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Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 08:24 AM
<center><img src="http://www.hamiltonlabs.com/Nicki-and-her-BMW-in-Austria.jpg"></center><p>

SVTWEB
08-18-2000, 08:42 AM
nt

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 08:43 AM
Forgot to mention that when we picked up the car, I asked the folks at the BMW center about changes in 2001 model year cars. It's only just what's already been described here: lights, grill and PDC. I asked specifically (and repeated the question to several different people just to see if I'd get different answers) and everyone insisted the navigation system is unchanged.<p>Nicki

16X9 Screen for 2001? (e)
08-18-2000, 09:17 AM
nt

JEM
08-18-2000, 09:27 AM
<i><br>This was the best vacation ever.<br></i><p>Euro Delivery is addictive, isn't it? <p>I think there's a number of people who do it just for the vacation - when the car gets back to the US they sell it - and do this 8, 10, 15 times.<p><i><br>You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<br></i><p>My experience is that the Benz E-class is the most common fast-lane vehicle. Remember, though, that a 540i is very rare in Europe, your average 5er is a 525d or 523i. Likewise, your average Audi A8 is a FWD 2.5L turbodiesel, not the Quattro V8s we get here.<p><i><br>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb.<br></i><p>I'd say 'helpful, but not perfect'.<p><i><br>"if possible, make a U-turn."<br></i><p>I know that one well.<p><i><br>When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<br></i><p>We universally found that the hotel, restaurant, etc. database was very limited, only one of the places we'd decided to stay were in there.<p><i><br>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages.<br></i><p>They're all across the board - some are very tight, sized for Golfs. Some have big lanes, etc.<p><i><br>So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<br></i><p>The percentage of totally clueless is much lower. You're going to find your blood pressure goes up 20 points for the next month, dodging fast-lane-crawling minivans and SUVs that have declared themselves turn-signal-free zones.<p><i><br>By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<br></i><p>Don't sweat it, the food is nothing special and they're usually out of half the items on the menu.<p><i><br>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<br></i><p>As long as you're planning to get there during business hours on a day they're open, booking a dropoff date doesn't seem to be needed. But you've got to watch those holidays, and the Harms offices work business hours and may be closed over lunch.<p><i><br>and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris <br></i><p>No wonder you had parking problems. Did your Paris hotel have parking?<p>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 09:35 AM

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 09:36 AM

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 09:41 AM

jay Gans
08-18-2000, 09:47 AM
<i><br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<br>

Mark OC
08-18-2000, 09:51 AM
Not sure about that Jay - they are same wheels I have on my 1999 540i 6 spd sport. But I thought that changed in 2000 ...<p>?<p><i><p>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<p></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 09:54 AM
<i><p>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<p></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 10:10 AM
<i><br>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<br></i><p>It is indeed a 540i 6-speed with the sport package and those are the standard radial spoke wheels that come with that model.<p>Yes, I'm really happy with the color, titanium with grey leather interior, though by the end of our 2000 miles, it was <B><I>filthy</I></B> and covered with bugs!<p>Nicki

KenG
08-18-2000, 10:39 AM
<i><br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

DHoang
08-18-2000, 10:44 AM
<center><img src="http://bimmer.freeservers.com/BMW/Images/images/E39_Gengenbach.jpg"></center><p>

JFrench
08-18-2000, 11:03 AM
Nicki-<p>I will have to save your report for reference. Sounds like a ton of fun. It's nice to hear the factory is so supportive and easy to deal with... maybe our US dealers could learn a lesson here!<p>Hopefully my next BMW will be Euro delivery... and thanks to your advice I will probably get the Nav system.<p>When do you expect your car back in the states?<p>BTW Great comment about being stupid, lazy and unemployed not being a barrier to car-ownership in the US!<p><br>JFrench

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 11:13 AM
<i><br>When do you expect your car back in the states?<br></i><p>The guy at Harmes told me the official policy is he has to tell me it could be 6 to 8 weeks but then went on to say that in truth, it'd be on the next ship out and should be at my dealer's in abour 4 to 5 weeks.<p>Nicki

Marc
08-18-2000, 11:21 AM
I had my turn last October. I also got a 2000 TiAg 540i/6 w/nav. And those are the standard wheels for the stick. The car is amazing, but the limits of its performance can never be approached in the U.S. as in Europe.<p>The nav message that gave me the greatest pause was "you are now leaving the digitized road map area." What do I do then? Well, the local Bavarians were friendly enough. The nav data is more comprehensive in Europe. Here, no hotel data is provided except for addresses. As I recall, the Euro data also includes phone numbers and amenities. (I didn't stay in those hotels, usually preferring guesthouses or small inns outside of town.)<p>A great trip report. Maybe I'll put my car on the market and order a new car for Euro delivery. Any tips, Beewang?<p>Marc<p><i><br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

JFrench
08-18-2000, 11:21 AM
<i><p>When do you expect your car back in the states?<p>The guy at Harmes told me the official policy is he has to tell me it could be 6 to 8 weeks but then went on to say that in truth, it'd be on the next ship out and should be at my dealer's in abour 4 to 5 weeks.<p>Nicki<p></i><br>I assume most of your conversations took place in English?<p>duhhhh...<br>JFrench<br>

Trip????(m) beewang
08-18-2000, 11:33 AM
Welcome back to the land of crappy freeways and $hitty drivers!! ;-)<p>Hope you had the chance to "floor it!!" w/out looking for the cops, because those days are OVER!! =)<p>btw, have you bought your V-1 yet?? =)<p>thanks for the write-up, it will be my turn in 3weeks (and counting)<p>beewang

beewang
08-18-2000, 11:40 AM
Damn!! I hate it when I get busted by Sheriff JEM.<p>;-)<p>John, Euro Delivery on a ///M5!! damn!! I've gotta try that someday!! =)<p>beewang<p>"Let the adventure begin in 3 weeks and counting.."<br>"Life begins at 155(MPH).."<p>=)<p><i><br>Euro Delivery is addictive, isn't it? <p>I think there's a number of people who do it just for the vacation - when the car gets back to the US they sell it - and do this 8, 10, 15 times.<br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 11:49 AM
<i><br>I assume most of your conversations took place in English?<br></i><p>I speak only a little college French and zero German. I'd say it's quite reasonable to get by only on English, though you will find you'll pick up a little of the local language just purely from the exposure. You'll definitely know what an Ausfart is, for example, and no, you don't need to hold your nose.<p>There really were only a couple times when I could not get by only in English. Once was in a little restaurant between Salzburg and Vienna. There, we ended up just pointing at some things on the menu. We didn't know what they were, but figured we'd take one of each. (Turned out it was good. :)<p>Then, as we drove to Paris, I tried finding a Michelin guide to get prices on hotels, since that wasn't listed in the navigation system for France. Though I kept trying at every rest stop's newstand, it just wasn't to be had in English, only French. But as I said, I do understand some French and the books are deliberately written in easy vocabulary, so that turned out to be no big deal.<p>My impression generally was that more people tend to know English in the German-speaking parts of Europe than in France. For example, the people at BMW or Harmes spoke flawless English.<p>But even France didn't seem as bad as it did the last time I was there some <mumble> years ago when it seemed that people would flat refuse to have anything to do with you if you didn't speak not merely French, but <i>good</i> French.<p>This time, the French seemed easier to get along with and much more willing to use English -- especially if you made even a stumbling attempt (as all of mine were :) at French.<p>But I have to tell you a little story: We went to the top of the Tour Eiffel, where my younger boy got a little model of the structure. Right after that, we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Later in the day, he realized he'd left his model there on the table, so had to walk all the way back to retrieve it.<p>My kids were very impressed -- and it made my day :) -- that I was able to ask if they'd found the thing and get it back all in French.<p>Nicki

JEM
08-18-2000, 11:58 AM
<i><br>John, Euro Delivery on a ///M5!! damn!! I've gotta try that someday!! =)<br></i><p>Bloody German freeways in mid-summer are full of diesel Mondeos towing trailers at 85kph passing trucks doing 80kph. <p>We peaked at 145mph, and that was only briefly, coming back into Frankfurt on the last day we had the car.<p>JEM<br>'98 540iA sport pkg (M-8662Y, 8/1998)<br>'00 M5 (M-2600Z, 7/2000)<br>

Chris
08-18-2000, 11:58 AM
When we were there for our Euro delivery in June/July, we made an interesting discovery. If somebody says that don't speak English (in German of course), they probably will understand a mixture of English and pointing. If they say they speak "a little bit" of English, they are really fluent, but not comfortable. If they say yes, they speak it so well, it is hard to hear an accent. Usually, the latter group also understand American colloquialisms.<p>That being said, we did find that when we tried to speak our broken German, we got a pretty good response.<p>Almost all tourist places speak English. Our fun was that we spent most of the time in a small Alpine village. Not many English speakers there (except our neighbor who tried real hard!).<p>Chris<p><i><p>I assume most of your conversations took place in English?<p>I speak only a little college French and zero German. I'd say it's quite reasonable to get by only on English, though you will find you'll pick up a little of the local language just purely from the exposure. You'll definitely know what an Ausfart is, for example, and no, you don't need to hold your nose.<p>There really were only a couple times when I could not get by only in English. Once was in a little restaurant between Salzburg and Vienna. There, we ended up just pointing at some things on the menu. We didn't know what they were, but figured we'd take one of each. (Turned out it was good. :)<p>Then, as we drove to Paris, I tried finding a Michelin guide to get prices on hotels, since that wasn't listed in the navigation system for France. Though I kept trying at every rest stop's newstand, it just wasn't to be had in English, only French. But as I said, I do understand some French and the books are deliberately written in easy vocabulary, so that turned out to be no big deal.<p>My impression generally was that more people tend to know English in the German-speaking parts of Europe than in France. For example, the people at BMW or Harmes spoke flawless English.<p>But even France didn't seem as bad as it did the last time I was there some <mumble> years ago when it seemed that people would flat refuse to have anything to do with you if you didn't speak not merely French, but good French.<p>This time, the French seemed easier to get along with and much more willing to use English -- especially if you made even a stumbling attempt (as all of mine were :) at French.<p>But I have to tell you a little story: We went to the top of the Tour Eiffel, where my younger boy got a little model of the structure. Right after that, we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Later in the day, he realized he'd left his model there on the table, so had to walk all the way back to retrieve it.<p>My kids were very impressed -- and it made my day :) -- that I was able to ask if they'd found the thing and get it back all in French.<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

Chris
08-18-2000, 12:03 PM
Those are the stock wheels for the 2000 540i 6sp now. At least, they were stock for the Euro delivery I picked up a few months back. Other than scratching them on the one small curb in an entire huge parking lot that was higher than 1 inch, they looked nice (IMHO). Thankfully, the insurance package for the Euro delivery is taking care of replacing the rim!<p>Chris<p><i><br>Nicki<p>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<p></i><br>

Chris
08-18-2000, 12:12 PM
Nice summary. I sure hope the weather was better for you then it was for me! When my family got there, our friends who were meeting us said that the weather was just coming down off of a heat wave. We had a comfortable first 3-5 days. The weather decided to take a turn for the worst at that point. Cold enough not to wear shorts. Rain at least once a day. Lots of lightning storms (which I actually enjoyed).<p>We had a great time, and I would love to do it again, just wish the weather cooperated a little more. Of course, at that time, it was 113 F in Greece. So, I guess it could have been worse.<p>Loved the factory tour. The gal giving the tour paid special attention to my five year old while the rest of us were checking what she just finished talking about. He really enjoyed that!<p>I completely agree about the high speed driving and disappointing return to the states. At 135mph (top end when keeping to the 4k break-in limit), we felt like we were doing 70-80. In fact, my wife asked why I was going so slow when I was cruising at 100mph. To think, she was the one who didn't want me to speed on the autobahn before we left! <p>It was a complete drag to return back to the states. Coming back from SFO, everybody was piled up in the left lanes, cutting people off, tailgating, ... Of course, Europeans driving in big cities, are much worse drivers than in the states.<p>Only two more days until my car gets dropped off at the port!<p>Chris<br>'00 540i 6sp<br>Glacier Gr/Sand

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 12:13 PM
<i><br>Other than scratching them on the one small curb in an entire huge parking lot that was higher than 1 inch, they looked nice (IMHO). Thankfully, the insurance package for the Euro delivery is taking care of replacing the rim!<br></i><p>When I dropped the car off at Harmes, they were insistant that I should tell my dealer I'd picked up very minor scratches on 3 of my rims from the curbs and those European garages. He kept insisting it was zero-deductible insurance and it would get fixed.<p>I was amazed and, to be honest, not 100% comfortable about just sticking the insurance. After all, sooner or later, I'll nick them again here in the US. But your experience is they just take care of it? Amazing.<p>Nicki<br>

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 12:15 PM
If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<br>The car is a real animal when you wake it up from its hibernation. <p>Most of the people on this forum are into increasing the perf. aspects of their vehicles.<p>My observation,<br>John<p><i><br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

Chris
08-18-2000, 12:19 PM
Well, the Munich delivery center suggested I contact Gerling when I got back to the states to file a claim. I sent them a detailed fax describing the when's and where's. I got a response back a week later giving me a claim number. My CA BMW center said that if it doesn't get taken care of at the port, they would swap the rim out before delivery to me.<p>I agree, I kinda felt guilty socking them for the cost. Odds are, I will scratch them up here too. This is my first car w/low profile tires. Quite a nice change from my 12 year old Accord. <p>Getting the same car delivered "new" to me again is kinda nice. Of course, the closer to the delivery date, the more excited I am!<p>Chris<p><i><br>When I dropped the car off at Harmes, they were insistant that I should tell my dealer I'd picked up very minor scratches on 3 of my rims from the curbs and those European garages. He kept insisting it was zero-deductible insurance and it would get fixed.<p>I was amazed and, to be honest, not 100% comfortable about just sticking the insurance. After all, sooner or later, I'll nick them again here in the US. But your experience is they just take care of it? Amazing.<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 12:27 PM
<i><br>Nice summary. I sure hope the weather was better for you then it was for me!<br></i><p>We were lucky. In each of the cities we visited, it was always pretty clear while we were there. But it did seem like anytime we got in the car to drive from one city to the next, that we ran into some torrential rainstorms.<p>The good news is that we were collecting so many bugs (when they smack into you at 100+ mph, they really stick! :) that we got to really look forward to each storm to clean the windshield.<p><i><br>At 135mph (top end when keeping to the 4k break-in limit), we felt like we were doing 70-80. In fact, my wife asked why I was going so slow when I was cruising at 100mph.<br></i><p>When we picked up the car, all they said was keep it under 4500 rpm, which worked out to about 140 mph and, yes, I admit we did that the first night. :)<p>Later, but not until we were well past the 1200 mile break-in period, I discovered the manual also asks that you keep the top speed below 106 mph, regardless of rpm during that breakin period. Fortunately, I don't think we were up above that too often just because a lot of our driving during that period was in Austria and Switzerland where there are speed limits.<p>The top speed we hit, back in Germany with about 2000 miles on the car, was 152 mph. And actually, the biggest problem I found at that speed is just that a flyspeck on the horizon is smack in front of you in seconds! You overtake things too quickly.<p>Like you, whenever we hit a construction zone or a traffic jam that forced us down below about 80 or 90, we all joked about how much of a crawl it seemed and how could we ever go back to US speeds.<p>Nicki<br>

layabout
08-18-2000, 12:33 PM
<i>European garages must be the reason that folding mirrors were invented. In several trips to Europe I've parked in a stable in Germany, a garage with pillar so tight I couldn't open either door and other places which obviously were constructed before cars were invented! It's one of the things that bothers me about Euro delivery. Do I want to try to park a new car in these cramped garages. Many hotels have indoor garages since street parking in usually unavailable and risky.<br></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 12:35 PM
<i><br>If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<br></i><p>Hon, I <i>am</i> a spirited driver. In 2000 miles in Europe, there was one guy in a Porsche in Swiss Alps and another guy in an Alpha in Germany I couldn't stay up with and that's only because it was obvious they knew the roads. (They'd get away from me going over the crest of every hill and around blind turns.)<p>The stock 540i is enough for Europe. There's no way you need more here in the US. What are you going to do with it? Smoke up your tires at the stop lights?<p>Matter of fact, at the factory, I was talking with the BMW guys about 540i versus the M5 and I'm telling you, they thought it was just hysterical that Americans think they need M5s.<p>Do what you want with you with your money but it just strikes me that some people have more dollars than sense.<p>Nicki

JEM
08-18-2000, 12:45 PM
<i><br>If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<br>The car is a real animal when you wake it up from its hibernation. <br></i><p>Ah...<b>not.</b><p>First off, there just isn't much room for pulling much HP out of the 540i V8 with software. A few, but that's about it.<p>In the case of the automatic cars, the Dinan transmission software does not do enough to be worth the money. I'm hoping Jim C can do better (much quicker part-throttle kickdown, mainly.)<p>And finally, in terms of suspension, the factory sport package does a very good job. I'm beginning to think it could use a little more damping, or maybe our shocks/struts are going off a little at 33K miles, but in general it's an excellent package for a daily-driver. <p>I can also understand why someone would choose <b>not</b> to get the sport package, though in my case I'd never buy a BMW without the sport seats. <p>The main weakness of the non-sport US-market 5s is the tires, which are all-season Energy MXV4 or EcoContact eco-squealers unsuited for anything but low-speed freeway cruising.<p>JEM<br>'98 540iA sport-pkg<br>'00 M5

JEM
08-18-2000, 12:57 PM
<i><br>Of course, Europeans driving in big cities, are much worse drivers than in the states.<br></i><p>Can't agree on that one. Having never driven south of the Alps, I'll reserve comments on Italy, but the below is based on three trips and about 10K miles of driving through most of north-western Europe.<p>European drivers are least more consistent and predictable. You have very few Kamikaze cabbies and equally few timid soccer-moms in minivans. Everyone does pretty much what you expect them to.<p>Now, admittedly, that expectation changes from locale to locale. In Germany drivers are comparatively respectful of speed limits, right-of-way, etc. German city traffic is almost placid.<p>In Paris everyone just sorta 'gets along' (most of the time, anyway) - lanes don't really exist, and spaces between vehicles will be quickly filled by mopeds. If you signal a lane change you'll find that the vehicles around you magically produce 1.00001 BMW-size gaps for you to move into. Most Americans get paranoid at the prospect of being within two feet of another vehicle; you better get over this in a hurry when driving in Europe.<p>The Brits are impatient but cooperative. In-town speed limits are honored completely in the breach. If you signal a lane change a London cabbie will give you .5sec to move over. He will give you an opening, but you damn well better take it immediately or it will disappear.

buboy
08-18-2000, 12:58 PM
Nicki,<p>It's called being a chick. Women just don't understand the need for speed as us guys do. The 540i may be enough power for you, but obviously, there are many, many people who need more.<p>Even here in the US, there are a lot of guys that beat up their cars on a track, or simply open up their motors to high speeds on LA-Las Vegas trips or through Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles. There is also nothing like the feeling of drag racing a 911 and beating the **** out of him with your BMW, then watching his face stunned with embarrassment in front of his silicone implanted girlfriend. That's what owning a fast car is all about. Obviously, someone like you could never justify owning a Ferrari 550 or a Diablo...<p>Second of all, of course the BMW guys are going to tell you what you want to hear. You just bought a 540, didn't you? What are they going to tell you? That you should have bought an M5?<p>The stock 540i is a fast car, but it is nowhere in the league of a true supercar. Have you ever driven a BMW modified by AC Schnitzer, Dinan, or Racing Dynamics? Obviously you haven't, or else you wouldn't make such dumb and sweeping statements.<p>Like any other hobby, there are those who are real enthusiasts and those that are perfectly happy with recreational activity. The true enthusiast will make his car different, unique, and faster than the showroom stock model. Especially, in light of all those ******* soccer moms driving BMWs now.<p>I'm sure you will enjoy your 540, but the next time you get your *** dusted by an M5 or a Ferrari 355, or even a Dinan 540, on the freeway or through a canyon, you may change your mind... but, we're guys and we love to compare our *****, right?<p>Then again, women shouldn't be driving so fast anyway! Then it really becomes a public safety issue!

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 01:16 PM
Your feelings about girls will change once puberty hits.<p>Nicki

OlderThan15
08-18-2000, 01:22 PM
The below response is typical of a guy who measures his manhood with his car because he's scared of a ruler!<p><i><br>Nicki,<p>It's called being a chick. Women just don't understand the need for speed as us guys do. The 540i may be enough power for you, but obviously, there are many, many people who need more.<p>Even here in the US, there are a lot of guys that beat up their cars on a track, or simply open up their motors to high speeds on LA-Las Vegas trips or through Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles. There is also nothing like the feeling of drag racing a 911 and beating the **** out of him with your BMW, then watching his face stunned with embarrassment in front of his silicone implanted girlfriend. That's what owning a fast car is all about. Obviously, someone like you could never justify owning a Ferrari 550 or a Diablo...<p>Second of all, of course the BMW guys are going to tell you what you want to hear. You just bought a 540, didn't you? What are they going to tell you? That you should have bought an M5?<p>The stock 540i is a fast car, but it is nowhere in the league of a true supercar. Have you ever driven a BMW modified by AC Schnitzer, Dinan, or Racing Dynamics? Obviously you haven't, or else you wouldn't make such dumb and sweeping statements.<p>Like any other hobby, there are those who are real enthusiasts and those that are perfectly happy with recreational activity. The true enthusiast will make his car different, unique, and faster than the showroom stock model. Especially, in light of all those ******* soccer moms driving BMWs now.<p>I'm sure you will enjoy your 540, but the next time you get your *** dusted by an M5 or a Ferrari 355, or even a Dinan 540, on the freeway or through a canyon, you may change your mind... but, we're guys and we love to compare our *****, right?<p>Then again, women shouldn't be driving so fast anyway! Then it really becomes a public safety issue!<p></i><br>

John Feng
08-18-2000, 01:22 PM
<i> Nicki,<br>> It's called being a chick. Women just don't <br>> understand the need for speed as us guys do. <br>> The 540i may be enough power for you, but <br>> obviously, there are many, many people who <br>> need more.<p>Need? I doubt it for driving on public roads.<p>Want? Sure, but there's no accounting for desire.<p>If 0-60 in <6 seconds and a limiter at 128mph<br>isn't enough for you then one of the following<br>probably applies:<p>1) Are driving like a juvenille<br>2) Should be driving on a track, not on public<br> roads. Please stay the hell away from my <br> town.<p>Seriously, it's always fun to have more and more<br>power, but I've never seen a need for more <br>performance than a 528i offers for any mature<br>adult driver in the US. <p>John Feng<br> <p><br>

John Feng
08-18-2000, 01:29 PM
<i><p>I assume most of your conversations took place in English?<p>I'm in Europe frequently on business (BMW<br>is my biggest client). It's decidedly NOT<br>the case that many people in Italy, France,<br>and Spain speak English. Germany spoils you<br>because a lot of Germans speak English <br>with better grammar than the average American!<p>As always, a good dose of courtesy, the right<br>attitude, and creative sign language will get <br>you thru in Italy and France.<p>John Feng

STT
08-18-2000, 01:35 PM
<i><br>Nicki,<p>It's called being a chick. Women just don't understand the need for speed as us guys do. The 540i may be enough power for you, but obviously, there are many, many people who need more.<p>Even here in the US, there are a lot of guys that beat up their cars on a track, or simply open up their motors to high speeds on LA-Las Vegas trips or through Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles. There is also nothing like the feeling of drag racing a 911 and beating the **** out of him with your BMW, then watching his face stunned with embarrassment in front of his silicone implanted girlfriend. That's what owning a fast car is all about. Obviously, someone like you could never justify owning a Ferrari 550 or a Diablo...<p>Second of all, of course the BMW guys are going to tell you what you want to hear. You just bought a 540, didn't you? What are they going to tell you? That you should have bought an M5?<p>The stock 540i is a fast car, but it is nowhere in the league of a true supercar. Have you ever driven a BMW modified by AC Schnitzer, Dinan, or Racing Dynamics? Obviously you haven't, or else you wouldn't make such dumb and sweeping statements.<p>Like any other hobby, there are those who are real enthusiasts and those that are perfectly happy with recreational activity. The true enthusiast will make his car different, unique, and faster than the showroom stock model. Especially, in light of all those ******* soccer moms driving BMWs now.<p>I'm sure you will enjoy your 540, but the next time you get your *** dusted by an M5 or a Ferrari 355, or even a Dinan 540, on the freeway or through a canyon, you may change your mind... but, we're guys and we love to compare our *****, right?<p>Then again, women shouldn't be driving so fast anyway! Then it really becomes a public safety issue!<p></i><br>

Paul
08-18-2000, 02:01 PM
<i><br>When we were there for our Euro delivery in June/July, we made an interesting discovery. If somebody says that don't speak English (in German of course), they probably will understand a mixture of English and pointing. If they say they speak "a little bit" of English, they are really fluent, but not comfortable. If they say yes, they speak it so well, it is hard to hear an accent. Usually, the latter group also understand American colloquialisms.<br></i><p>Yeah, that is interesting. In Japan people are also very modest and if you ask if someone speaks english, they politely say no. Sometimes the best thing to do is not to ask if people speak english. Rather, speak slowly and ask the question you want and you will find many people understand and will help you.<br>

Jeff
08-18-2000, 02:05 PM
My 540iA came with MXM4 Michelin pilots, not <br>MXV4s, in the non-sport configuration. <br><i><p>If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<br>The car is a real animal when you wake it up from its hibernation. <p>Ah...<b>not.</b><p>First off, there just isn't much room for pulling much HP out of the 540i V8 with software. A few, but that's about it.<p>In the case of the automatic cars, the Dinan transmission software does not do enough to be worth the money. I'm hoping Jim C can do better (much quicker part-throttle kickdown, mainly.)<p>And finally, in terms of suspension, the factory sport package does a very good job. I'm beginning to think it could use a little more damping, or maybe our shocks/struts are going off a little at 33K miles, but in general it's an excellent package for a daily-driver. <p>I can also understand why someone would choose <b>not</b> to get the sport package, though in my case I'd never buy a BMW without the sport seats. <p>The main weakness of the non-sport US-market 5s is the tires, which are all-season Energy MXV4 or EcoContact eco-squealers unsuited for anything but low-speed freeway cruising.<p>JEM<br>'98 540iA sport-pkg<br>'00 M5<p></i><br>

JEM
08-18-2000, 02:13 PM
<i><br>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package<br></i><p>No, those are the standard radial-spoke 17x8 front, 17x9 rear sport-package wheels.<p>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 02:21 PM
<i><br>... speak slowly and ask the question you want and you will find many people understand ...<br></i><p>Sure. That's the way it is for most of us. As I said, I vaguely remember a little bit of French from college. It's <i>very</i> difficult for me to speak it but I can understand it so-so if someone is speaking slowly and taking care to choose easy vocabulary. And reading it, to skim for the words I recognize and guess at the gist, is easier still.<p>Nicki

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 02:31 PM
<i><br>It's decidedly NOT<br>the case that many people in Italy, France,<br>and Spain speak English. Germany spoils you<br>because a lot of Germans speak English <br>with better grammar than the average American!<br></i><p>You're right. I meant for my generalization to apply only to those areas to which I traveled, namely, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. But I agree, I didn't make that clear.<p><i><br>As always, a good dose of courtesy, the right<br>attitude, and creative sign language will get <br>you thru in Italy and France.<br></i><p>Well, there you go. That's also definitely true. You always have to remember when you travel that you're a guest in their guest in their country and if you think about how you'd like a guest in your own home to behave, that goes you a long way.<p>People are proud of their countries and cultures and my experience is that if you can show good manners and interest, keep a smile on your face and try to remain flexible (e.g., about eating foods that perhaps you wouldn't choose here at home), that you usually get a good response and a good outcome, despite any language problems.<p>Nicki

540eeter
08-18-2000, 02:33 PM
<i><br> Nicki,<br>> It's called being a chick. Women just don't <br>> understand the need for speed as us guys do. <br>> The 540i may be enough power for you, but <br>> obviously, there are many, many people who <br>> need more.<p>Need? I doubt it for driving on public roads.<p>Want? Sure, but there's no accounting for desire.<p>If 0-60 in <6 seconds and a limiter at 128mph<br>isn't enough for you then one of the following<br>probably applies:<p>1) Are driving like a juvenille<br>2) Should be driving on a track, not on public<br> roads. Please stay the hell away from my <br> town.<p>Seriously, it's always fun to have more and more<br>to complete your transformation from man to woman? Have fun being a mature driver taking your kids to soccer practice and be careful not to wrinkle your skirt...people with modified cars are not usually agressive drivers, its just that everyone else is too damn slow, I'll stay away from your town as long as you stay the hell out of the left lane...<p>power, but I've never seen a need for more <br>performance than a 528i offers for any mature<br>adult driver in the US. <p>John Feng<br> <p><br></i><br>

james
08-18-2000, 02:47 PM
<i><br>Nicki,<p>It's called being a chick. Women just don't understand the need for speed as us guys do. The 540i may be enough power for you, but obviously, there are many, many people who need more.<p>Even here in the US, there are a lot of guys that beat up their cars on a track, or simply open up their motors to high speeds on LA-Las Vegas trips or through Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles. There is also nothing like the feeling of drag racing a 911 and beating the **** out of him with your BMW, then watching his face stunned with embarrassment in front of his silicone implanted girlfriend. That's what owning a fast car is all about. Obviously, someone like you could never justify owning a Ferrari 550 or a Diablo...<p>Second of all, of course the BMW guys are going to tell you what you want to hear. You just bought a 540, didn't you? What are they going to tell you? That you should have bought an M5?<p>The stock 540i is a fast car, but it is nowhere in the league of a true supercar. Have you ever driven a BMW modified by AC Schnitzer, Dinan, or Racing Dynamics? Obviously you haven't, or else you wouldn't make such dumb and sweeping statements.<p>Like any other hobby, there are those who are real enthusiasts and those that are perfectly happy with recreational activity. The true enthusiast will make his car different, unique, and faster than the showroom stock model. Especially, in light of all those ******* soccer moms driving BMWs now.<p>I'm sure you will enjoy your 540, but the next time you get your *** dusted by an M5 or a Ferrari 355, or even a Dinan 540, on the freeway or through a canyon, you may change your mind... but, we're guys and we love to compare our *****, right?<p>Then again, women shouldn't be driving so fast anyway! Then it really becomes a public safety issue!<p></i><br>

540eeter
08-18-2000, 02:50 PM
<i>Those with the automatice will never ealize the true potential of their cars...an automatic is for luxo-barges...you might as well buy a lincoln...for some people, stock is fine, for other people, stock sucks...I happen to agree with the enthusiasts of the group. Take what you have, improve upon it and make it yours. Anyone can buy a 540, but no one else will have the same set up: chip, intake, rims, suspension, exhaust etc...I would hate to be sitting in my 50k car and have someone else pull up in hte exact same thing...variety is the spice of life. If you want to be normal, go ahead, but I prefer to fly with eagles, not pigeons...<p><p>If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<br>The car is a real animal when you wake it up from its hibernation. <p>Ah...<b>not.</b><p>First off, there just isn't much room for pulling much HP out of the 540i V8 with software. A few, but that's about it.<p>In the case of the automatic cars, the Dinan transmission software does not do enough to be worth the money. I'm hoping Jim C can do better (much quicker part-throttle kickdown, mainly.)<p>And finally, in terms of suspension, the factory sport package does a very good job. I'm beginning to think it could use a little more damping, or maybe our shocks/struts are going off a little at 33K miles, but in general it's an excellent package for a daily-driver. <p>I can also understand why someone would choose <b>not</b> to get the sport package, though in my case I'd never buy a BMW without the sport seats. <p>The main weakness of the non-sport US-market 5s is the tires, which are all-season Energy MXV4 or EcoContact eco-squealers unsuited for anything but low-speed freeway cruising.<p>JEM<br>'98 540iA sport-pkg<br>'00 M5<p></i><br>

JEM
08-18-2000, 02:56 PM
<i><br>It's called being a chick. Women just don't understand the need for speed as us guys do. The 540i may be enough power for you, but obviously, there are many, many people who need more.<br></i><p>It's not surprising that the Germans would question why Americans need 280 or more HP. The US approach to roads, traffic, and car ownership are beyond the Germans' comprehension. <p>We have laws that aren't obeyed, and aren't really meant to be obeyed.<p>We have hugely expensive enforcement methods that fail in their intended role (revenue-generation) if too many people obey the law.<p>We do little to ensure that drivers know how to drive their cars but everything to ensure that they can walk away from the resulting f*ckups.<p>We have a very large vehicle-purchasing population who buy 300HP cars and drive them 70mph when a 150HP 523i will cruise all day long at 120mph.<p><i><br>The stock 540i is a fast car, but it is nowhere in the league of a true supercar. Have you ever driven a BMW modified by AC Schnitzer, Dinan, or Racing Dynamics? Obviously you haven't, or else you wouldn't make such dumb and sweeping statements.<br></i><p>I found nothing in Nicole's remarks to be dumb or sweeping. <p>Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go? It's a matter of deciding how much you want, and how much you're prepared to pay for. And eventually you realize there are <b>always</b> faster cars than you own, and faster drivers than you are.<p><i><br>Like any other hobby, there are those who are real enthusiasts and those that are perfectly happy with recreational activity. The true enthusiast will make his car different, unique, and faster than the showroom stock model. Especially, in light of all those ******* soccer moms driving BMWs now.<br></i><p>The problem is this: there is no free lunch. There are very few changes that can be made that don't have a cost - financial or otherwise. 20-inch (or even 18-inch) wheels involve a ride-comfort tradeoff. Suspension mods likewise. <p>If one has a car that one drives for short drives on good roads on sunny Saturdays, one can sacrifice ride, wet-weather driveability, etc. For most folks, though, a 540i is daily wheels. <p><i> <br>I'm sure you will enjoy your 540, but the next time you get your *** dusted by an M5 or a Ferrari 355, or even a Dinan 540, on the freeway or through a canyon, you may change your mind... but, we're guys and we love to compare our *****, right?<br></i><p>Okay, so you drop another $25K at Dinan trying to make your 4000lb E39 go faster, and you get blown off by some Fox Mustang worth $15K total. Or some old Porsche 944 Turbo with an intercooler 8 inches thick. <p>There's always someone faster, and the E39's weight alone means it'll never be the fastest thing out there. <p>JEM<br>'00 M5<br>'98 540iA<br>'89 Mustang LX (351W, Griggs, cage, etc.) <br>etc.<br>

buboy
08-18-2000, 03:03 PM
After all, we both went to the best school in the world-- The University of Chicago!<p>After dealing with all the bull**** of the ugly feminazi bitches on campus, you just get fed up after a while....<p>But hey, that's why we drive awesome cars, right? I guess the UofC was good for something!

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 03:07 PM
It occurs to me to add that having now used the system, I don't think a larger screen would really nearly as important as I might previously have guessed.<p>The system has two modes. One mode, where it displays a map in color, is the one you always see in brochures and for good reason: it's just sexier to look at. And indeed, in map mode, a larger screen where perhaps you might be able to have larger, more readable characters and a wider coverage area, would be nice.<p>But that's not the mode we tended to use except out in the country when all we wanted was to get a very general sense of where we were relative to the border or the next big city.<p>Most of the time, we kept it in its instruction mode, where you get a diagram of whatever intersection is ahead and what you need to do. In that mode, the diagrams are quite large and street names are in a pretty good-sized font. At the same time, you're also listening to the voice instructions. So when you're in that mode, screen size is really totally adequate.<p>What we felt were things that would be much, much higher up on our list of improvements had essentially nothing to do with screen size.<p>To us, far and away the #1 improvement we'd suggest would be a faster processor with more memory so if you miss a turn, it can calculate the new route faster and also so that if you change the scale in map mode, it could replot the screen faster.<p>#2 would be higher precision to tell you exactly where you need to turn, though possibly that's simply beyond what can be done with GPS unless it's augmented with differential GPS. Some intersections in Europe, especially those with rotaries, are very confusing. Okay, you're supposed to take the second turn on the right, but which one is that? You end up trying to watch the distance figure change on the monitor -- 400 ft, 200 ft, 100 ft, 50 ft, 0 ft -- to figure is this it, but sometimes even that's not good enough and you miss your turn.<p>#3 would have been more information on hotels everywhere we went. It was good in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it listed prices and features, but useless except for directions in France, where all it listed was their addresses and phone numbers.<p>#4 would have been some better "query" capability to be able to describe your criteria for a hotel, e.g., price, location, number of stars, etc., and then get a ranking. Instead, all you get is an alphabetical list.<p>Overall, the navigation system is right up there with sliced bread and indoor toilets as far as I'm concerned. This trip made me a believer!<p>And I should add that contrary to some initial concern I had, i.e., did it really make sense to spend $1500 for the BMW system when I could geta Garmin dashboard thing for $500 (give or take), I learned that, yes, there is a <i>big</i> difference. Getting it built in gives you a <i>far</i> more useful system. The BMW system, being built in, does not need to always have a usable satellite signal to track position. It's obvious it must be using information coming from the wheels because you'll notice it does continue to track your position through long, long tunnels, e.g., through mountains in the Alps.<p>I just can't say enough good stuff about this system. People who say they don't think they'd need it remind me now of people who say they don't really need air conditioning because after all, they only have a couple hot days every year.<p>Nicki

buboy
08-18-2000, 03:11 PM
JEM,<p>RennTech's SLR 7.4, which placed 2nd overall at this year's One Lap of America, proved that you can have a luxury car that blow the doors off most exotics!<p>No matter what you can do to some piece of **** like a Mustang, you can tweak an E39 to outperform it around a track... it's only a matter of money! Look at the E39's rival, the E-Class... you're telling me that a RennTech or Brabus EV12 can't kill a modified Stang around a track? Please.... look at the results of the One Lap!<p>Take a case in point: one day when my AC Schnitzer equipped 740iS is finished with its custom stroked motor, I'll blow the doors off your M5! :)

buboy
08-18-2000, 03:13 PM
And once you actually get some breasts and trim your hips, maybe you'll stop trying to hang with the guys on this board.<p>Oh, what a waste of a 540i/6..... Someone like you should have bought a 528i Sport.

STT
08-18-2000, 03:23 PM
<i><br>After all, we both went to the best school in the world-- The University of Chicago!<p>After dealing with all the bull**** of the ugly feminazi bitches on campus, you just get fed up after a while....<p>But hey, that's why we drive awesome cars, right? I guess the UofC was good for something!<p></i>anyone comes to realize that there are five Newton's laws, not three. Two additional ones are.<p>Fourth Newton's law. "Assuming ergodicity of human gene pool fluctuations, statistical average of the product between ugliness and intelligence is equal to the statistical average of the product between beauty and stupidity."<p>Fifth Newton's law. "Uglier the thing is more feminazi she/he (usially one needs a DNA test to determine sex) is."<p>BTW, UofC spends student activity fees on "feminazis only" organizations on campus nowdays.<br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 03:31 PM
<i><br>Take a case in point: one day when my AC Schnitzer equipped 740iS is finished with its custom stroked motor, I'll blow the doors off our M5! :)<br></i><p>Oh, for pete's sake! This isn't anything you own is it? This is just in your dreams, right? I'll bet your idea of fast driving is to pester your mom, "Hey, go faster! Don't let him pass you!"<p>I mean really, think hard about this: Is it really plausible that people with the wherewithal to write a check for $50K+ to go buy a 540 just fell off the turnip truck? You really think they're going to believe that someone who writes like a juvenile is something <i>other</i> than a juvenile?<p>Nicki

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 03:37 PM

STT
08-18-2000, 03:46 PM
<i><p>If you are not a very spirited driver then you are right you don't need a chip or suspension.<p>Hon, I am a spirited driver. In 2000 miles in Europe, there was one guy in a Porsche in Swiss Alps and another guy in an Alpha in Germany I couldn't stay up with and that's only because it was obvious they knew the roads. (They'd get away from me going over the crest of every hill and around blind turns.)<p>The stock 540i is enough for Europe. There's no way you need more here in the US. What are you going to do with it? Smoke up your tires at the stop lights?<p>Matter of fact, at the factory, I was talking with the BMW guys about 540i versus the M5 and I'm telling you, they thought it was just hysterical that Americans think they need M5s.<p>Do what you want with you with your money but it just strikes me that some people have more dollars than sense.<p>Nicki<p></i>necessary connected with showing off, if it is not megaweels and stupid ugly body kits. For some it is a way to take a break and take medicine in the form of spending several hours screwing around with the metal pieces and software. After all, adding more power does result in a stupid grin when you go through gears.<p>You have made a swipping statement, as well as RevHigh did, that broke **** loose. To tell you the truth, it is much more entartaining then watching JIMMY selling his fake Xenons. The price you pay is that some **** is heading your way. So, take it easy.<p>Cheers<p>Stepan<br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 03:55 PM
<i><br>You have made a swipping statement, as well as RevHigh did, that broke **** loose. To tell you the truth, it is much more entartaining then watching JIMMY selling his fake Xenons. The price you pay is that some **** is heading your way. So, take it easy.<br></i><p>Indeed. I'm not new to online discussion forums nor do I have a particularly thin skin. I'm only new just to this particular forum.<p>I admit my style is sometimes to say things that are deliberately outrageous, just for the fun of it. But I don't really have a mean bone in my body and certainly don't intend to be hurtful to anyone.<p>Nicki

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 04:18 PM
I opened up a can of worms! In my geographical area where money, style and power is a way of life and competitiveness is in everyone’s blood...there is no room for weakness! <p>It is not a womyn or a man thing when it comes to modifying your ride, I thought it was a hobby, for me it is all about being free to express yourself in this GREAT COUNTRY OF OURS CALLED AMERICA! You can keep your wonderful 540 stock for all I care. I was just pointing out that the majority of people on this forum like to modify their cars for more perf. or visual effects To insinuate that a chip, suspension or any other modification on a 540 is silly and useless (my interpretation) is just plain asinine! <p>I prefer to do burn outs in the bleach box not on the street w/ $300/tire setup. I save my gas for, when and if I, street race w/ something worthwhile. Either high $$$ or pure power! <p>All you flamers out there that get offended or your little feelings get hurt because you see or here that a BMW has been modified for more perf. KISS MY ***! <p>Peace,<br>John 540/6<p><<br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 04:31 PM
<i><br>KISS MY ***! <p>Peace,<br>John 540/6<br></i><p>Now there's a juxtaposition you don't see very often!<p>Nicki<br>

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 04:32 PM
Status and Performance = M5...Best of both worlds! Mere mortals need not apply! <p>I'm sure you would be smoking the tires in an M5 because you lack driving skills! C'mon! High HP does not mean smokin' the tires all the time..get real! <p>BTW- School is out..got to go! (1)<p>Professor,<br>RevHigh<p>footnote:<br>(1) School is out, STT

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 04:38 PM
i><p>KISS MY ***! <p>Peace,<br>John 540/6<p>Now there's a juxtaposition you don't see very often!<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

540eeter
08-18-2000, 04:44 PM
<i>to Salem...buboy, what do you think????<br>i><p>KISS MY ***! <p>Peace,<br>John 540/6<p>Now there's a juxtaposition you don't see very often!<p>Nicki<p><br></i><br>

Dumbo
08-18-2000, 04:48 PM
<i><br>(snip)<p>Have fun being a mature driver taking your kids to soccer practice and be careful not to wrinkle your skirt...<p>I know little ladies that can probably drive <br>rings around you. <p>I'll let you know how the surgery goes. <br>Maybe we can meet for a drink afterwards ;-)<p><br>Seriously: <p>people with modified cars are not usually agressive drivers, its just that everyone else is too damn slow,<p>Agree with the first point. Most of them are<br>into it for appearance and not function.<br>That's why the German's think we're nuts<br>to need something like an M5. <p>As far as being too slow, if you<br>are the type who sits 2" off the rear bumper<br>of a left-lane hog, you are too aggresive.<br>I'm not defending left-lane hogs, I hate them.<br>Everytime I come back from a trip to Germany<br>I takes me a couple of days to get over how<br>stupid American drivers generally are. <p>Also, not everyone has your driving skills<br>and super car. Whenever I get pissed at <br>a lane hog, I just remind myself that grandma<br>always drives 5 under the limit (even in town).<p><br> I'll stay away from your town as long as you <br>stay the hell out of the left lane...<p>I doubt most of the people in this forum are <br>left lane hogs, including you. Unfortunately,<br>most of the visibly modified BMW's I see<br>tend to be among the worst left lane hogs. It's<br>as if owning a tarted up car gives them<br>the right to drive at any speed in any lane<br>and to execute stupid antics with no regard to <br>surrounding drivers. Most of them also <br>think their cars are about 2' shorter in <br>back than they really are .. when changing<br>lanes without using turn signals. <p>Cheers,<br>John

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 04:50 PM
<i><p>After all, we both went to the best school in the world-- The University of Chicago!<p>After dealing with all the bull**** of the ugly feminazi bitches on campus, you just get fed up after a while....<p>But hey, that's why we drive awesome cars, right? I guess the UofC was good for something!<p>anyone comes to realize that there are five Newton's laws, not three. Two additional ones are.<p>Fourth Newton's law. "Assuming ergodicity of human gene pool fluctuations, statistical average of the product between ugliness and intelligence is equal to the statistical average of the product between beauty and stupidity."<p>Fifth Newton's law. "Uglier the thing is more feminazi she/he (usially one needs a DNA test to determine sex) is."<p>BTW, UofC spends student activity fees on "feminazis only" organizations on campus nowdays.<p></i><br>

540eeter
08-18-2000, 04:50 PM
<i><p>After all, we both went to the best school in the world-- The University of Chicago!<p>After dealing with all the bull**** of the ugly feminazi bitches on campus, you just get fed up after a while....<p>But hey, that's why we drive awesome cars, right? I guess the UofC was good for something!<p>anyone comes to realize that there are five Newton's laws, not three. Two additional ones are.<p>Fourth Newton's law. "Assuming ergodicity of human gene pool fluctuations, statistical average of the product between ugliness and intelligence is equal to the statistical average of the product between beauty and stupidity."<p>Fifth Newton's law. "Uglier the thing is more feminazi she/he (usially one needs a DNA test to determine sex) is."<p>BTW, UofC spends student activity fees on "feminazis only" organizations on campus nowdays.<p></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 04:52 PM

RevHigh
08-18-2000, 04:54 PM
<i><br> <p></i><br>

Dumbo
08-18-2000, 04:55 PM
<i><br>Nicole,<p>I'd be interested in any comments on<br>favorite places during your stay,<br>specifically hotels and dining.<p>Did you get a chance to see some of <br>the BMW Individual options that one<br>can have in Europe (but not the US)?<p>John

Chris
08-18-2000, 04:57 PM
Salzburg was the only place that traffic was civilized. In the other cities (all in Germany), city driving was a hassle. Granted most of that was during "drive time"/rush hour. So let me list my "problems".<p>1) I had one person whip up a side street at 50km and blast through a 10' space between me and the car in front of me so that they could get into a turn lane on the far side of the road. Didn't slow down or bother making eye contact<p>2) Cars changed lanes into ours without really looking if it was clear. Of course, they may have seen my tourist plates and shiny new Bimmer and assumed I would get out of the way.<p>3) Red lights mean slow down, not stop. At least not for the first 10-20 seconds after a red. One guy even laid on his horn, pulled to the side of the road, passed me, and went through the intersection when I stopped for a red.<p>Of course, that being said, I was not in a hurry to get anywhere. I was being relatively cautious being unfamiliar with the small roads and foreign road signs. Finally, for every jerk, there were many courteous drivers.<p>As for taxis, you are right. Nothing beats an American taxi driver. I still remember a Chicago cabbie driving up a parking strip at around 40mph to pass a bunch of stopped traffic, then cutting somebody off to get ahead! Talk about your white-knuckle drive!

540eeter
08-18-2000, 05:00 PM
<i>of quarters in your pocket or a real bad case of ***** envy?<br> <p></i><br>

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 05:50 PM
<i><br>I'd be interested in any comments on favorite places during your stay, specifically hotels and dining.<br></i><p>Ah, wish I could be more helpful, but as I was traveling with two kids, it was all I could do to negotiate someplace for meals other than McDonald's! And at the same time, it would have been a complete waste with kids to go search out really fine restaurants.<p>As it was, though we did have a great time and enjoyed nice rooms and nice meals, I don't believe we did anything at all out of the ordinary.<p>My experience was if you spent about $130 to $140 a night (except in Switzerland, where it was about $200), you could routinely expect a very nice 3-star or better hotel room with two twins plus a cot and continential breakfast, which worked well for the three of us.<p>For dinners, what we tended to do was just wander through the town, usually eating at someplace with sidewalk tables where we could look at the menu and actually see what people were eating. If it looked good and wasn't too expensive (and I could overcome the objections of my kids, usually by pointing out it was this or nothing :), that's where we ate.<p>Generally speaking, we found dinners cost us about $10/person, which I consider quite modest compared to the States. Again, the exception was Switzerland, where we had a nice dinner, to be sure, but not anything I'd describe as exceptional, and paid about $80 for the three of us.<p>What I would suggest will probably sound rather pedestrian: in Munich, be sure to go to the Hoffbrau house and wander around Marienplatz. Do visit Salzburg. If you go to Vienna, visit the Schonbrun palace.<p>Perhaps the one thing we did -- just on the spur of the moment, not because we planned -- and which turned out to be fabulous, was to drive through the Alps from Innsbruck to St. Moritz. I warn you that you'll be warned by the navigation system that "you are leaving the digitized road network" but it turns out the road is so well-marked with signs all along the way to St. Moritz that it's <i>impossible</i> to get lost.<p>The drive to St. Moritz takes you smack into the center of the Alps and eventually through a pass way up above the tree line. There were more motorcycles than cars on this road and when you see them leaning through the turns, you'll understand why.<p>This leg of the trip rewarded us with what the kids and I all agreed was easily the most exciting drive we had the whole time in Europe. It's very challenging (assuming you're going to try to stay up with the best drivers you'll encounter there) with one hairpin turn after another but an incredible rush.<p><i><br>Did you get a chance to see some of the BMW Individual options that one can have in Europe (but not the US)?<br></i><p>No, sorry, not really. As someone else pointed out, a 540i is really more car than most Europeans would ever buy and I had mine loaded up with essentially every option they offer. So I don't recall seeing any BMWs with more stuff than I had. :)<p>What I did happen to see in a Mercedes in Paris was someone watching TV on their navigation screen. (I printed out and took with me the instructions someone posted for doing that with the BMW navigation screen but all it did was convince me that capability is not in the US version.)<p>More interesting than any Euro-only options for BMW was, for me, anyway, the plethora of small cars and all the great motorcycles you never see here. For example, they have something called a "Smart" car that you see <i>everywhere</i>. It's just a 2-seater but designed to be only as long as a regular car is wide so it can be parked head-on into just the width of a parallel parking space. Very cool, very clever, though obviously not something our idiot government would ever let in as it almost certainly would never pass our crash tests.<p>Nicki

JEM
08-18-2000, 06:09 PM
<i><br>RennTech's SLR 7.4, which placed 2nd overall at this year's One Lap of America, proved that you can have a luxury car that blow the doors off most exotics!<br></i><p>It doesn't sound to me like you have ever been on a track.<p><i><br>No matter what you can do to some piece of **** like a Mustang, you can tweak an E39 to outperform it around a track... it's only a matter of money! Look at the E39's rival, the E-Class... you're telling me that a RennTech or Brabus EV12 can't kill a modified Stang around a track? Please.... look at the results of the One Lap!<br></i><p>Please put the magazines down and pay attention to reality. <p>These cars are very fast for a street car, and can certainly go like hell in a straight line. <p>But they're also very heavy. Heavy cars eat tires, they eat brakes, they break parts because of the stresses involved. <p><i><br>Take a case in point: one day when my AC Schnitzer equipped 740iS is finished with its custom stroked motor, I'll blow the doors off your M5! :)<br></i><p>I haven't yet run the M5 on a track, I'm sure I'll take it out a couple times but I don't intend to spend much time doing so. <p>The Mustang is probably faster anyway (has something to do with similar HP but 1000 lb less weight, and if I find the time I'll figure out how to get another 250 lb off it this fall.) <p>When that's not fast enough I'll go get myself a used Sports 2000 or Spec Racer Ford. A whole 1.9 or 2 liters of engine.

Dan L
08-18-2000, 08:30 PM

Tim C.
08-18-2000, 09:40 PM
<i><p>is your car a stick? you talked about shifting in to 5th & sixth, but the wheels are 540 auto wheels not sport package, were you able to get 6th speed without sport package? nice car great color<br>lots of luck with it.<p>It is indeed a 540i 6-speed with the sport package and those are the standard radial spoke wheels that come with that model.<p>Yes, I'm really happy with the color, titanium with grey leather interior, though by the end of our 2000 miles, it was <B><I>filthy</I></B> and covered with bugs!<p>Nicki<p></i>Hey Nicki, you should remove and sell all five (including spare) of those butt ugly radial alloy wheels and replace them with a set of<br>five (again, including spare) gorgeous style 19 (composite 7-spoke deep dish bolted) alloy wheels.<br>They are far sportier, far nicer, far more elegant and far more expensive looking than those dreaded radial wheels. Take my advice seriously and take this into serious consideration. Your car will have worlds more pizzazz.

Nicole Hamilton
08-18-2000, 09:58 PM
<i><br>Hey Nicki, you should remove and sell all five (including spare) of those butt ugly radial alloy wheels and replace them with a set of<br>five (again, including spare) gorgeous style 19 (composite 7-spoke deep dish bolted) alloy wheels.<br></i><p>As it happens, that's the one thing I have thought about though I can't yet say I'm all that serious just yet. Sometimes, it's not money, it's other things, like just trying to find the time to figure out what you want.<p>Just this minute, more of my attention is getting sucked back into my business now that I'm back from Europe. Monday, I'm back on a plane and another 3-hour time change to a developer conference in San Jose where Intel's asked me to join them in an announcement that I have my software running on their new 64-bit Itanium processor. It goes on.<p>But I do agree that the bolted wheels are definitely more attractive and it was indeed that Style 19 wheel I spotted at bmwwheels.com that caught my eye. Had it been a factory option, I'd certainly have done it right then. (The only factory option was the parallel spoke wheel, which did absolutely nothing for me.)<p>Nicki

JEM
08-18-2000, 10:08 PM
<i><br>Those with the automatice will never ealize the true potential of their cars...an automatic is for luxo-barges...you might as well buy a lincoln...<br></i><p>'never realize the true potential of their cars'. *belch* Spare me. <p>Let's talk when the 520ci Ford that's going in my old wagon - in front of an automatic - gets off the engine dyno.<p><i><br>for some people, stock is fine, for other people, stock sucks...I happen to agree with the enthusiasts of the group. Take what you have, improve upon it and make it yours. <br></i><p>Where we disagree is in the nature of 'improvements'. I'm not against modifications. There isn't a stock car in the house. But a road car is by nature a compromise, and in 20 years of modifying cars, I've learned the virtue of moderation. <p>For any given modification it's a matter of first assessing what weaknesses you're attempting to address, what you expect to get, and what you're prepared to give. <p>Based on that assessment, does our 540i need 19- or 20-inch wheels? No, because the car with its existing 17-inch S-02s does not lack cornering grip, any improvement in grip would be tiny, and I'm not prepared to sacrifice any ride comfort. <p>Perhaps more importantly, for something less than the $3500 that bigger wheels would cost I can address a <b>real</b> weakness of the 540i - its lack of a limited-slip differential. <p><i><br>I would hate to be sitting in my 50k car and have someone else pull up in hte exact same thing.<br></i><p>Some people have a problem with the idea of spending money on invisible modifications. They want to hang their money out where people can see it, even if it's silly blue headlight bulbs. They want a car that screams "Hey, I'm different". <p>Doesn't much matter to me.<br>

JEM
08-18-2000, 11:50 PM
<i><br>Salzburg was the only place that traffic was civilized. In the other cities (all in Germany), city driving was a hassle. Granted most of that was during "drive time"/rush hour. So let me list my "problems".<br></i><p>I have to admit that I'd never experienced anything quite like that in Germany. <p>Sunnyvale, yes, but never Germany.<br>

buboy
08-19-2000, 02:29 AM
I agree with most everything you had to say.<p>But, out of curiousity, are you dating some feminazi bitch or something? Or you must have gone to some male hating, *** loving school like Brown.<p>Last time I checked, w-o-m-y-n wasn't in the dictionary, it's a spelling invented by stupid bitches that read Ms. Magazine.

buboy
08-19-2000, 02:44 AM
First of all, I just laugh when I read your response... Oh gee, my day will be ruined if I don't prove to Nicki that I have a Biarritz Blue 740i with Sport package, a car that is about $15K more expensive than yours... stock w/o modifications! LOL.<p>Gosh, it's amazing that a dumb bitch like you can even afford a 540/6. Because of someone like you, sometimes I am ashamed of owning a BMW, because it seems so passe that even idiots like you can own them.<p>Wow, now that you screwed your ex-hubby or ex-girlfriend out of alimony and child support, you can finally afford to move up from a Honda to a BMW. That makes you really special, doesn't it? Now you think you can hang with the boys on this forum....<p>Why don't you shove that tampon back in, educate yourself on what you are talking about, then talk some ****. It's amazing that a nouveau BMW owner like you now thinks she is such the ****.<p>Though I love my car, this is exactly why I should have bought a Mercedes instead.

buboy
08-19-2000, 03:00 AM
Hey 540, we may have our differences, but I have to totally agree with you on this one. This reminds me of that time when some bartender I was dating was trying to talk about economic policy with my investment bankers. Talk about hilarious.<p>Besides, I inferred from some of your posts that you are into the Import racing scene. I think that is totally cool, as I grew up around that scene. What shop do you go to for your mods? I generally prefer F1 Motorsports or D2 Technik or Dazz. Even though they all seem to be rivals in one form or another...<p>It is so obvious that Nicole has no ******* clue what she is talking about. I can at least respect JEM because he seems to know an adequate amount to participate on this board, though I think he is a jackass to assume that I have never been on a track. And he has obviously never driven a RennTech. I bet he's never even driven a real Dinan conversion either. But, I guess he can keep telling himself that I live in a magazine world. Then again, what do you expect from a queer guy who is too scared to beat up his M5 on a track?<p>But back to Nicole... her posts remind me of what stupid chicks say to guys who modify their cars. Mostly, it's out of ignorance or jealousy, since many guys love their cars more than bitches. Why?<p>1) Cars usually don't give you bull**** trouble once a ******* month<br>2) BMWs are not prone to anything like PMS, even my piece of **** 325 wasn't as bad as my ex-girlfriend<br>3) Most BMWs actually look sexier than most chicks... I get less tired of looking at a 740 or a 540 than some broad, especially as the years go by<br>4) Even being stuck in traffic on the 405 beats a bad lay<br>5) Your car will never try to entrap you with a pregnancy<br>6) Cars are easier to trade in for a better model, and they are more valuable after 3 years, or even 5 years....<br>7) The BEST PART about a BMW is that it gets you hot chicks anyway!<p>I don't know what's worse, the fact that Nicole actually DRIVES a 540 or that she thinks that she can drive it fast....

buboy
08-19-2000, 03:13 AM
You are definitely right about Newton's Fourth and Fifth laws.<p>As far as spending on the Feminazis, don't worry too much. The best part about UofC is that they throw a big front like they are this big liberal institution, but the people who actually govern the school, like the President, Board of Trustees, etc. see most of those kinds of kids as ******* idiots. The school is, and will always be, ultra-conservative. Any school that created such conservative theories and policies for countries like Chile will not become a ****** school like Brown University.<p>Sure, the Feminist Majority (aka the Lesbian Club) may get some funding from SG, but the real question is, does anyone give a ****? Even funnier is that once these people leave the UofC, they will realize that all that liberal bull**** they were spouting has no place or audience in the real world.<p>Hey BTW Stepan, are you undergrad, GSB, or grad?<p>And yes, Nicole would fit in great there, as she, like most girls at UofC, delude themselves into thinking that they are somehow equal or even better than men only to find themselves being intellectually slaughtered during class discussion, and better yet, during recruiting season... the problem is, I don't think Nicki would qualify to get into an institution of UofC's caliber, especially since admissions rates have gone down lately....

Uli
08-19-2000, 03:50 AM
Some additional information concerning the Smart:<p>It is built since about 2 years by DaimlerChrysler / Mercedes-Benz in a plant in France.<p>Originally it has been developed by Mercedes-Benz and the Swiss watch-manufacturer "Swatch" (Nicolas Hayek). One year before it was launched, Hayek realized that he would never earn money with this project, so he stopped his "Smart activities".<p>The Smart officially is no Mercedes-Benz, and it is sold at so called Smart Centers. Since 2000 a convertible and a diesel engine (CDI) are offered, and with rising fuel-prices sales are getting better and better.<p>The 3-cylinder turbo-engines have up to 55hp. The transmission is sequential and semiautomatic with 6 gears. The maximum speed is governed at about 80mph.<p>The enterior and exterior-design is very colourfull. At the exterior most of the parts are plastic (1 front-, 1 rear-part and the doors). Theses so-called body-panels can be switched by the smart centers within about one hour, so you can change the colour of your car just as easy as other car owners change their car´s wheels.<p>Concerning crash safety: The smart is equipped with a reinforced passenger-cabin, ABS, a stabilty system and Airbags. The crash test performance is outstanding in the European compact-class, and is very close to the performace of the VW Golf/Jetta.<p>Uli

John
08-19-2000, 06:24 AM
<i>Dear Nicole:<p>This is a marriage proposal!<p>Enjoyed your travel story. Great picture. Picked up my 540 last October; similar itinerary and experience.<p>Regards,<p>John<br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i><br>

Randy Hughes
08-19-2000, 08:20 AM
<i><br>My kids and I just got back the night before last from a <B><I>wonderful</I></B> time in Europe with our 540i. This was the best vacation ever.<p>Over the 12 days we were there, we visited Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Vienna, Innsbruck, St. Moritz (Switzerland), Lucerne, Paris and Heidelberg and put just over 2000 miles on the car.<p>The people at the factory are <B><I>very</I></B> nice. My older boy is infatuated with the Z8 so they rushed around to go find one he could sit in. I mentioned I'd brought over a BMW CD-changer to go in the trunk that I was expecting to install. No problem, they'd do that for me and put one of their "electricians" to work on it. Turned out that was fortunate as there were 4 mounting screws missing and they had to run off to go find just exactly the right size.<p>The people at the shipping company, EH Harmes, where you drop it off for shipment back at the US (they have a couple dozen drop-off locations all over Europe) insist BMW does not save anything (e.g., on customs by trying to claim the car is used) but cuts the price for European delivery purely because they want people to find out what the car is like on European roads where you can really see a difference. The hope is you'll then go back home and tell others.<p>Having done this, I believe it. This was <B><I>really</I></B> fun. We had a great vacation and while I knew I was getting a fun car, there's no way I'd have easily realized what it can do on our American roads in everyday driving. Just for starters, on the autobahns, I was shifting into 5th at 80 mph and into 6th at 100 to 110 mph. Where am I going to do that here? :) The car's so stable, it doesn't even start to feel fast until you hit about 130 to 135 and there's not even any noticeable increase in road noise or "lightening" of the steering 'till about 150.<p>But also, the handling, especially on the breathtaking drive from Innsbruck to St. Moritz right through the Alps was just amazing. What can I say? I knew I was getting a fun car; I had no idea I was getting a mind-blowing car. About the only things you see on the roads in Europe that outperform the BMWs are Porsches (only by a little) and of course the exotics like Ferrari. You also see a lot of Audis and Mercedes being driven aggressively but it's pretty obvious they're not in the same class with BMW.<p>If you think you might ever be interested to do European Delivery (oh! you should! :) be sure to get the navigation system. It was superb. It flawlessly directed us everywhere with voice instructions and the LCD display. (E.g, "in one-half mile, keep to the right" or "in 400 feet, take the second turn on the left" or the ubiquitous "if possible, make a U-turn.") If somehow we missed a turn (was that a road or a driveway? :), it'd just recalculate a new route. When we came into a city, it even let us call up a list of local hotels and (except in France) find out their prices and whether they had parking, etc. We'd pick one by clicking on it and it'd take us right to the door. It made driving through Europe <B><I>so</I></B> easy.<p>Only a couple (minor) complaints: If you miss a turn, it's a bit slow to recalculate a new route, which leaves you driving in what you know is the wrong direction but without any idea what you should do instead. Also, probably because of the imprecision of GPS, short distances are not always correct; when it said 400 feet, that looked more like about 50 to us a lot of the time. :)<p>The only thing difficult about driving in Europe that we found was dealing with the <B><I>horrible</I></B> parking garages. The one at the Hotel Cristal in Munich was probably the worst, but not by much. It had this tiny, dark one-lane ramp wound in a tight corkscrew up from one level to the next. They had a traffic light to indicate whether it was, at any given moment, an up-ramp or a down-ramp. On a motorcycle it'd have been claustrophobic to squeeze through there but in a brand new car it was insane. I had about 3" clearance on either side trying to do this and with the tight turn, it wasn't like you could just line it up and go straight through. I was sure I was going to scrape the car though fortunately I got through it with only a nick on one of the wheels.<p>The good news about the garages is that people seem to be very good about taking care not to open their doors into your car. I guess cars are still not something every European can afford so they treat them as more special.<p>Also, I think maybe that leads to a different selection process. Here, being stupid, lazy and unemployed is clearly no barrier to owning a car. There, they just can't afford it. So if you take all the really stupid people off the road, guess what?, driving is a whole lot nicer experience.<p>A couple things I learned: the sport seats are great, at least for me. I was worried about that from some commments I'd read from people who found these seats hurt their back, especially given that I hadn't ever had a chance to try them out before ordering. The very first day, it seemed like the lumbar support might be too much when I first sat in them but after that, I never noticed it again. They certainly were great seats for whipping through the turns in the Alps.<p>This car <B><I>is</I></B> powerful enough. I've been reading so much discussion of people wanting to get various chip and suspension upgrades that I was beginning to think maybe I'd want that. Don't be silly! :) Just as my salesman had promised, this car is an animal that eats everything else on the road. It does way more than I can ever use on the American roads.<p>When you go to pick up the car, you'll have coupon for a free meal in their cafeteria, right up the steps from the waiting room. Don't wait to be invited as we did. As soon as you check in, go get your free food as you'll have at least an hour before they call you. By the time we figured out we were on our own to get our free meal, they'd already closed the cafeteria except for just some snacks.<p>No matter what anyone tells you, you <B><I>cannot</I></B> drop off your car just any old time you want. I had been told it was 24-hour dropoff and that calling for a couple days before was merely a formality. Not so!<p>We were flying back on Wednesday morning and I expected to do the drop-off Tuesday night. I tried calling in to the drop-off center on Monday as we drove from Paris to Heidelberg but was out of range for the Omnipoint cellphone I'd rented. No problem, I figured, I'll just call Tuesday morning. Well, guess what? That was some who-knows-what national holiday in Germany and it was fortunate they had their office phones forwarded to someone's cellphone who was on call and agreed to send someone in to meet us.<p>Btw, <B><I>do</I></B> rent a GSM (European standard) cellphone before you go. It paid for itself when we tried to find the dropoff center. It's not marked well and the only way I found it was by calling them to say, "I'm here, where are you?" <p>What else? Well, the whole thing was easier than I expected. Except for days at the beginning and end of the trip in Munich, we did not have reservations anywhere but that turned out not to be a problem. It never took more than two tries to find a hotel that had a room. Prices were much better than we expected. Generally, our rooms -- and we stayed right in the middle of the cities, e.g., a block from the Champs-Elysees in Paris -- cost us about $130 to $140 a night for me and the 2 kids, including continental breakfast. Switzerland was the exception. Everything's very expensive there and our room in Lucerne was about $200 a night.<p>The only thing difficult about the trip is getting back on US time, going back to driving my old Honda again for a while, and dealing with the over 1500 emails (yes! really!), 27 lbs of regular mail and 1/2" of faxes that have collected while I was out. Those of you who also are entrepreneurs know about this. :)<p>Nicki<p></i><br>Enjoyed your story. If the previous marriage proposals flop(and you happen to like Dallas), then here's mine!<br>

Ole Vik
08-19-2000, 02:38 PM
The navigation system display and the look of the panel around ithas changed on the 2001 model.<p>The link below has pictures from the official German BMW E39 brochure. It was released about July 10, and perhaps the persons at Euro delivery had not seen it or heard about it. The brochure even has big photos of E39 interior with the new nac screen.

Ole Vik
08-19-2000, 02:39 PM
The navigation system display and the look of the panel around ithas changed on the 2001 model.<p>The link below has pictures from the official German BMW E39 brochure. It was released about July 10, and perhaps the persons at Euro delivery had not seen it or heard about it. The brochure even has big photos of E39 interior with the new nac screen.

Nicole Hamilton
08-19-2000, 02:47 PM
<i><br>Some people have a problem with the idea of spending money on invisible modifications. They want to hang their money out where people can see it, even if it's silly blue headlight bulbs. They want a car that screams "Hey, I'm different". <p>Doesn't much matter to me.<br></i><p>Nor to me. Nor, apparently, to a lot of wealthier people in Europe. We noticed a <b>lot</b> of the big BMWs and Mercedes have no markings at all to indicate what they are or, more particularly, what engine is inside. The way to recognize a 540 or S500 wasn't by the badging (unless it was for export), it was by the fact there <b>wasn't</b> any badging.<p>When we asked, we were told that ostentatious display is considered tacky. Much more interesting in Europe is having it sort of "dawn" on people unexpectedly what you have. If someone didn't figure it out, well, all they figured is that was some uncouth dolt they didn't <i>care</i> to impress. They weren't part of the club.<p>Wealth, at least in Europe, is something to acquire, not show off. But of course, there are probably any number of folks here that can attest that that's true at some level here in the US as well. The fact of the matter is, you really can't guess whether someone's got money just to look at them -- and generally speaking, that's kind of the way a lot of folks prefer it. <p>So I asked, was this why they offered the option of ordering an M5 without badging. Well, <b>duh!</b> I got kind of a funny look, like well, certainly, if I had any taste whatsoever, the answer should be obvious. :)<p>Perhaps offering some additional insight into this matter of taste, I should add my 13-yo son absolutely <b><i>could not</i></b> grasp this! Why, he kept asking the entire trip, would <i>anyone</i> in their right mind buy an expensive car and <i>not</i> want people to know? I promise, there was just no explanation he was ready to accept.<p>Nicki

Nicole Hamilton
08-19-2000, 02:58 PM
<i><br>The link below has pictures from the official German BMW E39 brochure. It was released about July 10, and perhaps the persons at Euro delivery had not seen it or heard about it.<br></i><p>Well, sure, I remember seeing that page before I left, which is why I was intent on asking. I suppose anything is possible. Other possibilities that come to mind: telling me only what they'd been instructed to say; thinking I was asking if there was a functional difference other than screen size; or even perhaps that the new screen is initially only going to be available in Europe. Who can say?<p>Nicki

Ole Vik
08-20-2000, 02:36 AM
We will the final answer when the cars start to appear at the dealers (in two-three weeks in Europe). The E39 brochures for NA should be out now and they should say something about it.<p>I have checked with BMW here and they confirm the 16:9 format on the screen (probably nice for watching TV in central Europe where most stations transmit in 16:9 in movies). They did not know anything about fucntionality, but I can see from the pictures in the german brochure that layout for the menues is brand new. I do not believe there is a new nav computer. It it was, they would have told us as the old sure needs some more compute power.

Uli
08-20-2000, 03:17 AM
I am living in Germany and even know people who drive a Mercedes E 430 and badge it as an E 200 (4-cylinder engine, only available in Europe).


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