We picked up our Topaz/Gray E46 M3 SMG at the Performance Center last week and I figured I would share the experience.
First off, my suggestion is to do it. It is a great deal and a lot of fun.
It starts when you arrive in Greenville Spartenburg airport (most people fly in). They used to meet you in the airport with your name on a sign, but due to 9/11 you now call the hotel on the phone in the baggage claim area. They pick you up in a 540 Touring. The delivery includes a room for two at the Marriott with dinner and breakfast. Of course at dinner you eye the other diners trying to figure out who is picking up a car the next day.
The shuttle leaves the next morning at 7:40 AM and drops you off at the Performance Center. They handle all your luggage there.
We were divided into three groups and headed different ways. Everyone does everything, but in a different order. Normally a factory tour is included, but they are starting to build the new Z and nobody is allowed in the factory.
Our group went to the driving school first. There was some classroom lecture about driving including things like ABS brakes, seat position, hand position, how to use your eyes, etc. This was after the introduce yourself part.
Then on to the cars. They assign you a car like the one you are picking up. So in our group there were 4 M3s, 3 SMG, 1 6 spd, a 325, and a 525. So that is what each couple drove.
The first exercise was a handling course. They had a short slalom, a sharp 90 degree right hander, a chicane then a right hand sweeper leading bak to the slalom. Three cars at a time circled the course for maybe 8 laps. Your choice of speed and agressiveness. Then those three cars came in an swapped drivers. The instructor uses a radio to talk to people. Each car has a radio in it to listen.
After everyone got their laps, we did the braking exercise. For this you started at the chicane and accelerated up to about 30 MPH into the sweeper, then on command, nailed the brakes HARD. This shows you max braking and the fact that you can still turn while braking. A second run is done slightly faster.
On to the skid pad. They have a polished concrete skid pad with sprinklers to wet it down. For this exercise only and insturctor gets in the car with you. Your partner can ride in the back. You go out on the pad with DSC off and work up to a reasonable speed, then they have you nail the throttle. The car spins. When my wife did it, the instructor wasn't paying attention to the speed and kept telling her to go faster. She is very smooth and when she drives, it feels slower than it is, so on his instruction she got going prettey well. When she nailed the throttle, she did two fulls turns, off the skid pad into the dirt (the only one to do this) and almost into a drainage ditch.
Nice to do this in their cars.
Then you do the same thing with DSC showing that the car now understeers off the line. That was the driving part. Not the greatest school out there, but excellent anyway. If you have never done any schoool, this one gets you started right. If you have done some before, it is a nice refresher and an introduction to the car you will pick up that day.
After that our group split again with some going to delivery and the rest of us going to the Museum. Since it is closed on Monday, they just opened the gift shop for a while, then let us roam free through the museum. The ride over is fun as we drove X5s and M Roadsters (theirs) to get there.
Then they provided lunch at their cafeteria.
And finally delivery. They have several delivery bays where your car is waiting. You get the undivided attention of a delivery specialist for about 2 hours.
Of course, first is time to walk around and just look at your new car. Then they go over every manual and brochure that comes with the car.
After that, you climb in, and they cover every knob and switch and control in the car. Once you are comfortable, they open the bay door, and you drive YOUR car out.
To me this is when my car was born. The building and shipping was the conception and gestation, this was birth.
Since we were done, we headed out. We drove to Atlanta to have StonGard clear protectant installed. Mike Messer on the south side will do the car in the evening, so you drop it off, and pick it up in the morning complete. He even supplies transportation to and from your hotel. Contact [email protected]
and tell him I sent you.
From there we did a long road trip for a week. I have friend in Orlando who owns a '95 E36 M3, so we headed that way to show off the car. We ended up driving so much, I had the 1200 mile service done at Fields BMW in Orlando. They did a very nice job in one hour, first thing in the morning. Very little impact on the trip.
So again, this is one of the greatest deals around. It is NO additional cost over picking it up at your dealer. You do have to pay your own way to Greenville-SPartenburg and of course, your expenses on the way home. But BMW charges no extra fees for this experience.
Try it, you will like it. :thumb: