Best? Moderate? Worthless?

Ryan Modafe

June 16, 2023

BMW, an icon of a car brand in today’s world, was founded in 1916 as a company producing airplane engines. Over the last century, it has evolved into a premium quality brand with luxury and comfort written all over its relatively steep price tag. With a reputation that has won acclaim for excellence, BMW has not been without its flops, oddities, and masterpieces. 

One of the most iconic vehicles from BMW’s lineup is the M3 E30 model which was produced between 1987 and 1991. It generated much steam for a company deep in the waters of racing trying to get a leg up against Mercedes, their foremost adversary. With the E30, a new revolution was sparked for both companies in tight competition with one another and laid the path for a new era of race car production for them. With an original top speed of 146 miles per hour and successfully winning against Mercedes’ obsolete model, BMW’s statement had been made clear as a dominating force to be reckoned with in the DTM racing scene. With its undeniable success as a racing vehicle and the following built for the car over the years, the E30 has cemented itself among the most legendary of BMW models. 

BMW has not always had a past of history-making automobiles, and the Isetta marks one of their strangest productions to date. Between 1955 and 1962, it fared quite well in terms of sales and sold above 150000 units. People were greatly enjoying “mini” vehicles and the compactness of the Isetta pleased many. However, 60 years later it is difficult to see the appeal of such a grotesque and bland looking car. Its hindrances did not only lie in its looks but also in the fact that it did not have a reverse gear, making it a great hassle to park or store as it could not have a wall blocking it. The acceleration on the vehicle was also atrocious, taking a whopping minute and 53 seconds in order to reach a speed of 44 miles per hour. While it still held multiple debuts in pop culture, it possessed little to no practicality as a transport vehicle and even less so for its elegance. 

With the recent all-electric uprising amongst automobile makers, BMW decided to jump in and unfortunately produced an absolutely sub-par excuse for a luxury vehicle. The BMW i3 is an all-electric car with modest reliability and a fair driving experience. However, the exterior of the i3 simply plunges its value and makes its $45k price tag a ludicrous request. In their mission statement, “[BMW] aspires to be the most successful, most sustainable premium manufacturer for individual mobility”, they claim to pursue both sustainability and premium quality however the i3 fails to deliver. The BMW i4 is a much better option at a very close price range that beats the i3 where it lacked.

Over its long history, BMW has produced many different types of cars, with some accelerating into success and others that have not been so well-received. But in all its triumphs and failures, BMW has generally been on an upwards trajectory and if models like the mystic i8 have anything to show for, it is that BMW can aspire to its dreams of success if and only if it does not allow the same mistakes to recur.