Here is a prompt: how do you differentiate yourself in a world where there are only a handful of ‘premium car brands?’
I live in a very upper-middle-class (formerly “yuppie”) area of Tampa, Florida and for lack of a better term, nothing is sacred. There are hundreds of the Mercedes C-class sedans toodling around, hundreds of Audi A4s, hundreds of BMW 3-series of varying age, along with thousands of other Lexuses and Acuras. I find myself feeling that must go backward in time to seek out a vehicle that I think is unique and representative of my tastes rather than consider what is being offered now.
The problem I have with the explosion in popularity of the ‘small-executive’ segment is that almost all of the excitement stems from a need to pull rank in society. It’s as if they are all completely interchangable…as long as you have one, you have cleared a hurdle in life. And the companies that produce these status-vessels are not blind to this…they provide the easy financing and attractive lease offers. I wonder, do any of the people who drive BMWs or Audis or Mercedes understand the history, the significance or the reasons why their car is truly superior? Come to think of it, are they even all that superior?
Maybe I am just a cynic, a separtist, whatever. But when I was growing up, if you drove a BMW, you were a sporty character…someone that wasn’t always well-liked but you had flair and sex appeal. If you drove a Mercedes, you were logical and safety counted, as did comfort. You had conservative style. And if you were an Audi person, you might have been a liberal, architect hippie with a fat salary. I guess I just liked it better then.
Now its all homogenized, all the same. Audi makes serious and sporty too, BMW makes comfortable and Mercedes makes CRAP!
Here are some cars that I would go out and buy right now, if I could:
– 2000 Mercedes C280. A bit small but still an old-school Merc with enough modern tech and safety to last another 10 years.
– 1995 Mercedes E320. Best of the over-engineered Mercedes, still attractive and still running in most cases.
– 2009 Volkswagen CC. I keep seeing them out of the corner of my eye (they are gaining in popularity, which sucks), but they’re beautiful and the interior is just…delicious. I do think its a pity though that the rear brake and tail lights aren’t LEDs.
– 2009 BMW 335d. Purely because I’ve always thought diesel was a smart idea and the 3-series isn’t half bad with the right colors and options. Mine would be Blue Water with Chestnut leather, the Premium Package, Sport steering wheel, Park-distance control and premium hi-fi.
Thanks for reading.