Join Date: Jul 2013
Despite the dimensional bloat, the number of manual-gearbox 3 Series sold annually in North America hasn't decreased significantly in the last 25 years. Meanwhile, BMW's best automatic has evolved from a miserable four-speed to a computer-controlled eight-speed that shifts faster than any human, accelerates quicker, and offers better fuel economy.
But as a result of the Germans' single-minded quest to sell more cars, the brand is attracting incremental buyers who aren't enthusiasts. In other words, the take rate is falling.
Blame the image-conscious consumers who spend $279 a month to lease a heavily subsidized status symbol. And given that some of those amazing lease rates apply only to automatic-transmission models, and that many dealers won't even stock manual BMWs, it's a miracle that anyone buys a stick Three in the first place. The fact that the 3 Series still appeals to the same number of manual-transmission buyers as it did 25 years ago is a win for the stick. BMW just needs to wake up to it.
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