The 328d 3-Series from 2012 to 2018 was a perfect sedan on paper. It was powered by a 2.0-liter diesel engine with 180 hp and 300 lb.-ft of torque. It had an eight-speed automatic and impressive fuel consumption figures. Offered on the American market, it looked like BMW will finally manage to get its customers hooked on oil-burners (via Auto Evolution).
Unfortunately, despite the excellent spec sheet, reliability was terrible. The N47 engine developed numerous problems with timing chains, oil pumps, injectors, and EGR valves which meant that the 3-Series diesel wasn’t there to save you money but to bleed you dry every time you visit the dealership.
BMW owns the Mini brand, and since the early 2000s, it has been very successful in reviving it and expanding its range. Most Mini models are well-designed and executed cars; however, one flop left enthusiasts scratching their heads – the Mini Cooper SE. This compact EV comes with a 32.6 kWh battery pack, front-wheel-drive, and power output of 181 hp, suggesting lively performance (via Mini USA).
But with 7 seconds 0 to 60 mph time and just 110 miles of range (in a real-world, even less), the Mini Cooper SE was a disappointment, and BMW didn’t sell many of them. With a base price of almost $30,000 when it was released, it was the cheapest EV in America, but it wasn’t a great value for the money.
We’re still unclear what BMW had in their minds when they created the 5-Series Gran Turismo model. This, third body style for the 5-Series, was not only completely unnecessary but also downright ugly. It looks like regular 5-series had swallowed an elephant. The higher roofline and rear hatch door definitely didn’t help the aesthetics (via Auto Express).
As expected, the sales of this model were terrible. People just didn’t find it attractive or more practical than the sedan (or wagon). BMW stubbornly introduced the 3-Series with the same feature but since has retired both models and moved on.
In the early ’60s, BMW experienced incredible growth due to the enormous success of the “Neue Klasse” models. The company needed bigger production facilities and decided to buy struggling German independent brand Glas and absorb its models in the BMW lineup (via Silodrome).
The result was BMW-Glas 3000 V8 coupe introduced in the late ’60s, which was basically a Glas design but with BMW mechanics and badge. The car was expensive and sold in limited numbers, never managing to fulfill its potential. In those days, the idea of a premium GT BMW model with a V8 engine was ludicrous. Customers just weren’t ready to pay a high price for BMW.
Built from 1992 to 1999, the E36 M3 featured a newly designed six-cylinder plant. Earlier models had a 3.0-liter engine with 291 hp, but from 1995 until the end of production, the bigger 3.2-liter with 321 hp was installed. Unfortunately, in America, the E36 M3s had only 240 hp due to emissions regulations which crippled the otherwise pretty powerful BMW engine (via Road and Track).
Even though the lack of power didn’t affect performance that much, US-spec models had somewhat problematic interiors, which proved very fragile. The car sold in sufficient numbers, but customers felt a bit shortchanged.
We all know that compact SUVs are one of the best-selling car classes and that all car companies want a piece of the action. BMW has a pretty extensive SUV lineup, which in 2008 became richer for X1, the smallest member of the family. However, the X1 is not a genuine BMW and, besides the design, hasn’t got any fundamental BMW features (via Motor Trend).
Underneath the body lies the Mini Countryman platform with longitudinally positioned engines powering the front wheels. Also, since it is not a genuine BMW, the early models haven’t got an X-Drive all-wheel-drive system. The standard models are front-wheel-drive, which is heresy for BMW.
Back in the mid-1970s, BMW thought that it would be appropriate to enter the exclusive sports car market. Basically, BMW needed a halo car, but the company didn’t have experience and turned to Lamborghini. At first, it looked like the deal was a good idea, but Lamborghini didn’t deliver on time, so BMW disbanded the partnership and finished the project by itself. In 1978, the BMW M1 debuted (via BMWM).
The heart of this sports car was BMW’s famous M88 six-cylinder engine with 3.5-liters of displacement. It had advanced fuel injection, and 273 HP, which was a pretty high number for the standards of the day. However, the customers were unimpressed, although the car was good-looking and fast. In three years, BMW made just over 450 cars. Calling M1 one of the worst cars BMW has ever made is a bit of a stretch. However, the financial hit, and embarrassment this model caused to the brand cannot be ignored.
Today, BMW sells most models with diesel engines, especially in Europe. The diesel technology proved an ideal match in most cases. The oil-burners can never have the same sound or feel as the thoroughbred six-cylinder engine. However, the start of BMW’s diesel offensive was very modest and in the form of 324d. It was one of the worst cars this company ever produced (via BMW Guide).
Introduced in 1985, the six-cylinder diesel was significantly underpowered (86 HP), slow and heavy. It was complicated and not very reliable. It turned the light and nimble E30 3-Series into a terrible driving car. Some buyers found it appealing but soon regreted the choice.