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-   -   Time to write BMW USA... Bring the X1 manual to the US! (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=614660)

iamthewalrus 04-15-2012 06:53 AM

Time to write BMW USA... Bring the X1 manual to the US!
 
I send them a note this morning:

To: customerrelations@bmwusa.com

Greetings,
I currently drive a 2006 BMW X3 3.0i with a six-speed manual, m-sport package, premium package etc. I've loved the new X1 since I saw it in Berlin two summers ago while on holiday. My X3 is six years old, and I plan to replace it in the next two years. The X1 would be at the op of my list, if it had a manual transmission option. If it's automatic only, then it's outside of my consideration set.
Back in 2006, I traded in my 1998 Audi A4 for a 2006 BMW 330Ci convertible, because of the manual transmission. Audi didn't offer the A4 convertible with a manual. I later chose the X3 over other options on the market, because it was the only compact SUV with both all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. By comparison the Audi Q5 is automatic only and the VW Tiguan has a manual, but only in front-wheel drive configurations. If I had to buy a new car today, I would purchase a VW GTI or GTI-R. It's the only German, manual-transmission, four-door hatchback available in the US.
I understand that emissions and safety testing is an expensive process that can limit the number of drivetrain configurations available in the US. That said, the compact, all-wheel drive SUV with a manual transmission is effectively an untapped segment, although perhaps too small a segment.
In case demographics help make the business case, I am a 36-year-old professional living in San Francisco. I work in high-tech and have an undergraduate and a master's degree. Living in the city, means that I need something compact. Going to Lake Tahoe both skiing and backpacking means that I need something all-wheel drive with ground clearance. Please bring the X1 manual to the US!

Sincerely,
James Dailey
San Francisco, CA


History of cars I've owned:
1986 Volvo 760 GLE -- learned to drive on the family car.
Didn't own a car for many years through university and working in Boston Massachusetts.
1998 Audi A4 2.8Quattro Tiptronic -- bought my mother's old car from her when I moved to California in 2001.
2006 BMW 330Ci convertible -- purchased new at BMW Seattle. Chose the BMW over the Audi A4 cabrio, because only the BMW had a manual transmission.
2006 BMW X3 3.0i manual/m-sport/premium/xenons/pdc -- purchase CPO at BMW of Bellevue Washington in 2007 with only 9,000 miles on it. Traded the convertible which was impractical in the Northwest.
2006 Mini CooperS convertible -- purchased used as a second car and sold it roughly a year later. It was incredibly fun, but I needed my second parking space for visitors.
2014 BMW X1 ???

Squidling 06-29-2012 09:47 AM

Amen to that! I would order one today if they had a manual option. My letter:

-----

Hello,

I am writing to implore BMW to release a manual transmission version of the X1 in the US. I am a young professional and have currently moved to Seattle, WA. The Northwest is full of Subarus as they are the dominant choice for those who want a compact, fuel efficient, AWD SUV. When I saw the X1 was coming to the US, I got instantly excited, until I realized there was no option for manual transmission. I am a long time BMW fan, and currently drive a 2002 325ci. I have just recently moved after being offered a job, and am planning on buying my first new car. If the X1 was offered with a manual transmission, I would order one today. The driving experience of a manual transmission is something I value very highly. BMW, in my opinion, makes the best manual gearboxes of any automobile manufacturer worldwide. To deny an eager American market of a manual X1 seems a shame. Lacking this option has me leaning toward Subaru and Volkswagon for my new purchase.

I realize that there are many factors involved in the decision of which versions of cars get released to which markets. I only hope that this message, combined with that of other like-minded individuals, will bring about change. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

motordavid 06-29-2012 10:25 AM

Good letters, but my bet is BMWNA won't, and could not care less...
It's another engine/trans combo to EPA certify, (not a huge cost or barrier deal), but the demographic US 'mkt' is Biff & Buffy, and via a lease.

Add in the 'packaging layer(s)' for options on most models, the cost of electronic options that are standard in much less pricey cars, and the gross margin chase writing is on the wall, imo.

Manual trans BMWs will become scarce and more scarce, in all model lines, as time goes on.
GL, mD

sd330Ci 06-29-2012 04:45 PM

There is another German AWD car with MT available - MINI Countryman ALL4
(designed by BMW and made in Austria)

This the one I have and pretty happy.

Teleskier 06-30-2012 12:28 PM

I have always driven manuals for the joy of driving and for its complete user control. I have always hated AT's for the "four second lag" when I stomp on the accelerator, and the car finally decides to pull out into the street.

I was about to write a letter as well but have some questions I need to answer first.
  • Would the X1 Sport Mode and manual paddle shifters give me the same control/feeling as a manual? ("Shift where and when I want you to - darn it!")
  • I hear a lot about how few Americans drive manual, and how a MT will hurt your re-sale value (dealers won't touch them for trade-ins since only 1-2% of market?)
  • Am I willing to give up another 2mpg+ downgrading from 8spd AT with eco-drive to 6spd MT, when I already decided to give up 2mpg+ to get AWD vs S-drive?

I need to test an existing X3 with AT in Sport mode. No local dealer so far (only tried two so far) will let me take out the car alone where I can test drive it. I'm too polite to make the poor saleswoman sick to her stomach as I perform my various testing maneuvers.

Audi let me take an AT Q5 out alone. Its AT made the car almost feel Japanese in its disconnected 'lack of driving joy'. Had much more fun in the MT Audi A4.

The AT in the X3 with Sport mode in manual felt better than the Q5 - I but could not really test it. I did notice weird behavior when I stomped on the full gas, 'it' decides to downshift for me, producing a lag, when I wanted it to stay in the gear I was in. If I gave 85% gas, it stayed in my gear. Annoying. I found I could 'mess up' its gear selection very easily compared to full-control MT ("Oops, my lane disappeared, only have 4 seconds to pull in to one-car length spot, 100% gas now", lag, lag, lag). But perhaps I didn't spend enough time with it. The poor woman's head was snapping back and forth enough as it was, even if she was a sport putting up with it.

My personality is that I'm fast and I'm in full control. I like my full-user-control Win7 PC versus my "let us do it our way" no-user-control "don't even try to be a power user" Mac, I like my rooted android over iPhone, my Campy 20-speed 'MT' racing bike slicing through its gears, my no-spring-assist-binding telemark skis for 'real' skiing, etc, etc. (I need the SAV part of the X1 hatch over 3er sedan, for the three mountain bikes plus racing bike in back, alpine + tele + nordic skis and poles during ski trips, lower-than-SUV roof for easier kayak, etc, etc). I get 4 mtn bikes into my Golf TDI, but bottomed it out 5 times on VT ski trailhead roads and replaced 5 dented oil pans so far where was just lucky I didn't lose all oil. The X1 seems to be the best compromise for sport+driving+higher clearance, though going down from 50+ mpg to 30 mpg will be a shock at first).

So far in my view of driving, MT = "Just let me slice through my favorite gears" = joy of driving.

Were you a MT-fan like this? Did you make peace with the Sport-mode manual paddle shifting? I would appreciate any pointers here from your experiences.

IE - "You'll never like AT - you're not an elderly driver yet - keep your 20-something aggressive driving style - don't be pulled into the dark side of point-n-go convenience driving"

OR

"If you simply adjust your driving style a LITTLE bit, such as no more stomping on gas and do some pre-planning to neutralize the AT lag and perhaps drive more sane like the slowed-down adult you're supposed to be, you'll find you like it with AT, and love it even more during 3-hour NYC traffic jams."

I need to do more testing with a BMW X3 with AT Sport-mode, to try to see if I can reverse-engineer how one might be able to drive "well" with it (or despite it).

My experience with AT in American rental cars had me kissing my steering wheel when I got back into my own MT car, though that's not a fair comparison (I think).

sd330Ci 06-30-2012 01:30 PM

I can not drive car with AT at all.
I hate it so much when car decides what to do instead of me.
So cars with AT do not exist for me - I would not drive one even if it's free.

AutoUnion 07-02-2012 10:58 AM

They already have the N20/6MT combo standardized for the US and the N55/6MT plus N55/6MT/xDrive also have been standardized in the F30. Why not just bring it to the higher 35i, or just bring it to the base sDrive 28i? It will barely cost them anything

iamthewalrus 07-03-2012 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutoUnion (Post 6929921)
They already have the N20/6MT combo standardized for the US and the N55/6MT plus N55/6MT/xDrive also have been standardized in the F30. Why not just bring it to the higher 35i, or just bring it to the base sDrive 28i? It will barely cost them anything

Unfortunately, to pass US emissions and safety standards, they need to test each drivetrain combination separately. So, a manual, AWD, 2.0T X1 is tested separately than an automatic, AWD, 2.0T, X1. Each combination of model, engine, and transmission is expensive to certify.

niftyswifty 07-03-2012 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sd330Ci (Post 6925916)
There is another German AWD car with MT available - MINI Countryman ALL4
(designed by BMW and made in Austria)

This the one I have and pretty happy.


It's just too different of a car. I have driven a Countryman twice now, and while it's a fun car, it's much slower (7.3 vs 6.3[X1 28]/5.3[X1 35]), it's incredibly loud inside at full throttle or on the highway, the interior is very cute (but it's a little too cute for me to take clients to dinner). It also is a little light on some of the more luxury oriented features the BMW offers.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great car--I just want something a little more substantial, with a little more pick up...with a manual transmission.

sd330Ci 07-03-2012 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niftyswifty (Post 6932301)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great car--I just want something a little more substantial, with a little more pick up...with a manual transmission.

Then the next hope is 2014 Porsche Macan.
It should be available with MT(same as Cayenne), but it's a long wait...

brkf 07-03-2012 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niftyswifty (Post 6932301)
It's just too different of a car. I have driven a Countryman twice now, and while it's a fun car, it's much slower (7.3 vs 6.3[X1 28]/5.3[X1 35]), it's incredibly loud inside at full throttle or on the highway, the interior is very cute (but it's a little too cute for me to take clients to dinner). It also is a little light on some of the more luxury oriented features the BMW offers.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great car--I just want something a little more substantial, with a little more pick up...with a manual transmission.

Amen. I loved my Cooper S. Drove a Countryman S with manual and it just wasn't for me. The 1.6 turbo is taxed in the 2600 lbs Cooper S. In the Countryman the engine just couldn't keep up with the weight of the car. And the vehicle was loud. Really loud and not in a pleasant way.

JMK 07-05-2012 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sd330Ci (Post 6932476)
Then the next hope is 2014 Porsche Macan.
It should be available with MT(same as Cayenne), but it's a long wait...

Not available until next year! I haven't heard of transmission options yet, maybe in the 4 cylinder. Base Cayenne V6 can be had with the manual, but V8 and TT only with the 8 speed Tip. I would bet the Macan will come with PDK. My X5 lease ends next December and I would consider the Macan, but I don't want to be early adopter of the engines!

trekgirl 07-14-2012 05:49 AM

I just wrote my letter. Unfortunately I need to buy a new car in two months so a MT X1 will not be even a possibility - but it worries me that manual transmissions are disappearing. Along with German cars actually made in Germany. Porsche Macan looks interesting but too far off and agree with JMK about avoiding year 1 of a new engine.

Evlengr 07-15-2012 04:32 AM

Another beef of mine with BMW is those darn RFT's. They can claim they have smoothed out the suspension all they want, but RFT's run like tanks to me.

The only one that truly benefits from RFT's is BMWNA. One less tire to supply, reduce mfg process, plain cost cutting while still charging you as if the vehicle had one.

People say just change the tires no problem. Yes problem as the first time there is an issue BMW techs will all blame the tires you changed.

If they wont move with tires, they certainly won't do an MT tranny. Sorry guys.

trekgirl 07-16-2012 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evlengr (Post 6952495)
Another beef of mine with BMW is those darn RFT's. They can claim they have smoothed out the suspension all they want, but RFT's run like tanks to me.

The only one that truly benefits from RFT's is BMWNA. One less tire to supply, reduce mfg process, plain cost cutting while still charging you as if the vehicle had one.

People say just change the tires no problem. Yes problem as the first time there is an issue BMW techs will all blame the tires you changed.

If they wont move with tires, they certainly won't do an MT tranny. Sorry guys.

Agree on the RFTs!!!

Teleskier 07-16-2012 10:12 AM

At first I thought the run flats sounded like a good idea. You save weight, save room, save gas.

Until I read that they not only have a harsher ride and wear twice as fast, but even worse are heavier with bigger thicker sidewalls, and have a much higher rolling resistance losing on average 2mpg!

As a cyclist I know how much centrifugal tire weight and rolling resistance matter to efficient forward motion.

So my list of negatives on the X1 is growing rather than shrinking. No MT. No diesel until next year. Now no normal repairable tires as needed in ski backcountry.

It's almost as if BMW is TRYING to get me to stay with MT+TDI+normal_high_mpg_tire VW/Audi! Nuts!

Does anyone know if you can order the car w/o run flats for ED pickup? Failing that, can I replace the RF's myself if I order the large 19" sport rims (ie, is there enough wheel well room)?

iamthewalrus 07-16-2012 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Teleskier (Post 6954435)
So my list of negatives on the X1 is growing rather than shrinking. No MT. No diesel until next year. Now no normal repairable tires as needed in ski backcountry.

It's almost as if BMW is TRYING to get me to stay with MT+TDI+normal_high_mpg_tire VW/Audi! Nuts!

So, you want a diesel, all-wheel drive, manual-transmission, reasonably compact car/SUV? You *must be* European! The reality is that we are a really niche audience here in the US.

I live in a dense city, but I have an outdoorsy lifestyle where I regularly take my car off-roading on National Forest Service roads backpacking or x-country skiing. I only drive manual transmission cars and my car needs to be small enough to parallel park in Seattle and San Francisco. What does that leave me with?

VW Golf R: AWD, manual, sporty and reasonably priced. But low ground clearance and limited availability
VW GTI: Manual, sporty, and reasonably priced. But front-wheel drive and low ground clearance.
Audi A3: Quattro OR manual, but not both. Low ground clearance.
BMW X3: Auto only.
BMW X1: Auto only.
Audi Q5: Auto only.
Audi A4: Too big for the city.
BMW 3 series: Too big for the city.
Mini Countryman: I'm 6'2" 185lbs and I'm too tall. Doesn't fit enough gear for four people to go backpacking.

So, I'm keeping my 2006 BMW X3 3.0i manual, m-sport for as long as it will continue to run. There are simply no great options on the market today regardless of price.

James
San Francisco, CA and Seattle, WA

sd330Ci 07-16-2012 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamthewalrus (Post 6954723)
Mini Countryman: I'm 6'2" 185lbs and I'm too tall. Doesn't fit enough gear for four people to go backpacking.

I am 6'4" 180lbs and fit in Countryman just fine, but I agree it would be too small for 4 on a long trip.

Teleskier 07-16-2012 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamthewalrus (Post 6954723)
So, you want a diesel, all-wheel drive, manual-transmission, reasonably compact car/SUV? You *must be* European!

True... LOL! Or at least coastal blue-state US. :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by iamthewalrus (Post 6954723)
I live in a dense city, but I have an outdoorsy lifestyle where I regularly take my car off-roading on National Forest Service roads backpacking or x-country skiing. I only drive manual transmission cars and my car needs to be small enough to parallel park in Seattle and San Francisco. What does that leave me with?

VW Golf R: AWD, manual, sporty and reasonably priced. But low ground clearance and limited availability
VW GTI: Manual, sporty, and reasonably priced. But front-wheel drive and low ground clearance.
Audi A3: Quattro OR manual, but not both. Low ground clearance.
BMW X3: Auto only.
BMW X1: Auto only.
Audi Q5: Auto only.
Audi A4: Too big for the city.
BMW 3 series: Too big for the city.
Mini Countryman: I'm 6'2" 185lbs and I'm too tall. Doesn't fit enough gear for four people to go backpacking.

So, I'm keeping my 2006 BMW X3 3.0i manual, m-sport for as long as it will continue to run. There are simply no great options on the market today regardless of price.

I can't believe such people would be in such a minority here, but it is counter to the entrenched bigger is always better mentality.

You pretty much described all the vehicles I am likewise considering. I lept at the X1, hoping it would be the vehicle I've been patiently waiting years for as the "what car would I buy next?" choice.

Your 2006 X3 was also on my list... under the top two options of either "ED X1 for new, or American-made MT X3 for used." Now I might wait for the diesel... if my aging TDI can make it that long.

I've been trying to make the X1 fit... but am having my doubts.

trekgirl 07-17-2012 04:40 AM

So I got a reply back from BMW regarding the letter that I wrote about wanting a manual transmission X1. My expectations weren't all that high to begin with, but seriously??


Dear Ms. Lee:

Thank you for contacting BMW of North America, LLC regarding our model lineup. We appreciate your interest in the X1 with a diesel option.

Our website is continually updated with the latest news and product information. Please visit www.bmwusa.com to view the Ultimate Driving Machines scheduled to join our lineup, as well as concept vehicles.

The sales team at your local authorized BMW center is also available to assist you. A complete listing of our BMW centers is available at: http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/conte...r/default.aspx.

The BMW Customer Relations and Services Department is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Time. You can reach us at 1-800-831-1117.

Sincerely,

Rachael Schuster
Customer Relations and Services
Representative

mason 07-18-2012 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by trekgirl (Post 6956043)
So I got a reply back from BMW regarding the letter that I wrote about wanting a manual transmission X1. My expectations weren't all that high to begin with, but seriously??


Dear Ms. Lee:

Thank you for contacting BMW of North America, LLC regarding our model lineup. We appreciate your interest in the X1 with a diesel option.

Our website is continually updated with the latest news and product information. Please visit www.bmwusa.com to view the Ultimate Driving Machines scheduled to join our lineup, as well as concept vehicles.

The sales team at your local authorized BMW center is also available to assist you. A complete listing of our BMW centers is available at: http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/conte...r/default.aspx.

The BMW Customer Relations and Services Department is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Time. You can reach us at 1-800-831-1117.

Sincerely,

Rachael Schuster
Customer Relations and Services
Representative

That's a generic reply. I am not surprised if that was automated. You might get a second one later like they are deliberating the line up, be sure to stay tune, something to that effect.

sd330Ci 07-21-2012 09:01 AM

What I don't understand is that BMW build so many niche cars (4GT, 5GT, 6GT, X2, X6, ...) but completely ignores buyers who wants AWD SAV with MT in US.

Rompster69 01-06-2013 06:44 PM

Maybe a bigger niche than they think
 
I think the folks at BMW have just stereotyped Americans several years back and are clueless about how big the MT/not too big vehicle/good mileage niche may be. The country may be changing too.

I live in Ozark Missouri, and I would jump at an X1 or a wagon if it came in manual transmission (and even better, MT plus diesel). I will absolutely not spend that kind of money on an automatic transmission I won't enjoy driving on the other hand. I know many friends and family who feel the same way and don't have many buying options. It wouldn't take BMW that much to get their MT and diesel European models certified for North America, and if they want, only available for European pick-up or special order.

An example of untapped niches: I got interested in BMW after I tired of the seating position of my cruiser motorcycle. Did some research and came to the conclusion that the BMW motorbikes were the best (enduro line for me). No dealer near me in Missouri, so I bought one far away (F650GS). Now everyone around Ozark and Springfield stops me on the bike and asks where they can get one, swearing they'll drive to Arkansas or St. Louis to buy one if they have to.

Could be the same thing with the X1 in manual/diesel -- plus a modest amount of advertising. Sell the driving experience, while everyone else is just doing AT get from point A to point B.

sd330Ci 01-07-2013 06:18 PM

X135si with MT would be nice

Rompster69 01-08-2013 05:10 AM

Indeed. Given the expense of jumping through gov. certification hoops for every car, I don't see why they couldn't at least offer an X1 diesel MT, but no AT diesel. If you want AT, get the gas. If you want MT, get the diesel. Most people can compromise on gas vs. diesel, but not as many on MT vs. AT.


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