salesperson narrative to ensure that potential buyers see it as an SUV, and not as a hatchback. We can probably agree to disagree on some of your points, and while I appreciate your feedback, I see this car as a luxury hatchback - heck, the starting price is $50k! It is a potential solution, I have viewed this vehicle up close, and one thing I will share is that Audi and BMW should return to interior design school, the quality of materials and ergonomics in the GLA are outstanding - IMHO. I kind of forgot about this vehicle, I think that I will add it to my list of considerations.

Last edited by radiofrequency; 12-06-2017 at 09:23 AM.
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      12-05-2017, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf 335 View Post
May I suggest to break this into a few paragraphs for easier reading.

Moderator: So grave was the situation and the lack of readability, I considered this one an emergency and did some immediate triage. Prognosis good!
Thank you for your service - 3 concussions in the last 5 years changes everything, my writing has suffered along with my memory, so I appreciate your triage of my post, I wish that you were available during my last accident to triage my injuries - 27 sutures in my forehead etcetera, etcetera....... Going for a SPECT Scan soon, doc wants to assess my brain damage through decades of blunt trauma**. In any event, i still need a luxury hatchback with 300HP and superb handling - I will consult with my Neurosurgeon, he told me that he chose Brain Surgery over Rocket Science as he wanted a challenge....

** 10 Combat Tours, Surfer, Snowboarder, Road and Mountain Cyclist - starting kite snowboarding this Winter.......we'll see how that goes:
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      12-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiofrequency View Post
i looked at the GLA45, and where I have one disagreement with you is that it is a hatchback, not an SUV - Mercedes has poured an intensive effort into their advertising and salesperson narrative to ensure that potential buyers see it as an SUV, and not as a hatchback.
The question I ask myself in situations like this is if it is worth it to be pedantic when it boils down to an attempt to re-sort things in a better way using a set rigid rules around what was never meant to be wholly deterministic to begin with. In my experience, you usually don't achieve anything material by taking this approach other than muddying the waters (and perhaps looking a little stubborn ).

If you think about the set of all SUVs that you personally will reclassify as hatchbacks, then consider that someone else comes along and presents a reasoned argument for adding one more, and then someone else does the same for one more, and one more, you end up with a situation where communications are impeded by debate over semantics and, furthermore, you did not succeed in the goal of achieving better accuracy.

Practically, the issue you run into with classifying the GLA as a hatchback is that now you have two hatchbacks - the GLA and the A class - riding on the same platform and with essentially the same specifications. Yet, there are definite differences between them. And if you look at what those differences are, you will find that they are very much within the set of attributes that are typically used to define the two different vehicles classes that have already been established.

An exception might be if a product is marketed as a hatchback first and then, with no changes whatsoever, suddenly becomes an SUV in later marketing correspondence. That is where the consumer should be suspect. But we do not have that situation here. The GLA has always been the SUV. Its sister vehicle, the A Class, is the hatchback (and as noted earlier, is not sold in the US).
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      12-06-2017, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiofrequency View Post
Thank you for your service - 3 concussions in the last 5 years changes everything, my writing has suffered along with my memory, so I appreciate your triage of my post, I wish that you were available during my last accident to triage my injuries - 27 sutures in my forehead etcetera, etcetera....... Going for a SPECT Scan soon, doc wants to assess my brain damage through decades of blunt trauma**. In any event, i still need a luxury hatchback with 300HP and superb handling - I will consult with my Neurosurgeon, he told me that he chose Brain Surgery over Rocket Science as he wanted a challenge....
Your writing seems fine in the first post and this one. I just suggested to break up a block of words into sections for easier reading that's all.

Wishing nothing but good luck your way with your brain recovery and your car search.

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      12-06-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
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We've bought all the M140i here in the UK. In advance of the new 1 series going front wheel drive next year

Sorry....
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      12-07-2017, 02:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobb View Post
We've bought all the M140i here in the UK. In advance of the new 1 series going front wheel drive next year

Sorry....
There are currently 35 manual M140i's for sale on usedcars.bmw.co.uk, one of them will be coming my way eventually Only four of them with Pro nav though.

Its amazing how I can completely ignore every single other hot hatch in the world at the moment because the M140i has an i6, 6 speed manual and rwd. But as soon as it changes to another east-west 4 cylinder I can't help but think the RS3 and A45 suddenly become competitors. Even the Focus RS.
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      12-07-2017, 03:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by brad850csi View Post
There are currently 35 manual M140i's for sale on usedcars.bmw.co.uk, one of them will be coming my way eventually Only four of them with Pro nav though.

Its amazing how I can completely ignore every single other hot hatch in the world at the moment because the M140i has an i6, 6 speed manual and rwd. But as soon as it changes to another east-west 4 cylinder I can't help but think the RS3 and A45 suddenly become competitors. Even the Focus RS.
It can't be only me that the M140i will be the last ever big engine up front, drive to the rear wheels only, manual transmission 'hot hatch's.
Buy one soon so you can sit your grandchildren on your knee and tell them of days when we drove real cars.
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      12-07-2017, 03:46 PM   #11
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They are available in Mexico... why not the rest of North America?
I say we start a campaign to bring this car to US and Canada.

Last edited by vinylengraver; 12-07-2017 at 03:57 PM.
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      12-07-2017, 04:11 PM   #12
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They are available in Mexico... why not the rest of North America?
I say we start a campaign to bring this car to US and Canada.
You're too late I fear. Production stops next summer
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      12-08-2017, 02:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobb View Post
It can't be only me that the M140i will be the last ever big engine up front, drive to the rear wheels only, manual transmission 'hot hatch's.
Buy one soon so you can sit your grandchildren on your knee and tell them of days when we drove real cars.
I'm 33 and don't have kids but I promise you when I have them I will make them learn in a manual. Unless of course driving is outlawed and we are all reclining in electric eggs with AI. At least you'll be able to get drunk and have the car take you home
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      12-20-2017, 11:32 AM   #14
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Golf R. That's the only good option, honestly. The Focus RS is too boy-racer and the Volvo V60 Polestar is probably bigger than you're after.

I love my X1 35i, BTW.
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      12-20-2017, 12:39 PM   #15
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Practical but hideous
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      12-20-2017, 04:39 PM   #16
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I agree m140i would be a perfect daily. X drive and 6mt is how I'd spec it. Not sure if a manual is a necessity for you. If not amg gla 45 seems to be the closest thing we can get. If manual is needed I'd say golf r followed by focus rs. It's a bit of a stretch but maybe Audi sq5 or Porsche macan gts/turbo with lowering springs.
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      12-23-2017, 12:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooligan_clt View Post
Golf R. That's the only good option, honestly. The Focus RS is too boy-racer and the Volvo V60 Polestar is probably bigger than you're after.
Car and Driver likes the Civic Type R better than the Focus and Golf R and WRX Sti: https://www.caranddriver.com/compari...omparison-test

Of course, it's even more "boy-racer"...

OP: you're in trouble.
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      12-24-2017, 07:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Car and Driver likes the Civic Type R better than the Focus and Golf R and WRX Sti: https://www.caranddriver.com/compari...omparison-test

Of course, it's even more "boy-racer"...

OP: you're in trouble.
I'm sure the Type R is great - I just can't stand the styling, not to mention the dealer mark-ups for most units.
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      12-24-2017, 08:03 AM   #19
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As an e87 118i owner I will say, the car is a very practical car. It is spacious, light, nimble and fun. It truly believe a 128i or 128d hatch in the USA would sell like fire!
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      12-25-2017, 12:38 AM   #20
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The E36 318ti hatchback actually sold pretty well in the US, despite rumors it was a flop. BMW dumped it because a 4 cylinder, cheap hatchback wasnít in line with its desire to be a true luxury brand in the US. Probably the same story with a 1 Series hatchback.

I owned a 318ti for 12 years and would love a 1 series hatch, but itís not in BMWUSAs game plan. I liked my 318ti better than the E46, E90 and E61 Iíve owned.
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      12-25-2017, 01:47 PM   #21
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Yeah. The 5-door 140i and 340iT for that matter need to be stateside. Shame BMW has never tried pushing them and blames consumer for slow sales. Americans are lazy and buy cars sitting on lots that they can drive home today. We also like practicality, but only if it comes with power. 330xiT with a 4cyl turbo doesn't get anyone excited enough to buy, which is why they sit on lots unsold. Someone at BMW needs to grow a pair and give the US market one more proper go. I think they would be surprised...
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      12-25-2017, 02:07 PM   #22
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What is strange, is that Canada does have a love of hatches.

Many other brands have sold hatch models here that were not available in the US market.

I think it's partially due to BMW N.Amer. upscale branding.
They probably don't think it matches their target market.
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