We're guessing BMW M's social media manager is regretting this idea.
Social media and unique marketing campaigns are a great way for brands to entice fans and prospective customers. But posting a teaser here and some information there can only get you so far. To truly engage with an audience, carmakers have taken a unique approach by posing questions and, sometimes, causing controversy.
But as BMW M recently learned, this can sometimes backfire. The performance subsidiary of the German brand took to Facebook and asked followers, "What's your dream road trip in the BMW Concept XM?" Within minutes, the comments section was flooded with witty responses. Responses vary from polite to brutally honest.
The caption was quickly changed to "Attention grabber. The BMW Concept XM" - but not before the internet got in a few jabs. One user said he'd "leave it in the garage and take out an E39 M5 instead." Others said they would drive the BMW XM "straight into a tree" and that it would "look better afterward." It's safe to say aficionados aren't bowled over by the concept's styling.
The XM is BMW's first fully M-developed product since the M1 supercar of the 1980s. Jaws dropped when the Munich-based automaker revealed the concept, convinced that the motorsport brand has abandoned its heritage to chase profits.
Fans took this opportunity to express their anger, with some suggesting they'd drive the XM to a Porsche dealership and trade it in for a "well-designed vehicle."
Others simply stated what many BMW drivers are thinking. "BMW is losing touch with [the] customer," said one Facebook user. Rather amusingly, another suggested the company's designers are on the payroll of Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Not all comments were entirely negative, with one commenter writing, "I don't mind the XM, but what on earth should I use it for?"
It seems that not even the planned outputs of 750 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque are enough to distract fans. Perhaps once it arrives, the electrified 4.4-liter V8 will soften the blow caused by those controversial looks.
The big Bimmer certainly looks to be a dynamic machine. For a high-riding SUV, the XM exhibits fine handling characteristics, as seen from its most recent stint on the Nurburgring. But for a car that's being touted as the ultimate M car, it's understandably disappointing.
"I'm disgusted at the fact that this is [BMW's] idea of the M1's spiritual successor," reads one comment. "If that is what [the company thinks], they should go ahead and close up shop ... I see nothing good ever coming from them ever again." Perhaps that's a bit strong, but it speaks volumes. For years, BMW has been a brand for enthusiasts and the XM - despite its powerful engine - is a slap in the face to loyal fans. At least BMW didn't resort to childish remarks of its own this time.
Yes, the company has a strong tradition of building high-performance SUVs such as the X5 M, but it's never been described as the ultimate M car. We hope the performance subsidiary looks at these comments and takes note. BMW M, your fans have spoken.