Mutations Drive Evolution

(Originally published 6/30/08)

I am inspired by the title of an article written recently in a major news publication.

Of the new X6, Ezra Dyer of the New York Times wrote, “…It can tow 6,000 pounds, and the V-8 version can also lap the Nurburgring track right on the heels of the last-generation M3 performance car.”  The article focuses on how, in a post-Hummer pre-Hybrid world, these ‘mutant’ SUVs are taking shape and quickly revolutionizing our visions of what sorts of visual boundaries there are and just how far they can be pushed.

Over the last seven years, BMW has been criticized for releasing more ‘mutant vehicles’ of their own.  Chris Bangle, chief designer for BMW, introduced the ‘mutant’ butt of the ’02-’08 7-series.  He brought forth the ‘mutant’ flame surfacing of the Z4.  He penned the ‘mutant’ killer coupe on steroids look of the X6.  Each vehicle, though, has been a tremendous sales success in its own right.

This is such because with each new BMW vehicle comes a revolution.  It may not initially appeal to a generalized visual repertoire, but long gone are the days where a 3 looks like a downsized 5; a 6 like a shrunken 7.  Say what you will about the way they look, I am merely interested in how they drive, and boy do they ever.

The 7’s active-damping suspension helped it to corner with almost no body roll.  The Z4 can be tossed around at unbelievable velocities.  The X6 nearly doubled the Porsche Cayenne’s closed-loop turning numbers.

Next time you are in a BMW showroom, just do me a favor.  Glance back and forth along the side of a Z4.  Note how the ‘flames’ seem to dance about.  Then get in, crack the throttle and fly away.  If this is evolution by mutation, count me along for the ugly ride.

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