Aaron Widmar

[VIDEO] Awkward, Dirty Grandma Makes Ad for BMW X5 Leather Hilarious

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BMW jumps on the Fifty Shades of Grey bandwagon with new commercial

Awkward Dirty Grandma Commercial for BMW X5 Leather

Be thankful we don’t see what Grandma’s wearing in the back seat
Photo: BMW USA

UPDATE: Want to find out who the actress playing Grandma is? Read our follow up article!

Thus far in 2015, BMW has been on a roll with its commercials. Following the clever, self-deprecating banter between Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel in the advertisement for the electric i3 during Super Bowl XLIX, BMW is turning its attention to a topic that’s sweeping the nation: S&M.

Because of the baffling hype surrounding the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey film, fetishes are becoming mainstream, both in American culture and recent advertisements. The latest brand to hop on the sexual domination bandwagon (you just imagined what that would look like, didn’t you?) is cultured, conservative BMW. To sell the premium package and third row seating of the BMW F15 X5, the automaker goes for blue humor laughs by revealing a woman’s steamy past–that woman being an awkward, dirty grandmother. [ Click to See the Video ]

Related: Check out BMW’s Super Bowl ad for the i3

Ad for BMW X5 Gets Uncomfortable with Fifty Shades Grandmother

The commercial begins with a family driving to an unspecified destination in their luxury BMW X5 SUV: the parents in the front, two young girls in behind them, and the father’s mother in the third row (because of this, we shall refer to her as “Backseat Grandma“).

Awkward Dirty Grandma Commercial for BMW X5 Leather 2

Does this remind you of your own family? We’re SO SORRY to hear that.
Photo: BMW USA

As the family continues their drive, the stereotypical nagging grandmother offers her unsolicited advice, suggesting, “It’s much faster if you go the other way.” She doesn’t receive a response, so Backseat Grandma offers an observation on the family’s BMW. “This leather’s fancy,” she acknowledges.

It’s at that point we enter hilarious dysfunctional family territory. Despite Backseat Grandma’s daughter-in-law shrugging off the comment by muttering, “Yeah, it’s the premium package,” the old lady continues.

“Your grandfather loved it when I wore leather,” Backseat Grandma blurts out. Still no response, though the wife looks concerned for the sake of the children riding with them. “He was a very dominant man,” continues Fifty Shades grandma’s reminiscence–until her son cuts her off.

Thank you, Fifty Shades of Grey. You’ve brought well-respected BMW into S&M grandmother territory to advertise luxury interiors–at the cost of the viewer’s innocence. If you watch the ad a second time, it completely changes your interpretation of the grandmother’s opening line, “It’s much faster if you go the other way.”

Seinfeld shudder Gif

You can watch the commercial below–but we must warn you: it won’t be the premium package, the X5, or the 5/7 seat configurations you’ll remember afterward.

Look at This: See how BMW uses Google Glass for quality control


  • Aaron WidmarSenior Editor

    Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.

  • Charles

    This absolutely golden. I cannot stop laughing! I looked it up on the web so I could play it over and over again. Pure genius!

  • Grandma had a wild side!!!!

    • Speaking of golden, the grandma reminds me s lot of the grandma on golden girls.

  • The wife is a bitch – as usual.

  • patti virginia

    This commercial is hilarious. To the writer of this article – Quit being such a prude and just try enjoying life for once.

  • lee king

    I love this commercial, but the more I think about it, the more it confuses me.

    Did you notice how the old woman said, “Your GRANDFATHER loved it when I wore leather”? Unelss she suddenly started talking to the little girls in the back seat, she’s still addressing the parents in the front, right?

    Since the father calls the old lady “Mom” wouldn’t that mean the old lady is talking about HIS grandfather, HER OWN FATHER???

    • al

      Is it really that deep.

  • WHO is the actress playing Grandma?

  • I am absolutely APPALLED at this commercial! It is never “hilarious” to treat older women as crazy with deep seated dementia. Really? Some adolescent in marketing thinks that older women are daffy old loons? No wonder older women are called horrible names in tweets etc. ‘You old bag!’ Bradley Cooper kissing Betty White–EWWWW!
    You need to pull this commercial. I went back to see what company..BMW? I will NEVER buy anything from you!

  • Marjri Glenn

    Sondra James actress plays Grandma

  • The News Wheel

    Marjri is right. You can learn about Sondra and see her two new BMW commercials in our follow-up article here.

  • Rooster

    I thought this commercial on its own was clever, but the additional commercials with the grandma and her outlandish claims seem to indicate she has dementia. Not great marketing.