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Drivers of some car brands have negative stereotypes, such as the bad reputation of BMW owners. While it’s best to avoid overarching generalizations, recent studies have interesting findings about this topic. In one study, BMW drivers are one of the most stupid with low IQ scores — and in another study, they are the most psychopathic.

In study, BMW drivers are 1 of the least intelligent — with low IQ scores

BMW 3 Series 320 in car crash, showing how BMW drivers are one of most stupid and psychopathic in studies
BMW 3 Series 320 car accident | Becker & Bredel/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images

Before we get to the BMW “stupidity and psychopathy” studies, I want to make clear that I have no personal vendetta or bias against drivers of BMW cars. I’m not here to disparage them.

Also, I’ve driven BMW vehicles before — the first-generation BMW 8 Series 850i in my youth and, more recently, the 3 Series Gran Turismo. It’s safe to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the “Ultimate Driving Machine.”

As the deep-voiced narrator in the classic commercial says, “If a car company can have a soul, this is ours” — the BMW 8 Series 850i. If BMW truly has a soul, owners of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” can’t be all that bad, right? However, BMW killed the first-generation 8 Series for the American market in 1997 and globally in 1999. Does this death mean that the car company’s soul died with it?

Of course, this is all in jest. Additionally, I have family and friends that drive BMWs. They’re all intelligent in their own way — and exhibit no traits of psychopathy or stupidity. 

That being said, BMW drivers have a bad reputation for aggressive and rude driving behavior — whether fair or not. With this in mind, the findings of the studies, conducted by Scrap Car Comparison, are especially intriguing.

One study researched the correlation between the intelligence levels of drivers and the car they drive. This study had 2,000 drivers of many different car brands take an IQ (intelligence quotient) test. Those that scored the lowest on the IQ tests are defined as the most stupid — while the ones with the highest IQ scores are defined as the smartest. 

Car brand IQ rankings

Front view of 2023 BMW 4 Series, showing BMW drivers as one of most stupid and psychopathic in study
2023 BMW 4 Series | BMW

For the tests, the BMW drivers are one of the most stupid, with the 3rd lowest IQ scores. Only drivers of Land Rover and Fiat vehicles score lower. 

Here are the IQ scores of drivers of car brands in the study — ranked from lowest to highest:

  1. Land Rover: 88.58
  2. Fiat: 90.14
  3. BMW: 91.68
  4. Volkswagen: 92.25
  5. Volvo: 92.40
  6. Ford: 92.75
  7. Honda: 92.88
  8. Kia: 93.01
  9. Audi: 93.25
  10. Renault: 93.41
  11. Hyundai: 93.52
  12. Citroen: 94.29
  13. SEAT: 94.71
  14. Nissan: 94.71
  15. Mercedes Benz: 94.74
  16. Vauxhall: 95.11
  17. Toyota: 95.76
  18. Mazda: 95.91
  19. MINI: 97.41
  20. Peugeot: 97.79
  21. Suzuki: 98.09
  22. Skoda: 99

Also, on the opposite end of the intelligence spectrum are Skoda drivers. They have the highest IQ scores in the study, followed by Suzuki and Peugeot. Skoda is a car brand from the Czech Republic — and one of the world’s oldest continuous automakers.

Drivers of BMW cars are the most psychopathic in study

Front view of 2023 BMW 3 Series, highlighting the bad reputation of BMW drivers and psychopathy and IQ studies
2023 BMW 3 Series | BMW

Prior to the intelligence study, Scrap Car Comparison did another one that researched the correlation between the psychopathy of drivers and car brands. Like the intelligence research, the psychopathy study evaluated 2,000 drivers. It gave them a psychopathy test, which measures various traits of psychopathy. Examples include a grandiose sense of self-worth, a lack of remorse or guilt, and superficial charm. 

With the highest scores on the tests, BMW drivers are the most psychopathic. This indicates they are more aggressive, less considerate, and quicker to anger while driving. The next most psychopathic ones are drivers of Audi and Fiat cars.

Here are the car brand psychopathy scores of drivers in the study — ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. BMW: 12.1
  2. Audi: 11.7
  3. Fiat: 7.0
  4. Mazda: 6.4
  5. Honda: 6.3
  6. Ford: 6.1
  7. Mercedes-Benz: 5.9
  8. Citroen: 5.8
  9. Volkswagen: 5.4
  10. Hyundai: 5.3
  11. Renault: 5.3
  12. Other: 5.3
  13. Volvo: 5.2
  14. Nissan: 5.0
  15. Peugeot: 4.8
  16. Toyota: 4.7
  17. Vauxhall: 4.7
  18. SEAT: 4.3
  19. Kia: 4.2
  20. Skoda: 3.2

Once again, Skoda drivers did well in a study. They are the least psychopathic, followed by Kia and SEAT. The study indicates calmness and considerate behavior prevail for people behind the wheel of these car brands.

Bad reputation of BMW owners

As noted earlier, drivers of BMW cars have a bad reputation. If you do a Google search about this topic, you’ll find many inquiries, articles, and social media discussions about how they are bad, aggressive, and rude drivers. They’ve also become the avatar for the “rich jerk,” an image that’s been perpetuated in TV shows, movies, and other media. 

A funny example of this is in an early episode of the iconic Breaking Bad series, which you can view in the video below. After seeing a rude BMW driver nearly run over a frail older woman at a gas station, Walter White places a squeegee on the battery of the BMW convertible, causing the luxury car to explode. 

This negative image of BMW drivers has clearly stuck — as shown in a poll conducted by Moneybarn, which asked respondents who they thought were the worst drivers. By an overwhelming margin (nearly 40%), the respondents listed drivers of BMW cars as the worst — well ahead of Audi drivers, the second-worst (14%). 

For the studies, the dubious distinction of BMW drivers being one of the most stupid and psychopathic likely makes some people feel a sense of validation for their negative perceptions.

However, it’s best to take the study findings with a “grain of salt.” The studies were conducted by one entity. A crucial part of validating research is to have multiple studies from different sources. Before coming to any conclusions, additional studies that corroborate the BMW “stupidity and psychopathy” results are necessary.

Nonetheless, the bad reputation of “Ultimate Driving Machine” owners wreaking havoc on the streets continues.