BMW Doesn't Want to Hear You Complain About How Its Old Cars Were Better
'I do not want to hear that shit anymore,' one BMW exec reportedly said.
Lamenting over how new BMWs aren't quite as good to drive as old BMWs is a favorite pastime among the automotive commentariat. One BMW exec, however, has had enough.
In an interview with Australia's Motoring at the Paris Motor Show where the company debuted its brand new 3 Series, BMW development chief and board member Klaus Fröhlich talked up the new car's dynamic chops. While doing so, he preemptively and candidly called out the almost inevitable criticism from journalists that the new 3er won't be as light, engaging, or visually subtle as its predecessors.
"It has to beat everybody in the segment in driving dynamics because all the Australian, U.K., and American journalists say 'Oh the E46 CSL was the last real 3 Series'," Fröhlich told Motoring. "I do not want to hear that shit anymore."
Fröhlich continued, "First thing and this is for me the most important thing; you can drive fast and completely relaxed. You don't feel how fast you are. Second thing and this thing is a big achievement; this car is much more valuable, it has much better materials and it is solid like a rock." The new G20 3 Series will be up to 121 pounds lighter and have a center of gravity 10 millimeters lower than the car it replaces while being bigger overall with a wider track. It'll be the first 3 Series to dump the manual transmission.
The BMW man acknowledged that the brand, for some, still represents featherweight, high-power, analog sedans—a type of car that probably wouldn't sell very well today.
"I think as a company BMW has a big history of compact four-seaters with a lot of power—1600, 2002, the first 3 Series, the 323 with two exhaust pipes. This is BMW still in the minds of many people," said Fröhlich. "But from the heart of the brand [the 3 Series] is still the most important car. It is the right mixture of having the character and having the volume. You can have a super-sharp brand shaper very race equipped, but it will only sell some thousand units—it will not affect the brand. This is a multiplier and it’s sporty."
While BMW's desire to make more palatable vehicles for the sake of volume is understandable, the journalist criticisms aren't without merit. Earlier in the year, it was revealed that Mazda—a champion of affordable, fun-to-drive cars—had stopped benchmarking BMWs in favor of the new Toyota Camry, of all things.
We've reached out to BMW to see if it has any more potentially expletive-laden comments on the matter and will update this story if we hear back.
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