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Auto blogThu, 09 Oct 2014 12:45:00 EST
The last time I roped a coworker into an automotive debate, I lost. Resoundingly, I might add. Still, 2,385 voters chose to cast their lots for the Fiat 500 Abarth, as opposed to 5,273 choosing the Ford Fiesta ST, and so I can rest easy in the knowledge that at least 30 percent of you, dear readers, see things my way. I still like to think we have more fun, too.
My loss in the first round of our This or That series, in which two Autoblog editors pick sides on any given topic and then attempt to explain why the other is completely wrong, didn't stop me from picking another good-natured fight, this time with Senior Editor Seyth Miersma. Last time, our chosen sides were eerily similar in design, albeit quite different in actual execution. This time, our vehicular peculiarities couldn't seemingly fall any further from one another: A 1980 Oldsmobile 442 wouldn't seem to match up in comparison to a 1989 BMW 635CSi.
How did we come up with such disparate contenders? Simple, really. Seyth and I mutually agreed to choose a car that's currently for sale online. It had to be built and sold in the 1980s, and it had to be a coupe. The price cap was set at $10,000. The fruits of our searching labors will henceforth be disputed, with Seyth on the side of the Germans, and myself arguing in favor of the Rocket Olds. Am I setting myself up for another lopsided loss?
Images of the overhauled BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe have leaked ahead of a debut at next month's Detroit Auto Show, along with option sheets and some specs.
Both wear the standard hallmarks of BMW's M division. There's a subtle power dome in the hood, along with the requisite M3/4-branded strakes on the front fenders. The front and rear fascia are more aggressive than what we've seen in the 3/4 Series M Sport package, as well. Split-five-spoke wheels mean the neither car will stand out in the family portrait and those gold calipers, meanwhile, signify what has been rumored for some time - the M3 and M4 will be getting carbon-ceramic brakes.
The cabin is home to the standard suite of M accoutrements, including a new steering wheel and more heavily bolstered seats. Special trim, including carbon fiber, will be available to further set these cars apart from the standard models.
Today BMW is a top player in the luxury vehicle market, but it wasn't always so. With origins as an airplane engine builder early in the 20th Century, it broke into the automotive industry when it bought Automobilwerk Eisenach in 1928. That German manufacturer was licensed to build the Austin Seven under the name Dixi DA-1, which could be had in a roadster body style. In 1929, BMW dropped the Dixi name, and by 1936, it was building a car it designed in-house, the 326 sedan. That was followed by the company's first roadster of its own design, the swoopy two-door 327 of 1937.
XCAR picks up there, and gives a history of BMW's iconic roadsters starting with the 327, ending with today's Z4, and covering everything in between - including the beautiful post-war 507 of 1957 and the funky, plastic-bodied 1989 Z1.
The video, which we've included below, is a good history lesson and a great chance to see a bunch of classic BMWs, spanning 84 years, all driven back to back within the safe confines of a racetrack. When you have a spare 20 minutes, go ahead and take some time to watch it.