Rubbish BMW online car configurator eager to drive away customers

If there’s one thing that gets on my goat, it’s a rubbish website from a large, well funded organisation that should know better. Step forward BMW who seem to think the way best way to attract customers is by offering a car configurator tool that does its level best to ensure you never buy a BMW.

The warning bells sound early on when you click the car configurator link and the tiresome Java logo appears to inform you that your browser will now slow to a crawl. You’re then presented with a squashed photo album of BMW models way down at the bottom of the screen. Hovering over any one in particular shows a popup of the base model and price although why BMW would think that is useful is anyone’s guess. Chances are that if you want to buy the cheapest model of a brand new BMW, you’re looking at the wrong marque.

Once you’ve chosen your model, the website prompts you to choose a paint job. Only problem is that there are no paint job options to choose from, BMW obviously thinks it best to leave it to your imagine as to what Midnight Taupe Eggshell will look like spattered all over your new pride and joy.

The whole experience is just so counterintuitive and clunky. You can’t see a 360° real-time view of the car by simply dragging the mouse but must instead click on arrow links, each accompanied by a pause as the Java tortoise in the background coughs and wheezes to the next image. That is, when you can actually get to see the car you’re building, BMW has thought it best to only show you your configured model at select opportunities instead of being there constantly on the screen updating in real time the way it should be done.

And then there’s the unhelpful dialogue that prompts you to do stuff that’s not even relevant. For example, click on the Interior package and it’ll ask you to choose upholstery. Click on the Packages link and it’s still banging on about choosing upholstery only this time the bottom strip is accompanied by the variously overpriced driver packages you can add to the build.

Screen estate is wasted laboriously and the whole thing barely squeezes onto a 768 height screen which is a native resolution for 720p present on most laptops made in the last 5 years. Navigation is all over the pace with no consistency in the user experience whilst the information is displayed haphazardly seemingly inviting the user to guess what happens next.

When you do finally make it to the end, and only those with the patience of a Saint will bother, you click on Your BMW and are presented with … nothing. Actually, that’s not strictly true, if you were previously looking at the Interior section, clicking on Your BMW simply shows you the same screen. Nice one BMW, I’m obviously mad thinking that clicking on a link entitled Your BMW would actually show me my meticulously built BMW.

Other rival marques (e.g. Audi, Alfa Romeo) have wonderful online car configurators that actually work and provide a fun and informative way to spec a new car. BMW’s offering is just too buggy, complicated, slow and messy. You would expect that the company behind the Ultimate Driving Machine would put a lot more care and due consideration into providing the Ultimate Car Configurator to build the Ultimate Driving Machine.

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12 Responses to Rubbish BMW online car configurator eager to drive away customers

  1. Tom says:

    AGREE!!! I’ve just tried to use this and have given up. And for any BMW staff reading this who think that if I really wanted to buy a BMW I would simply make my way down to my local dealer, you are very wrong. The BMW website with its car configurator tells me that BMW is the wrong choice for me and it is what i’m basing my car purchasing decsion on. Crazy you say? But very true. I was actually leaning towards BMW until this website changed my mind. I’m off to Audi for my next car.

  2. David says:

    Well, they obviously listened to you, as it’s now changed a bit… and has been made worse. I can barely make out the tiny picture on my 24″ screen. It’s of no use at all. At least before, the picture was nice and big. And, contrary to your claim, it did update in real-time with the options you added before.

  3. Philip says:

    I can’t even get it to load on my screen – BMW sort your website out its rubbish!!!

  4. exBmw says:

    Tried driving the current automatics – the shift system is the very definition of counterintuitive and just damn frustrating.I just put my 2010 3 series in for service and they gave me a current model X3 – if this is how you change gears on the new BMW’s,I definitely will not be buying a new BMW when my current lease expires next year.Take a simple well proven method of changing gear and make it more fancy and complicated. WTF for?

  5. Fair and square says:

    What for stupid ass comments and article is this. I’ve been using the BMW configurator for months, even years as a big BMW fan. It’s very easy to configure what you exactly want. Every single option you tick off will be visible and adjusted to your 3D-car. I can’t remember Audi doing that for every option, and oh god don’t let me start about Volkswagen.

    I agree, it can be slow sometimes. But the result is there, a BMW configured exactly like you wish and extremely close to the real world model.

  6. Eric says:

    I love this guys
    It’s a shit site that’s a given
    And there earlier cars were good
    Now they are plastic German offices on wheels
    Lost the plot !

  7. Liviu says:

    Pretty much the same today in 2017. Unusable crappy car configurator. And the cars? Well, indeed, as Eric said, they kind of feel a bit cheap. At least this is the case with my 65 plate 3 series for which the idiots decided to use cheap cracking plastics for the inner door handles (and some other parts as well). Why would you use cheap shiny plastic for something that needs to sustain quite a good amount of force in order to shut the door. Due to the position of the handles which are placed pretty close to the door hinge, the force applied daily on these handles is big enough to make them crack/rattle after a while.

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