Tuesday, March 15, 2011

House of Style.

As much as it's like chewing on a cat turd for me to admit this, Michael Jordan had a point in this old web article I stumbled across today.

Bangle's designs have now been exposed to time and, while I still hate the '02 7-series with a screaming purple passion, I have largely come to terms with the new 6-series, and the Z4 has... Vishnu save me from my fellow Z3 owners ... gotten to the point where I find it kind of attractive (although the unbroken Oldsmobilesque sweep of its dash is still deadly dull.) And, heresy of heresies, I now find myself thinking that the eagle-eyed E60 5-series is a dead-sexy-looking automobile.

Through a decade where a majority of other designers were looting their companies' vaults like Howard Carter with CAD software, here was someone who was at least trying something new. And if every Camry on the road is afflicted with a "me-too" case of Bangle Butt, well, that's hardly his fault, is it?

36 comments:

Robin said...

Hey, don't look at me, I still miss my old W126 S class Mercedes ...

og said...

The only beemer I ever loved was a 2002. it was before beemers were cool, and everyone laughed at it. When they became status symbols I stopped caring. They could make a BMW Juke and I'd never notice.

perlhaqr said...

I would take an M6 if someone insisted on giving me one. :)

loren said...

People buy Beemers in spite of the way they look. Some cars you enjoy from the outside. Some from the inside. This Euro box is the latter kind (except for I Drive). Now, I've often considered the 6 series. Great from the front. Just have to find a way of curing the Bangle butt. Maybe if the rear spoiler was cut off??

Anonymous said...

I liked the new 5, but talk about different lengths of sausage, when they shrunk the look to fit the 3 in '06 the butt instantly reminded me of a Hyundai...still does. And yet the coupe version is beautiful; entirely different profile and rear clip. Go figure.

I didn't see the need to clutter the design of the classic roadster style of the Z; the 4 looks like a midget bulked up on 'roids. Doesn't matter though, my big ass won't fit either one.

I wouldn't drop 100K on a car, but having our '05 325 serviced and basking in the warmth and wonderment that is the BMW warranty experience as performed by United BMW Roswell, allowed me to get upcloseandpersonal with the drop-dead gorgeous piece of design and engineering that is the 6 coupe in black with red leather...makes me tingle thinking about it now.

A few hits and a few misses in my view...but success and longevity speak for themselves. Job well done, Bangle, I hope you enjoy the fruits of your genius and effort in what is surely a very comfortable and well-deserved retirement.

AT

Keads said...

"All new cars look like electric shavers" - Marv- Sin City

Brad K. said...

Tam,

A Chevy pickup turned into my Ford Escort Wagon a few years back. Enterprise Rent-A-Car handed me the keys to some Chrysler product that was supposed to be ritzy, and just didn't feel comfortable. Then it froze up on me.

The lady at Enterprise was apologetic - the only vehicle they had was a umpteen passenger Ford E-350 van.

Tam, that was the most fun vehicle I recall driving since I got my license in 1969. It even got better mileage than the Chrysler (by a very little bit). Pep, control, that van was just plain fun!

James said...

Tam,
As a longtime Bimmer fan (Beemers are motorcycles) I agree with you-funny how Chris Bangle's designs were accused of "ruining" BMW, yet were copied by just about everyone!
I still love my '95 525i and miss my old '77 630CSi! Your Z must be a blast!

Tam said...

Og,

"When they became status symbols I stopped caring."

Not buying something because of what other people think about it is no different than buying something because of what other people think about it.

Bram said...

I always disliked the 5-series. Then the dealership loaned me one while the wife's 3 was being serviced. A mile down the road I got it. Nice car to drive - unlike the X3 they usually give me which I absolutely despise.

Maybe I'll get myself a 1-series when the kids leave. Small, fast, and not that expensive.

og said...

"Not buying something because of what other people think about it is no different than buying something because of what other people think about it."

Wow. I would never have suspected that I give people the impression that I give a flying rats ass what anyone thinks about anything.I'mna have to work on weeding out that very quickly.

No, what I object to is not what people think, but the way the cars are built. As is evidenced by the Bangle fiasco, they are more invested in the appearance and style of the car than the function, and that's when it dies for me. Sure, they still make pretty good handling cars, but you could yank out the suspension and replace it with gummy bears and people would still rave about what wonderful road cars they are. The number of people that can actually drive, and use the abilities of a BMW, are on a par with the number of people who use the offroad capability of their Canyonero EarthSodomizer. And most of the people who are interested in driving for driving's sake won't buy a BMW, they'll buy something faster which handles better anmd costs a whole lot less.

Unless they just want to impress their friends.

Of course if they want to drive their friends out of their lives, they usually buy an Audi.

Boat Guy said...

The 5 is a classic case of the "middle kid".
Tam, as long's you never lose your purple passion at the travesty that was the 02 7-series you'll be OK.
Splitting hairs; "Beemers" have two wheels. "Bimmers" have four.

Second (and last) owner of an 82 320i

Tam said...

Og,

"...they are more invested in the appearance and style of the car than the function..."

Exterior styling on an automobile serves about the same function as... oh, I don't know... say, engraving on a firearm.

Its presence or absence doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the function of the device itself.

perlhaqr said...

Og: And most of the people who are interested in driving for driving's sake won't buy a BMW, they'll buy something faster which handles better anmd costs a whole lot less.

What would you recommend? I don't get to spend a whole lot of seat time in high end cars, but I've been pretty impressed the few times I've gotten to drive a BMW. If there's something faster that handles better for less money, I want to put it on my christmas list. :D

Bram said...

I have not piloted sedans that can out-handle BMW's at the same price point. With the Sports Package, the BMW's are very hard to beat through a corner.

You do have to pay handsomely for horsepower with the BMW’s - jumping from a 128 or 328 to the turbo “35” model costs about $7k. Those are expensive little turbines.

Anonymous said...

To be clear, I think what Og is talking about is a BMW 2002 as opposed to a 2002 BMW.

And he's right on one count: those little 60's-70's boat-shaped utilitarian screamers were wonderful pure driver's cars, though I don't think you'd want to pit one against an M or even Tam's first-gen Z on a road course.

But he's wrong on another: even back then they were totally and undeniably cool. And to say otherwise with an exclusivist air is in fact reverse-coolism, and as we all know, coolism is bad Og, you f'n coolist! ;)

AT

Jayson said...

status symbolizing- you're doing it wrong.

Anyone can get a BMW. You can buy used and not even come close to breaking the bank.

A status symbol would be a maserati or a bentley.

Don't let teenager-style angst get in the way of buying a good car.

Standard Mischief said...

My philosophy is first realize that a car is probably the worst depreciation asset that you own. Therefore my goals:

Spend as little as possible for a well-made reliable car.

Financing a car is insane if you have any wrench-fu at all.

Likewise, carefully consider insurance. If you insure an older car for full replacement value, you will pay fees equal to full replacement value in as few as three years. If you ever have to call that clause of the insurance contract, you can be assured that they will do their damnedest to screw you. Consider tucking a few thousand away and self-insure past the legal minimunm.

for a daily driver, you want to be able to blend into all the anonymous grey you can get.

Bonus points if you can push-start it.

The car for consideration should be highly popular so that many aftermarket parts are avaiable. This will keep the parts and repair manual prices sane, even if you go for the (usually) higher quality genuine factory parts

Bonus points if the car is commonly carried in the bone-yard. Depending on local real-estate prices, parts for your 25 year old car may be pure unobtanium. I'm starting to see 04 toyotas here locally. The current sweet-spot seems to be 95-00 or so.

Anonymous said...

Shit, S.M., I can't tell if you're commenting on the car post or the TEOTWAWKI one...

Still, great advice if we go the Cuba route, and who knows?

Until then, though, I think I'll continue to use the bucks that I don't piss away on the vices I don't have to indulge the one that I do. The pure pleasure that I derive from buying and driving fun cars, the time and money I don't waste buying parts and busting knuckles, and the peace of mind it gives that wifey is unlikely to break down on I-4 between here and Tampa is more than worth the price, and arguably the better of the cost/value models.

Right now the wife's C300 is flawless and still fun at the advanced (for me) age of 40 months and 50K miles, but Tam's got me thinking again about a new 335i Coupe. Different strokes and all that, I guess.

AT

Tam said...

Standard Mischief,

The TT and SLK lost out in my first round of decision-making back in '01 because the former was FWD and the latter only came with a granny gearchanger.

That left the Boxster and the Zed Drei. I went with the one that had more user-serviceable parts inside and was based on the tried-and-true E36 platform, which is anvil tough and common enough that junkyard & aftermarket repair parts will be cheap(ish) and plentiful for years to come.

Ten years later, I am still not disappointed with my choice. ;)

og said...

"If there's something faster that handles better for less money, I want to put it on my christmas list. :D"

Go test drive a Subaru WRX sti. Easy to find parts for it, the parts won't be 1/3 the cost of the comparable parts on any German cushymobile, and if you can shift and drive, you can very easily keep up with a BMW z4. With the difference in price, (10-15k) you can buy a cheap brand new second car to commute in, if you want. It's a car that was meant to be driven and driven hard, and man, is it a hoot to drive.

og said...

" And to say otherwise with an exclusivist air is in fact reverse-coolism, and as we all know, coolism is bad Og, you f'n coolist! ;)"

lol. You got that right, Al. Anyone ever accuses me of being cool is gonna get his ass kicked.

When I was driving a rusty, funky 2002 with a cracked back window and non-matching color seats, my classmates had Camaros and Porsches and Thunderbirds and Corvettes and Chargers and the like. I had a crap car. But I had fun in it.

og said...

"Exterior styling on an automobile serves about the same function as... oh, I don't know... say, engraving on a firearm."

OK. I'mna be at the Indy 1500 this weekend. I'll see if I can by a firearm without engraving, and you see if you can buy a BMW without anything done to it by the styling department. I think I know who will come home empty handed.

The thing is, you have no choice but to pay for the styling department, and that's that. If a car costs a finite amount of money, and it does, and the manufacturer decides it wants to spend a wad of cash hiring Bangle and his design team to "Redo" the car, guess where that money is going to come from? That's right, engineering.

The abovementioned Subaru is a rally bred car wth 300 hp. In Europe people go out of their way to buy stripped down cars with big engines (See Ford Cosworth) to drive in rallys. The fact that people here aren't clamoring at BMW dealerships to buy stripped down beemers so they can experience the joy of driving them tells me they are looking for fashion accessories and not driving excitement. BMW is the HK of cars. Are they great? You betcha. Do 5% of the owners use them for their intended purpose, at the fuzzy edges of their performance? Not even close. :)

Gewehr98 said...

A brand-new M6 passed me today on the Interstate as I was on my way to work. Whoo, boy, that sucker looked like it wasn't even breathing hard at 80mph...

perlhaqr said...

Gewehr98: Yeah, I mentioned the M6 because I (mistakenly, evidently) got into an off-the-light-and-onto-the-highway pissing contest with one in my '72 Satellite. Um, oops. I didn't realise the thing next to me had 500 horsepower. (And still gets better gas mileage, damnit.)

Og: I'd forgotten about Subaru. Good call.

Tam said...

Og,

"The abovementioned Subaru is a rally bred car wth 300 hp. In Europe people go out of their way to buy stripped down cars with big engines (See Ford Cosworth) to drive in rallys."

I've known what a WRX was since long before they were available stateside, Og. I've got forty+ years of C&D in the attic, thanks. If I wanted an AWD hatchback, it would have been at the top of my list (actually a Saab 9-2X would be cool, because it's all pretty and styled and stuff.)

But I bought my Z3 because I'm a plush bottom poseur who knows shit about cars and wanted to impress my friends.

og said...

"But I bought my Z3 because I'm a plush bottom poseur who knows shit about cars and wanted to impress my friends."

I certainly wouldn't(and didn't) suggest that of you, and I'm not trying to gore your ox, you've just got it parked there. Fact is, Most BMW drivers are, frankly, plush bottomed poseurs who know shit about cars and want to impress their friends. Which is what I'm saying. And can easily be demonstrated.

I never spent a lot of time reading about cars, I just drive them. More in a year than most will drive in ten.

Tam said...

Og,

"I never spent a lot of time reading about cars, I just drive them. More in a year than most will drive in ten."

By that criteria, any random Greyhound jockey is ten times the hot shoe as Walter Röhrl.

og said...

"By that criteria, any random Greyhound jockey is ten times the hot shoe as Walter Röhrl."

Depends on what the greyhound driver does in his spare time. The point i was making, is that instead of reading reviews of cars, I go test drive the cars. Intil I was forty, I test drove a couple cars every weekend.

Standard Mischief said...

Tam and AT:

Realize that this is coming from someone who has hit 6+ deer in 3 collisions. I've also have another three close calls.

Also, about every 5 years or so I get a "love tap" by some a$$h*le who can't drive. Last time it was a custom fender from a dumb girl who I was trying to let merge in front of me. Actually, what she wanted to do was to make a left turn into a strip-mall from the far right lane. She stuck around just long enough for me to snap a photo of her SUV

Hooray if the nazi roller-skate works for you, for me, it would be a garage queen.

Standard Mischief said...

>Until then, though, I think I'll continue to use the bucks that I don't piss away on the vices I don't have to indulge the one that I do.

Again, it's likely if I had something that nice I'd promptly run myself into a freezer full of "free" venison.

Tam said...

Og,

"The point i was making, is that instead of reading reviews of cars, I go test drive the cars. Intil I was forty, I test drove a couple cars every weekend."

Heh. That takes a girl back...

Every Sunday we'd have five hours, from 1 to 6, to try and move some iron, and if it was a pretty day, you could bet your bottom dollar you'd spend half of it giving test drives to two or four guys who were only there so they could tell their buddies they'd driven the new _______. They were easy to spot, because they were the ones where we spent the whole test drive with them telling me about my product. ;)

It wasn't nearly as bad when I moved to a Dodge store; Daytonas just didn't have the star power of an IROC-Z or Z51 'Vette...

Anyhow, that was years ago, as you can tell.

We'll just leave this one thinki... no, knowing that the other just Wrong On The Internet. :)

og said...

"Wrong on the internet"
I've never suggested anything of the sort, and looking through my comments, I can't find anywhere where I said that. If you got that impression, I apologize.

I have always, and will always, respect your right to be a fanboi of anything you desire, and all I've said from the beginning was that all drivers (of bmw) are Not You. Demonstrably, the SUV's you love to make fun of are used for their intended design purpose far more often than BMW's are used for theirs, as it's still legal to take trucks off road and driving a BMW at it's design parameters on the road is illegal.


I never discussed anything with my test drive co-pilots, because I couldn't get a word in edgewise between the screams of "THIS IS A TEST DRIVE NOT A RALLY" and "YOU HARM THIS CAR IN ANY WAY YOU BOUGHT IT!!" etc. More than a few salesmen quit. That's why I stopped doing it at around forty, I ran out of dealerships. :)

Tam said...

What pansies!

John McCracken didn't scare me when we took my 924S out after he replaced the clutch, but competent drivers usually don't. Heck, I didn't scare myself when my ratty Dart 340 Sport pirouetted through 180 degrees when I overcooked that bend on Power's Ferry. (Although oncoming traffic was probably spooked getting passed by the same car, first backwards and then forwards.)

You needed a better class of salescritter... :)

Anonymous said...

"It wasn't nearly as bad when I moved to a Dodge store..."

You shoulda hung around for the Viper; risk your life sitting next to random Steve McQueen wannabes with no chance whatever of making a sale or a buck...fun.

And I'm pretty sure that was the same two or four guys who would come straight to my shop all jacked up after their test drive and try to field strip my new inventory on the countertop. Tossed a few for that; leg-pissing dicks.

AT

CGHill said...

In general, if I haven't scared the salescritter, I haven't done enough of a test drive.