Well, you did it. You finally scrounged and saved, signed on the dotted line, and got yourself a new car. You even shelled out a bit extra to get a couple fancy features — the big infotainment screen, the nice speakers, maybe even the massage seats. But as your drive your new car, and keep driving your new car, you start to nitpick. The big screen reflects the sun into your eyes, the nice speakers don’t actually sound all that nice, and the massage seat really just hurts your back. Maybe you would’ve been better off without them after all.
Sometimes, the high-tech features that we all drool over in the ads don’t actually meaningfully improve the experience of driving a car. Maybe they’re more limited in scope than the marketing lets on, or maybe they just sit unused. In the most extreme cases, they can actually make a vehicle worse than if they’d never been added at all.
The “color-shifting” wrap on BMW’s iX Flow is a strong contender, since it doesn’t actually change colors. It’s, as we’ve discussed before, a shade-shifting wrap — one that’s based on the same technology as your e-reader. While that may work for reading Dune on the subway, it’s not the automotive chameleon we expected.
But the iX Flow is just a concept, not a production vehicle. That shade-shifting feature is more likely to end up in a museum than a dealership, never to be touched by an owner or driver. So, for a truly disappointing feature, we need to look to a production BMW.
For a brief period of time, my dad owned a 2015 BMW X5 M. It was spacious, fast, and had the single most disappointing suspension of any car I’ve ever entered. Stiff, bouncy, uncomfortable for uncomfortable’s sake — certainly not worth the cost of an M over a base X5.
Sure, sporty cars are “supposed” to have stuff suspensions, but there comes a point where you’re no longer doing it for the performance gain. That X5 M, when new, would’ve cost close to six figures; BMW could’ve spent the money to build a setup that eats up potholes without tipping over in the corners. But, to maximize that sporty feel, they didn’t — leaving that era of X5 M an uncomfortable mess.
Have you ever bought a car, only to be thoroughly underwhelmed by a feature you thought you’d love? Have you ever noticed a feature on a test drive that turned you off to a vehicle completely? Tell us your story, and this afternoon we’ll collect the top ten answers.