Yet like clockwork, any yarn about a niche model, strange derivative, new body type, is met by derisive fervour - sourced from those clearly unaware of irony.
Perhaps no brand has been more polarising in its exploration of niches than BMW, and in many ways the Bavarian brand has hoisted itself upon its petard.
After all, ‘ultimate driving machines’ aren’t supposed to be frumpy or impure.
Yet a Bimmer exec said something in a press conference recently that grabbed me. And at the risk of hypocritically unleashing a dodgy opinion in a piece deriding them, here’s my two cents.
1.13 million is the magic number. It’s the number of so-called ‘new vehicle concepts’ the company has sold since 2008.
By that it refers to studies in polarisation including the fugly 3 Series and 5 Series Gran Turismo luxury hatchbacks, the rather lovely 4 Series and 6 Series Gran Coupe four-door glamazons, and the X4 (soon to enter second generation) and X6 coupe crossovers.
This latter pair in particular have been lightning rods for abuse and derision. Perhaps deservedly so, though we’ve seen brand after brand follow in their wheel tracks.
But who’s the real sucker? It’s not the company making money hand over fist by top-hatting shared architectures with different bodies and luring new buyers the world over.
A purist may long for the days where BMWs were called 3, 7 and 5, with a grudging nod to the X5 or some-such, but what use is purity when 1.13 million people want something outside its narrow confines?
Have an opinion about vehicles like this if you want. Mock away. But do be aware that just like marriage equality, you’re not losing anything of your own by letting others do things their way.
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