There is a spark. A brief flash that surges at the sight of a BMW. It knows no limits of time or geography and wandering a BMW Dealership Cincinnati drivers experience the same sensational awe as one would have felt at the Berlin Motor Show in the 1930’s. But what is it about a BMW that generates such a primal, and universal response? What is it about a BMW’s visage that has proven so successful across multiple generations of drivers?
Impactful First Impression
A vehicle’s front end is the automotive equivalent of real estate curb appeal, facilitating the crucial first impression that the vehicle casts upon motorists and passers-by. It should be eye-candy, the proverbial clickbait that compels someone to explore it further, driven by an insatiable need to see below the surface.
With this in mind, a successfully-designed front fascia represents a near-perfect fusion of on-brand design and innovative aesthetic. The artistry required to achieve such a balance is easily overlooked, but the effect is almost universal. And few automakers have proven enduringly successful as BMW in this regard.
From the iconic kidney-shaped grille to their distinctive roundel badging, there is no risk of mistaking a BMW for another vehicle. And yet the mythology behind each of those designs has proven self-sustaining, over the better part of nine decades.
The introduction of the BMW 303 in 1933 featured a mirrored-grille shaping inspired by the designs of a lesser-known (and ultimately failed) roadster. Embraced by the automaker and Bimmer enthusiasts alike, the concept would evolve over time, but would never be abandoned (or stray too far from its roots). So rooted is it within BMW’s legacy, that we fear for the career prospects of any aspiring BMW designer that would suggest otherwise.
Unmistakeable, the blue, white and black roundel is among the mightiest of automotive brands. A 1929 publicity shot gave birth to the misconception that the circular logo represented an airscrew propeller set against a blue sky. Falsely reinforced over time, it seemed a plausible explanation based on BMW’s background in airplane engines. However inaccurate, BMW’s logo continues to represent the achievement of the airborne, rather than aspirations of the grounded. A BMW is an enduring symbol of status, a legacy that shows no signs of faltering.
This sort of prevailing iconography feels almost absent among so many other automakers, even those with the similar centennial legacies. It speaks to BMW’s longevity and provides just as much reason as it ever has, to explore all that BMW has to offer.
Legacy of Innovation
In anything (and everything) it takes a certain degree of confidence to brand yourself as ‘The Ultimate’. At least it would if you weren’t already held in such high regard by industry and critics alike. BMW had long been considered an ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ before their marketing team decided to co-opt the term and make it ‘official’.
But such a moniker would seem overzealous if it wasn’t continually reinforced. This, of course, poses no concern to BMW whose long-standing reputation of performance-inspired innovation shines like a beacon.
From the streamlined design of the BMW 328 in the mid-1930’s to the Valvetronic engine of the BMW 316ti, BMW made good use of the 20th century setting benchmarks. Their dedication to higher standards of mobility, luxury and sustainability in the 21st century are clearly evidenced by their current offerings as well their projects currently in development.
Staying true to form, perhaps the best example is the BMWi sub-brand.
Today’s driver has more expectations than simply getting from Point A to Point B. In fact, never before have the demands of drivers felt so influential over vehicle design. Becoming less about ‘what you need’ and more about ‘everything that you want’, today’s vehicles must (at a bare minimum) offer performance, efficiency, comfort and technology (including connectivity). If even economy brands are held to that standard, it’s easy to see the pressure placed on luxury brands.
BMW aims to redefine sustainable transportation for the post-combustion age. Utilizing Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic allows for countless benefits. As strong as steel, albeit at a fraction of the weight, CRFP bridges the gap between racing technology and sustainable driving. By minimizing vehicle weight, it allows for the more effective use of alternative engine types.
With that in mind, we shouldn’t be surprised that the hatchback BMW i3 does more than just meet base expectations. A featherweight EV, the i3’s carbon fiber body is inspired, and the vehicle is 95% recyclable – built from sustainable materials. Encouraging quicker acceleration than expected among EV, the i3 earns high marks. And with the addition of a larger battery, it gains a 45% increase in terms of storage capacity bringing its electric range up to 114 miles on a single charge. There is also the option of a Range Extender, increasing the length of your next adventure.
If the i3 represents an elevated approach to traditional EV. the i8 represents another level of innovation, fusing sports performance with plug-in hybrid technology. Possibly the perfect realization of ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ the i8 achieves up to 330 miles per charge (equivalent to approx. 76 mpg). And with a 4.2-second sprint from 0-60 mph, it’s a testament to where performance-inspired innovation can take sustainable technology.
Equally ‘next-level’ is the i8’s styling. From an engineering perspective, the vehicle is designed to reduce drag, improve aerodynamics and increase cooling. From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s just breath-taking. With a low-wide stance, every inch of its styling feels futuristic. And its scissor doors only further this, evoking memories of science fiction past, and reminding us that the future is now.
Looking Back at the Future
BMW has (and has always had) a crystalline sense of self. From the enduring strength of its iconography to the unending fruits of its innovation, BMW remains dedicated to redefining the driving experience. Setting the bar for what ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ should be, BMW beckons you to explore deeper (just as it has since the beginning).