Dear BMW Design Team: You’re Still The One, Part One

3 min read

About a year ago, I wrote a Come To Jesus letter to the BMW Design Team. Promptly afterwards, they released the stunningly beautiful 6 series sedan and a sweet upgrade of the 7 series.  Coincidence?  I think not.

These dubious events aside, I have remained skeptical that my Bavarian buddies could remain on top in this wacky world of automotive madness. So recently, when my friend from Santa Monica BMW (buy a car from him, he's obviously cool) invited me to do some test driving and join him on a tour BMW DesignWorks HQ, I easily took the bait.

Perhaps the most exciting part was when the corporate rep opens the conversation by asking me what I'd like to pilot during the one hour drive up PCH.  Um…really?  "I'd like a B7 Alpina, thank you." She replies, "No problem." Really? I was joking. She was not– "And back?" There's more?  "How about a M6 Grand Coupe?"  "Sure, tiptronic or manual?"  Gulp.  "Manual." Duh. If I'm gonna do this, I'm going balls out.

Then another rep walks me outside and shows me this:

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Hello, handsome. (yes, that's a matte blue finish…)

Then he throws me the keys and says, "You got this, right?" Gulp again, "Totally."  

"Great" he says, "If you get lost, just press 2 on the navi." And the dude walks away!  Trying to be cool, I adjust my seat and mirrors for about 15 minutes, waiting for the corporate escort to come over with a mountain of paperwork and a choke chain to join me as co-pilot.  No one appears.  Just as I'm messing with the radio pre-sets, I start seeing the other drivers start to drive away.   Ok, I guess we're going, this is real.

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For the first 10 minutes of the drive, it's all I can do to keep my hands on the wheel and not stroke the suede covered ceiling like a kitten.  And that was the tip of the pimp iceberg.  The drive settings were pretty complex, even compared to my X5m.  There was lane departure warning (no there isn't an earthquake, that's your steering wheel shaking), active blind spot detection & stop/go cruise control.  

Just as I settled into my task as serious test driver, I pumped up the XM radio and Jay Z comes on with "Big Pimpin'." Perfect.  I reclined the seat, popped open my Fresca and enjoyed my new role as Motorhead Mack Mama.  And then it hit me– not only was I behind the wheel of a 540hp bi-turbo with only 300 miles on it but I'm on my way to the Wonka Factory.  I dunno what I did to deserve this, but I'd like more!

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