2021 BMW Z4 - Why buy a luxury brand?

I have been a Ford, MG or Buick owner for most of my life. Lately, I have noticed BMW’s and Audi’s driving around and have wondered what is the difference in them? They seem to be about the same size and look alike so why would I buy one or the other?

Lets see : they cost more , regular maintenance is more expensive , insurance can be more expensive , they do have a prestige factor , often have more options than other vehicles and some people just want to have one of those brands .
As to whether you should buy one only you can answer that.


Some buy for status, Leasing a new one every two or three years. Depends on the specific model but BMW and Audi’s have been more engaging to drive with better tech features or a nicer interior.

In the UK at least it became popular to order a BMW or Audi with the smallest engine but get the sport appearance package and delete the badging insted of buying a well equipped Ford for similar or less money.

BMW has got to be more comfortable and safer than a Ford Fiesta.

I am not going to give up the power of a Yaris for a BMW.

Let’s not kid ourselves here. At least 90% of the cars you see on the road, which are less than 10 years old are either leased or financed. People are in debt up to their eyeballs, and car payments, together with the required full-coverage insurance are a big part of the reason why.

The major driving factor (pun intended) behind buying a new or late-model car is to show off the appearance of success, and this is a big reason why luxury brands are so popular. This is the same mentality which inspires people to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on designer-brand clothing, handbags, and accessories, when much cheaper brands will do the same exact thing for a fraction of the cost.

For those of us who view a car as a machine which takes us where we need to go, the goal should be to find the lowest monthly cost for a safe, functioning vehicle. This, of course, is not going to be a luxury brand, and it isn’t going to be a new or nearly-new model, either. As long as there is no rust or body damage, a 15-20 year old car will do the same exact thing as a new one, only without a monthly loan payment, and without needing full-coverage insurance, etc. Sure, there will be repairs and upkeep, but averaged out over the time of ownership, this will be a small fraction of the cost of buying something to impress others.


If your yardstick for a car is size and styling, then there is no reason to choose an Audi over a BMW. Pick whichever makes the batter deal and has the colors you want. Reliability is about the same as is service cost. Both are higher than average for service costs.

The differences are deeper. Audis are front wheel or all wheel (Quattro) drive. BMW’s are all rear wheel drive or all wheel drive cars. Both extensively use turbo-charged 4 cylinder engines. The BMW does not use CVT automatic transmissions on any model while the Audi does on front-wheel drive models but not AWD. Both cars are quick, fuel efficient and handle very well.

My wife hates the add-on look of BMW’s display so we own an Audi.

I’d go a step further. If the OP’s thoughts about a car focus on size and shape, there’s no reason to consider either BMW or Audi. Get the least expensive car that meets your needs.

Do some test drives. If you are extremely impressed and money is no object, get what makes you smile. If money is a concern, you probably won’t smile very long.


Not necessarily so . It will be more prone to break downs and in some case the broken part might be hard to find. Also if that old vehicle causes someone to be late or even miss work they might be out of a job .
I can’t speak for all areas of the US but where I am used vehicle prices are ridiculous .

I didn’t come up with this myself… but I sum up a lot of “Luxury” goods like this:

Buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know.


And sometimes don’t even LIKE! :rofl:

Good post!

That can be a problem even for businesses that don’t sell luxury goods.
Take the example of Pier 1, which is now going out of business.
For years, I have been of the opinion that nobody actually “needs” the stuff that they sell, and now it is obvious that too few people even “want” their merchandise.

Well-optioned Toyotas, Hondas, and Mazdas of today can compete with many ‘luxury’ brands. Mazdas in particular have been pointed out as reasonable BMW alternatives by several reviewers.

I call them “Look At Me” vehicles.

Because if you think about it, these expensive to own/operate vehicles can’t be driven where their full performance potential can be realized. Unless you live near a road course.

And if that’s the case, then I look at someone who buys a vehicle such as this as a, “Hey! Look At Me! I’m A Moron!”

But it’s their money!



Exactly. I’ve gone for cars that meet my actual needs. Dallas commuting and road trips don’t require 160 + top speeds or 1 G handling.

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It depends on what you are after. The luxury cars you mention are quiet, comfortable, and have excellent handling. You can find other, less expensive brands that are functionally equivalent to Audi and BMW. You have to decide whether the added luxury, handling, quiet ride, or other things they do better are worth the extra money you spend up front and for maintenance.

This thread sparked a conversation between Mrs. Triedaq and me over lunch today. Our careers were at a university. I was a faculty member and Mrs. Triedaq was an administrator. She said that there is something to the “dress for success” attitude and this mindset may apply to the vehicle one drives.

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Personally, I define “success” as having plenty of money in the bank, and driving a paid for 10 year old Honda.

But your results may vary.


Many companies I’ve worked for - The engineers are the ones buying the more practical vehicles…the marketing and sales guys are buying the BMW’s, Audi’s… Not all fit into those categories, but most do.