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      01-08-2013, 12:09 AM   #1
The Economist

Drives: 2013 335i "M-Sport" MPPK MPE
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Toronto

iTrader: (0)

BMW Marketing Philosophy vis--vis Audi

Having never even considered a 3-series before, I think that BMW has done an excellent job with the F30. Some "purists" may lament certain evolutionary necessities, but BMW has done a great job keeping up with and adapting to the times by giving us a fine, grown-up sporting saloon within the constraints of the modern regulatory regime.

I do think, though, that Audi has done a better job with its product positioning.

First off, I like the idea of specializing in AWD - nice niche to carve out for yourself. You know that if you want the best in AWD (which I could care less about), you will need to at least consider Audi.

Second, and more importantly, is the S4. You know your volume mover is going to be the A4 2.0T - most people (keep in mind this is an enthusiast board, so your opinion does not count with the collective wisdom of the auto buying masses) do not care about the finer technical details. They care about superfluous niceties - bells, whistles, whatnot - but do not really care about the driving experience, so long as it gets there and is plush and comfortable. That is where the S4 comes in... Audi is smart enough to know that the person willing to shell out more for the engine is more of a nut, so why not offer something a little more special?

That is where BMW has lagged. You have the RS5 and M3, and you have the 328 to compete with the base A4. And the 335 does compete with the S4, but it certainly does not feel as special in the line up as the S4 does in the Audi line up. Perhaps that is what BMW was trying to accomplish with the M Sport line but is has fallen short.

Now, I considered both and ultimately I thought the 335 was the better car, but given that the volume model is the 328 (according to my dealer who sells one 335 for every ten 328s), you would think that BMW would market the 335 product in a similar way to the S4.

Then again, it does not really matter for this type of crowd who is more focused on the finer details. I just thought that it may make a difference from an overall marketing standpoint.