StanceWorks: I want to be wrong, but… I think BMW M has lost its way.

Posted: 2023-08-03 13:40:06
Author: StanceWorks
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Honestly, I’m open to being wrong, here. I don’t think I am though. It really feels like BMW M has lost its way, and more importantly, it feels like BMW has forgotten about enthusiasts like me. What do you think?

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00:00 – M is the most important letter
00:45 – A Dismissal of heritage: the original M3
02:04 – … but BMW is a business, and I get that.
03:01 – What is BMW M Doing?
03:25 – I am biased.
05:19 – But I still feel disconnected from the brand.
06:30 – Today: The XM and everything wrong with it.
10:40 – The change of the M Colors
12:18 – Is BMW to blame? Well, let’s ask Porsche.
13:35 – I’m looking at you, Mr. Van Meel.
14:13 – But what about the 3.0 CSL?
17:02 – This whole thing comes from th eheart.
20:03 – So tell me what YOU think.

StanceWorks Video Transcript

The letter M is for some the most important letter in the alphabet for us it is exemplary of everything a car is meant to be it represents the spirit of driving emboldened by the pursuit of perfection and affirmed by victory and so I should have known that something was wrong in 2014 because

That’s when BMW introduced us to the 4 Series a model intended to separate the 3 Series sedans from their two-door counterparts from that point forward the four series was meant to be a two-door the three series was meant to be a four-door unless of course you ordered a 4 Series

Grand Coupe which was also a four-door and it made for the most confusing nomenclature possible but on top of being confusing What mattered more to me was the sacrifice of branding and Heritage both fans of the brand and normal people are typically familiar with what a 3 Series is and more

Importantly they’re familiar with the Pinnacle of the brand the BMW M3 introduced in 1986 the original M3 was a homologation special meaning it was made specifically so that BMW could go racing with it in contrast to the normal road going 3 Series it was something truly special different in almost every

Measurable way and as a result it dominated in competition cementing its place in the history books as the winningest car in touring car history now the reason this matters is because the original M3 was only ever offered as a two-door coupe it’s part of its DNA and that’s not to say that successive

M3s weren’t offered in different body styles but the M3 in its Genesis was always a coupe and after 30 years of building the M3 brand BMW was willing to just kind of throw that away with the M4 nomenclature it seemed to spit in the face of everything the original M3 had

Accomplished including developing the very identity and brand of what the M3 is and along with it the meaning of the letter m Motorsport now of course BMW Motorsports purpose was to win races but their prime directive if you will was to sell cars the M program would never exist without

The benefits it provides to BMW’s bottom line hence the famous saying win on Sunday sell on Monday folks like you and me race because we love it but it’s often only funded because it lines the right pockets all of that to say there’s no disillusion on my part that BMW’s

Only goal is to sell cars they are after all a business and businesses exist to make money and nothing more so it should come as a surprise to no one that BMW’s M division decades later is only chasing the dollar but just like the 4 Series nomenclature change BMW officially killed the

Motorsport name years ago it’s just m now it might as well stand for meaningless Motorsports enthusiasts like you and me don’t make enough of a difference in the bottom line to justify pandering to at least not in any meaningful way so does that make it a rhetorical question when

I ask with all due respect BMW M what the are you guys doing foreign now I feel like for the dialogue that’s happened and for what’s to come to be constructive we’ve got to get a few things out of the way namely my own biases I need to be upfront about who I

Am and how I feel I consider myself to be a Die Hard BMW fanatic or at least a fanatic of some form of BMW that once was I have owned dozens upon dozens of these cars I have tons of them here in my shop at the moment but I’ve also

Never owned a car newer than 1999. oh look inside the shop reveals I have a very specific interest in BMW’s built from the late 1960s up through the mid 1990s I’m the guy who says silly things like they don’t make them like they used to

And I insist over and over that there is nothing that offers the same Driving Experience as the original M cars not Ferrari not Porsche nothing these BMWs are the best machines on the road outside of these cars my interests are admittedly relatively limited and to expand upon that when I don’t like

Something I tend to go all in I’m super opinionated so anyone that knows me is completely unsurprised by my viewpoint about where BMW M stands today but that doesn’t mean I’m not at minimum well versed in all things BMW in fact I spent years working with them to document their racing efforts across

North America I’ve photographed official press releases I’ve photographed art cars and I’ve spent cumulative weeks behind the wheel of everything the brand has to offer up until around 2018 or so my own personal interests are not mutually exclusive to the respect I hold for BMWs that fall outside of my own

Narrow interests I’m willing to admit that the new M3 is a good car great even maybe not great looking but I respect it even if I don’t like it nevertheless I find myself as an Enthusiast completely disconnected from the brand today or to be more specific

From BMW M sure the BMW brand as a whole continues to make commuters iteration after iteration for the Layman that wants a particular blend of performance and luxury and they’re good at it too just last year they sold 332 000 cars in the United States alone the M division though it always felt

Like something special at least to me the Mad scientists that built the M1 I’d love to imagine them turning their attention to the relatively benign E28 5 series sedan and saying what if we put the engine from this into that and then they kept up with their Antics

They gave us the homologated E30 M3 they gave us an E36 M3 with 321 horsepower at a time when the 911 Turbo only had 270 to play with they went on to develop the incredible Driveline that powered the McLaren F1 they put a V10 in the E60

They put a V8 in the E90 so on and so forth BMW M has changed a lot over the years but they’ve gotten a lot of things right and that brings us to today or rather eight months ago with BMW’s launch of the XM now to be clear I’m not picking

The most egregious vehicle I can just to make a point no this is BMW’s self-claimed first true M car since the M1 was released 45 years ago no normal version of this car exists its DNA is M bottom to top in the most Thoroughbred sense it is representative of what BMW M

Is today and the future of where M will be tomorrow so let’s talk about it now let’s get Aesthetics out of the way first I think this is perhaps the single ugliest vehicle I’ve ever seen but that’s all I’m gonna say about it looks are subjective some folks out there are

Bound to like it and harping on a car that I don’t like doesn’t help to illustrate where I think BMW has truly lost its way BMW doesn’t really cater to me anymore and I know that I can reconcile that fact instead the problem begins with this guy

Mr van meel the CEO of bmwm now I don’t mean to single him out but as chief executive officer For Better or Worse he’s going to be who I put the blame on you see he’s the one hosting the official press launch of the XM where

The first tenets of this car are defined as quote highly exclusive and quote expressive to a customer’s lifestyle this is followed immediately by highlighting the quote exaggerated illuminated kidneys and the double headlights none of this stuff whatsoever is definitively m but he keeps going he says there are

Some m-specific details I kid you not such as the quote double spoke mirrors which he says are quote typical m two minutes into his presentation and I can tell we’re just not on the same page here and moments later the quote authentic real exhaust pipes are touted

As an important feature and all of that is before we get to the self-titled backstage first class passenger compartment it has high performance sport seats with special details like embroidered pillows the Prismatic roof is highlighted as being reminiscent of quote a nightclub with its design and color changing LEDs

To punctuate the headliner the next words out of BMW’s mouth is that this is quote yet another example of why m is the most powerful letter in the world now there is a long-running joke that M only now stands for marketing and it seems like they’re really just leaning

Into it there’s really nothing Motorsport inspired about this car yeah BMW’s website claims that it has quote track level performance but that is quite literally as far as the Motorsport inspiration goes although that doesn’t stop BMW from touting the fact that this is the most powerful M car in history

Now to be fair the label Edition which looks remarkably like The A-Team van makes a genuinely impressive 738 horsepower but all that tells me is that we have an impressively fast nightclub on 23-inch Wheels I’m still steadfast and believing that this is an m in name only

Now on the other hand I am happy to admit that there is a use case for this vehicle ignoring the Aesthetics it does seem like a nice way to be chauffeured around for a night out on the town but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like this

Is an outright insult to what BMW M began as or what it built a lineage upon last year marks the 50th anniversary of BMW M and the XM is how BMW decided to honor that Monumental occasion so what gives is the track level performance claimed on BMW’s website what makes this

An M car is this truly a worthy successor to the M1 clearly I think BMW is completely out of touch but then again BMW has had a habit of ignoring their own Heritage in fact I’d argue they flat out don’t care about it the icons and the historic moments of

Their past are acknowledged when they’re advantageous but little respect is actually given where it is dare I say ode I think that began when BMW decided to change the M colors light blue purple and red and they had meaning believe it or not the blue is obvious it comes from the

Blue on the Bavarian flag a big surprise coming from a company called Bavarian Motorworks the red on the other hand might come as a shock it’s the color of Texaco are you not familiar with the BMW and Texaco Partnership of the early 1970s well worry not it didn’t ever actually

Come to fruition but The Branding work had been done and the Red stayed and the purple is simple enough it’s what results of the Union between the two now I don’t want to say that BMW needs to hold on to a relationship with Texaco that never happened that might be a

Little bit clingy but the colors earned their keep through the 70s and 80s as BMW and those colors dominated almost everything that they came across today though the colors have just been watered down masculinized the purple has given way to a boring dark blue the vibrant red now

Feels muted and even the blue pulled from their own flag is now just boring perhaps it makes sense then that the brand has followed suit with its own colors but Mike you say BMW’s only doing what Sells Cars This is just supply and demand don’t hate the player hate the

Game you can’t fault BMW for doing what is going to sell and you’re not wrong I can’t fault you there however I do firmly believe that there is a way to sell a lot of cars without disrespecting your own Heritage and for that I give you Porsche

Now as far as I can tell there is no car brand on Earth that pays more tribute to their own history and Heritage hell beginning with the 356 and on to the 911 Porsche has been stubbornly stuffing the engine in the back of their Flagship Car

Not because it’s the best solution no we all know that the Cayman lineup has been nerfed so it doesn’t take the 911’s lunch money Porsche is doing it because that’s just the way that it’s supposed to be it’s what it was it’s what built the brand it’s What Porsche owners want and sure

There’s room for vehicles like Porsche’s Cayenne to exist I don’t expect Porsche to cater to 911 owners and 911 owners only in fact we wouldn’t have the 911 without the Cayenne given it saved the company upon its introduction and so I do implore BMW to make Vehicles like the

XM I don’t actually have a problem with the car itself just please please for the love of God Mr van meel don’t bastardize the M brand while you make it frankly this isn’t even your brand to water down you might be in charge at the moment but

BMW M will be around long after you’re gone and moved on to the next brand that offers you a significant pay raise just like BMW bought you from Audi I’ve been with BMW longer than your presence and I’ll be here after and unfortunately the stains you’re leaving behind on the M

Legacy will be here too now if any Die Hard BMW guys have made it this far into this video past the absolute flogging I’ve given our favorite Mark I will at least give some credit where credit is due for example BMW recently announced the return of the

3.0 CSL a wide body 553 horsepower monster that pays direct tribute to its predecessor and the Very car that got M started the E9 3.0 CSL the Motorsport blood that courses through this car’s veins is still pumped by an inline six-cylinder engine although now 50 years later it wears a

Pair of turbochargers and it also wears the same Stripes as its ancestor although I’ll point out again that the colors aren’t quite right now you might think Mike this is BMW doing exactly what you’re asking for your entire argument is silly and I’d be inclined to agree if BMW didn’t price

This dressed up fancy M4 at a staggering 780 000 it’s quite literally 10 times the price of a standard M4 for what 80 extra horsepower and some spicy fenders and it’s also limited to just 50 units so is this really a motorsport car or is it just a marketing exercise

And I do feel required to acknowledge and appreciate BMW’s recent entry into lmdh prototype racing although it’s tough to find it what I would call accessible Grand Touring prototypes are cool if you’re into that kind of thing but it’s about as unrelatable as it gets

For the Layman it’s not like DTM where I can watch the silhouette of a car I can buy on a showroom floor race against the competition and it’s not like formula one that represents the best of the best instead it’s just weird it’s cool but it’s weird

It’s hard to love the BMW of today the same way that I love the BMW from the past some may dismiss that as looking back through rose-colored glasses but for the most part I got to participate in some of BMW’s history I’ve made friends with crew chiefs drivers and even figureheads within BMW

Corporate some of which will undoubtedly be broken-hearted when they see that I’ve decided to make this video maybe my frustrations will be dismissed as warrantless or maybe now I’m the quote Old Man yelling at Clouds but while I watch Germany’s other big three Mercedes Audi and Porsche all at least

Try to make something happen within Formula One BMW’s busy getting hacked by d a bizarre concept car that focuses more on driver avatars than the driving experience which is maddening coming from a car company that Brands itself as the ultimate driving machine now I should admit that I’ve been Brash

And abrasive through this video and I should also admit that BMW is steadfastly focused on the future and that is admirable but what I don’t feel like BMW is doing is focusing on enthusiasts even if only in some minor capacity BMW was my first love I grew up loving

These cars and I’m always going to come back to them no matter what I’ve spent the last 15 years building a community around a shared love for these machines and that only comes from the heart but that very same Community is left scratching their heads feeling totally disconnected from the efforts the brand

Is making today frankly BMW none of us get it now I don’t want to speak on everyone’s behalf but I know my feelings are echoed through massive swaths of the community BMW May or certainly will be selling cars in the future but I can’t help to

Imagine it ain’t gonna be to People Like Us now I neither expect nor want BMW to stop making cars that don’t cater to me I do however think there’s value in respecting your own legacy again if the Cayenne can exist side by side with a Porsche GT3 RS then there’s room for the

Letter M to still mean something important we’re all finally reaching an age where we can buy these new machines despite the hard economic and social challenge this generation has faced but those of us that grew up adoring this brand are we the ones that will be buying these forward-facing BMWs

I don’t have an answer because I can’t see the future however I have nothing but frustration for a brand I care so deeply about the negativity I express is because I care immensely it feels like my own brand forgot about people like me in the chase for sales

Especially in foreign markets and yeah that makes sense on paper I get it it’s business but man if it isn’t the worst feeling in the world as a die-hard BMW Enthusiast mostly because I know it doesn’t have to feel this way it only feels this way because BMW lost their

Way somewhere along the line so this isn’t a video to Push BMW to not make something like the XM it’s a reminder that enthusiasts are still here but it feels like the best we’ve gotten is an lmdh car that isn’t relatable at all or a CSL that’s rumored to cost as

Much as a house that I’ll never be able to afford anyway however I want to say one last thing and that’s that I’m open to changing my mind despite my current dispositions I do want to love BMW again so I’ll challenge anyone here to tell me what they think and moreover I’ll

Challenge anyone at BMW to change my mind put me behind the wheel and show me I have no idea what I’m talking about because BMW if you can change my mind I’ll be your best Ambassador so the ball is now in your court all right I’ve said my piece that is

Where the script ends I hope you guys enjoyed this video If you agreed with me or even if you disagree with me let me know in the comments let’s have a discussion about it because what’s important to note is that I’m open to being wrong I very well could just be

The guy who doesn’t get it I could be stuck in my ways or I just don’t appreciate what BMW is up to now and I want you guys to help me change my mind if that is the case but with that said if you enjoyed this video if you think

It’s worth chatting about or if you think you know somebody that would like it send it to them it helps this channel grow leave a comment leave a like or subscribe if you haven’t and as always thank you guys for supporting the channel and last but not least a thank

You to BMW for making cars that I truly love and for making me the Enthusiast that I am as I said before this entire video comes from a serious passion for machines that I love and a brand that I love even more so with that said I will always be a BMW

Guy even if I’m not really into the cars they’re making today but that could change we’ll have to find out