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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, new to the forum. I'm thinking of getting an M3 next year when my lease on my Audi is up. I've contacted a few local dealers to see if I could test drive one. Surprisingly, no one has any to test drive (on a side note, how does anyone plop down $70k+ on a car they've never driven?). Each dealer came back to me though and said they have an allocation for a 2017 if I want to order a car. They clearly didn't read I was only looking to test drive one at this point, but it got me wondering what they meant regarding the allocation.

If I wanted to order an M3, would I have to wait for a dealership to get an allocation? I ordered my last 2 Audi's and just walked in and made the deal and the order was submitted. Is that not how BMW works? Is it possible I will walk in and say I want to give you $70,000 and they say sorry we can't help you right now?

Any insight into this allocation situation would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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Dealers receive X number of allocations for each series of car per year, based on a number of criteria (region, size and rating of dealer, income, number of cars sold on average, other various incentives etc...). This is done mostly to allow the smaller dealers a fair chance at bringing in cars to sell, since only so many can be made in a year and the big dealers would just grab them all up instantly if they could. A dealer can only put in an order for a car to BMW if they have an available allocation, so it is entirely possible to go to a dealership, money in hand, and be turned away because they don't have any available slots to order you a car (though usually they can acquire slots by trading with other dealers). This only really becomes a problem with limited production cars (like M cars), as there are fewer allocations to go around. Of course there are always the dealers who will take your money without having an allocation, and just sit on it until they can find one ... if they can't provide a production number when you place your order, they don't currently have an allocation.

RE the Audis, Audi uses the same allocation system, the dealer just happened to have allocations available when you bought yours. Again, with regular production models it's rarely an issue as there are plenty of allocations to go around.

Test drives with M cars seem to be pretty hit or miss. I had no trouble getting a test drive when I bought mine, but I know of many others who were unable to get one. It really depends on the dealer and even the specific SA.
 

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Leave gun. Take Canoli.
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My dealer let me test drive an M4 but told me not to take it on the highway or drive it very far because M owners don't like lots of miles on their cars when they get them. They knew I was buying one and this is my 4th car from them over 10 years. The sales manager told me they don't usually let people test drive the M's or i8's. I've read other people say they took pretty normal 'as long as you want' type of test drives in M's.
 

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Extended Euro Delivery
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I kid I kid, I do know there were issues in the past but currently Inhave been told that there are no issues. With that, BMW AG will NOT allow custom colors (i.e. Fire Orange)

I typed this up on my Smartphone using Tapatalk
 

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Individual Fire Orange was accepted in the M3/M4 for MY2015 production. They discontinued the Individual color for MY2016-on.

Any Individual color not ready available requires approval, not that they are not allowed. :dunno:

I kid I kid, I do know there were issues in the past but currently Inhave been told that there are no issues. With that, BMW AG will NOT allow custom colors (i.e. Fire Orange)
 

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I meant for the Military sales program in Germany.

I typed this up on my Smartphone using Tapatalk
 

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If you want to test drive an M, and really run the piss out of it, you can do so for two hours at the BMW Performance Centers (Spartanburg and Thermal). There's a charge of $299. But, this gives you the opportunity to really flog the car on a track and also likely to experience the oddball options (e.g. manual transmission, cloth seats, etc.). You could also sign up for an M School and spend one or two days flogging all the M models. I did this when I was considering an M5. After flogging them around on the training track, I decided to save the $50k and just get a 535i instead, and spending the $50k on more driving schools or going toward am M2/3/4 or 911 in the future.

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Explore/Experience/PDS/#drivers

The dealer I bought my E46 M3 from required $500 deposit. E46 M3 production was delayed and then slow at the beginning. I waited 14 months before getting an allocation and being allowed to spec the car. I ended up as #3 on their M3 coupe waiting list. They would have refunded my deposit anytime right up until I spec'ed the car. Allocations are only issued a few months prior to the actual production slot. Once the dealer got "my" allocation, it took about ten or eleven weeks to get the car.

A friend was shopping for an M235i in 2014. They were a hot ticket then, and dealers wouldn't deal much on one coming in for inventory. The dealership figured they could bet a better priced from walk-in customers. Once he decided to factory-order a car and wait for it, the price came down.
 

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I bought an M4 without test driving it. I already owned a used 335is with the intention of trading it against an M4. Since I loved my 335is I could not imagine the M4 would be anything but amazing. I was not disappointed, no regrets.
 

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Worlds Foremost Authority
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I test drove two M4s before I purchased mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just contacted a dealer about a new M3 they have in stock and they will not let me test drive it. She said people who buy M3s want as little miles on them as possible. I wasn't going to drive it across the state or anything, that's so crazy. A person is going to come in and say sorry I'm not buying this because it has 20 miles on it? I asked her how they expect someone to drop $75k on a vehicle they've never driven? She said people do it all of the time, and their "test" drive is when the car is delivered to them. I'm sorry but that's flat out ridiculous. I mean I rode my $1000 bike around the lot before I bought it, why can't I drive an expensive car before I buy it? I told her I'm coming from an all wheel drive Audi and want to see if I like the feeling of a rear wheel drive car. She said you can drive one of the used ones. I said ok that works, and then she told me they don't have any. WTF? Maybe I should stick with Audi.
 

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Just contacted a dealer about a new M3 they have in stock and they will not let me test drive it. She said people who buy M3s want as little miles on them as possible. I wasn't going to drive it across the state or anything, that's so crazy. A person is going to come in and say sorry I'm not buying this because it has 20 miles on it? I asked her how they expect someone to drop $75k on a vehicle they've never driven? She said people do it all of the time, and their "test" drive is when the car is delivered to them. I'm sorry but that's flat out ridiculous. I mean I rode my $1000 bike around the lot before I bought it, why can't I drive an expensive car before I buy it? I told her I'm coming from an all wheel drive Audi and want to see if I like the feeling of a rear wheel drive car. She said you can drive one of the used ones. I said ok that works, and then she told me they don't have any. WTF? Maybe I should stick with Audi.
My local dealers didn't have M3 in stock at the time for me to test drive, but I did test drive a 335i. That is how I set the baseline knowing M3 would double the fun I had.
 

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My dealer didn't have an M3 for me to test drive, but had no problem putting me in a brand new M4 vert.


I typed this up on my Smartphone using Tapatalk
 

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I've been waiting for an allocation for an M2 since last March - I just got it July 30 - Hallelujah! There are way more people on the wait list than the dealer has allocation slots for 2017. I feel like I hit the lottery!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well this hasn't gotten any better. Located a new M3 at BMW Devon and was told by the salesman I could come in and test drive it. I set up a specific time to meet him there and drive the car, all confirmed via email. I got there at the specific time yesterday, and he was nowhere to be found and I was told I was not allowed to test drive the M3 because "M3 owners prefer to have as little miles on their car as possible." As if people who buy Hondas prefer to have hundreds of miles on their new cars. So pretentious. I left and will never go back to that dealership. Either the guy doesn't understand what a test drive is, or flat out lied to me just to get me in the door. The dealership is 45 minutes away and I left work early to drive the car, so I was seething. So he's either incompetent or a liar, neither of which I want to deal with any longer.

This is the second dealership I've heard that line from. I just don't understand how they expect people to drop that much money on a car they've never driven. People try clothes on at stores, but you can't possibly drive an M3 before buying it? It's ridiculous. It's to the point where I might just forget about BMW altogether.
 

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I'd expect at least a credit check, this isn't some 320.

On the flip side, the kind of people the dealer is referring to likely order bespoke ones anyways. *shrug*

I typed this up on my Smartphone using Tapatalk
 

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"Demonstrator" miles could lower the price a off-the-lot customer is willing to pay. Also, there are a LOT of people who can't afford a four-year lease on a Kia who get bored and go test driving expensive cars. "Lookie-loos" is what salesmen call them. In addition to putting wear and tear on new car inventory, the lookie-loos also keep the salesman tied up with them and missing "real" customers who come in to the showroom. If you don't have an ongoing relationship with the dealer's service department or a salesman, you're probably out of luck.

I test drove an E36 M3 in 1994 at an invitation-only event put on by BMW NA at an off-site, a Class-A office park. This was pre-internet, and I'd called BMW's 1-800 number for a brochure. I also subscribed to the Wall Street Journal and Car and driver, and I had perfect credit. I suspect being on all four lists is how I got on their invitation list.

The master of ceremonies was a BMW race car driver. During the punch-and-cookies session before the test drive, he went around the room asking what we were currently driving. When I said "Nissan Sentra," the room got quiet. But, then I said it was an SE-R, sort of the M3 of Sentra's. The race car driver said that he'd done some PR work for Nissan when the SE-R came out and that it was a cool little car. Then, everybody stopped looking at me with the "Who let him in here?" look on their faces. I ended up buying another SE-R.

I ordered an E46 M3 sight unseen: put down a deposit in July 2000, spec'ed the car in August 2001, took delivery in November 2001. I did get to drive one at a Drive For A Cure event in July 2001. But, they quickly took M3's out of the Drive For A Cure fleets due to "customer behavior problems." Imagine that. I made sure I was the second test drive of the day, before the local traffic cops figured out what was going on. The first test drive of the day was the Virginia Beach cop who moonlighted as the dealer's night watchman. I rode shotgun with him. I took him with me on my test drive as insurance, promising that we'd stop by Krispy Kreme on the way back... my treat.

If you can afford an M4, you can afford a trip to Spartanburg. The inverse of the converse of that is also probably true: If you can't afford a trip to Spartanburg, you probably can't afford an M3/4. That's a good reason for a dealer to not allow you to test drive one. Porsche has also started the factory-center-test-drive-for-a-fee programs at their LA and Atlanta centers. I'd bet you can't get your local Porsche dealership to let you take one out for spin, either.

The factory center test drive and "bespoke" production orders is becoming the norm for high performance cars. The factory-center test drive also means that your dealing with a car salesman is limited to just a few minutes for negotiating price. The car salesman as we know them might go the way of the travel agent.
 

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Well this hasn't gotten any better. Located a new M3 at BMW Devon and was told by the salesman I could come in and test drive it. I set up a specific time to meet him there and drive the car, all confirmed via email. I got there at the specific time yesterday, and he was nowhere to be found and I was told I was not allowed to test drive the M3 because "M3 owners prefer to have as little miles on their car as possible." As if people who buy Hondas prefer to have hundreds of miles on their new cars. So pretentious. I left and will never go back to that dealership. Either the guy doesn't understand what a test drive is, or flat out lied to me just to get me in the door. The dealership is 45 minutes away and I left work early to drive the car, so I was seething. So he's either incompetent or a liar, neither of which I want to deal with any longer.

This is the second dealership I've heard that line from. I just don't understand how they expect people to drop that much money on a car they've never driven. People try clothes on at stores, but you can't possibly drive an M3 before buying it? It's ridiculous. It's to the point where I might just forget about BMW altogether.
As you are finding out, many dealers won't let you test drive their new M cars. I think it's totally obnoxious and refuse to deal with those people. At the end of the day it's just a BMW, not a Ferrari. With that being said, look for a dealership who is selling a used F8x series. They are starting to pop up. You should have better luck with that.

And someone posted the the dealer running your credit before the test drive. Personally I would not be ok with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
"Demonstrator" miles could lower the price a off-the-lot customer is willing to pay. Also, there are a LOT of people who can't afford a four-year lease on a Kia who get bored and go test driving expensive cars. "Lookie-loos" is what salesmen call them. In addition to putting wear and tear on new car inventory, the lookie-loos also keep the salesman tied up with them and missing "real" customers who come in to the showroom. If you don't have an ongoing relationship with the dealer's service department or a salesman, you're probably out of luck.

I test drove an E36 M3 in 1994 at an invitation-only event put on by BMW NA at an off-site, a Class-A office park. This was pre-internet, and I'd called BMW's 1-800 number for a brochure. I also subscribed to the Wall Street Journal and Car and driver, and I had perfect credit. I suspect being on all four lists is how I got on their invitation list.

The master of ceremonies was a BMW race car driver. During the punch-and-cookies session before the test drive, he went around the room asking what we were currently driving. When I said "Nissan Sentra," the room got quiet. But, then I said it was an SE-R, sort of the M3 of Sentra's. The race car driver said that he'd done some PR work for Nissan when the SE-R came out and that it was a cool little car. Then, everybody stopped looking at me with the "Who let him in here?" look on their faces. I ended up buying another SE-R.

I ordered an E46 M3 sight unseen: put down a deposit in July 2000, spec'ed the car in August 2001, took delivery in November 2001. I did get to drive one at a Drive For A Cure event in July 2001. But, they quickly took M3's out of the Drive For A Cure fleets due to "customer behavior problems." Imagine that. I made sure I was the second test drive of the day, before the local traffic cops figured out what was going on. The first test drive of the day was the Virginia Beach cop who moonlighted as the dealer's night watchman. I rode shotgun with him. I took him with me on my test drive as insurance, promising that we'd stop by Krispy Kreme on the way back... my treat.

If you can afford an M4, you can afford a trip to Spartanburg. The inverse of the converse of that is also probably true: If you can't afford a trip to Spartanburg, you probably can't afford an M3/4. That's a good reason for a dealer to not allow you to test drive one. Porsche has also started the factory-center-test-drive-for-a-fee programs at their LA and Atlanta centers. I'd bet you can't get your local Porsche dealership to let you take one out for spin, either.

The factory center test drive and "bespoke" production orders is becoming the norm for high performance cars. The factory-center test drive also means that your dealing with a car salesman is limited to just a few minutes for negotiating price. The car salesman as we know them might go the way of the travel agent.
I have to fly to Spartanburg to have the opportunity to buy a new car? That's ridiculous. Affording the trip has nothing to do with it. I shouldn't have to fly to another state to test drive a car. If the M3 on the lot was one a customer ordered I totally get it. I wouldn't want someone test driving the car I ordered and put a down payment on. But this was one the dealer ordered and let's not forget the salesman told me I could test drive it and arranged a time for me to come in.

If it's that much of an issue, order an M3 for the dealership for test drives only. And I didn't pull into the dealership with a Nissan Sentra, I pulled in with an Audi S4, the salesman even asked me about it while I was there. So I clearly wasn't there for a joy ride. I made it clear, I'm coming from an all wheel drive car to a rear wheel car and want to see how the car behaves. I really wanted to drive 5-10 miles, not across state lines. The guy thought he could get me there and talk me into ordering at the mere sight of the one they had. He was playing games, plain and simple and I was hoping BMW was above that kind of nonsense but apprently not.

At this point I'll just have to checkpoint autotrader every week to see if a dealer gets a used F80 in so I can test one out. Just not BMW Devon.
 
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