Stupid design decisions

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Sorry, but this needs to be said.
No oil dip stick: Maybe this would be okay, if it were not for the fact that sensors seem to be BMW's weak spot. I know on my E46, the
oil-level sensor is a bit flakey, as is the washer-fluid sensor. Pardon my language, but what the F$(% is one supposed to do if their E90's "oil too low" light comes on? Blindy dump-in more oil? I guess so! It's not like the light being on or off actually means anything...
No side bash-strips: Looks good in the showroom, I'll admit. Won't look so good once you have a couple massive door-dings that could have been prevented with a bash strip. Not looking so "clean styled" now, are we? Stupid!
Push-button engine start-stop: This is better why? Because they can charge more money for it and "leave the fob in your pants" designs? Gosh, it's so much work to dig my keys out of my pocket and start my car with a twist instead of a push! Please solve this problem for me! Sheesh.
I-drive: It's not better. Almost no one likes it. Why do I-drive and it's clones continue to be adapted?
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C ouldn't agree more ...

Well, as long as the sensor works. Of course, when it doesn't ... My M54 burns little oil, just a few ounces between changes. But there are M-3 and M-5 engines which often consume a quart inside 1000 miles. A faulty sensor and the engine could be in serious trouble.

Even WITH the strips, I get dings. I still don't like the slab-sided (oh, excuse me. Flame surfaced, whatever that means) E60.

A prewar solution to a non-problem. Nissan is now advertising it as a significant technical advance.

Curmugeon for a chief engineer? "Why-drive" is a better description.
R / John

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I have to chime in: This is why I drive an '86 535i. Maybe I'm old style, but I'm not an idiot and don't like being treated like one. I'm hands-on and I don't like relying on something other than my own 5 senses for info, if I don't absolutley have to. One thing funny will happen soon... the folks who can work on this stuff will be retiring and their "replacements" won't have the skills to reason out a fix. Technology is great and I use it often, but when it becomes the standard for no real reason, then it hurts us all. You think you paid a lot for that car, just wait until you have to repair it. HOLY SH*T, Batman! With my car now, I can drive it without half of anything operating. And I don't have the distraction of a START button, extra cupholders, and no way to check/add fluids. Oh, yeah, no car payments and insurance is about 80 cents a day. I agree with Dizzy... WTF?!
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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I'm with you bro. Thats why I dive a 1974 tii. If I need a start button I just wire one in -- probably cost less than 20 bucks for a nice button (maybe even get fancy and paste a BMW logo on it), or less than 5 bucks for a cheap one :)
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With that attitude you will never have a career in marketing :-)
I have a similar feeling for the "Sport" button on my M3. I turned it on once to see if it did what it was suppose to and it did. All it does is make throttle modulation more difficult. I've never turned it on again in the three years since.
I guess some moron thought they couldn't sell those cars without it.
G.S.

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My "sport" button is the gas pedal! Some things are just too gimmicky. Before anyone can buy a BMW, they should be given the quick test: What's the difference between a regular and philips screwdriver? <laughs>
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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But Bill most cars are screwed together with TORX bolts or "Posi-Drive" headed screws that are usually self tapping and inserted by robots.
However, removal by idiots are not taken into account so the third screwdriver could be the American Screwdriver (Hammer) or a posidrive.

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Ah, yes. Torx. Remember Compaq computers? They used Torx, and, well, don't exist anymore in the iteration that used them. Just one more way carmakers are using to discourage owners from working on their own cars. The only Torx on my car, that I know of, are holding the transmission to the block.
Bill in Omaha
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Bill wrote:

Don't get too down on the Torx, Bill. It is actually a superior fastener drive for the home hack mechanic as it will not strip out the head. Far better than either slotted or philips. Slightly improved over allen in it's holding power.
--
-Fred W

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Don't see why - a set of bits to fit a socket set ain't expensive. They are better than allan head screws where a small head is needed too.
--
*Women like silent men; they think they're listening.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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dizzy wrote:

Hehe. A rant thread. I like.
<rant>
My bitch list with the new cars:
1) Integration of electronics creates a single point of failure. If the radio display fails in my E36, I may (or may not) be able to listen to the radio. Big whoop. If my climate control display goes on the fritz (and it has), I have limited climate control options. Too bad -- I open the windows. On the other hand, if that I-drive LCD or the computer that drives it fails, you ain't driving your car. And when that car is 20 years old and you can't get that computer anymore from BMW, the only place you're driving it is to the junkyard.
2) Elimination of the driver-centric cockpit design. When I walked into my local BMW showroom for the first time 9 years ago I didn't know a thing about BMWs and I wasn't a "car guy" by any stretch, but I immediately gravitated to the vehicle because it put me in the "driver's seat". I am truly saddened to see this go. Whoever came up with and authorized the new interior design at BMW needs to be fired. Seriously.
3) General dumbing-down of the cars. In a performance car, I NEED (not want) a complete set of gauges. Oil pressure, temperature, water temperature, etc so I can see not only the raw data but the trend information. What does BMW do? Eliminate them all and replace them with idiot lights. Acceptable in a Ford Focus. Absolutely horrid in a $50K+ BMW. Next thing you know they'll eliminate the tach because "the rev limiter will prevent over-revs". YA RLY.
4) Removal of the limited slip differentials in all but the M-cars. I think DSC is actually a helpful passive safety feature, but it's no substitute for an LSD. Plus, if my 225HP 330 can rip the rear wheel(s) loose in hot, dry, sticky road conditions, it needs a freakin' LSD.
5) The continued assumption by BMW that its existing maintenance schedules are correct and proper. Oil changes every 15K? Transmission fluid flushes every 100K? Put down the reefers guys -- please -- before you hurt someone.
6) The general attitude of BMW management that BMW must become the next General Motors to survive. Quantity is replacing quality as BMW's mantra. There's no denying it. As the kids say -- FAIL.
Frankly, if BMW didn't know how to build drivetrains so well, I would have told them to go F-off a long time ago. As least with respect to their interior and exterior design, I guess my biggest peeve is that BMW has forgotten what made a BMW a BMW -- they've forgotten their heritage. I look at it this way -- I think Suburus are probably the fugliest car design this side of the Aztek, but I respect Suburu for not abandoning the look that is unmistakably "Suburu". Only if BMW had the same self respect.
In my next life I'm coming back as the head of BMW so I can fix all this crap. Assuming the company still exists, of course.
</rant>
Aaaaah. That feels better. :-)
-Doug
-- -------------------- Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com http://www.dvatp.com --------------------
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I'd take issue with that. Electronics can usually be repaired. Although newer surface mount/multi layer is far more tricky. But can still be done if there's a demand. Aftermarket exchange engine ECUs are an example.
If any major part of a car is no longer available new it could also be scrap - if secondhand ones are also unobtainable. Had this with a suspension part on a 20 year old car - but then they got re-manufactured due to demand.
I can understand the average back yard home mechanic being terrified about computers, but in the future it's just another skill that will have to be learnt.
--
*Preserve wildlife - Go pickle a squirrel*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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I've stuck to the maker's recommendation on every car I've owned. Seen oil change intervals go from 3000 miles to the present. And in the 3000 mile days, many UK cars needed a full engine overhaul sometimes twice in their life. These days it's near impossible to actually wear out an engine which has been service by the book. If you have proof otherwise I'd love to see it.
--
*The most common name in the world is Mohammed *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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But Subaru surely have one of the worst interior of any car?
And Jaguar have performed badly by sticking to their traditional look.
--
*I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Surely the 1 Series? It's a very pleasant car to drive. But pretty useless rear seats. Same as the Mini. I think the original Mini had actually more rear leg room despite being tiny in comparison.
--
*Keep honking...I'm reloading.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW-----
Instead of making a crash more survivable, why not make it more avoidable, instead? Always thinking behind the action, not before it. My 220hp has avoided more poor drivers and accidents caused by others than the same number of airbags would have helped me survive had I not avoided them. These $35 driver's licenses don't help a damn thing either. Absolutely NO worthwhile drivers training here. My last test was a computer touch screen and 5 minutes. No skill necessary. I left the building and nearly got hit in the parking lot by some fat bitch on a phone (yes, she was driving). Go figure.
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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Hmm. In the UK base models are hard to find. Most are specced to the hilt. Can't be that much of a demand. And the beauty of the E39 is its mix of performance and refinement. Remove that refinement and some other cars offer similar.

But the E28 was well specced in its day. It might seem simple now but wasn't then.

Blame that engine.

There's no money to be made selling low spec cars at a low price - they're not cornflakes. The trick is to command a high price because it's desirable.
--
*Could it be that "I do " is the longest sentence? *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

I agree. The purist or enthusiast will "roll his own" more readily than buy one, and are not the great mass of spenders that support a wide product line. I just think back to nearly every report from the 1980's about the BMW's "spartan" interior. Luxury and spartan in the same article? I like not having too much stuff, but I am in the minority. I like mine functional, without a lot of "foo-foo". Don't get me wrong, it can be a great convenience, but I am the one who has to fix what's broken. I'm glad I don't have to know fabrication to fix things, though! Ha!
Bill in Omaha '86 535i
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Ya. I see a two door sedan with a usable rear seat and trunk that is driver oriented. All functions should be dedicated to making the car better to drive. You could offer things like AC, but only as an option.
Bring the weight down to around 2200-2500lbs using modern composits or whatever and make the interior of very high quality. Maybe a bit of wood trim, leather -- make it reflect craftsmanship and quality, but without all the usual electronic crap. Let the radio have knobs, let the heater control be sliders. No LCD monitors or remote controls or any of that jaz.
Then put a high winding 4 banger in it pushing about 160-180 hp -- possibly put a turbo on it
Then market the car as a 'true drivers car' and charge 50k for it -- maybe call it an m2.
A lot of guys I know drop s14 engines into the 2002 .. thats exactly the kind of weight to power and cornering BMW should shoot for.
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote: <snip>

...and this is clearly where BMW is hitting the sweet spot, since they seem to be selling all they can make. Having said that, my E46 might be my last bimmer based on price and BMW's continual march toward stuff I don't care about (or for) as standard features. With any luck it will last me a long time.
Run-flats with no spare I can understand, but with no spare tire *well* is a bit much. Electronics that fail too often with niggling consequences (things just stop working and the dealer has to update or reload the software). I won't even go into i-drive, which I am thankful I don't have, but I'd guess it will be standard on the next-generation 3er.
And BMW won't care as long as they are *still* selling all they can make. They probably shouldn't. A changing but growing customer demographic is not a bad thing if you own a business, after all. The real question is who if anyone will fill the void.
"It's not your father's BMW."
JRE
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