First: The disclaimer
BMW is my favorite car maker. They care more than other car makers. (For example: the 50/50 weight distribution on every model, the Best Engine awards… year after year, the M series, the longevity of their model lines, etc)
I got to see the BMW i8
Here’s what I saw:
- Seats two
- Is hard to get in and out of
- Has a rather busy interior–there are a lot of handles, buttons, knobs, screens (see Points 3 & 4 below)
- Has engine noise piped into the cabin through the speakers. It really does.
- Has a range of ~300 miles
- Gets 28 mpg (Compare that to the Tesla’s 89 mpg)
- Is not for sale yet
- Will be priced at $135,000
- Goes 0-60mph in 3.8
Let’s start with my conclusion:
If your vision of the future—a car that is so advanced that you can’t even manufacture it yet—is LESS impressive than a car that someone else has been selling for TWO YEARS (or seven years, if you count the Roadster), then your car is not only NOT futuristic, it is a fraud.
The other car I’m talking about is the Tesla Model S, of course. Here it is:
- Seats 5 comfortably… with tons of luggage space
- Extremely adjustable: ride, steering, performance, braking, height, efficiency, etc.
- Extremely high-tech, yet elegant, interior and controls
- Range is 250 miles
- Has been for sale for over two years
- Price: $68,000-88,000
- 0-60 in 3.9 (Performance model)
Then let’s get to my points:
The Tesla is SO much better, in every way, than anything from any other car maker that it looks like they’re not trying. Or playing a game.
— Grant Huhn (@granthuhn) July 27, 2014
Crazy lights do NOT make a car “all new”! Car makers, stop doing this. It is embarrassing. I’ve written about this before. Read “Most Cars are Ugly”. Excerpt:
First, some design principles:
- There are design principles. They exist. We have identified them. Long ago. They work. Practicing them makes art. Violating them makes garbage that will (and should!) be quickly thrown away.
- It is the details that make the design. “Good car design” = “refinement of details”. Are the headlights perfect? Good. What about the grill? And every, single other detail?
- The goal of design is greater simplicity. Audi does a good job with this. On the exterior. No auto maker does a good job inside. Car dashboards are hideously offensive and unintuitive. Gimmicky for the sake of being gimmicky. Colors and shapes and lights and buttons. It makes me weep.
- The vast majority of cars have horrifying lines. Pick any line (top of grill, pointless line through middle of grill, top of the taillight, the edge of any window, etc) on a car and trace it out. It will not be in harmony with the other lines around it.
- LED lights, keyless ignition, built-in TVs do NOT make a car “All new!”.
- If a car is aping (copying) another car, the original car will be better designed.
- Audi and Aston Martin are making the best designed cars right now.
The goal of design is simplicity. If your product design is complex, then your product has not been designed. It has been marketed… as a gimmick.
I’ve written about this before… so I’ll just copy & paste the entire article here:
All car makers (even ones with some taste) shoot for this with their dashboards:
Even motorcycles have gone the way of tasteless, gimmicky dashboards:
…when they used to be elegant:
Conclusion (see beginning of article).