2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i. Image by Robin Warner

Epiphany about BMW and its New Path

BMW still uses the term “Ultimate Driving Machine” for many of its products. But the brand from Munich no longer embodies that phrase with every model. And that’s OK.

After spending a few days in the 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i, an epiphany struck. It’s okay that not all of their models like the “ultimate driving machines” that once made the brand so famous and deeply loved by driving enthusiasts. Driving enthusiasts like me.

Back in the 90s and early 00s, the term truly applied to every trim of every model BMW built. Perhaps my favorite of all was the one I owned, a 2001 Laguna Seca Blue E46 M3. With its 3.2-liter Inline-six belting out 333 horsepower and spun up to 8000 rpm with a raspy roar that absolutely made my heart sing.

My 2001 BMW M3. Image by Marc Urbano
My 2001 BMW M3. Image by Marc Urbano

But time and technology and a shifting automotive market took its toll on what most consumers valued in an automobile. And BMW faced a simple choice: Adapt, or fail. As you drive past several modern creations from Munich, you know they chose to adapt. And even old curmudgeons like me are glad they did.

After all, some BMWs still drive fantastically well and offer mind bending performance. But it’s no longer the case that every one, regardless of its size, drives that way.

But as I sat in the latest generation, 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i. I found it comfortable, with plenty of space for me and cargo and coffee, I felt—happy. I enjoyed the drive and the time I spend in the car, despite it not driving too differently, or better, than other premium compact tall hatchback/short SUVs in the market. It’s a good machine that serves a meaningful purpose, even if driving was no where near “ultimate.”

At the moment, it became clear: That ultimate driving machine manta was sealed in my mind twenty plus years ago. Get over it! I did. And I am happier for it.

I flushed this idea out completely for the good folks at Gear Junkie. In some ways it pained me to face this fact and write the article. In other ways, it proved cathartic. Either way, it’s worth taking a look and letting me know what you think: To read it, click here

Or it could just be that I need to wait a few more months and drive this: The 2024 BMW xDrive M35i xDrive





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