Brilliant creative by Audi, introducing you to one cool couple and their family of twits who drive other, lesser brands. Audi positions BMW as a jerk, Mercedes as old and confused, and Lexus as a family of preppy nerds with undercurrents of hostility. And Audi? Well, just right. Kudos for a mini-long-form format, too; this is the type of work meant to go viral.
Just as we’d given up sports cars for $4-a-gallon gas, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG brings its 1 Series over the pond from Europe this month to taunt us Yanks with a tighter design and 230 horsepower. And to seal the deal, BMW includes magazine ad copy that makes absolutely no sense.
Here’s the offending copy block:
… the BMW 1 Series truly is a car that has been condensed but is missing nothing. The greenhouse with its Hoffmeister kink has been moved rearward.
Now that’s copy! Who could resist? We lunged for the computer and Googled “Hoffmeister kink” five times before finding out BMW’s agency had misspelled it. Bimmerfest.com tells us the Hofmeister kink is not a German sex game, but rather the tiny bottom bend in the C-pillar, the piece of metal separating the rear window from the back glass, which launched in 1961 by designer Wilhelm Hofmeister.
The greenhouse, by comparison, is the grouping of windshield, side windows, back window, roof and support pillars that collectively give most cars the majority of their design vibe. That’s right. The literal translation of Hofmeister kink is curvy top. BMW, you naughty, naughty tease.
Either BMW is targeting auto enthusiasts who speak this rare jargon, or some brilliant ad agency is tempting affluent readers to Google obscure argot in hopes they’ll read more about lovely nuances such as BMW’s 50-50 weight distribution and rear wheel drive. Call the bad ad copy an Easter Egg for the obsessively curious.
Hmm. It does look so sweet. The heck with miles per gallon. We’ll see you at the kinky greenhouse dealer.
The 40th Tokyo Motor Show once again proves we’re living in the golden age of auto design. Check out the Audi A1 Metroproject Quattro Concept above, a little study for small, urban vehicles — in this case with 191 horses from a turbocharged gas engine AND a 30 kW electric motor. It’s efficient, fast, and if it ever makes it to market, probably affordable in the $27,000 range.
Now, let’s look at a little BMW from 1973 — the model 2002tii 2.0 fuel-injected hunk of junk that looks like a low-end Toyota.
The model began life as the BMW 1600 in 1966, an 85-horsepower two-door sedan that was laughed at in the era of monster Thunderbirds with 345 horsepower. So BMW engineer Alex von Falkenhausen decided to build a “muscle car,” and swapped out the 1600’s engine with a 100-horsepower 2.0 liter to create the 2002tii. The car came in 1970s glare such as lime green and bright orange, had flat vinyl seats, and the steering wheel was cheap plastic. Back in the early 1970s, this was state-of-the-art technology, and because the little car could (barely) top 100 mph, Germans nicknamed it the Flsternde Bombe, or “whispering bomb.” The sheet metal looked like it was cut and bent by hand.
Which brings us back to Tokyo. The emerging cars give us twice the acceleration, double the mileage, and incredible designs. Computer technology has democraticized good taste. It’s funny to look back and think of BMW once trying to catch up to Detroit on design and torque. Now, if only the U.S. could catch Japan, China and Europe in terms of our gas mileage.