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if I worked in BMW Product Development

Discussion in 'E85/E86 Z4 M roadster/coupe (2006-2008)' started by 330indy1, Jul 30, 2009.

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    First off, I am a sold-out BMW owner. I own only BMWs, and have gathered a rep at work for being (somewhat of) an authority on engines and series and what to look for/just like most of you I am sure! I strive to learn and soak up the collective knowledge, and my enthusiasm for the brand and products carries over into other areas of life, naturally.
    Since I am in product development where we work with advanced materials for audio products, I thought I would share some thoughts for the future product planners of BMW...

    Please produce a line of models within the series families that espouses the true merits of efficient dynamics!
    Light Weight.
    ( I know much of this will be obvious, but I have to 'let it out' )
    Weight that is reduced further than the premium models whether they are the N54 35i or V8 editions, will yield benefits that people care about:

    Fuel Efficient and Conservation of Materials

    When you reduce the mass that has to be accelerated and decelerated in traffic, or rapidly changed in direction through the twisty or on the highway, the benefits of light weight go 'exponential' in positive gains.
    Fuel spent (obviously)
    Less compensatory gear (hardware and software) and thus weight. Spring rates, shocks, extra parts for adaptive suspension, and strength of sway/roll bars, etc. etc. can be rolled back (mass). Brake rotors could actually reduce mass and thus unsprung weight, while maintaining that German autobahn breeding.
    Added strength in lightweight material could improve safety. If there is less overall mass to stop, as in a head-on collision, perhaps there is less potential overall vehicle and human damage. Since safety is big at BMW, this could have extensive marketing value.
    Simpler to Operate/Less Gizmos
    Why do people like simplicity? Because life is complicated enough, and i-Drive doesn't make life better really nor do active suspensions with multiple settings. Just make the cars and trucks handle with excellence and break the knob off!
    Less electrical drain on the battery - less fuel and energy to run the vehicle. It all adds up!
    Less to learn. We all have too much to “master' like iPhones and PCs and DVRs. The car should be a simpler pleasure, tapping emotions more than the intellect. My $.02.
    Sporting handling & performance is always better when the vehicle's weight affords nimble character. The answer is lighter materials, not more horsepower. BMW marketing could actually lead the charge on “less is more" in this regard.
    Less IS More / {Lighter + Stronger}
    Push the industry into advancing materials/ "carbon fiber-aluminum hybrid materials" or some variant of titanium, that is pragmatic on a large (auto) production scale. Hey, "light-weight steel" works for me, if it is truly lighter in weight. It doesn't matter really, but start shooting for vehicles that start to shave off 200 lbs. per product cycle, instead of adding 200-300 lbs. the way the past decade has revealed. Reverse the trends. Make the competitors chase you again, BMW, in yet another New Direction.
    Make the Rules. Change the Rules. Be a materials innovator and leader again, and it starts with products, not necessarily ad campaigns. Follow up strongly with the marketing focus to key groups:
    o Luxury, as in advanced exclusive materials. Not just “leather dashboards' and vented leather seats, but NASA-grade advanced materials throughout the chassis --- give the luxury owners new bragging rights. (who really brags about their Lexus 460 hybrid, that actually has greater net- negative environmental impact!) Tap the pride of ownership with greater “substance'.
    o Sport. Market to the enthusiasts who actually do like to “track" the cars. Weight is king amongst this crowd, because it means handling and responsiveness.
    o Green. The Green crowd - the youth and your emerging markets, BMW. Using less raw materials and thus reducing the manufacturing energy to produce a vehicle. Saving the Earth. Also factor in less fuel/cost to operate and maintain (less wear and tear) in the lifecycle operations of the vehicles, whether they are petrol, diesel, or some hybrid-battery design, all series would benefit. The green initiative is truly global. Again, be a world leader in this regard. Save the Earth, drive a Bimmer!
    "Premium- Performance" should not mean:
    1. More horsepower, anyone can do that
    2. More weight from gizmos and padded luxury accoutrement. Anyone can do that.
    3. More expensive year to year. Everyone is doing that!
    It should mean:
    State of the art use of advanced materials to help the greater good. The "sheer driving pleasure" in operation of the vehicle by the owner has its obvious hook, but add that the car is benefiting the world around the car. (It is up to BMW drivers to be courteous drivers, so we can't hold BMW responsible for the rep of many BMW drivers, ahem)
    The advanced materials have a price, but it's worth it because the car stays relevant, because it is in effect an investment in the future. The idea here is: influence the future of the industry. BMW owners are typically early adopters. They had ABS before most people because it was an innovation. This light weight initiative should be as critical a feature.
    Thanks for reading... not meaning to rant, but it is hard to sit back and not say anything. I know the writers in Roundel and Bimmer have chimed in to say similar things. By the way, do BMW NA or BMW AG people actually scroll this forum? Wouldn't it be cool if they made their presence and voice known here!? just another thought. have a nice day
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    First of all, AMEN! Secondly, yes, many of us DO read the forums - and HOPE that BMW NA representatives do as well. Sometimes, we users/drivers really do have pretty good ideas that maybe would benefit entire production lines! perhaps BMW can proivde a survey, forum, or traveling road show that collects inputs from the BMW drivers that reflect some of the not-so-good ideas (i.e. cup holders in roadsters, iDrive, increased weight, etc.) and some of the really great ones (like you've offered). Well done, well said; I join you in hope that BMW listens!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    One way to go

    Before they played Musical Chairs with the head of M GmbH, I had a chance to discuss their "lighter, smaller, faster" directions. It seems to me that everybody could get what everybody wants if they would simply offer delete options: That is, let me choose no sunroof, manual seats, cloth seats---whatever I can to make the car lighter or less complicated.

    However, the marketplace demands a plethora of luxuries we have come to take for granted. I actually SPENT MONEY to tune up the air conditioning. . . in my E30 rally car? Oh, good lord. It has power windows, too. And a radio.

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    I have a friend out with BMWNA in California doing prod development and other assorted things I am envious of. He is a true car guy. There are others too at BMWNA who understand why some of us would want a limited slip in a non-M car (and 500 pounds lighter, too). But as Mister I-don't-need-no-steenkin'-flames-on-the-nose-of-my-car pointed out, that *all* consumer demand trumps the enthusiast requests these days. Satch noted on another thread how poorly the 335d is selling, so no AWD/manual trans etc.
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    but part of my point is to make advanced/lightweight design part of the *all-consumer* marketing....
    it shouldn't 'only' appeal to enthusiasts. nor only be targeted toward enthusiasts.
    make it part of the luxury story... but I am starting to repeat myself again

    gokartmozart guest

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    Satch, I may have the same model as you do (M Coupe), so I am addressing this issue from the above quote. I also wanted a light car and while I did not do any deletes, I also didn't do any "adds" on mine. Nothing other than trim, no heated nor power seats, no extra speakers, no sat/nav, etc. There was no sunroof to delete nor a cloth option. I could spend $$$ doing things like lighter wheels, but can't justify the cost.
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    I also agree with your post, however it seems that competition also dictates what BMW builds and in the US we are in a bigger, heavier, horsepower world. BMW does sell lighter cars in Europe with 4 bangers and cloth interiors (Mercedes does also), but in the US they sell only the premium high line (heavy) models. It is a shame....

    duncan17 guest

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    Satch has a roadster.
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    Hmmmm, maybe someone at BMW did read this, regarding the new LIGHTER M3

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