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A sudden sense of liberty
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, this weekend I got a bee in my bonnet about driving an E46 M3. This is something that occurs to me every now and then; with all of the controversy about how the E46 and E36 compare, it seems ridiculous that I've never actually driven the former.

It's important to understand that I am not contemplating a purchase at this point (though that was also true the day I first drove the car sitting in my garage). However, I do try to keep an open mind, and my car (much as I hate to admit it) will eventually have to be replaced by *something,* and since Bangle is tear-assing his way through the BMW lineup, using the reverse Midas touch that turns gold into crap, the E46 M3 may be the last BMW I can actually stomach without retching uncontrollably.

Anyhoo.

I called a dealer yesterday after noticing that they had several new M3s available on their lot for sale. I explained my situation, and the salesman said "Well, we don't really like to have anyone drive them, but there is a convertible that you can take for a brief spin." I drove to the dealer; by the time I got their, the car had been sold, and the other new M3s were inexplicably unavailable for test driving.

OK, I say to myself. Fair enough. They don't want to pile miles on unsold M3s. I wouldn't want to buy an M3 that had been used as a demo. But I was slightly put out that I'd driven all that way to drive one car that had been sold, and that no accomodation could be made with any of the others.

Later, I go to another dealer. They have a *used* 2002 M3 on the lot, with 6K on the clock. The salesman says, "Come back tomorrow, and you can drive the used one." Today, I go back. Apparently, the manager has laid down the law. No test drives of used E46 M3s. Why? Who knows? It's not like 3 or 4 miles on top of the 6K already on the car are going to be noticed. It's not like the dealer can't intercede if I start driving like an idiot. It's not like I haven't proven a certain interest in expensive German sports cars with M in the title (indeed, I bought my car from this very dealer, something that they were aware of).

So why this frigging attitude like the M3 is the crown jewels? Why is everyone treating me like I'm asking to sleep with their daughter? Who the hell buys a car that they haven't driven? I mean, it's a nice car, but it's not a Ferrari. It's not even a Porsche. Hell, the Porsche dealer was MUCH more accomodating than any of the BMW people have been.

Even on a car that has a certain amount of demand, I expect a bit of accomodation when I walk in asking about spending $50K. Not bowing and scraping, you understand, but some willingness to go a little bit out of the way. Apparently, this is too much to ask.

Fine.
 

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that is pretty sorry to hear. i got a test drive of an m3 in april 2001 when i bought my car. my moonroof didnt work when i picked up the car, had to go back the following weekend to get it fixed, they had the intial m3s and i got to drive it cuz i was complaining i JUST bought a car and it didnt work. (=

btw, it was at richmond bmw...
 

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That is pretty pathetic that a dealer can't let you test drive a used M3 . . . I can understand not letting you drive a brand new one because an M3 customer is probably as picky as we are and wouldn't want to buy a test driven car ...

The dealer I am buying my car from pulled this crap on me to but with a 330 manual . . . apprarently my dealer has demo cars and if the demo isn't the configuration you want then it's too bad . . . there demo is a automatic premium only 330i so in my case it's obvious I didn't want to test drive it. Meanwhile, in the showroom was a 330Ci with a 5 speed and when I asked to test drive that car the answer was 'we do not let new cars be test driven'. To add insult to injury, the car is STILL there for sale and htis was over a month ago.

Here I am buying my 2nd BMW from this dealer and this is the answer I got . . . meanwhile I could understand it because I know I will NOT by a car if it's been test driven whether it's a BMW or a Hyandau, it doesn't matter to me . . .

What are we to do ??
 

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I think these salespeople are forgetting why they have all these customers in the first place. We drove the car and fell in love with it.

I am sure few of you (and I certainly) didn't buy a BMW for its practicality, sticker price, features, etc. It was the way it drove that sold us.

It is particularly frustrating considering this is how they are treating customers who have proven that they are willing to fork out the dough.
 

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superwagon pilot
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I can understand a dealership you have no relationship with not letting you drive a new car for the obvious reasons, plus break-in period needs, etc. Not being allowed to drive the used M3 at the dealership you bought your last car from is ridiculous in my opinion. Especially since you called ahead. So much for keeping long term customer relationships.
 

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Car Junkie
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Sorry to hear that. The dealership from which I bought my M3 had a silver E46 model on the lot. Of course, stupid me, I forgot to ask to drive it until the office had officially closed for the day. When I came back to pick up the car, it was gone. :banghead: I could've driven it without any problems, just like I could've driven anything else on their lot. You might want to check their site to see if/when another E46 M3 comes in.
 

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Automotive Monomaniac
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I'd fire off a letter to the GM of the dealership and let him/her know how you were treated.

Make sure to also let them know the neighboring dealership was kind enough to let you drive 'their' M3 and you will be purchasing from them.

That behavior towards a previous customer (in an 'M'!) is unacceptable. In fact, it pisses me off!
 

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Alan F said:
That is pretty pathetic that a dealer can't let you test drive a used M3 . . . I can understand not letting you drive a brand new one because an M3 customer is probably as picky as we are and wouldn't want to buy a test driven car ...

The dealer I am buying my car from pulled this crap on me to but with a 330 manual . . . apprarently my dealer has demo cars and if the demo isn't the configuration you want then it's too bad . . . there demo is a automatic premium only 330i so in my case it's obvious I didn't want to test drive it. Meanwhile, in the showroom was a 330Ci with a 5 speed and when I asked to test drive that car the answer was 'we do not let new cars be test driven'. To add insult to injury, the car is STILL there for sale and htis was over a month ago.

Here I am buying my 2nd BMW from this dealer and this is the answer I got . . . meanwhile I could understand it because I know I will NOT by a car if it's been test driven whether it's a BMW or a Hyandau, it doesn't matter to me . . .

What are we to do ??
With all due respect, I think the dealer was right to not let you drive that car. Would YOU accept the delivery of a car that has been test driven by someone else (and probably driven HARD during the test drive)?
 

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time to think about another marque....

.....it's awesome what a car can do for showroom traffic; but frankly, the typical crap that goes on with BMWs at US dealerships is not worth the trouble sometimes.

i've had different experiences with BMWs but that was St.Louis and even there 2 of that city's dealers are crap. for some odd reason, porsche dealers are more aware that each purchase is a foothold for future buyers....strange that BMW dealers wouldn't see it like chevy and porsche dealers do.

here in boston, i have no idea what i'm in store for, but if i run into this, you can bet your farms that our BMW will be the last (good excuse to exit the brand, in my eyes) if i run into that sort of attitude. the cars just are not so great that we should tolerate that attitude. it's akin to being tony's in st.louis. that place flat out sucks, but when you're in a wasteland, you can pack people in and make them wait an hour beyond their reservations with nary a glance or excuse from the maitre'd.......if we only lived in st.louis maybe we'd think that's how "good" restaurants treat people and just sit there and take it.

too bad we're from back east and business isn't done that way. people are the commodity, not the goods themselves. i probably have the biggest jackass story ever: i was trying to close the deal on an e36m3 back in the day out a place called west county bmw; i was getting hassled by this senior sales guy and kept asking if i could afford this car and if it would worth his time to negotiate because you know, m3's sell themselves......i turned to him, looked him in the eye and said, "bubba, when you were small, did you always grow up wanting to sell BMW's? was that your dream, pal?"

and i left, and i bought three bmw's in a row from autohaus of clayton. they treated me like a buyer, and realized that we'd buy probably more than one car.
 

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Capitalist said:


With all due respect, I think the dealer was right to not let you drive that car. Would YOU accept the delivery of a car that has been test driven by someone else (and probably driven HARD during the test drive)?
Beleive me, like I said in my post I totally could understand it but it doesn't have to mean I'm happy about it . . .
especially since another dealer I went to had no problem letting me test drive the only stick shift they had though it was a 325 which I took for a spin anyway eventhough I was looking to drive a 330.
 

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Car Junkie
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Well, I can understand that a dealer would be unwilling to let people test drive new Ms, particularly those who are not serious about buying one. Nobody on this forum would buy a brand new M with 20 miles on it, so new Ms should be out of the question. Used ones are a slightly different story, but even then I wouldn't want just any yahoo who likes Bimmers to walk in and take one for a ride. E46 M3s are still very rare in new or used form. I've never spoken seriously to a Porsche or Ferrari dealer, but I doubt I could test drive a new or used 996 or 575/355/456/etc. without somehow proving my intent. Not that BMW is on the same level as Ferrari, but yoiu get my drift.
 

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Re: time to think about another marque....

blackdawg said:

here in boston, i have no idea what i'm in store for,
That depends on what you're calling "Boston". I'll assume that you're talking someplace inside I-95, or at least inside I-495.

I've heard many people sing the praises of BMW of Peabody, but I live too far away to have gone there. I've also heard that Foreign Motors West (in Natick) is good, but getting a little crowded. I bought from Wagner BMW (in Boylston, soon to be in Shrewsburry) and have been happy.
 

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ferrari, no doubt.

but have never had a problem ever, dressed like the lab rat that i am, ever getting a drive in a porsche, new or used. turbo or non-turbo.

so, coming from that, i just extrapolate, it's not as though bmw's are rare, even z8s can be test driven and there are used ones in abundance.

thus, used m3s, e36 or e46, are silly if they cannot be driven. especially when you factor in the profit margin the dealer gets on a USED one; am guessing they creamed someone on trade in and then get a nice margin on the transaction.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Jetfire said:
Sorry to hear that. The dealership from which I bought my M3 had a silver E46 model on the lot. Of course, stupid me, I forgot to ask to drive it until the office had officially closed for the day. When I came back to pick up the car, it was gone. :banghead: I could've driven it without any problems, just like I could've driven anything else on their lot. You might want to check their site to see if/when another E46 M3 comes in.
I remember that silver one, and I considered going out there to take a look at it, but its a bit of a PITA to haul myself out to Manassas, and I just didn't get around to it.

There's a black 99 M3C out there now with 17K miles on it that I find intriguing. Probably not intriguing enough to take the depreciation hit on my current car, but intriguing nonetheless.

The tide is starting to turn on M3s, though. The first dealer had 3 on the lot, and the second dealer had allocations ready to go. Neither made a peep about anything but MSRP. I think the market is getting saturated; in a year or so, they'll probably be discounting them and begging me to drive one.

I'd gladly go to a different dealer, or a different marque, but sadly experiences elsewhere are largely the same. A buddy of mine and I went to an Audi dealer to drive an A4. They showed us a car, and when we asked to drive it, they said no, because the dealer was closing in 15 minutes. Would you think it would be worthwhile to, just maybe, stay 10 minutes or so late to sell a $40K piece of hardware? I would. But these guys didn't.
 

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Re: ferrari, no doubt.

blackdawg said:
thus, used m3s, e36 or e46, are silly if they cannot be driven. especially when you factor in the profit margin the dealer gets on a USED one; am guessing they creamed someone on trade in and then get a nice margin on the transaction.
Oh, an E36 M3 had better be available for driving. F the dealership that would restrict THAT. An E46, while as a customer I would want to drive one, I can understand a dealership being reluctant to let me or any other goon do so. That said, I would be sure to give preference to the dealership that is more lenient.
 

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JST said:

There's a black 99 M3C out there now with 17K miles on it that I find intriguing. Probably not intriguing enough to take the depreciation hit on my current car, but intriguing nonetheless.
Yeah, I've seen that for a few days now. I would probably just keep your car, considering the minimal difference (other than age) between your car and that one. Besides, a newer car may or may not have the kinks worked out. I still wish I'd asked to drive that silver M3, though. Dammit. They have a steady stream of one or two M5s that also intrigue me.

JST said:

The tide is starting to turn on M3s, though. The first dealer had 3 on the lot, and the second dealer had allocations ready to go. Neither made a peep about anything but MSRP. I think the market is getting saturated; in a year or so, they'll probably be discounting them and begging me to drive one.
My dealer (the new car one) always made a commitment to sell me one at MSRP, and this was when I asked back in April for a November delivery. I imagine that in a year there will at least be a steady stream of pre-owned M3s in the market, which should mean that most dealers (especially the better ones) will be agreeable to test drives.
 

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Speed Bump
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Most dealers do not want to put miles on any E46 M3 for fear of spinning a rod bearing. The late '01 production models are grenades with the pins pulled already and hey do not feel like sitting on an unsold car for 1 to 4 weeks while they swap motors. Also, imagine the fallout of selling a new or used M3 with a replacement engine. I can't see many buyers paying MSRP for a "new" M3 that is already on its 2nd motor.


Ed
 

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teamdfl said:
Most dealers do not want to put miles on any E46 M3 for fear of spinning a rod bearing. The late '01 production models are grenades with the pins pulled already and hey do not feel like sitting on an unsold car for 1 to 4 weeks while they swap motors. Also, imagine the fallout of selling a new or used M3 with a replacement engine. I can't see many buyers paying MSRP for a "new" M3 that is already on its 2nd motor.

Ed
I hear you. However, most people will NOT buy a car without properly test driving it (although I did because after 2 E46's, I knew I couldn't go wrong with an E46 M3)... If dealers feel they have enough potential buyers who would, it's all good then...

Like JST pointed out, it's not like you're going to go out doing some crazy sh*t... All the salesman has to do is inform you that you're driving a car you can't redline because break in procedures must be followed, etc. The criteria could be the number of available M3's in the lot. I mean, let's say a given dealer has 4 sitting in the lot. They could allow people to test drive, say, up to 30 miles on each one of them... :dunno: Anyway, not letting people test drive even used ones is just not right (come to think of it, it doesn't even make biz sense IMO)... :tsk: Plus, like others also said, M cars are not Porsches or Ferraris... ;)
 
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