• More M dilution? BMW "is" model line dead, to be replaced with M Performance Line

      The dilution of the M brand and BMW turning its back on its history just continues. Car and Driver reports they have information from a source inside BMW that "is" models will no longer be offered and instead they will be replaced with the M Performance Line. Kind of a sad day for longtime BMW fans as the "is" models were very special denoting fuel injection with the i and sport with the s.

      Some great BMW cars were denoted in such fashion and it served to even protect the M brand such as when BMW called the X5 a 4.8is rather than putting an M badge on it. At that time BMW believed the letter M only belonged on a select few vehicles worthy of the name making it exclusive, special, and sought after. Now, practically everyone is going to have an M on their BMW. People will now think their cars are somehow in the same league as other M vehicles even though they do not have motors or other parts developed by the Motorsport division which is the whole point of putting an M on a BMW in the first place. It's simply maddening.

      So why is BMW doing it? Money and marketing. The letter M sells. BMW themselves calls it the most powerful letter in the world and it is likely because of the impact it has on their bottom line. Imagine selling the M idea and not even having to provide an M car. Instant profit without the additional engineering and investment of actually having to produce an M model. Not to mention this allows BMW to copy Audi in a sense of offering sport models such as the "S-Line" in the mid range and then the higher performance cars on top of that keeping everything neat and uniform. Why BMW is mimicking Audi instead of continuing down their own path they have forged makes no sense. Unless you work in BMW's marketing department.

      So, another proud BMW chapter comes to a close. Here's to seeing an M badge on every BMW model in the lineup, whether it deserves it and is actually developed by the Motorsport division or not.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: More M dilution? BMW "is" model line dead, to be replaced with M Performance Line started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 91 Comments
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        What was wrong with the "is" branding?
        Did not stand out enough to average consumer for how nice, and expensive, the models in question were. People will see M and know it's special and go over to the car. People might walk right by an is and not know it. Again, looking at this from a marketing/BMW perspective; in a vacuum from whether or not I like it, etc.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by singletrack Click here to enlarge
        Did not stand out enough to average consumer for how nice, and expensive, the models in question were. People will see M and know it's special and go over to the car. People might walk right by an is and not know it. Again, looking at this from a marketing/BMW perspective; in a vacuum from whether or not I like it, etc.
        The next step up was M. It made sense.

        They could have also used "is" on models that did not need an M badge. Like performance SUV's....
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The next step up was M. It made sense.

        They could have also used "is" on models that did not need an M badge. Like performance SUV's....
        I'm not saying it doesn't "make sense". I'm saying that the combination of the letters i + s suck as a means to brand something because they are boring, have no colors, etc.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by singletrack Click here to enlarge
        I'm not saying it doesn't "make sense". I'm saying that the combination of the letters i + s suck as a means to brand something because they are boring, have no colors, etc.
        That is BMW.

        328i. How exciting does that sound? It doesn't have the name Nova, or Mustang, or Challenger, or Viper, but BMW is very specific with how they name models. Americans started copying them. Look at Caddy now, CTS, STS, etc.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        An M car offers an M drivetrain. Period. Now we have M Performance which is a rebadged "is" model. It's a joke.

        Nope, not an M car. But people won't know the difference or car. It ruins the brand image, dilutes it, and is bull$#@! as far as i'm concerned.

        There shouldn't even be an "M" in front of the 335i.

        Not picky at all, consistent. BMW is the one who doesn't seem to know where to put the M badge so they are just throwing it on everything left and right.
        The thing is i don't a give thing about BMW itself anymore. I'm not a fan. I'm just a customer. Now if they make a good car regardless of the name, i will buy it and enjoy it without giving a damn about it's image or the reputation it has between the enthusiast.

        BMW once was something special. The cars it used to make didn't have wings or jet engines, but they were cars that had something special which attracted a certain crowd. I don't know to put it in words. But now it's just another car maker. Get used to it.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sorena Click here to enlarge
        BMW once was something special.
        Exactly. They have lost something. I'm seriously considering writing a book about it.
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That is BMW.

        328i. How exciting does that sound? It doesn't have the name Nova, or Mustang, or Challenger, or Viper, but BMW is very specific with how they name models. Americans started copying them. Look at Caddy now, CTS, STS, etc.
        For the record, I've always thought their model designations were not the best match for the US consumer market - 328,335,325, i, is, iL, Li, ix, xi, xdrive, blah, blah, blah. But clearly they are selling tons of cars, so that is a moot point.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by singletrack Click here to enlarge
        For the record, I've always thought their model designations were not the best match for the US consumer market - 328,335,325, i, is, iL, Li, ix, xi, xdrive, blah, blah, blah. But clearly they are selling tons of cars, so that is a moot point.
        Yes. And now they are changing their own naming convention simply to sell a badge. Someone need to be fired.

        Look, if they are doing this I can't stop it. But how about at the very least they look into what AMG did with the Black Series? Instead of bringing AMG down they brought it up with a more exclusive and higher focused enthusiast models.

        BMW instead is dumbing everything down. Front wheel drive, M this and M that, and electrics. It's $#@!ing maddening.
      1. Remonster's Avatar
        Remonster -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Come on, use your head, they are renaming the "is" line the M Performance Line. What M engineering goes into the 335is currently? 0. It's just marketing.
        The is cars only had the performance exhaust, power kit, springs and some badges. The M Performance cars (I'm thinking of the M135i, M550dX) had different steering systems, control arms, bushings. They're basically mini M cars without the M motor or LSD. They are not the same as the old is models, they are just taking the place of the is in the lineup (it would be silly to sell them both) but I can see how it looks like they're taking the same is car and changing its badging. Obviously I haven't actually driven an M Performance car since none of them exist in the US yet, but based on what I've been reading all the journalists who have driven them say they feel very different compared to the regular BMWs. Wouter (the guy from Autoblogger.nl, one of my favorite journalists) even said the M135i is almost as fun as the 1M! I've driven a couple 135i and 335is with all the Performance parts on them and you certainly couldn't say that about them.

        To sum up my position, if they really are renaming is cars as M cars, then I will be very disappointed but it seems like there is a lot more work going into these cars than the outgoing is cars. As soon as they're available here I'll go drive one and find out for sure.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Remonster Click here to enlarge
        They're basically mini M cars without the M motor or LSD.
        Disagree, they are what an "is" should be. Either way, the "is" cars are now M Performance Cars.

        There is no such thing as a mini M car. It's either an M car or it isn't. You don't half ass it.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Remonster Click here to enlarge
        Wouter (the guy from Autoblogger.nl, one of my favorite journalists) even said the M135i is almost as fun as the 1M!
        Do you really believe that?

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Remonster Click here to enlarge
        To sum up my position, if they really are renaming is cars as M cars, then I will be very disappointed
        That's exactly what they are dong. Whatever happened to having good base BMW's? Making those better? Now we are dragging M down to prop up lower end stuff image wise. It's just ridiculous.
      1. singletrack's Avatar
        singletrack -
        Well M certainly is not just for performance anymore...even they will concede that I'm sure. I think they just realized that the talent at M can generate more money for the company than just through the sale of the actual M cars - M3, M5, etc...

        I look at BMW as a company first, and from my enthusiast perspective second, so I don't get emotional about it. But I can certainly appreciate the other perspective. I also don't rule out the fact that there could, potentially, be no additional "new" BMWs in my future. Even still, I'm very greatful for the great engineering that produced the current vehicles I enjoy daily.