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From digest.v7.n940 Tue Jan 13 22:37:00 1998
From: SRR <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 16:01:10 -0800
Subject: Euro delivery M3 story (longish)

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Hello fellow digesters!

I just thought that I would post my experience with the European Delivery Program and my new M3!! Before I start let me say that I'm writing this because I hope that my experience might help someone else somehow, I'm anxious to talk about my Bimmer with people who might care :) and I always enjoy reading other people's stories so I hope some of you might enjoy mine.

I wanted an M3 for what seemed like a very long time and finally had the ability to get one in November of '97. At first I wanted to just get one off a lot, but it was nearly impossible to find the one that I wanted at a reasonable price. (I guess reasonable is relative, but I didn't want to pay full retail) After a couple of weeks of searching, I started to consider the European delivery program and got some quotes. I eventually got a quote of $36,750 - After taxes/import duty it came to about $41.5K out the door, which I think is very reasonable.

First available pickup in Munich was January 2nd, 1998. AyeeAyeeAyee!! It seemed like an eternity, but finally the day came and I was grinning ear to ear as the very friendly BMW employee named Bernhard showed me my new car!

First impressions - fit and finish were excellent. Body panels were perfectly aligned, paint was very nice, trim pieces were perfect, interior perfect. I am very happy with the initial build quality of the car. I also think that the interior material has been upgraded in some way, either that or I was just seeing it through rose colored glasses. I remember thinking that the '95 M3 interior looked kinda cheap, but I swear that the '98's interior looks downright ritzy (in a Germanic way of course). I'm not sure if the materials are different, but they seemed much nicer. I also really dig the lit shift knob.

After starting the car, my impression was still great. The engine sounded great and wound effortlessly to 5,500 rpm which is the max recommended rpm during break in. This engine really seems to like it best when it's being used hard. Handling is wonderful and the solidity of the car is amazing. When you hit a bump the car let's you know, but then the bump is gone. No shuddering or rattles. The only minus was that I got the message "TAIL LIGHT FAILURE" from the OBC whenever I turned my headlights on or off. I checked the tail light and it seemed to be working fine so I'll have it looked at when I get the car back in the US.

**Thank goodness that Europe has had the warmest winter in hundreds of years**

Driving in Germany and Europe in general is really cool!! For one thing, drivers are better and maintain excellent lane discipline. I also never saw some yahoo doing 65 in the fast lane and thinking that was fast enough for anyone and therefore not moving over. American drivers seem to take everything personally. I never once felt any anger in Europe when getting close behind someone with the clear meaning of please move over. The drivers just move over, no problem.

Anyhow, from Munich the quick version of my journey goes like this:

Augsburg(nothing special here except an innkeeper who liked to talk about cars)

        Salzburg(Beautiful and NO I didn't take the Sound of Music tour)
        Vienna(The Hapsburgs were a busy bunch, Mozart, Mozart, Mozart)
        Neuchatel(Switzerland/friends/I really like Switzerland)
        Lyon(cheap hotel on the way to Nice)
        Nice(overpriced, pebbly beaches, but neat watching the airplanes
land from the beach)
        Eze(little town between Nice and Monaco with a really amazing
village area)
        Monaco(casino looks nice, bad food is ridiculously expensive, good
food is ludicrously                 expensive, parking is difficult, but at
least the gambling sucks)
        Milan(dirty Italian city, but the white church is really amazing)
        Frankfurt(typical German industrial city, drop off baby)
        Home(much to soon).  

I put about 1,400 miles on the car! It isn't an amazing amount of miles by any means, but it's more driving than I expected to do. I always woke up impatient to drive the car again.

The funny thing about driving an M3 in Europe is that BMW's are so common most people don't even really notice them. Porsche seems to be the marque with the most cachet value, especially in Germany. I never minded though, I like my M3.

After the 1,400 or so miles the engine seemed a lot smoother. It idles at about 600-700 rpm and didn't stumble much like some earlier M3's I've driven did. Everything worked flawlessly.

Well, that's about it(the short version at least :), it sucks to be home and working again, but I hope someone out there enjoyed this little message! (And to think it's not even as long as the '100 reasons why it's great to be a man' message. (which I enjoyed BTW :))

Happy Bimmering,

Steven Ritchie
'98 ///M3 Silver/Gray (waiting for my baby, don't mean maby) BMWCCA San Francisco chapter

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