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05-07-2002, 04:32 PM
For a guy like me who's read this board multiple times nearly every day for over a year, the fact that I've hardly checked it since delivery is a testament to the M3's ablilty to seduce you into spending every spare minute behind the wheel rather than in front of a computer screen, as evidenced by my odometer which today reads just over 4,000 miles since picking her up at the Performance Center less than 4 weeks ago on April 11. I think that's a good thing. In any event, here's my report.

I was on the wait list for 20 months @ MSRP with no deposit. After agonizing during that entire time period over color and options, and with feedback from posts on this board, I opted for TiS, black leather, moon roof, power seat package, HK, Xenons, heated seats, and at the last minute, after looking forward to SMG from the day availability was announced, I switched to a 6 speed for a host of reasons I've detailed in previous posts. Add-on's and accessories include Stongard, replaced by Xpel (more on that later), clear reflectors, window tint, phone, V-1, and mats.

My traveling partner was my 12 year old son, and when we boarded the shuttle for the PC the morning of the 11th, there were only 2 others taking delivery: a 50-ish doctor from Florida (TiS/IR Cab), and a boyfriend/girlfriend couple, both of whom looked in their mid to late 20's. When the couple boarded the shuttle, the guy was decked out in an all-black outfit, including jacket and hat, emblazoned with multiple M3 logos. Strange as it may sound, I speculated the minute I saw him that he neither owned an M3 nor was he there to pick one up. I later discovered I was right on both counts as I listened to him regale the PC staff with stories of his recent graduation from Chiropractic school and his plans to make his next car an M3 because "I'm tired of getting my [Oops!] kicked at stoplights by Mustangs." Turns out his girlfriend was there to pick up a 530.

Because I had arranged to have a guy from Atlanta put stongard on late that afternoon at a nearby shop, and because I had to get a decent start on the drive home that day to make my break in service appointment in Denver the morning after next, I was put on a special schedule apart from the rest of the group. We drove an M Roadster straight to the Zentrum museum just after 8 am, where the night watchman let us in. My son and I had the entire place to ourselves, including the virtual tour (movie) of the assembly plant. Within an hour, we had our fill of the museum and drove back to the PC for the delivery experience, which took about a half hour. Then, the best part.

While talking with the staff about my schedule before I arrived, they reminded on more than one occasion that my son could participate in everything but the track and that he'd have to wait inside until I finished driving. However, when I got back to the PC, I was the only one in the drivers' classroom. I then found out that I was the only one scheduled on the track for the next 2-3 hours. At this point, the instructor looked at my son and asked him if he'd like to ride shotgun with him in an M5. It took about a nanosecond for my son's response. What then followed was one of the most entertaining and rewarding experiences I've ever had. Over 2 hours solo, burning up someone else's tires, driving various parts of the track, the slalom, the emergency lane change course, the ABS test section, the accident avoidance section, the wet & dry skidpad, with the final highlight (and my son's most vivid memory) consisting of a session practicing four-wheel drifts. Incredible.

The stongard experience proved to be less than incredible. I drove to a shop in Spartanburg, met my contact, and waited nearly 6 hours for him to complete the install. Later, on the drive home through much rain and some late night eastern Colorado sleet and snow, the edges came up and I had the whole thing replaced by a local installer when I got home. I'm pleased to report that the re-do (Xpel, which is the same material but with a different cut) is first class, as is the tint which I had done at the same time. The benefits of the 6 hr. Spartanburg install were: (i) my son had plenty of time to painstakingly peel the warning stickers off the visors, and (ii) my front end weathered 2,200 miles in four days through lots of rain and sleet without damage.

We pulled out of Spartanburg about 7 pm and hit a small town outside Nashville (a little less than 400 miles) by midnight. I'd planned to make it further, but the late start set us back. The next day was brutal. Almost 1,200 miles from east of Nashville to Denver in a single day. The worst part involved the rainy weather we encountered in eastern Colorado which turned into severe nightime storms, with driving wind and horizontal hail, sleet and snow. To boot, one side of I-70 was closed, and it was less than fun to travel in 2-way traffic with the weather I've described. With the wind and sleet, every time an oncoming truck would pass, it was like driving with your eyes closed. By the time I climbed out of the car after midnight, I was really ready for bed.

To this point in the drive, I had been fairly conservative. No sport button, easy throttle, varying speeds, etc., all of which was about to change. The next morning, I showed up at Schomp BMW in Denver for the break in service with 1,537 miles on the clock. After extensive inquiry about the correct fluids, and a short debate as to whether changing the tranny oil is part of the covered break in service (it is), both issues were resolved and I had a great time chatting with the service advisors while keeping a watchful eye on the techs working on my car.

The next big question was whether to drive the last leg home from Denver to Salt Lake that afternoon, or whether to play around for the rest of the day. Yes, I was quite anxious to get back on the road with the break in service out of the way, but I realized that if we were to wait til the following morning (Sunday), we could leave early and there would likely be little traffc. We decide to head to Coors Stadium and take in the Colorado Rockies / Arizona Diamondbacks game followed my a movie and dinner. As I discovered the next day, it was the right choice.

Sunday morning broke bright, clear and cool, with light traffic on I-70. West of Denver, I made the most inspired decision of the trip and cut off on highway 40. Given the day of the week and the time of day, 40 was virtually devoid of traffic. Best of all, 40 runs through some of the most scenic, twisty, sweeping and spectacular stetches of road that include everything from mountain passes and villages, to valleys and farmland. Then came an unexpected surprise. Just after I exited onto 40, I was passed by a local in a tuned, red 325. What then followed was nearly an hour and a half of cat-'n-mouse at speeds that never got much below 90, and the Sport button was on for the first time. What a riot. This was the payoff drive! Eventually he had to stop for gas, and we waived goodbye.

Near the Colorado/Utah boarder, with about 2,000 miles on the odo, I had the chance to open it up to an indicated 143 before I ran out of road. I suspect the actual speed was closer to 135 or so in light of BMW's well known speedo error. In any case, the car felt firmly planted and had more room in the pedal.

As to radar, I discovered that the Utah Highway patrol uses instant-on radar. After leaving Colorado, it was not uncommom for My V-1 to beep 2 or 3 times, and then go dark. A short time later, when I would come line of sight with the oncoming patrol car, the V-1 would instantaneously light up like a Christmas tree. I eventually realized I was initially picking up stray or reflected signals from someone way ahead of me getting zapped by instant-on, hence the 2-3 beep tip off. By the time I got line of sight, I was well within legal limits. The V-1 is great, especially the rear antenna that picks up radar like that I encountered sitting on an overpass. I had plenly of advance warning approaching the overpass. What I didn't expect, and what the V-1 picked up, was getting shot from behind by the same officer when he moved his gun 180 degrees as I travelled through to the other side of the overpass. In any event, I arrived home without a ticket.

In terms of post-road trip observations, I have a few:

- No sign of any clunk whatsoever.

- I'm abslolutely in love with the 6-speed.

- For me, the color has proven to be the right choice. It looks clean longer, which is a factor for me given my work demands, and it attracts less of the wrong kind of attention.

- The HK is a disaster. Lots of buzzes, rattles and distortion. I have to get this checked.

- If you have the windows tinted with a metalized film as I did, make sure the rear window is done with a non-metalized film if you have a detector like the V-1 with a rear antenna.

- I have a set of 18" SSR-GT3's on order, but I'm liking the stock wheels the more I see them. Not sure what I'll do on this one.

- The exhaust note is a dream. Yes, I've read the multitude of posts regarding the metallic rasp, but to my ear, all I hear is one of the most exciting, mellodious race-car sounds I've ever experienced.

- The seats are phenomenal. Before I left on the trip, I was experiencing back spasms and huge concerns about spending three days in a car seat covering over 2,000 miles. Once I got the seat adjusted, I had nary a pain, and I'm more comfortable in the car than I am in anything else I sit in.

- The PC experience was A+ The staff is great, and I'm extremely glad I was able to switch to PC delivery late in the game. It's the best way to experience the handling limits of the M3 and then bond with your car during the drive home. A carefully selected return route will provide more uninterrupted stretches of fun than you could ever experience during the workweek.

Thanks again for all the useful feedback. It's great to be reading the boad again.

05-07-2002, 04:39 PM

05-07-2002, 04:54 PM
Except for the Xenons. I nearly switched to SMG last minute but decided to stay with my initial instincts and stuck with the 6 speed. I also just purchased a V1 and have had similar experiences to you. I always slow down now when it beeps just once or twice as police often use instant-on where I am. It is a pretty good indicator that they are around when this happens. I hope to have it by this weekend/early next week and hope to have as much fun as you are having. Sorry to hear about the HK though (I hope I don't have the same problems).

05-07-2002, 05:00 PM
Was Mike Kenny (white M5) the instructor ? I'd bet a few bucks it was him from your description.

Comment on the 'chiro'. The statement "I'm tired of getting my [Oops!] kicked at stoplights by Mustangs" speaks volumes of what type of person he is. If someone wants to race me, I either ignore them or complement them on what a wonderful car they have ! ;-)
I do my racing around a racetrack with a helmet on, I feel safer approaching my limits (not anywhere near this car's) than running around Raleigh on I440.

Enjoy your wonderful new companion. Good luck!<br><img src="">

05-07-2002, 05:22 PM
Great write up...thank you.

I'm also getting the same car, basically loaded sans SMG and Navi. I just love the regular six speed.

The other difference is that I'm picking mine up in Munich. Should be a great trip.

Good luck with your new car!

05-07-2002, 05:24 PM
driving a LeMans Blue M5. What a great guy he is. He consistently exhibited great patience and enthusiasm as I continued to do a few rather stupid things with the PC's M3.

As to the Chiro, it's hard to accurately paint the picture of this guy in a post like this because there is an intangible impression that's difficult to convey without seeing him in person. The description of his attire coupled with the statement I quoted was the best way I could think of to sum him up. There's much more I could tell, but It's not my objective to be critical.

05-07-2002, 05:30 PM
do it but just couldn't take the time. Should be a terrific experience for you!

05-07-2002, 07:23 PM
It sounds like you got a little more driving than we did picking up on 4/22. I may have to complain. :)

We got the SMG and don't regret it at all. Topaz/Gray.

We put the 1200 miles on in 3 1/2 days, picked up Monday afternoon and had service done Friday morning in Orlando.

I had StonGard installed by Mike Messer in Atlanta and have had no problems with it. I did have hi install his custom kit on the hood and bumper that gives more coverage and wraps many of the edges. For thos eplanning on getting htis done, contact him at and tell him I sent you.

05-07-2002, 07:30 PM

05-07-2002, 09:11 PM

05-07-2002, 09:39 PM

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