On Friday I talked about two of the most egregious offenses to naming in recent automotive history, MyFord Touch 2.0 and the BMW M550d, so for this morning’s Philosophy of Driving, I’m going to explore another aspect of this discussion, and in doing do, parry my previous position.
I previously, and cynically, argued that the German Horsepower Wars had (d)evolved into the German Naming Wars, with the greatest honour going to he with the greatest discrepancy between real and claimed specific output. I then went on to pick apart, quite pedantically, the “2.0″ attached to the new MFT software update. It was all very anal.
But it was hardly a new and refreshing perspective. We love this kind of stuff. We love to to groan about trivial discrepancies. Nothing gets us riled up like lap times, torque figures, and claimed displacement. We live in the scientific era, after all, and precision is King. If we can’t figure out something with absolute certainty, down to the last micrometer and millisecond, it’s probably because we aren’t using sufficiently sensitive instruments. This is the way of science.
This is not, however, the way of our pre-scientific ancestors.
BMW is famous for many things. The tagline “Ultimate Driving Machine”, its compact luxury car that wins every comparo it enters, and the inorganic X6 are but a few. But its reputation for broad daylight dupery is growing faster than even its impressive profit margins. Almost every BMW review you read now has a caveat about engine size politely disagreeing with the chromed numbers on the trunk lid. And it’s not just the new turbo M-cars that are attracting the poetic furor of car blogs and print mags (whatever those are) alike. It’s a pandemic!
328i with a 2.0L, 750i with a 4.4L, and their most brazen yet: M550d with a 3.0L!
If you were from another planet and didn’t know that BMW had a marketing department, you’d swear they used a giant spinning Ferris wheel and a team of carnies/interns to determine the names of their cars. It’s even possible that, given the recent petering out of the German Horsepower Wars (the new RS4 has fewer horsepower than the old C63), that Teutonic engineering pride is now given to he with greatest spread between actual and claimed engine size. If so, BMW is now in the lead with a untouchable two point difference. Audi and Mercedes don’t stand a chance!
It’s simply overwhelming. There’s too much. How can one person possible stay on top of it all the awesome car videos??
Relax. It’s ok. Just close your eyes for a moment and take a deep breath. We’ve done the work for you so pop some corn, grab a beer, and enjoy the eight must-see videos for this week. Don’t have the time right now? No worries, you’ve got all week. Bookmark it and come back when you’re ready to bask in the glory of the automobile. Enjoy!
1. Sebastian Thrun on Google’s Driverless Car:
He’s passionate, he’s persuasive, and he’s showing us a glimpse of the future. As long as there are still closed race tracks, count us in!
Faster, hairier, and louder cars are after the jump!
Getting started is always the toughest part. It’s pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Putting your head down and powering through. Whether it’s starting a new job, a new workout routine, living in a new city, or starting a new business – it’s a (rewarding) grind. Starting something new, especially something challenging, is a long, arduous, and often thankless path. In the car industry – as brands like Saturn, Mercury, and Scion have shown – it’s a whole lot tougher than that. And those brands started under the umbrella of existing organizations with all of their existing resources and knowledge. But how difficult is it to start from scratch?
Currently, there’s a lot of hoopla surrounding Fisker Automotive and its far-too-recently-delivered Karma, and when you look at it on paper, it’s easy to see why. It’s electric (even if it gets terrible mileage), has Henrik Fisker’s peerless seal of approval, and might even come out with a wagon body style. Someday. Maybe. But probably not.
As we’ve seen with Tesla, it’s really incredibly unimaginably stupendously tough to make couture electric cars for only $100,000 and to return a profit while doing so. Especially when you’re a start-up company with no factories, tooling, or even expertise to handle such a monumental task. At $100,000, making a few hundred or even a few thousand cars does not a strong business case make when you don’t have an entire line-up of profit-producing cars to fund your project. Companies like Porsche have bread und butter models like the Cayenne und Panamera to stuff their coffers with cash, allowing them the freedom to develop the most amazing $100,000 car in the world: the 911. Compare this to Tesla’s funding model, which relies entirely on investors injecting cash (private, public [TSLA], and the US government) rather than sales profits.
To celebrate the ANDY WARHOL: Manufactured exhibit, making its only Canadian appearance at Edmonton’s world class and Gehry-lite Art Gallery of Alberta, we simply must take a quick art history lesson and delve deeper into the American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker. In case you missed the typically epic Refinery Party on Saturday night, you can still catch a Special Lecture by Thomas Sokolowski entitled Andy Warhol: Camouflage Man. The lecture will take place this Wednesday, June 8, at 7 pm at the Ledcor Theatre.
One of the leading figures of the pop art movement, Warhol is synonymous with multi-coloured Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s soup cans, and 15 minutes of fame. His often bizarre relationship with sexuality, celebrity and American culture shaped him into one of the great popular, artistic voices of the 20th century. He also seems like the kind of character that John Malkovich ought to play in a movie.
Warhol is less well known as a devout Catholic and designer of music album cover art, including the cover art for the Rolling Stones album Sticky Fingers (1971) and Love You Live (1977).
In our little car-obsessed, world-within-a-world, he is best remembered as the painter of the BMW M1 Art Car, great-to-the-power-of-12-grandpappy to Jeff Koons’ imaginatively streaked M3 GT2 car.
American contemporary/Neo-Pop/Post-Pop artist Jeff Koons has followed in the footsteps of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Worhol, Ernst Fuchs, and other greats with his design for BMW’s 17th art car. Koons has taken the E92 BMW M3 GT2 car as his carte blanche and used God only knows for inspiration. All we know is that the result is attention-grabbing, unabashedly different, and the most exciting design at this year’s 24 Heures du Mans.
But who is Jeff Koons? And where else might we have seen his work?