Every true Bimmer enthusiast goes through these phases, newbies be warned:
This is the phase in which you start your research about the new Bimmers. You start buying magazines, read every article related to E46, and research prices. You conclude that this is a good car to own, but the prices are a little steep. Nevertheless, you think you should be able to get a deal of around 10% over invoice; that is more than a fair price. In the mean time, you find out about Roadfly.org. You hang around a little than on the 3rd day you start posting your questions about prices and performance. To your disappointment, people are paying a lot more than you are willing to pay; not because you cannot afford it, but why should a dealer make that much profit. You also are a little disappointed on the performance numbers. Many cars have better 0-60 times than even the 330, this feels unacceptable to you, and start thinking you should look in to the Audi S4, IS300, and new Nissans coming to market. You express your opinion at the .org, but you are faced with tremendous flames; well you insulted the entire Bimmer community, what did you expect?
You decide to go to a dealer and test drive the car to see what the big deal is about. Obviously, you want to get the best price and nothing else is important even if the car is magnificent. The dealer is very courteous and gives you the keys of a well appointed E46 and does not even bother to come with you. You feel, you have a good start in this process. You go around, up/down, curve-in/curve-out, and to the interstates. The car is more than what you expected, it handles all you throw at it without any complaints. You have this grin on your face, which you don't want to show to the salesman, but you cannot help it. The salesman does not care actually, he knows it anyhow. You start your conversation on the price with the salesman gently, ensuring that he understands you think it is a fine car but nothing special. You soon learn that few hundreds off the MSRP is the best the dealership can do. You try every little gimmick, but the salesman is cool and does not even show much interest in your story, he does not even try to compare the Bimmer to other cars. You, frustratingly, start thinking that he is very arrogant, and this is not possible especially during a recession; you decide that you will "take your business elsewhere, its your money."
You go home disappointed, get on .org forums and share your experiences thinking the entire Bimmer community is actually very interested in your story. You also post flame messages about the dealer and how terrible you were treated by them and no one again ever should do any business with them. After all, you are a $35+ customer, how can they not sell you the Bimmer at your price? However, you are fully convinced by now that the only car to own is a Bimmer, it is just absolutely and unequivocally, THE car to own. You want to be part of this larger-than-life community of few million Bimmer owners.
You start your in-house campaign of justification for the car, and tell your story with only few exaggerations to your wife; just in case you have to pay MSRP, but of course you will never pay that amount. Your wife looks at you with happy but blank eyes thinking he is too much in to this car stuff. You continue with all the information you have avoiding every possible way not to answer the price question your wife keeps asking you. You finally answer "I do not know the price yet, I have not negotiated."
By this time you are fully aware of all the news about Bimmers in the media, you have subscribed to 9 different magazines, and they are pouring in weekly, including international ones that don't even apply to US specs. Nevertheless, your knowledge of Bimmers is reaching new heights and makes you feel good. However, at the same time, you have this uncontrollable urge of owning one soon, but you got to get the price you want.
You learn the Rizzo Method, and start calling few dealers for price. By now, you have configured your car at the BMWNA web site probably 104 times with different options trying to save few hundreds, calculated monthly payments for financing and leasing. But, you just cannot lease of course, no true Bimmer owner would do that. It is against Bimmer world rules; if you cannot afford the car just don't buy it. Leasing would mean you cannot afford it and you are afraid that you will be the step child to the Bimmer community, which cannot happen. You worked very hard all your life and proud of it.
Only one dealer returns your call with a price quote and he gives you a price $1750 over the invoice. You feel you are getting somewhere, but it is still too high. After all, people at .org claim that they get prices that are only $1000 over invoice, you have to get a price closer to that as you feel like that is almost an initiation to the Bimmer community. You get on .org and ask people for their understanding and help. They should certainly see that you WANT a Bimmer, how is it possible not to get a decent discount. Right then you see John Shafer's post about latest BMWNA sales figures… they have a 17% increase with record sales. You just cannot believe your eyes, there must be an error, WE ARE IN RECESSION DAMN IT! You explore European Delivery options, but you are not willing to take that option. You think it will take longer to obtain your car, and you can no longer wait for it, you have to have it soon; or BMW will loose you as a customer, that is it! You continue your price hunting for couple more weeks, and finally secure one that is only $1,500 over invoice. By this time, 3 months have already passed but you feel good, you saved an additional $250 and the first dealer can go to hell with their arrogance.
You make your decision: you will own a Bimmer, that is it. You step in front of your wife and tell her this. She freaks out "$39,000 for a COMPACT car!?!?" You try to explain "But honey…" of course she is not near you any more to hear your argument, and goes to shopping at Nordstrom to make her feel better, and since you have money to afford a $39K car she does not even feel guilty about it. You have not even told her that you will have to pay an additional $2,000 for taxes and what ever else, better keep that to yourself for now. And, the happiest day… you order your Bimmer, the salesman tells you it will take about 10 to 12 weeks, but you don't really care, you accomplished your goal at only
$1,500 over invoice; you happily head home in your 3-year old Accord. By this time, your Accord feels like the Bimmer.
You go to .org and declare your order and your price, you are part of the Bimmer community now, you change your alias to your Bimmer's model name and proudly start answering the questions of other people just starting the process. You know all about purchasing a Bimmer and race with others to post news you read from magazines to .org. You know, who ever posts news first wins.
Every morning you get up and look outside and dream how your new Bimmer will look so good in front of your house. You have obtained several Bimmer posters now, and you proudly display them in the house, work cubicle, etc. In the mean time, you have no idea how your son is doing at school any more, you have not seen him much lately; umm… since this whole Bimmer thing started. You feel a little guilty, but hey, you ordered your Bimmer!
2 Weeks later it sinks in that you are actually in the famous "waiting order" phase. In this phase, you drive your car and dream you are in your Bimmer and think people are looking at your old Accord as if they also know it is actually your new Bimmer. You keep going each day to .org and read each post, keep reading magazines, and subscribe to new forums that you learned their existence. You are truly in a craving period for anything Bimmer. Each week and day is painful, you just cannot stand it. You post messages about your pain to .org, and get no sympathy; and you think "hey, I ORDERED my BIMMER pay some attention." By this time, you actually are willing to pay $500 more for the car just to be able to get it couple of weeks earlier. What the heck, you would have paid $1,000 more for the car that matched exactly your options except color at the dealer lot. What is so important about color any way, it is a Bimmer. But, you are getting a MY2002 with clears, 18" wheels and tires, and standard HK and CD. You have a lot to thank for, you made the right decision. You only have 4 more weeks to go, OMG, please help me.
The last week of this waiting period is the worse. It starts when you learn that your car is at the port of entry, and you start posting messages to ALL boards on how long it would take for it to get to the dealer as if you can gather a consensus on timing the car will actually be there within that time. Unfortunately, not! During the week that your car is transported from PoE to dealer, you take time without pay from work so you can fully concentrate on your baby's trip and ensure that you are telepathically connected with her and assist her during the final stages emotionally. In the mean time, you memorize the entire owner's manual you downloaded from the circle.
The next phase is the delivery day, yes, it is a phase in itself. You wake up early, you shower and shave (you don't want to look ugly to your baby the first day), and head up to your dealer's door before even they are open. Even if you are not a smoker, you start smoking and finish a pack of cigarettes by the time the dealer opens. Once they open, you are frustratingly curious as to why no one is paying attention. You immediate go see the general manager and start complaining "I am a $40K+ customer, how can you treat me like this?" The general manager is trying to calm you down and gives you couple Prozac pills. Your salesman arrives around 10 am, you are really pissed, you are out of cigarettes and coffee ran out 1/2 hours earlier. His casual conversation makes you nothing but mad. You insist they turn over the car to you immediately without being prepared. An hour later they have you convinced that having your baby prepared is something they have to do to earn a good customer satisfaction result (yeah, right!). Just to calm you down, they throw in the floor mats, and you feel you are being fooled with some cheap stuff and blood pressure rises again.
By 2 pm, two packs of cigarettes, and four pots of coffee later; you see your car being driven to the front of the dealership; fully cleaned, brilliant, and just breathtaking. They give you CPR at this time, but you don't really care, your eyes are open and you cannot believe you will finally be able to connect with your baby in few minutes (as soon as they take this crappy oxygen mask off your face).
You run out, hug her, apologize, and beg for her forgiveness of all the bad things that happened to her (and she blinks). You go back in, sign the final papers, call insurance, etc. etc. and GET THE KEYS. You do not even wait for the key programming, you take a rain check and promise to be back the following week for that. You jump in and drive off with your dream. At this time all if forgotten, you have accomplished to live through the worst part of owning a Bimmer; at least you think so You go home for a 5 min. stop, and post 153 messages on boards about your baby, and immediate run off for more driving.
Now, the break-in period starts. You initially feel it's not a problem, what is the big deal in keeping the car under 4500 rpm? But as you find out, the car is rev-happy, and with each mile it is becoming more difficult to keep the car under control, it is acting like a new puppy who wants to play in the forbidden land. But, try as you might, you few times you break the rules. You also start strongly disliking all the people that want to race you at red lights. You try to ignore them the first 300 mi. but they are becoming really annoying. There is nothing you can do but accelerate the break-in period to completion. You start driving for no reason at all, you pick up strangers, take your relatives living 50 mi. away to grocery shopping; even though you work at home, you start a car pool and notify your neighbours about the Bimmer car pool special.
As you continue in this manner, one day you pick up this beautiful 20-something blonde that is hitchhiking. You are proud of your Bimmer and you are thinking she will appreciate her ride today. You are at 1178 miles by now and this should be your last weird thing to do as you pass your break-in period. Right at this time the blonde pulls a gun and asks you to step out. You think of risking your life for your Bimmer but amazingly you decide not to and you comply. She drives off with your baby to where you have never driven before: the 1200+ mi. zone...
P.S. BTW… has anyone seen my topaz blue 330Ci with 18"ers, please send me an email if you did; a blonde might be driving it.