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Discussion Starter #1
I was really all set to just write-up ED shortly after I had returned from Germany on April 27th. I even had all my photos processed, prepped and uploaded into albums a short week after returning. But I found myself with a major case of writer's block. The problem was simple: how do you sum up the ED experience in a way that captures the magic and the emotion of the experience?

I woke up this morning, after a month of false starts, and decided that there really was no way to replicate the experience, so I have decided to just let it flow. For those too lazy to read further, one thing is certain: The ED experience is an amazing experience.

For all the excuses people make about not having the time to do sometime like this, you find that they make time for a lot of other stuff in their life. If your passion for BMWs has guided you to this site, and you at all value experiences that you will cherish and enjoy sharing for years to come, there is no excuse to not do European Delivery. You can make the time.

Where it started

I wanted one of the last E92 M3 coupes, and I wanted to do this all VIP all the way.

Jon Shafer, the owner of the site, the mastermind behind Bimmerfest, and Internet Sales Manager for BMW Santa Barbara was the obvious choice. There are lots of other great options out there, but for me, it was important to give Jon the deal. It was through his site that I learned about things like ED, PCD, and how many wipes it took between headlight washer activation on the E46. It was through his site that I made many real-life friends who shared my enthusiasm for the BMW marque.

The deal was simple. No hassle quote, tremendous savings off of MSRP, and was done entirely by way of email, FedEx and 2 phone calls. There will always be a time and a place for going to a local dealership to buy off the lot, but the new economy is really about who's motivated to deal. Look outside your local area -- you'll be surprised what is possible from a truly motivated dealer.

The plan

My girlfriend and I agreed that this would be a driving trip. This is an important conversation for any person going on an ED trip. As many of you know, I'm a low mileage driver, and the reality would be that picking up a car state-side, I'd hit 1200 miles at about the 2 year mark, which wouldn't be a great break-in period. There was an enormous opportunity to cover lots of ground and to see speeds we'd never see again, so the plan was mapped out early on to cover at least 1200 miles in those 8 days in Europe, and see as many places as we could.

The itinerary was aggressive -- most would say insane -- but we were both committed to it, so it would go like this:

4/18 - JFK-FRA
4/19 - Arrive FRA, take ICE to Munich Hbf. Stay at Le Meridien Munich. Explore Munich.
4/20 - Pick up at BMW Welt. Do BMW Museum. Day trip to Salzburg, Austria and return to Munich.
4/21 - Munich - Hohenschwangau - Zurich - Strasbourg. Stay at Sofitel Strasbourg.
4/22 - Explore Strasbourg
4/23 - Strasbourg - Nuremberg - Berlin. Stay at Westin Grand Berlin.
4/24 - Berlin
4/25 - Berlin
4/26 - Berlin - Frankfurt to drop off. Stay at Westin Grand Frankfurt.
4/27 - FRA-JFK

As a frequent flyer and heavy "points" guy, the cost for this trip was basically zero. 2 RT BusinessElite tickets and all my hotel nights were done on points. I spent about $200 to pay for taxes on the plane tickets. All we had to do was pay for food and gas -- the best kind of vacation!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
4/18-4/19 - Getting There

Since there were no direct Munich flights from JFK, we to Frankfurt out of the now defunct JFK Terminal 3.



I've had a chance to enjoy Delta's BE lie-flat seating for a few flights now, and can't imagine doing TATL flights without it.



Once in Frankfurt, it was a simple transfer to the Frankfurt Hbf train station to take the ICE to Munich.





If you can, sit in the front quiet car in first class. You get the driver's view from the front of the train, and will be a good warm up exercise to traveling 100+ mph ... which you'll soon discover is something you'll be doing often.

Le Meridien Munich is literally right outside the train station, which was very convenient after a full day of traveling. We dropped off our bags, had a chance to freshen up, and do a little exploring in Munich.







It was raining, which was a constant theme for our trip, but we did our best to stay upright and mobile to try and shake off the jet lag. We were in bed by 10pm... the next morning was the big day!

More pictures from 4/18-4/19:
https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5872992635920776321
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
4/20 ***8211; Delivery Day!

We woke up at the crack of dawn. Rolf wouldn***8217;t be able to help us that morning, so we found ourselves in a taxi to BMW Welt. The trip was 20 EUR with tip included, and accomplished the goal of getting there. Wish things would have worked out for us to meet Rolf. The man lives as a legend here.





Looking back at my pictures, I can tell you without them, it would be just a blur. However, every time I look back on my photos, each shot brings back instant recall of the exact emotions I felt at every moment in time. From the moment my name popped up on the delivery board, to seeing my car for the very first time, to the moment I started the engine for the first time, to my victory lap -- I enjoyed every second of the delivery experience.

No words needed here.

http://vimeo.com/68455126



















More pictures from 4/20:
Delivery: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5872995977653928753
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Apr 20 – BMW Museum

The BMW Museum is a must stop for any BMW enthusiast who has even an ounce of curiosity about the history of the brand. Can’t say I’d go every ED trip, but it was definitely worth the time to make the visit the first time. Some amazing well preserved history.







The museum took about 2 hours. We were pretty hungry so we stopped by the restaurant back at the Welt and had lunch:





On our way out, we enjoyed seeing the 59 Isetta taking folks for rides around the floor:



More from the BMW Museum here:
https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5872998076771273265
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Apr 20 ***8211; Salzburg, Austria

With a full stomach, it was finally time to hit the road. First stop was the Esso gas station a short drive from BMW Welt, which is where we were able to reconcile in our minds why everyone drives small displacement turbo engine cars in Europe. You totally get it when you see your first full tank of gas ring up 87 EUR ($114) at the pump in person.



But no matter. We had planned for this. A 414bhp V8 engine is going to be hard on gas, and I had accepted we would spend around $700 in gas. So we filled up and we were on our way.

Shortly before entering Austria, we managed to get pulled over by the Polizei. The Zoll plates were clearly a reason to stop and do an ID check. It was nothing but polite and professional. I think we were more amused than anything because I had just finished telling my girlfriend about stories I read about cars with Zoll plates getting pulled over for no good reason. I guess I can check that off my bucket list!

After returning our passports, and giving me a few nice compliments on my car, I took a brief moment to admire my cop magnet. It was to be the first of many moments where I just stood there, smiled and realized I owned this car.



We arrived in Salzburg without further incident. Best place to park was at the Altstadt, which is a garage built into a mountain. I found a nice spot next to another E92 to park.



We spent the rest of the day walking around Salzburg, exploring and admiring this small but beautiful city.



We arrived back in Munich late that night, and discovered how small the parking was inside the garage at Le Meridien Munich. It was definitely a 2 person job to squeeze into a narrow space. Discovered the importance of folding mirrors in this process, and learned to appreciate how European car manufacturers considered all these little details when building a car.

It was probably too much for one day because the last thing I remembered was lying down on the bed thinking I***8217;d just lie down for a few minutes before taking a shower. Never made it into the shower. Didn***8217;t even take off my shoes.

More pictures from Salzburg: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873002325802171745
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Apr 21 ***8211; Hohenschwangau ***8211; Zurich ***8211; Strasbourg

After a good night***8217;s rest, it was time to hit the road. We were off to Strasbourg by way of Hohenschwangau and Zurich. With some dry weather ahead of us, we took to the smaller roads and wound our way down to the castles.

We weren***8217;t so interested in visiting the castles, but it was mandatory that I get this shot in.



Pro-tip: Zoom in all the way, and step far away from the car to frame the photo. It will make the castle and the car more proportional in size.

From there we got out of tourist-world and made our way to Zurich for our next stop. Some great driving here ***8211; nothing high speed or crazy, just nicely paved roads, generous banking and very well-mannered drivers.









Worth mentioning here that the closer we got to Switzerland, the worse the drivers were. We later became convinced that only the Germans knew how to drive.

Once in Zurich, it was time to eat again! We stopped at Zeughauskeller for lunch. As we***8217;ve come to realize, you go to these places for a giant plate of meat.







Since it was Sunday, everything was pretty much closed, but it was a fine place to take a walk, do some window shopping and shake off the earlier drive. The city is of course, post-card pretty. I can***8217;t necessarily see spending tons of time here, but still glad we went.





It was getting late quickly, so we hit the road and found our way to Strasbourg, France.



(Short aside ***8211; If you are looking for prostitutes, there were plenty to choose from as we entered the outer limits of Strasbourg)

The Sofitel Strasbourg has a wonderful private garage which they will allow you to park in yourself. The front desk will issue you the codes to enter and exit, and the codes are rotated daily. The garage parking is generous for Europe, and I felt totally comfortable leaving my car here for 2 nights.

The rest of the pictures from Apr 21 are here: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873004662938773153
 

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Apr 22 – Strasbourg, France

This is a very beautiful city that’s worth spending some time in. After several full days of travel, it was nice to have a non-driving day to take this charming town.









If you don’t have time in your itinerary to make it all the way to Paris or Nice, consider Strasbourg.

We had dinner that night at Chez Yvonne, at the recommendation of the hotel. Fantastic restaurant with a stellar meal sampling some of the local Alsace cuisine.





Of course, this trip had a secret mission. Ann and I have been together for 16 years. It was about time I did something about it, so we ended the night on a high note.



Would be a pretty awkward remainder of the trip if she had said no, but we made it through that part agreeing on something!

More pics from Strasbourg, France here: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873007005900128705
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Apr 23 ***8211; Nuremberg ***8211; Berlin

It was time to hit the road, and the weather was now officially entering awesome territory. The only thing to do was hit up the car wash to give her a good bath, get a full tank of gas and start to stretch the car out on the autobahn.







Let***8217;s talk about the autobahn briefly. Here you have a road that has segments of speed limits, followed by segments of no limit, and then peppered with sometimes speed limits that feel artificially low. As a broad generalization, in the segments with speed limits, people kept very close to the speed limit. At one point an Audi R8 blew by me during a no limit section. I did my best to keep up without violating too many break-in rules, and noted quickly that as soon as he hit a 120kph section, he slowed down with everyone else. When it dropped to 80kph, he slowed down to 80. When the next no-limit section came up, he disappeared into the horizon. You have to love the respect for rules. They handle this so responsibly.



The other thing about driving on the autobahn ***8211; even at 195kph (120mph) ***8211; I was getting passed by everyone. Most notable were the Audi turbo diesel station wagons. These cars ruled the road.

And one last thing to note ***8211; you go expecting everyone to have AMG and M cars and it***8217;s just not the case. Even what we***8217;d call a ***8220;normal***8221; 3-series is not all that common. Lots of small displacement engines. I saw maybe 2 335i sedans during our entire trip. Most folks had diesel.

With miles of road behind us, we found ourselves in Nuremberg for a break.

Parked outside, I couldn***8217;t resist taking a few pictures of my car as the sun came out:




Yeah, I had another one of those ***8220;this is my car***8221; moments.

We walked into town, and looked for a place to have lunch.







This was followed by a short walk through the town, taking lots of photos along the way.



But with Berlin as our final destination, we hit the road after a few hours.











Needless to say, these were the roads the car was meant for.

The last time I saw Berlin, the wall was still up. It was an amazing experience to drive through and see a new Berlin.





The hotel was easy to find on the navigation system, but nearly impossible to get to given the sheer amount of construction in Berlin. After driving in circles for almost 30 minutes, we found our way to the Westin Grand Berlin.



Parking, was several blocks away in an underground lot which had a fairly large number of very nice cars in it. We left the car there for 3 nights without any concern.




For the rest of the photos from this day: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873013498363609505
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Apr 24-25 ***8211; Berlin

Two things I***8217;ll note about Berlin.

First, it***8217;s very large. It looks big on a map, and it***8217;s even bigger in person. The public transportation is solid, but plan accordingly.

Second, the entire city is under construction. This is no exaggeration. If you***8217;re looking to visit when they***8217;re done, I***8217;ll give you a tip. It won***8217;t be done in your lifetime. Visit now, or never!





Won***8217;t post too many pics here. If you want lots of pics from around Berlin, and a bunch of photos taken at the Stasi museum, you can find them below!

Apr 24: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873437169205621857
Apr 25: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873606280827861025
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Apr 26 - Frankfurt Drop-Off

Needless to say, at this point, I had finished my break-in, and first opportunity I got, I had to be sure to max out the car once.

There were maybe 3 or 4 opportunities during the entire trip where this was possible. I was fortunate to have found the right time and the right moment to run the car up to an indicated 160mph.

http://vimeo.com/64916931

The timing was as best as I could wish for, because 30 min after that top-speed run, it started to rain torrentially.

We found our way to the new Frankfurt drop-off point and left the car behind with 1425 miles on the odometer.









After a cab ride back to the Westin Grand Frankfurt, we had a nice dinner at Quattro restaurant in Frankfurt followed by a nice evening walk for our last night in Germany.

Pics from drop-off day: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873612443304419073
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Apr 27 ***8211; The return home

Delta managed to send the wrong aircraft for us to return, so we sat BusinessElite in their older non-refurbished 767s with the bucket seats. But we didn't care. Still high from our trip, we settled in, enjoyed a fine in flight meal and headed back to JFK.



A handful of pics from the flight: https://plus.google.com/photos/106063758133458688393/albums/5873615031924949521

It was an amazing trip for us, and while in retrospect we could have done it with less miles, taken more photos, and planned a different experience, I think one thing that remains fresh in my mind is that the car remained the unifying experience that made the trip what it was. It wasn't some crappy rental. It was my car ***8211; a car I had spent years wanting and in a moment of clarity decided to buy. It was a road trip for the two of us to bond over. It was a chance to experience a new country in a new car, and finally understanding and fully appreciating how purpose built the car is for Germany.

The E92 M3 was, of course brilliant. I have no words to better describe what has been written up about the car in every car magazine in the world. Everything about the car was just perfect for where I was. All the noises it made were spot on for a car of its class. It was, without a doubt, the best car I've owned and there was no better way for me to have enjoyed it than through BMW's amazing European Delivery program.

Now, I continue to wait to be reunited with my car at the Performance Center.
 

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Congrats on your ultimate Driving Toy, nice report!
+1! Great report, great car - nice present for Ann!! :thumbup:
Congratulation to both of you!
and YES! get on my TOP BEST REPORT List!
 

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Lovely car, lovely pics, lovely trip. :thumbup: Now you suck more than ever. :bigpimp:
 

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Great trip, awesome car, beautiful girl. Congratulations. You are a lucky guy !
 

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Albert- great writeup, congrats on the car and the engagement!
 

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Nice write up you Lufthansa flys daily non stop from Munich to JFK on a A330


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
 
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