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Yesterday I went over to Allison BMW for their 3-series launch party. My main reason for going there was that I figured they would have lots of good free food -- gotta justify the high cost of my car somehow.

06-03-05.umbrella.small.jpgThe most striking impression I had about the new 3-series had nothing to do with the exterior -- BMW really Americanized and IKEA'd the interior of this car. The defining moment in this realization was when I noticed that for only $60 you can get an umbrella holder for the front passenger seat (comes with umbrella). Also, if five cup-holders aren't enough, the ski-bag add-on has been modularized; you can snap-in a storage module or two extra drink holders (in case your backseat passengers need 4 cupholders).

In the trunk they offer four optional mat accessories (anti-slip, fitted luggage, tray, and all-weather) as well as seven storage add-ons (grocery holder, drawer, tensioning straps, collapsible box, brackets, floor net, and organizer). Other interesting/odd options include: * coat hanger that mounts to the back of the head rest ($30) * remote control for your house lights ($79) * bicycle lift for your roof rack ($330) * two different attachable map lights ($25/$38) and a 'portable pocket lamp' that recharges in the cigarette adapter.

The only additional that really mattered to me was that they added a line-in and cigarette adapter under the console arm-rest. Lift up the cover and you can't help but picture your iPod nesting comfortably there feeding you good tunes.

[caveat: they've probably had a lot of these options for some time now -- I couldn't afford the accessories market when I bought my car in 2001 -- but seven cupholders???]

Comments (1)

M Author Profile Page:

I smell focus group all over these accessories.

These are definitely features that BMW North America would advertise because of the mindset of the American consumer, but I have a feeling these options and accessories are less popular in the European countries.

Germans tend to have a "no frivolous features" philosophy when it comes to features in cars. Part of it comes from the Autobahn, but I've also heard repeatedly that they also believe that driving is about driving, not driving while we chat on cellphones or drink coffee or eat a Big Mac or read the paper...

It's the accessory strategy. Once you buy the car, you may have to buy the accessories someday, and if BMW doesn't sell them to you, someone else will.

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