My wife and I are beginning to think about upgrading our car to something a little more interesting and quality. At the moment we are leaning toward the BMW 320 sedan. This is just an idea at this point based only on aesthetics and reputation and we haven’t started the search seriously. But I happened to mention this to a friend the other day and she vehemently informed me that BMWs were nothing more than ostentation and therefore BMW drivers are “sad”. Now I can’t completely deny being a bit tempted by the status of owning a BMW, but I don’t envy becoming the subject of judgment and scorn.
So I would love to hear what Dopers think. In your experience/opinion, are BMW drivers sad?
I don’t know if they’re sad, but they are certainly douchebags.
BMW (especially if the car is black) driver: Douchebag
Porsche driver: Douchebag with a small penis
Hummer driver: Douchebag who hates the environment
Escalade driver: Douchebag with spinning rims
Prius driver: Douchebag who has convinced himself that driving more is somehow good for the environment
Ford Crown Victoria driver: Douchebag who gets his jollies making people squirm
Toyota Camry driver: In addition to being good looking, intelligent and charming
I’m surprised you mention “quality” given that BMWs have a notorious reputation of unreliablity.
Which crowd’s judgment means more to you? If you need to impress the peer group that drives BMWs, then you need to get a BMW to evade their scorn. If you need to impress the peer group that knows that Lexus, Infiniti, Toyota, Hondas, Saturns are more reliable, then you need to get something else.
Like your friend, I used to dislike BMWs assuming they were nothing more than status symbols for the insecure. But at some point, I began to notice a common theme in Road and Track, Automobile and a bunch of other car related magazines. When reviewing a non-BMW cars, they would frequently say something like “The handling on this “Audi/Mazda/whatever” is amazing. It’s no BMW but it’s close”. I figured if BMW was the standard by which other cars were measured, I should at least check one out so I did. Turns out they were right. The car felt like it could handle every turn, bump and lane change in the road. It felt “right”. I’ve never driven anything else since. If you’re looking for something a little more interesting (wrt driving), it’s a great car.
My advice is don’t care what someone else may think. If they’ve got some misguided notion that only a douchebag would drive one, then that’s their problem, not yours.
BTW, the reliability hasn’t been any worse than any other car I’ve driven.
I think this is part of the problem, both with some BMW drivers and with the perception of BMW drivers in general. (Disclaimer: I have never driven nor owned a BMW).
Assuming you are right about how the car handles, perhaps that handling encourages some drivers to zip around in an (apparently) unsafe and inconsiderate manner. They feel in control, and they aren’t considering how their driving might affect other drivers, so if a BMW zooms by you and then cuts in front of you to get to a freeway exit, instead of slowing down and going behind you, it will seem like jerkish behavior to you, while feeling “natural” and “right” to the driver. Whether it really is jerkish or not, I think, depends largely on whether this zipping and cutting causes you to have to hit your own brakes in self-defense.
If you’re old enough to drive, you should be old enough not to care what other people think. That said, if you like the BMW, like it.
I drive a Prius and I’ve gotten called “eco-freak”, “hippie”, “snob”, and more. For some reason, it comes with an assumption that I’m gonna be preachy about the environment. Honestly, I bought it more because of the gadget-i-ness of the car and its reliability. The fuel efficiency is just a huge bonus.
But I used to be like you. Judging people all over the place because they made more than me, or made less than me, wore certain clothes, drove certain cars, lived in certain neighborhood, ate certain foods, etc. etc. etc. As if their choices had anything to do with me.
The people I hung out with reinforced this attitude. Eventually I moved on. And every once in a while I see something like your post and I just feel the need to comment.
Same here. My wife refuses to own a car that’s out of warranty so we’ve had three new BMWs over the last ten years or so. In that time, I think we’ve only had to make two unscheduled visits to the service department. Excluding flat tires, that is.
Some people will resent BMW owners. I’ve never owned one but IMO they are very nice machines, you just have to be willing to pay the price of the vehicle, insurance, and maintainence/repair, which is all high.
No, that’s pretty clearly jerkish behavior and that person would be doing the same in any car. Being in control is something completely different from being inconsiderate of other drivers. For example, about a month ago, a car ran a red light through an intersection right in front of me. I mean, they just blew through it at 50mph threading the space between me and the car in front of me. I hit the brakes, turned the wheel and could just feel about 500 microprocessors, traction control, anti-squat devices, active rear sway bars and who knows what else keeping the car pointing right where I needed it to go. My wife’s Toyota would have ended up in a collision.
The company I used to work at provided BMWs for free. The catch was that you had to bring in $300k of new business.
The CEO drove a BMW 765i at the time so he wanted to spread the enthusiasm with the employees. It drove like a racecar but was often in the shop for various issues. When that lease was finished, he switched to Mercedes S Class. I don’t know if that car fared any better.
Back in the 80s when “yuppies” was coined and the more ostentatious members of said group quickly became objects of derision, I think it may have been safe to assume that many BMW drivers knew little about the operation of, or the potential inherent to, their car. That’s sad. My mechanic was a Volvo/BMW specialist (I drove the Volvo) and he told me that the difference between owners of the two wrt treatment of their car was off the charts.
Nowadays though I look at Beemer owners completely differently. There are plenty of other status cars the wannabes can go buy. BMW owners of today strike me simply as successful and demanding of luxury performance. Not that you should give a damn what I think, but it sure ain’t negative.