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don't quite agree.... (archive)

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Posted by ben keyes on April 17, 2000 at 15:56:47:

In Reply to: Guaranteed? That's quite a limb to be out on. posted by kwillmorth on April 17, 2000 at 13:22:47:

The BMW party line from the start was that the M coupe was not a marketing-driven vehicle, but was developed by engineering as a "side" project. While this may be a marketing story rather than the complete truth, it is in keeping with the overall nature of the car in terms of function over fashion - while all of us love our cars you can't say that it's a classic beauty ;-)

in terms of competition in the showroom between M coupe & E46 M3 I'm not sure that they really compete in the same market. sure they are both extremely high performance cars, but the M3 is bigger, heavier, has back seats, trunk & is a sedan (albeit with 2 doors). Based on the higher weight of the M3 & the general move towards "softer" in the E46 overall, the M coupe may remain the "hard-core" choice.

also, keep in mind that in Europe & the UK, the M coupe has sold pretty well in the market that it's in and has been cited as an alternative to a 911 for a lot of buyers who feel the 996 is "soft" as compared to earlier 911's.

if the E46 M3 is considered "soft" when it gets to market (which I doubt it will) people might still be drawn to the uniqueness of the coupe vs. the M3 which will still look (to most non-car people) like a 323Ci with fancy wheels & slightly different bumpers.

have you seen the 528i "sport" that BMW are selling in Europe ?? it's a dead-ringer for the M5, just has slightly different bumper valance & wheels. check out "evo" - either the issue with the 911TT or Viper GTS-R on the cover - they have a 1-page review.

many people (like you) cite the uniqueness of the coupe as one of the major reasons they have purchased one. I like that factor too - I have seen exactly zero M coupes in the 8 months I have had my car & see Vipers & Prowlers all the time. (this may have something to do with being in the Detroit area, but you'd expect to see at least a few...)

the money to tool the unique coupe parts (roof, rear pillars, rear fenders, taillights, headliner, cargo net, trunk trims, pillar trims, etc.) is already spent & there is minimal ongoing expense in the plant to keep the parts available, so they will likely continue to produce them for a while at least. I think the 318ti situation is actually an argument for continued production of the coupe beyond the near future rather than against. the fact that BMW is still building the older E36-based Compact (albeit in reduced range I believe) while the E46 has been in full produciton for a good while shows that they are willing to keep products around if the market wants them.

I personally think that the M coupe will last a few (2-3) more model years, with maybe another 3,000 being sold in the US market, which will make them rare cars indeed.

I do agree that this is all speculation & conjecture, but that's one of the things that makes this sort of forum (when it does not degerate into name-calling & flaming like the E46 M3 board does frequently) fun....

email me off-board if you want to discuss further.

Ben Keyes

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