In this weekly editorial, Josh is annoyed that automakers tend to forget about the big boys when updating their cars every couple years.
When I was a car salesman, and now as an auto writer, I’ve watched every automaker update its lineup over the years before they do the full redesign. What really gets me, though, is that they tend to upgrade and update the wrong cars…
When I was selling cars for Mazda I had a 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed6, and I couldn’t be happier with it. Except for the hard, uncomfortable seats. And while I’m being honest, sitting on set of cinderblocks while being towed down a gravel road would be far more comfortable.
You can imagine, then, how I felt when the Mazdaspeed3 came out with its MS goodies, such as better, more comfortable seats, Mazdaspeed trimmed seats and dedicated Mazdaspeed gauges. The Mazdaspeed6 had none of those things. My interior was as standard as a regular 6 sedan. On the outside, you could tell I was a tad different. But when on the inside, you’d just be complaining about the horrible leather seats.
These days I’m driving a 2009 BMW M3 sedan. In 2011 BMW decided to update the front and rear of the standard 3-Series coupe and convertible with bright, beautiful LED corona rings. Guess who they forgot about? That’s right, the M3. Since 2008, the M3 has had two exterior styling updates. In 2009 the E90 sedans got newly designed LED taillights, and for 2010 the E92 and E93 models got LED taillights, as well. All M3s received a new iDrive control unit starting in 2009. Where are our LED angel eyes?
Us M3 guys have received zero upgrades to the suspension, interior, motor, gearbox, etc. Yet I find it funny that the 1 M got a much nicer gearbox and clutch than the M3 boys. Wait a second, wasn’t the 1-Series M Coupe (I know, I hate that name, too) with some M3 bits and pieces? Why yes it was. But the transmission has a much better throw, especially from first to second, and the clutch is just perfectly bouncy.
Oh, and starting in 2010, the BMW M3 could be had with BMW Apps, and Bluetooth music playing from your phone, and a few other neat tricks. They updated the system even further in 2011.
Why do I bring this up? Well in 2009 we, too, had the updated iDrive system and screen with CIC. Although we had this stuff, we need a new set of gadgets costing upwards of 1500 dollars to allow us to do something a 70,000+ dollars car should have been able to do since 2008. Thanks, BMW. No simple upgrade. I can’t just pop in to my local BMW service department and ask that they update my technology like they can my navigation maps.
While I know I just sound like a whiny bastard, I just don’t understand why I buy the better flagship cars that I’ve loved for oh so long when the automakers that produce them don’t even love the owners. Sure, they’ll add different things to the regular 3-Series that should be on all 3s, including the M cars. Then they’ll make a new bad boy in town, the 1 M, and give it a better gearbox and clutch feel. But then they’ll just forget the M3 owners out there would like some new stuff, only saying, “Oh, but you have an M3…” Basically like we shouldn’t want for anything.
Don’t get my wrong, I love my M3. I love driving it, being near it, seeing it from afar; I enjoy almost every quality about it. But my question is, even though I love owning my M3, do BMW actually care about me owning one? They seem to add the better stuff to their everyday cars, not the special ones that we dream and fantasize about as children.
Now BMW are hardly the only guilty automaker in this. Chevrolet have done this repeatedly to the Corvette. While every GM car got an interior adjustment, new things here and there, the Corvette was left to do with what it had from 2005 to 2012. Next year we’ll see the new C7 Corvette debut; how should that make Corvette owners feel?
Can someone explain why we spend all of our hard earned dollars to only be forgotten about?