[12] 2004 Bmw 330ci For Sale Making Weekly Gallery

The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

Yours too.

But the BMW of today is not the BMW that designed the 394-horsepower M5 nearly two decades ago. BMW now produces nearly half of its sales from utility vehicles and sells only a handful of sports cars each month. Setting aside classic sedan styling, the BMW of today will sell you ungainly X4s and X6s, plus bulbous hatchback versions of the 5 Series and 3 Series. Moreover, BMW’s core models — the 3 Series/4 Series — are distinctly less popular in the United States than they were a decade ago, when the market was smaller and the 3 Series lineup wasn’t as broad.

BMW is incentivizing its products heavily in early 2017 just to keep sales roughly where they were a year ago, a year in which BMW’s U.S. volume fell 9 percent compared with the 2015 peak.

Something’s not quite right. So do you, lover of the 1999 M5 and the BMW 2002 tii and the BMW 507 and the BMW Z8, still want a BMW?

Let’s not act as though BMW USA’s recent downturn suggests a total dearth of demand. True, BMW set U.S. sales records in 2015 and is off that pace by 11 percent through the first four months of 2017. But BMW is still on track to sell over 300,000 vehicles in the United States this year, a big leap from the average 248,000 annual sales BMW managed between 2002 and 2012.

BMW is still figuring out how to get the product balance right, as more utility vehicle production is required to meet demand for a five-strong group of crossovers that have pushed sales up 16 percent in early 2017 even as BMW’s car sales fell 13 percent.

Combined, the X1, X3, and X5 have grown their volume by more than 7,000 units in early 2017 — whether you want one or not, there are many who do. But the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 Series cars combined lost nearly 8,000 sales so far this year.

On a mission to mainstreamify its cars, BMW evidently lost some of its luster. The Ultimate Driving Machine tagline is no longer quite as believable. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now the dominant luxury car nameplate, and C-Class sales are growing.

Of course, there are individual BMW variants that still hold great appeal to your car-loving soul. But does the blue and white roundel still carry the same weight as it did 5 or 10 or 20 years ago? Does the sound of a BMW inline-six still cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up? Do you find yourself wishing you’d spent a little extra on a CPO 335i than you did on your Accord Touring?

Do you still want a BMW?

Timothy Cain is the founder Media which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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