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European Delivery
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  #1  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:40 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Blondes, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes and the Nurburgring pics and notes

I've finally gotten around to sorting through my pictures for my 5th ED and making some notes. I won't cover my entire trip, but rather focus on things that are more unique, or that may benefit other 'Festers. I'll also cover the trip in order of things I enjoyed most, down to the more ordinary. There is almost nothing I didn't enjoy, so in my mind everything about European Delivery is great. It's just a matter of deciding what's greatest and what is just great. I took the trip with my 2 best friends who flew in from Australia. They are current BMW and Porsche owners, hence the mutual interest.

The first highlight involves an episode with a hot blonde woman. We paid her $300 to entertain us, she was done in less than 10 minutes, and we had a great heart pounding time. An hour later, we paid her to do it all again. I'm not talking about the latest adult hotspot in Germany, but Sabine Schmidt taking us around the Nurburgring in the BMW Ring Taxi.

We stayed at the Tiergarten, and had dinner the night before in the restaurant Pistenklause (reservations recommended). Both are excellent choices. In case the Ring closes due to accidents (I saw 3), I scheduled us early for a 9am ride and a 10am follow up. It was pretty foggy, with slight spitting rain. I was worried that the circuit wouldn't be open due to the fog - and it wasn't. We saw the taxis come, and take an exploratory lap I fully expecting them to come back and say no rides due to fog. At this time, I checked in, and they said that we would be in the second round of laps, car 1, and have Sabine at 9am and 10am. Sabine? I thought Sabine Schmidt had cut her teeth on the BMW Ring Taxi, and then moved onto bigger and better things, like Helicopter rides, racing Porsches, and TV. Can we get luckier? Is it a different Sabine?

The Ring was closed to the public. However, the Ring Taxi is not in that class. They were running, and at 9am, only they were running. So our first 9am lap, with me in front, was on a closed track. The first thing I said when I got in was "Are you the real Sabine? (now knowing that it really was her)". With her signature laugh, she said no, the real one is in bed. I have driven fast on the autobahn, taken some autocross training, had hot laps on an autocross with instructors, been strapped to the open ramp of a C130 Hercules, and had a ride in the Richard Petty driving experience. Nothing I have experienced can relate to those laps in the Ring Taxi, and the skill that Sabine exhibited. I'll put it this way, in the first 30 seconds, your heart thinks you will surely crash. The track is narrow - guard rails close by DSC is off. Then your head says that if that were the case, they wouldn't be doing this after 24 years, for over 20,000 laps. You never lose the adrenaline, forget about the fear, and start to enjoy yourself. And yes, Sabine does drive the car like you see her on YouTube and Top Gear. All the time. At the end of the lap I asked her, what was that 10 minutes? She replied, a little insulted, I should hope not more like 8.5 minutes.

On our second lap at 10am, I was in back, and my buddies flipped for the front seat (I fully paid for the first lap personally). I decided to reset my GPS, and get some stats. Sabine mentioned lightly that a woman on the previous ride just threw up as she got out of the car. She said we needed gas, so she drove out of the Ring and to the gas station. GPS showed a speed topping at about 60mph speed limit about 30mph. At the gas station, Sabine was getting stares from a lot of other drivers filling up mainly Porsche Carrera drivers it seems even to Germans, she's pretty famous. The second lap was as heart pounding as the first but different. This time the track was open, and there were mobile obstacles to deal with. The rain was also a little heavier. The lap time was about 9.5 minutes, average speed 85mph, and top speed reached 144mph. This was not a bridge to bridge time, but rather gate to gate. The Nurburgring has 1000 ft of elevation change and 73 corners, meaning on a fast lap, average time between corners is 7 seconds. Think about it you experience full throttle, full braking, and then lateral acceleration on average every 7 seconds. Your body is either thrusting forwards, backwards, or sideways, continuously for over 8 minutes. Laps per tank 6 (about 80 miles between fill ups). The only difference between a stock M5 and the Ring Taxis are the brake pads so that they don't melt. That shows how amazing the M5 truly is. The biggest revelation of the M5 is not the performance (which I expected), but how comfortable the suspension and seats are around the Ring. The hard ride just disappears with the high speeds and forces, and it is comparably comfortable to my 535i on the roads I drive.

Some Sabineisms:
- Sabine mentioned her involvement racing Porsches. My friend said he had a Cayenne and Boxster. Sabine said, Boxster ladies' car. Later on the track we passed a Cayman, and Sabine says "housewife's car". My friend replied, it's driven by a man. Sabine replied, that's why it's so slow!
- We asked, how many days between tire changes. Sabine replied, for me, 1 day for other taxi drivers, every 2 days. She chuckles "Not my tires". "You want to have fun right?".
- On our first lap, we said it's great to have a clear lap. She says it's more fun with others on it "More targets".
- She thinks the Nissan GTR is fast, has a lot of traction but is too heavy. After 2-3 hot laps, the brakes are toast.
- We were never passed.
- Stay at the Tiergarten. Sabine's mother will serve you breakfast. Her sister will check you out.

After the Ring Taxi laps, I took my car out for 1 lap. A unique and truly wonderful experience. I'd do it all again and more, in a heartbeat. And kudos to BMW for running this program at the max. They could have well said, let's save a little and cut back on the speed, make the tires and car last a little longer, use a little less gas. How they run it now, really sells their cars, and importantly, the brand and its values.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 05-05-2010 at 01:00 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:43 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Stuttgart
We purchased hotel rooms at the Maritim via Priceline. A very nice, small Swabian restaurant was recommended to us by the concierge within walking distance of the hotel. Possibly the best meal we had on the trip http://www.ihrviertelesschlotzer.de/.

Porsche Factory Tour
We left Munich just around 7am for Stuttgart. The tour was at 10am. We just got there in time, since the parking for the museum is not clearly sign posted, plus traffic on the autobahn was slow at times. You'll see the parking entry if you pass it, but you'll miss it if you go to the wrong side of the museum. The production line for Porsche is amazingly short and compact. Likely since there isn't as much to put into a small sports car, that isn't already created in the sub-assemblies that are shipped to the line, plus the low volume. You do get very close to the cars (a lot of GT3s were moving down the line when we were there), and we saw a Cup car also on the same line in production. There was no tour of the paint shop, but you do get to see the upholstery shop, and engine assembly (from an overhead gangway). There were a surprisingly large number of people on the tour, given that a requirement is that you arrange the tour through a Porsche dealer.

On the roads, I was surprised by the number of 911 cabrios I saw, in relation to coupes. There were a lot of them. I would have expected that Germans would value excessive performance from the more rigid structure, and lower weight. But I guess that a Porsche 911 to them is more a statement and enjoyment of lifestyle, than ultimate performance. At the Nurburgring, it's all business almost all Porsches will be hardtops.

Porsche Museum
The museum is a must for any Porsche or motor racing fan, or even just a fan of architecture (actually all the auto museums are in this regard). The Porsche museum has far and away the best lighting for taking casual photos of cars. Near perfect. Make sure you get the audio guide for additional charge. Lunch in the museum cafeteria is also relatively inexpensive and offers a wide selection.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 05-05-2010 at 01:02 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:46 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Mercedes Sindelfingen Factory Tour
This starts from the Benz ED center. It's like a larger Freimann setup! There was an extensive gift shop and a few exhibits to view in the center while waiting for the tour. There was an English and German version of the tour, with most folks in attendance also picking up a car. Initially we were meant to see the C-Class production line, but for some reason the electricity was off, and production was stopped (this never happens, according to the guide umm, right). So instead, we saw the S-Class production line. Some stations were also temporarily stopped briefly a few times as well (again this rarely happens).

The highlight would have to be seeing the SLS in person (these aren't even in the museum yet). We saw about 50-100 of them being prepped for shipping or in final testing. A truly elegant and beautiful design. No employee discount on that car yet (around 20% on all other cars). The restaurant is also recommended.

Mercedes Museum Unterturkheim
Another must see. This is different from the other manufacturers since the breadth of Benz's vehicle lines and history is much longer than all the other manufacturers. There are a lot of cars that have famous histories as well, and they also chronicle some of the key events in history around the time their vehicles were in production. Plus the architecture of the building itself the winner of all the museums in my opinion. This place is massive. We were there for 3 hours, rushed the last 2 floors, and were basically kicked out.

The museum ends with a direct connection to the huge dealership next door. Feel free to walk and take a look around. One of my mates was particularly interested in the new E cabrio that had not been released in Australia at the time. There seemed to be plenty of street parking, since there is a stadium close by. In fact, before we could find museum parking, we found a few spaces on the street.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 05-05-2010 at 12:51 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:48 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Audi Factory Tour Ingolstadt
The Audi tour starts off in the Audi ED facility. This is a relatively small area compared to Mercedes and BMW, and the least impressive of the 3 (didn't see the Porsche delivery center). There is a low key cafeteria, and extensive Audi gift shop. I haven't taken the BMW Munich tour recently, but the Audi tour I think is similar think big groups, seeing things from afar. I did see some relatively young kids on the tour (around 5-7 years old), so this may be a good option for those who want to take a factory tour with young kids, but are excluded from the others. Check ahead. We were to see the A3 production line, but the line was closed at the time. So instead we saw the A5 line which included the Sportback.

I also noticed a lot of R8s around Ingolstadt which was not unexpected. However, I was also surprised to see a lot of R8s around Germany generally many more compared to Ferraris and Lamborghinis and many more than in the US. I used to think that the R8 was a car that was developed for the US market primarily but now think it is the perfect car for the German market. High build quality, high performance, and relatively low running costs. I'm seeing this model continuing, even just for the German market. It really fills the role of the everyday sports car, although Porsche also fills that niche. It's just that a Porsche looks more restrained.

Audi Museum
The best part of the Audi museum for me personally, is the vertically rotating elevator. It is filled with concept cars. So all those cars you saw in the News' sections of magazines are in the flesh here. Many are non-running design studies. The Audi exhibits also cover the broad history of Audi, and will be interesting for Audi fans, those who like the Quattro rally era, and Auto Union race cars. It's also inexpensive 2 Euros from memory. We asked nicely to have our parking comped - and it was.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 05-05-2010 at 01:05 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2010, 12:50 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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The Welt, Dingolfing, and Hockenheim
Some final random items of interest. I was surprised to see, in early April, an E60 European Delivery. However, it is no ordinary E60 as you will see from the photos.

There is a museum in the town of Dingolfing itself. One floor is dedicated to Gogomobile and BMW. It's not entirely interesting in itself, but is the perfect way to spend an hour or two after the BMW Dingolfing factory tour, before heading back to Munich in time for dinner.

Finally, Hockenheim, for racing fans, is on the road between Stuttgart and Heidelberg/Frankfurt/Nurburg as well as Audi's Neckarsulm factory. Actually, Hockenheim is very near SAP's worldwide HQ. We stopped by Hockenheim since I'm an F1 fan, and there was some amateur racing underway. You can really tell up close how these old tracks are well past their prime facility wise, and find it difficult to compete with the new multi-billion dollar Asian and Middle Eastern tracks.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 05-05-2010 at 01:06 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2010, 02:32 AM
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bagbklyn bagbklyn is offline
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I am sold!!!

I am sold on the Ring Taxi. Sign me up on my next ED. Chris, excellent pics and write up. Looks like you had fun with another successful ED. Congrats.
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2010, 03:36 AM
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Love the Sabineisms! Looks like you're having a great trip!
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2010, 07:55 AM
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Intriguing title and great reporting, congrats
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  #9  
Old 05-05-2010, 08:54 AM
ds928 ds928 is offline
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Chrischeung,

Great report, sounds like a fantastic trip, it was only 5 weeks ago that I was on a similar trip (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=452886) and can really relate to yours...thanks for refreshing my memory!!!

All we have to do now is wait...end of May for me...
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:38 AM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Chris:

Really enjoyed this report - particularly the in-depth review of your ride with Sabine. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
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My 2014 ED trip report: Born Yesterday - 3rd ED off to a (mostly) flawless start
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=793345


My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271
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  #11  
Old 05-05-2010, 11:36 AM
tim818 tim818 is online now
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Chris,

Always a pleasure to read your ED articles. I'm sure you guys had a great time over there. ED + Autobahn + Ring Taxi + Sabine... what more could you ask for?

Tim
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2010, 09:54 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Yes - Sabine is very unassuming. When she talks about her accomplishments, it's like she is just saying what she had for dinner. Very refreshing. If it was a male with the same accomplishments, it would likely sound like a boast. One thing though - driving all those laps around the Ring gives you "man hands" - good for strangulation.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454
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  #13  
Old 05-09-2010, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boothguy View Post
Chris:

Really enjoyed this report - particularly the in-depth review of your ride with Sabine. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
+1!
Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:43 AM
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Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:32 PM
DrJ DrJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischeung View Post
[ There were a surprisingly large number of people on the tour, given that a requirement is that you arrange the tour through a Porsche dealer.

Great write-up and pics! One minor point of clarification - you don't have to arrange the Porsche factory tour through a dealer. All you need to do is email a request for a tour at the following address:

factorytours@porsche.de

At least, this worked for me. Twice.

J
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:35 PM
tonmonde tonmonde is offline
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Originally Posted by chrischeung View Post
Sabine said, Boxster ladies' car. Later on the track we passed a Cayman, and Sabine says "housewife's car". My friend replied, it's driven by a man. Sabine replied, that's why it's so slow!
True words of wisdom!
Nice recap, sounds like an awesome trip!
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Old 05-10-2010, 09:17 PM
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Thanks for a great write up. Sabine is hot. One more reason why I like BMW.
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2010, 04:19 PM
adc adc is offline
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Great write-up, many thanks for the colorful Ring report.
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  #19  
Old 06-12-2010, 12:11 AM
BayAreaBMWFan BayAreaBMWFan is offline
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Wow Chris.
I checked into the Fest after a long time, and just realized what I had been missing.
The write-up was great as were the pics; I especially like the part where Sabine's sis was checking you out.

BTW, where was the C130 experience?

I am just enjoying this vicariously but still grinning.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:38 AM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Royal Australian Air Force - back when I was in high school. I was in the Air Cadets and there was a trip to Williamstown airbase. Got to see the first pair of F-18s getting delivered, a Squirrel helicopter ride, and the C130 ride. Being last sometimes has its benefits - the last 4 cadets on the C130 were asked if we wanted to be hooked up to the ramp when it was lowered in the air - hell yes!!! You can bet everyone else was pissed at us .
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454

Last edited by chrischeung; 06-12-2010 at 12:39 AM.
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  #21  
Old 06-15-2010, 12:52 PM
speedjunkie's Avatar
speedjunkie speedjunkie is offline
Lifetime BMW CCA Member
Location: Orange County, CA
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 178
Mein Auto: E93 M3, F30 328i
Chris,

Great write-up. For the 2nd Ring Taxi ride, were you able to just pay for a 2nd ride without a reservation? Looks like the Ring Taxi is only available for rides on Sundays and Holidays. Looking to check it out during my next ED, but may not able to secure a reservation. Don't know if it's possible to get there early and see if they will take a walk-in. Please advise. Thanks.
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F30 2013 328i
E93 2011 M3 - BMW Welt ED: 7/9/11, Drop-off: 7/15/11, Redelivery: 9/15/11
F10 2011 535i - BMW Welt ED: 9/13/10, Drop-off: 9/20/10, Redelivery: 11/8/10*
E90 2010 328i*
E60 2008 535i - BMW Welt ED: 2/12/08, MADA Drop-off: 2/23/08, Redelivery: 4/17/08*
E90 2007 328i*
E90 2006 330i*
2003 K1200RS - My two wheeled Beemer!!
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  #22  
Old 06-15-2010, 01:14 PM
chrischeung chrischeung is offline
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Location: Dallas, TX
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 7,560
Mein Auto: 2012 ActiveHybrid 7 SWB
I paid for 2 rides in advance, and had them booked as well.

You may get a chance to join a group who has space. But if you want your own ride, you need to be first or second on the list - it fills up quickly. But if there are any track closures, your chances will drop dramatically.
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2012 ActiveHybrid 750i ED

3/12 ED 7 - thread ID 610350
1/11 ED 6 - thread ID 5767556&postcount=175
4/10 ED 5 - thread ID 453501
5/08 ED 4 - thread ID 290679
3/07 ED 3 - thread ID 201013
3/06 ED 2 - thread ID 136454
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