Hooniverse Asks- Should BMW Drop the I?

Gather round little hoons, and let me regale you with an amazing story about cars before computers, when something as simple as a rubber hose was a valuable part of many a mechanic’s tool collection. Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and Blockbuster was still in business, bartender duties on most cars and trucks was handled by something called a carburetor. Some cars had only one of these strange perfume spritzer-like contraptions, while others sported two, four, or even six! It was a badge of honor for your average Joe Sixpack to be able to point out the carb, and maybe to accurately describe its barrel count and amount of air it could handle – using fancy terms like CFM.

Back then, carbs were the norm and fuel injection, whether mechanical like Alfa’s notorious SPICA contraption, or electronic as designed by companies like Bosch, was the exception. That expensive but performance boosting intake alternative was so rare and warranting of bragging rights that manufacturers typically would denote such models with Fuel Injection badges, or the appending of a simple i. It was something that could raise an audible oooooh from knowledgeable passersby when noticed.

But today, there isn’t a car sold in the U.S. – hell, in any major car market in the world to the best of my knowledge – that isn’t fuel injected. The costs have come down so far, and computer controls have taken all the fiddling out of the systems, so what manufacturer would try and sell a car with a carb? And that’s if they could get them by any major emissions standards. Still a lot of car makers continue to anoint their cars with the letter I, and BMW is a prime offender. 328i, 330i, 640i, i, i, i, i, i, i. It’d be great if they were in the navy. And they aren’t the only ones to do this, VW sells the GT. . . wait for it, despite the fact that the entire Golf range is now injected. 

So, the question today is whether there’s any equity left in the I. Does having that key differentiator removed from the mix mean that it should also be stripped from the trunk lid? What do you think, should BMW – and others – just drop the I?

 Image: [Motor Trend]

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