Experience > Features

BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine
My favorite example of differentiated market positioning in a very crowded market is BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan. It’s not just a marketing message, you know it’s true when you sit inside a BMW and turn on the engine. Among other things, you’ll notice that:

  • The center console is aimed towards you, the driver
  • The window controls are next to your stick so it’s easier for your right hand*
  • … and obviously the remarkable driving experience

Ten years ago I had a BMW loaner for a week, to use for a project I was working on at Stanford. I fell in love and bought my own a few months later. It had nothing to do with the features. Driving it was an experience unlike any other.

The window controls on the center console has always been one of my favorite design elements. It just makes sense. When I’m driving, my left hand is on the wheel and my right hand it on the stick. Accelerating on a freeway onramp, I can shift and put my windows up in one motion.

I’m sad that newer BMWs didn’t keep this design, but I’m guessing it’s because fewer and fewer people are buying traditional manual cars. Sad.

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5 comments

  1. I’ve always wanted a BMW 3. Once I’m done raising kids ( and buying practical family sedans and mini-vans ) I’ll get one. I test drove one over a decade ago before my wife announced our family expansion and I fell in love.

  2. Sachin, what do you think of the dual clutch gearboxes? I am conflicted. It’s hard to say no to what is a clearly faster shift, but on the other hand, I really don’t think I could live without a clutch….

  3. Great insight. Just got off a conference call with the little team putting together this app and we all agreed: while it’s technically possible to throw every single thing in there, that would produce a super app that none of us would ever want to experience. Hackday was a great inspiration for me and yielded wonderful insights. Thanks for leading the way, man.

  4. <html><head></head><body style="word-wrap: break-word; -webkit-nbsp-mode: space; -webkit-line-break: after-white-space; ">Yeah, conflicted for sure. But I think at least for now, it’s not about speed. I’d miss the control and the physical action of shifting. Driving isn’t driving when all you’re doing is steering.<div><br></div><div>So i’m going to stick (haha) with a traditional manual for a while at least.<br><div><div></div></div></div></body></html>

  5. "So i’m going to stick (haha) with a traditional manual for a while at least."I agree with that although it’s getting harder to find manuals. I’ve only ever driven a manual so I’m not sure what I’ll do when BMW/Audi/Acura etc stop making them.

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