If you’ve been in the fortunate position to be speccing up a new BMW 5-series recently you may have concluded that buying an upmarket car is getting too complicated.
The new BMW 5 and the 5GT are both cars where choosing options is way more than just deciding what bells and whistles you want, what the budget can stretch to, or even what’s best for resale. It can radically change the way the car drives.
Adding expensive options to the new 5-series - such as electronic dampers and dynamic steering - makes it feel like a different car. Far more like an ultimate driving machine, in fact.
Now you can debate whether BMW is taking the you-know-what by doing this, or whether these options should be available on all models (you can’t add them to humbler Fives). But the fact remains that it’s a headache buying the ‘right’ one when you’re going to be lucky if a dealers has a demonstrator with your favoured engine and gearbox, let alone allowing you to test drive cars with or without these options.
BMW’s sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson told me the other day that even he thought that the options list was too complicated, and admitted that Munich is currently thinking of ways to help customers out to make sure that they buy the car they want or need.
More packages is one quick solution - so you can spec a car to be safety oriented, or sports oriented, for instance. But again, actually getting to sample this stuff before you tick the boxes is a tricky one.
Robertson did reveal, though, that the future could be buying a base car and then adding things at a later date. When even items such as steering systems and dampers are electronic, rather than mechanical it makes things a lot easier.
His plan is that BMW’s forthcoming Megacity electric car will be able to have lots of options added to it by the dealer, rather than them being hardwired in on a production line. And, just like Audi, he’s considering allowing customers to download ‘apps’ for extras on cars – for audio upgrades and electronic additions etc.
Wouldn’t it be good in the future if you could buy a 5-series and live with the electronic dampers or another costly option for a few days before you decided to ‘add’ it permanently?