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      07-10-2019, 11:55 AM   #1
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Here's everything wrong with BMW today summed up in one article

https://jalopnik.com/bmw-is-playing-...eve-1836186029

REACT. It's a word repeated over and over in this article as quoted from BMW's Chief Technology Officer, Klaus Fröhlich.

While by itself, the word doesn't really have the negative connotations, and taken as a whole in Mr. Fröhlich quotes, it seems completely harmless. But as I continue to read through the article it reminds me of one thing. How far and how different BMW is today vs. the golden years.

Fröhlich Mentioned 4 times in the article that the new BMW CLAR architecture allow BMW to "react" to market conditions, changing regulations, and manufacturing demands. This all sounds good, but in reality, that's all BMW has been doing lately. Reacting to the ever shifting winds of market.

For DECADES BMW was the brand that, instead of reacting, was proactive in carving out market segments and being leaders rather than followers of the industry. First to come out with ABS universally across entire line-up. Highest production car piston velocity. Stiffest passenger chassis ever built. During the late 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s BMW was a leader in just about everything under the sun when it comes to automotive related innovations. Double overhead cam engines capable of revving past 8,000 RPM safely. Active stability control. 100+ HP per liter specific output on naturally aspirated engines. Variable valve timing. First to deploy magnesium engine sleeve on mass produced engines.

The rest of the industry REACTS to what BMW was doing, not the other way around. For nearly 5 decades BMW built a reputation as the cars to be benchmarked by others looking to enter into the lucrative sporty luxury car market. Reacting to market pressure, government regulations, manufacturing demands is what plebeian car makers do. An innovator leads in break-through technology that allows them to stay ahead of such constraints, and sets the BENCHMARK for what market demand and regulations SHOULD be.

Yet here we are, the same brand that pioneered industry segments and paved the road for cars like Tesla Model 3 to exist, is now made to "react" to what other makers are doing. Sitting back and waiting for innovation to happen so they can "react" to it. In a industry that is slow to change, paradigm shift happens slowly. But when it does, it fundamentally alters the industry and puts those companies that are reacting out of business.

BMW had an opportunity to be one of the few pioneers and spearhead the changes in the industry, but instead, they chose to play it safe. Which isn't to say that the CLAR plan is wrong though. It's a safe bet that gives them flexibility in a turbulent time in the industry.

But playing it safe isn't BMW's strong suit.
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      07-10-2019, 01:52 PM   #2
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I appreciate your commentary. I found it to be well thought out and your opinions well communicated. Like you, I am somewhat skeptical of Fröhlich's attitude and approach.

I also wanted to thank you for alerting me to the Jalopnik article. It, as well as some other Jalopnik pieces that were linked from it, were fantastic resources that provide extremely valuable insight to the challenges BMW is facing and their strategies to overcome them.

Lately I find myself looking forward to small (think E30 size) ultra high performance RWD (or AWD with RWD bias) EVs. I don't really care about luxury, I just want the thing to *move*. So, for all the great potential BMW's CLAR-WE (the electrified CLAR platform Fröhlich describes) and Tesla's premium dedicated EV platforms hold, I'm less interested in what either of them are doing than I am in what is going on at VW. I am hoping that by sometime late next decade, I will be able to buy a truly compact performance BEV - in whatever form factor, hatchback would be cool, but anything built to go around corners quickly will do - with about 500hp and 300 miles of range. I'd even trade some range for more power (even though the two don't have a technical dependency, there is perhaps compromises to be made on the basis of cost).

VW is more than happy to share their MEB platform, and hometown hero Ford is rumored to be interested. So, even if VW has no plans to build a hot rod EV, maybe a future Ford product or product from some other non-premium automaker will fit the bill. I see a wide open market here for - once battery costs come down - some really freakin' cheap, really freakin' quick vehicles.

And who knows, maybe once BMW does commit to using a dedicated EV platform, we'll see some small performance BEV's from them next decade as well. Rumors persist of a partnership with Mercedes to come up with something they can both use in the small EV segments. It's going to be fun to watch the number of entries grow quickly across the industry and, hopefully, see fierce competition yielding some amazing machines for us enthusiasts.
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      07-10-2019, 02:40 PM   #3
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Innovation is too risky and at this level requires committed geniuses. Good luck.

BMW could release a decent EV (BEV is redundant since right now there is no other practical power source besides a battery) this very minute and it wouldn't be innovative. Tesla did that years and years ago.
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      07-10-2019, 04:06 PM   #4
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If BMW is so wrong what does that make Audi and MB? Neither even offer manual transmissions anymore in North America, don't offer anything close to the RWD 2-Series and have been in the FWD business for years now. The internet is simply a negative place so no matter what any company does right you are going to hear more about what it does wrong. Yeah lets go all in on the lucrative EV 2.1% world market share. That will make shareholders happy! In a perfect world BMW would make a car like the Model 3 but the reality is they don't have a government bailing them out on money losing vehicles so unlike Tesla they actually need to make profit on the cars they sell.

Let me know when the company goes strictly automatic and makes transverse engine layouts the norm and maybe we can talk. In the mean time go back to yelling at clouds.

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      07-10-2019, 04:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
If BMW is so wrong what does that make Audi and MB? Neither even offer manual transmissions anymore in North America, don't offer anything close to the RWD 2-Series and have been in the FWD business for years now. The internet is simply a negative place so no matter what any company does right you are going to hear more about what it does wrong.

Let me know when the company goes strictly automatic and makes transverse engine layouts the norm and maybe we can talk. In the mean time go back to yelling at clouds.
Offering automatics and killing manuals isn't necessary a bad thing. As technology continue to evolve, faster stronger better is a good thing. Speaking of which, here's another area where BMW has fallen behind and now reacting to catch up.

VW is the first to market with a mass produced dual clutch automatic. Porsche spearheaded PDK, which by all accounts is vastly superior to BMW's DCT. The ubiquitous ZF 8 speed? Lexus and Toyota has already moved past that to a 10 speed automatic.

Back 20 years ago, BMW was the first to offer a 6 speed manual. SMG was clunky but besides Ferrari's F1 e-shift transmission BMW was the only other car that can be had with an automated manual. Now? Even the collaboration with Toyota seems to have produced a BETTER car for Toyota (the Zupra beat its Z4 brother in 3rd party testing).

And it isn't about automatics or transverse engines. It's about being AHEAD of the industry and offering stuff that others follow. For DECADES BMW was the company that many others emulated. Seriously. For a long time they've been the industry leader in the small sporty luxury sedan market. Sure, competition catches up. But what now? What sets BMW apart from other brands? What market does BMW actually excel at, or in the process of innovating or pioneering in?

That, is what ails BMW. Instead of looking to LEAD in an emerging market (BEV) they've taken a sheep like following stance. Again, I'm not saying EVs are the next big thing. It might. It might not. But at least LEAD in something. Do something bold, creative, innovative like BMW used to stand for.

Rather than react.
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      07-10-2019, 05:37 PM   #6
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BMW certainly has gone from leader to follower which is the real meaning of React in this context. They’ve gone for total market share vs enthusiasts focused vehicles anymore where Ultimate Driving Machine was more than a slogan by marketing.
Im not a fan of EVs, I will acknowledge that upfront, but only due to their silent propulsion which I find unnerving and eliminates 50% of the joy of driving imho. Sound is what makes driving fast fun to me as much as any other attribute so until anyone can solve this issue in such a way that the mind is fooled, I couldnt care less about performance EVs. They are fine for commuter cars but I just dont want a silent 600hp compact car. Its just not fun to me.
But to the more broad point on the market, Im very interested in driving the Taycan and seeing how Porsche has solved many issues I have with EVs. BMW is so late to the game and deficit of any original, beautiful designs lately that there is no way they can compete with either Tesla sedan regardless of price, let alone Porsche.
They need more than just a new CEO, they need new designers and a new Board as whoever approved the latest grill redesigns and cookie cutter styles should be disposed of immediately.
After 30+ years of continuous BMWs, Im finally at a point where Im starting to look elsewhere for my next vehicle.
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      07-10-2019, 05:39 PM   #7
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From this side of life....

Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Offering automatics and killing manuals isn't necessary a bad thing. As technology continue to evolve, faster stronger better is a good thing. Speaking of which, here's another area where BMW has fallen behind and now reacting to catch up.

VW is the first to market with a mass produced dual clutch automatic. Porsche spearheaded PDK, which by all accounts is vastly superior to BMW's DCT. The ubiquitous ZF 8 speed? Lexus and Toyota has already moved past that to a 10 speed automatic.

Back 20 years ago, BMW was the first to offer a 6 speed manual. SMG was clunky but besides Ferrari's F1 e-shift transmission BMW was the only other car that can be had with an automated manual. Now? Even the collaboration with Toyota seems to have produced a BETTER car for Toyota (the Zupra beat its Z4 brother in 3rd party testing).

And it isn't about automatics or transverse engines. It's about being AHEAD of the industry and offering stuff that others follow. For DECADES BMW was the company that many others emulated. Seriously. For a long time they've been the industry leader in the small sporty luxury sedan market. Sure, competition catches up. But what now? What sets BMW apart from other brands? What market does BMW actually excel at, or in the process of innovating or pioneering in?

That, is what ails BMW. Instead of looking to LEAD in an emerging market (BEV) they've taken a sheep like following stance. Again, I'm not saying EVs are the next big thing. It might. It might not. But at least LEAD in something. Do something bold, creative, innovative like BMW used to stand for.

Rather than react.
From this side of life (67 this month)....the aura and awe of performance cars that are attainable (disregarding hand-built exotics) seems to have been lost on today's young(er) gen....I'm talking about teens and early 20's.

Reflecting back....my pre-teen and teen years centered around performance cars, spectating at motorsport events....I bought my brother's 55 Chevy 2 dr @ age 15 and worked on it for one yr while it was on blocks next to our home....with help, I totally rebuilt the small block V8 in my garage and included the usual suspect after-market performance items (Holley, Edelbrock, Duntov 30/30 cam, Hooker Headers, etc)....this was/is my passion today.

It's interesting....I drive a fairly unique car today (2007 BMW Z4M Roadster....Imola Red....Black Leather....lowered with Bilstein/Eibach suspension....OZ Ultraleggera rims....carbon fiber mirrors and trunk spoiler, etc....it seems there is ZERO interest by today's 15 yr old's when they see my car....it's not a Ferrari LaFerrari....but it is very cool to look at....let me know if it's an over-genereralization to state that the interest in cool looking performance cars seems to have faded a bit....IMHO.
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      07-10-2019, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Offering automatics and killing manuals isn't necessary a bad thing. As technology continue to evolve, faster stronger better is a good thing. Speaking of which, here's another area where BMW has fallen behind and now reacting to catch up.

VW is the first to market with a mass produced dual clutch automatic. Porsche spearheaded PDK, which by all accounts is vastly superior to BMW's DCT. The ubiquitous ZF 8 speed? Lexus and Toyota has already moved past that to a 10 speed automatic.

Back 20 years ago, BMW was the first to offer a 6 speed manual. SMG was clunky but besides Ferrari's F1 e-shift transmission BMW was the only other car that can be had with an automated manual. Now? Even the collaboration with Toyota seems to have produced a BETTER car for Toyota (the Zupra beat its Z4 brother in 3rd party testing).

And it isn't about automatics or transverse engines. It's about being AHEAD of the industry and offering stuff that others follow. For DECADES BMW was the company that many others emulated. Seriously. For a long time they've been the industry leader in the small sporty luxury sedan market. Sure, competition catches up. But what now? What sets BMW apart from other brands? What market does BMW actually excel at, or in the process of innovating or pioneering in?

That, is what ails BMW. Instead of looking to LEAD in an emerging market (BEV) they've taken a sheep like following stance. Again, I'm not saying EVs are the next big thing. It might. It might not. But at least LEAD in something. Do something bold, creative, innovative like BMW used to stand for.

Rather than react.
Why? What does that accomplish for BMW besides make BMW fans feel all tingly inside? It won't sell more vehicles. The masses driving out of BMW dealerships today in X3 and X5's only really care that they have an SUV to keep up to their neighbors, fancy infotainment systems, and safety nannies. Heck they could put a CVT transmission in X3's and most buyers wouldn't even notice. Innovations don't matter all that much in this day as the most successful automaker over the past decade is arguably one of the least innovative in Subaru who's success has largely been based on offering low cost, low tech AWD, bland wagons and SUV's. Toyota and Honda (once arguably as much a pioneer as BMW) were practically the last auto manufactures to utilize direct injection in their bread and butter offerings. What's wrong with them as Toyota needs BMW and Subaru to make their sporty cars? I know some of the old die hard fans don't like to hear it but the cold reality is yesterday's BMW is dead as is yesterday's Honda, Toyota, etc and today's companies don't exist to cater to fans of the brand as they exist to make money and sustain their business. The emotion has been stripped from the industry and it's now all about dollars and cents.

There's still lots to be thankful for as the brand still offers the sweetest 6 cylinder engines around and cars like the M2 and M4 are still more pure sporty cars than their competitors from Audi and MB. They still offer something for everyone and an element of sportiness and style through their lineup that few other automakers can. We are in the golden age of automobiles so I choose to enjoy it rather than complain as in a few decades today may be looked at as the good old days for enthusiasts.
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      07-10-2019, 08:11 PM   #9
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They did try to lead with EV’s via BMWi, but that ultimately did not work out. I think the i3 was a little too ugly for most people, and the i8 maybe wasn’t quite hot enough for the money. It’s really a shame because the technology and innovation behind these vehicles and how they’re manufactured is truly remarkable. IMO the i8 should’ve been a dual motor BEV. If it could’ve came remotely close to the performance of Tesla drivetrain, that would’ve really been something neat.

I think this flew under the radar (maybe just for me ), but I found out a few days ago that BMW actually sold their stake in that Moses Lake CF Plant JV with SGL back in 2017. The “carbon era” died before it really took off. Sucks.
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      07-11-2019, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
If BMW is so wrong what does that make Audi and MB? Neither even offer manual transmissions anymore in North America, don't offer anything close to the RWD 2-Series and have been in the FWD business for years now.
This feedback misses the mark.

BMW is being criticized by shareholders and the media - and their is CEO is being shown the door early - due to a lack of foresight in the areas of BEV vehicles as well as failing to take advantage of their early lead in these areas.

Combustion vehicle development is not a growth market anymore, so manual transmissions are not seen as a good investment. In fact, multi-speed transmissions in general will all but completely die off with the combustion engine (whenever that happens).

Both Audi and Mercedes have launched BEV SUV models, and both have at least one other electric model launching very shortly. BMW had the jump on them and could have, at the very least, beat them to market with the iX3 and even the i4 but failed to do that. That's the issue causing upheaval at the company, not failing to provide more vehicles with manual transmissions.

Quote:
Yeah lets go all in on the lucrative EV 2.1% world market share.
It's absolutely not about going "all in", but about capitalizing on having spotted trends early, and using that advantage to stay in front of the competition.

Quote:
Let me know when the company goes strictly automatic and makes transverse engine layouts the norm and maybe we can talk. In the mean time go back to yelling at clouds.
Along with multi-speed transmissions, the combustion engine will also eventually take front wheel drive architecture into the history books with it (in all but a few edge cases). This is a fantastic thing that enthusiasts should be more excited about. Many of the small performance cars we tend to avoid today due to wrong-wheel-drive will eventually be succeeded by RWD counterparts. Moreover, while you can't put a 6L V8 in a production subcompact, you absolutely can fit 500hp, 600hp, 700hp, etc. motors in a compact or subcompact EV.

While I understand that folks are still bitter about the loss of their combustion engine's sound-track and the multi-speed gearbox that one can then interact with in various ways as a source of enjoyment, it is these new possibilities that can provide some excitement if you allow yourself to see the silver lining in the paradigm shift. None of this requires one to be a "greenie" nor even particularly care about the environment. In fact, until the infrastructure catches up, you can rest easy knowing that the manufacturing of and creation of electricity for EVs is still wreaking plenty of havoc on the planet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
Why? What does that accomplish for BMW besides make BMW fans feel all tingly inside?

...

We are in the golden age of automobiles so I choose to enjoy it rather than complain as in a few decades today may be looked at as the good old days for enthusiasts.
I feel like you actually are complaining, but maybe its more just the overall negativity your words convey.

There is a whole lot to be excited about, and I disagree with you that there is no more market for creativity and innovation in automobile design. Quite to the contrary, I think there is a gigantic market just waiting to be discovered, and I would hope that BMW soon starts to tap into that. If they don't, there are literally dozens of new mobility companies out there ready to eat their lunch. And some of the products those companies are cooking up might even appeal to the enthusiast in all of us.
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      07-11-2019, 08:23 AM   #11
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They try to play safe, but almost too dangerously safe, of course they (BMW) are too small to do dedicated EV platform, but then partner with someone else or try to buy some volume seller...
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      07-11-2019, 09:13 AM   #12
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I've owned basically nothing but BMWs for nearly 25 years, starting all the way back with my E36 M3. I couldn't love my current M4 more, and before that I was absolutely gobsmacked by my two Z4Ms. All the talk I heard prior to test driving an M4 was how it was soulless, nothing like a true M3, blah blah blah. I don't know what the hell they're talking about, the car is absolutely a blast to drive and personally I think is one of the most gorgeous cars on the road (especially in that YMB baby!).

I've seen the progression over 25 years through owning so many BMWs, and they're still the master of all in one package. I guess some will just continue to whine and complain about everything, whatever.
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      07-11-2019, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
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They try to play safe, but almost too dangerously safe, of course they (BMW) are too small to do dedicated EV platform, but then partner with someone else or try to buy some volume seller...
The i3 was a dedicated EV platform and it was an excellent chassis. RWD to boot.

And it had some cutting edge, potentially industry leading tech when it came out. But the decision to “follow” the rest of the industry by making the design look like brick on wheels pretty much doomed the car from the start.

The only successful pure EVs so are designed to look more like regular cars than “futuristic” looking. And manufactures are starting to take note, the last gen of EVs (e-Tron, iPace, Kona EV all look just like regular cars. Of course, none of these were built on bespoke EV chassi either).

Sometimes being proactive doesn’t mean future looking designs, but by not following trends set by the Toyota Prius, Tesla has managed to dominate its segment (oddly, just like how Prius dominated its segment when it came out).

By thinking out of its box.
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      07-11-2019, 09:21 AM   #14
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I've seen the progression over 25 years through owning so many BMWs, and they're still the master of all in one package. I guess some will just continue to whine and complain about everything, whatever.
Some of you guys seem to be having a different conversation. This isn't really about the merits of products BMW is building today - many of those are very good, and I don't see where the OP nor the article he cites are actually trying to claim they aren't.

This is about BMW's strategic position in relationship its competitors, where they might have been if for better vision and fewer mis-steps, and how they can regain their place as a market leader in the coming decades as the shift to BEV and PHEV accelerates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
And it had some cutting edge, potentially industry leading tech when it came out. But the decision to “follow” the rest of the industry by making the design look like brick on wheels pretty much doomed the car from the start.
Indeed. It's a vehicle you decide to buy despite its looks, not because they are appealing as part of the overall package.

The other thing that doomed it was the liberal use of CFRP which, while a nice idea to try to keep weight in check, makes the vehicle expensive to produce. And more damningly, it means the entire architecture itself is a dead-end in a market where competitors can produce similar vehicles at a lower cost on platforms that employ less exotic materials.
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      07-11-2019, 09:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
If BMW is so wrong what does that make Audi and MB? Neither even offer manual transmissions anymore in North America, don't offer anything close to the RWD 2-Series and have been in the FWD business for years now. The internet is simply a negative place so no matter what any company does right you are going to hear more about what it does wrong. Yeah lets go all in on the lucrative EV 2.1% world market share. That will make shareholders happy! In a perfect world BMW would make a car like the Model 3 but the reality is they don't have a government bailing them out on money losing vehicles so unlike Tesla they actually need to make profit on the cars they sell.

Let me know when the company goes strictly automatic and makes transverse engine layouts the norm and maybe we can talk. In the mean time go back to yelling at clouds.
Yeah I'm surprised you can still get a new M4 for example with a manual. I love it.
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      07-11-2019, 10:11 AM   #16
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The other thing that doomed it was the liberal use of CFRP which, while a nice idea to try to keep weight in check, makes the vehicle expensive to produce. And more damningly, it means the entire architecture itself is a dead-end in a market where competitors can produce similar vehicles at a lower cost on platforms that employ less exotic materials.
While I totally agree as to why the i3 was a flop, I thought their use of CFRP on the chassis was a brilliant move towards altering the landscape and leading the industry in the right direction.

The i3 weighed in at less than 3,000 lbs. Out of all the EVs available on the market, even today, that would be considered one of the LIGHTEST EVs. All 3 of Tesla's models (S, 3, X, and soon to be Y) all weight in excess of 4,00 lbs when all said and done, and while the power and torque mask the incredible mass it has to move, no amount of power and torque can defy the laws of physics.

I thought dynamically the i3 was actually quite engaging to drive. Not to the level of what a regular 3 series sedan could be, as it sits high AND has skinny tires. But don't exceed the level of grip, and you can have some fun in most situations because 1) it WAS the lightest BMW in production. By a country mile and 2) it has incredibly low center of gravity.

I mean, hindsight is 20/20 and all, and I can sit here and say that they (BMW) f**ked the pooch with the i3. It had so much potential. Built it to look like an X1 or more like a 3 series, give it some decent tires and moderate width*, and while it may not sell like hot cakes (and no EV would under today's climate except for Tesla), it would at least give them an opportunity to push the boundaries and expand marketshare in the EV field as they continue to increase range to stem the flow of Tesla-ratis.

* So here's another area where BMW's lack of vision in this industry and market failed. We traded in the i3 for a Chevy Bolt EV. Before that, I had a Fiat 500e (yes I'm glutton for punishment**) I never understood why BMW chose to hamper the i3's handling by equipping it with ultra thin, 155mm wide tires. The arches and suspension can easily handle 225 tires. EASILY. And the tiny battery pack is capable of delivering 80 miles per charge, equivalent to the Fiat 500e. going wider to a 225 isn't going to really impact that range significantly, as I "upgraded" the Fiat's tires to performance summers that are 10mm wider than stock, and my range decreased by 5 miles per full charge.

Even the Bolt EV, with its superior 250mile range, comes with 215 wide tires. While it's handling characteristic isn't something to write home about, had the i3 been shod with the 215 wide touring tires, I'll bet it would be 10X more fun to drive. The Bolt is hampered by its FWD platform, while there's NO EXCUSE for BMW to not to equip a decent set of tires on the i3.

** You might ask, why The HACK, WHY? Fiat 500e? i3? CHEVY F**KING BOLT? "I'm disappointed, and nothing you say on these them forums has any weight because YOU drive soulless cars."

Yeah. I do. Although I have to say, the Fiat 500e was full of soul and was fun to drive. The only problem I had with it was the FCA ownership experience and how much time it spent in the dealership. But for my first EV experience, it was an absolute HOOT. That thing would dart in and out of traffic like an angry chihuahua. Full of energy, lack bite. I actually loved it besides the fact that it makes no noise besides tire noise, and the fact that, well, FCA. It was enough to swear me off of any Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Alfa products for live no matter how good the Hellcat is or how awesome the Giulia Quad drives. I could never bring myself to ever have to deal with a FCA dealership ever again. But that's another story all together.

What makes me want to get a Bolt EV, or any of the slew of soul-less EV cars on the market (contemplated getting a used Tesla S to replace the 335D, and a Kona EV)? Balance. I've got my 2 cars in the garage on the EXTREME end of fun (BMW Z4 M Coupe and Chevrolet C7 Corvette Grand Sport), I'm not afraid to admit that having a couple of pure commuter car that just goes from A to B with ease and aplomb but none of the VROOM VROOM fun serves a purpose in life. You can't just have fun all the time.

Plus the missus complains enough about the "psychotic" driving I do.

Lastly, I think Tesla Model 3 sales are off the charts only because there are NO OTHER ALTERNATIVES. Want a high range EV with moderately tolerable style and decent performance, and a reasonable price range? It's the ONLY game in town. It truly is. And the demand is there, and I suspect cars like the e-Tron and iPace should gain traction if they managed to get the execution right. But I know plenty of Tesla EV owners that would gladly have bought something else, like a decent BMW EV, had one been offered in the same range and ballpark as a Tesla S/3/X or the upcoming Y.
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      07-11-2019, 10:33 AM   #17
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Sure, it has technical merit in spades - no argument there.

But in the matter of total corporate value, it fails on the basis of long term flexibility, scalability, and financial sustainability. The fact of the matter is that this could have been BMW's MEB, and then they could be ahead of the game with a range of EV's that compete with the ones that people today want - everything from your Bolt to a Model 3. And, with a little better foresight in the development of the vehicle architecture, they'd have been able to add larger batteries, multiple motors, more powerful motors, etc. Instead, they put the money into the wrong place - the materials. The CFRP certainly made the thing lighter, but then even if you nix that in favor of aluminum or other light-weighting measures, its still going to have a very reasonable weight compared to other products.

Not only that, but it soaked up funds and getting burned tends to leave decision makers gun-shy. It was a breakthrough vehicle program at the time, but it was nevertheless a nasty speed bump, and the ramifications are still taking their tole. Yes, this is all "hindsight 20/20" stuff, but it is nevertheless part of the reason why things are the way they are today with the company somewhat scrambling to get a foothold in order to compete in coming decade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
While I totally agree as to why the i3 was a flop, I thought their use of CFRP on the chassis was a brilliant move towards altering the landscape and leading the industry in the right direction.

The i3 weighed in at less than 3,000 lbs. Out of all the EVs available on the market, even today, that would be considered one of the LIGHTEST EVs. All 3 of Tesla's models (S, 3, X, and soon to be Y) all weight in excess of 4,00 lbs when all said and done, and while the power and torque mask the incredible mass it has to move, no amount of power and torque can defy the laws of physics.

I thought dynamically the i3 was actually quite engaging to drive. Not to the level of what a regular 3 series sedan could be, as it sits high AND has skinny tires. But don't exceed the level of grip, and you can have some fun in most situations because 1) it WAS the lightest BMW in production. By a country mile and 2) it has incredibly low center of gravity.

I mean, hindsight is 20/20 and all, and I can sit here and say that they (BMW) f**ked the pooch with the i3. It had so much potential. Built it to look like an X1 or more like a 3 series, give it some decent tires and moderate width*, and while it may not sell like hot cakes (and no EV would under today's climate except for Tesla), it would at least give them an opportunity to push the boundaries and expand marketshare in the EV field as they continue to increase range to stem the flow of Tesla-ratis.
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      07-11-2019, 10:42 AM   #18
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Interesting article.
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      07-11-2019, 10:45 AM   #19
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Offering automatics and killing manuals isn't necessary a bad thing. As technology continue to evolve, faster stronger better is a good thing. Speaking of which, here's another area where BMW has fallen behind and now reacting to catch up.

VW is the first to market with a mass produced dual clutch automatic. Porsche spearheaded PDK, which by all accounts is vastly superior to BMW's DCT. The ubiquitous ZF 8 speed? Lexus and Toyota has already moved past that to a 10 speed automatic.

Back 20 years ago, BMW was the first to offer a 6 speed manual. SMG was clunky but besides Ferrari's F1 e-shift transmission BMW was the only other car that can be had with an automated manual. Now? Even the collaboration with Toyota seems to have produced a BETTER car for Toyota (the Zupra beat its Z4 brother in 3rd party testing).

And it isn't about automatics or transverse engines. It's about being AHEAD of the industry and offering stuff that others follow. For DECADES BMW was the company that many others emulated. Seriously. For a long time they've been the industry leader in the small sporty luxury sedan market. Sure, competition catches up. But what now? What sets BMW apart from other brands? What market does BMW actually excel at, or in the process of innovating or pioneering in?

That, is what ails BMW. Instead of looking to LEAD in an emerging market (BEV) they've taken a sheep like following stance. Again, I'm not saying EVs are the next big thing. It might. It might not. But at least LEAD in something. Do something bold, creative, innovative like BMW used to stand for.

Rather than react.
You are spot on.

If BMW were planning to be innovative, they would have put transaxle DCT coupled with hybrid torque filling system with inline 6 engine on the upcoming M3, and that would have made all the difference; back to offering supercar level of performance at 1/4 of a price.

They decided to play safe with the bland ZFat that everybody uses, and the M boss is saying "we won't be the first to offer, but we'll be the best at it."

Days of offering DTM/F1 inspired engines with exotic powertrains are gone.
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      07-11-2019, 11:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
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Days of offering DTM/F1 inspired engines with exotic powertrains are gone.
Ironically, now that DTM has pivoted to turbocharged four cylinder engines, it is perhaps the perfect time to capitalize with a P48-based PHEV.

Sure, the Vision M NEXT (sans the paint-by-number motif) is at least a step in the right direction toward an electrified flagship that has some excitement. But even with 600hp, it feels like it would be something of an also-ran by the time it reaches the market. If they start with a slightly toned-down P48 for the combustion side they can take it a step further yet. And while I understand they were trying to echo the M1 with the exterior direction, I think that something more a long the lines of the 3.0 CSL Hommage (particularly the R version) would provide a better link to the homologated racing BMWs of the past.
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      07-11-2019, 11:15 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Ironically, now that DTM has pivoted to turbocharged four cylinder engines, it is perhaps the perfect time to capitalize with a P48-based PHEV.

Sure, the Vision M NEXT (sans the paint-by-number motif) is at least a step in the right direction toward an electrified flagship that has some excitement. But even with 600hp, it feels like it would be something of an also-ran by the time it reaches the market. If they start with a slightly toned-down P48 for the combustion side they can take it a step further yet. And while I understand they were trying to echo the M1 with the exterior direction, I think that something more a long the lines of the 3.0 CSL Hommage (particularly the R version) would provide a better link to the homologated racing BMWs of the past.
I totally agree with the P48 but I think it terms of philosophy of "convergence" of present and future, inline 6 would have made perfect sense to both enthusiasts and newcomers who primarily know BMW as "silky six". I for what would have been greatly impressed.
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      07-11-2019, 11:46 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Sure, it has technical merit in spades - no argument there.

But in the matter of total corporate value, it fails on the basis of long term flexibility, scalability, and financial sustainability. The fact of the matter is that this could have been BMW's MEB, and then they could be ahead of the game with a range of EV's that compete with the ones that people today want - everything from your Bolt to a Model 3. And, with a little better foresight in the development of the vehicle architecture, they'd have been able to add larger batteries, multiple motors, more powerful motors, etc. Instead, they put the money into the wrong place - the materials. The CFRP certainly made the thing lighter, but then even if you nix that in favor of aluminum or other light-weighting measures, its still going to have a very reasonable weight compared to other products.

Not only that, but it soaked up funds and getting burned tends to leave decision makers gun-shy. It was a breakthrough vehicle program at the time, but it was nevertheless a nasty speed bump, and the ramifications are still taking their tole. Yes, this is all "hindsight 20/20" stuff, but it is nevertheless part of the reason why things are the way they are today with the company somewhat scrambling to get a foothold in order to compete in coming decade.
I don’t know the costs myself, but Sandy Munro says here that in his i3 teardown they found the i3 with its CFRP goodness to be a money maker actually. I forget the minutes when they discuss this, but the whole thing is worth a listen tbh, interesting stuff

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