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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all-

I picked up my car in Munich on July 3rd and wanted to give you some of the European driving highlights.

First off, the car:

E90 2006 330i
Monaco Blue - Black Leather - Aluminum Trim
6 spd manual - sport package - premium package - cold weather package
iDrive navi - sirius radio - park distance control (saved my butt a few times already)

Coolest feature I didn't know about:
You can program the iDrive so if you get off work at 5:00, it'll start the AC at 4:45. Great for a dark car with black leather in summer.

OK, on to the driving:

July 3 - Driving in Germany and Austria
Not much to report. I drove around Munich to 2 different dealers to get the last nav disc in Munich, then hit the autobahn for Salzburg. It was crowded. I think I hit 100 mph once. The rep at the delivery center (a hot chick - btw) told me not to go over 100 mph or 4000 rmp until I had 500 km on the car anyway.

July 4 - Driving in Austria and Italy
Woke up and left Salzburg to take the long way to Venice. Got off the highway to take the Grossglockner High Alpine Road ( http://www.grossglockner.com/ )
That was a blast. Luckilly it was a clear day. The scenery was amazing. The road was very well kept. The drivers were polite in passing and/or being passed. The view at the top was stunning. Lots of hairpin turns...

Got into Italy after lunch on country roads and immediately realized that "these people drive differently". After you get used to it, you start to like it.

July 6 - Venice to Florence
Autostrasse the whole way. got up to 120 on the speedo with ease (4000 rpm in 6th) Florence was my 1st big city in Italy. The mopeds freaked me out. I was sure they's scrape across my brand new car, but they didn't. The nav system is more than happy to direct you down a "pedestrian only" road, but the cops were pretty friendly about it.

July 8 - Florence to Rome via Montalcino
If you want to have fun, DO NOT take the autostrasse in Tuscany - take the back roads!!! My buddy got sick on the short ride from Florence to Montalcino because it was soooo twisty (turns, dips, hills, etc). Luckilly, I had time to pull over before he lost it. The road from Montalcino to Rome is literally 100 miles of twists, dips, hills and curves. At least untill you hit the Autostrasse. I had a blast except for needing to tune out the moans of my motion sick friend.

Driving in Rome. Good God... park somewhere and take the train. It makes Florence look like a cakewalk. Think NYC traffic jam with 2 million mopeds weaving thru the cars.

July 11 - Rome to Monterosso al Mare
To keep my buddy happy, we took autostrada the whole way. Very fast. Cruising speed was 110-120 mph. Hit 130 once, but I want some performance driver training before hitting a fairly tight turn at 130 again. That scared the **** out of me... but, of course, the car handled it just fine. The amazing thing about the highways over there is that they never get booring and the cops don't mind if you blow by them (at least everyopne else was doing it). Driving in CinqueTerre was very cool. Much like the switchbacks of Grossglockner, but while descending a few thousand feet to the crystal blue mediterranean water.

July 13 - Monterosso to Nice
Going back up from the water to the highway was just as fun. This highway was curvier than the one in Tuscany, so I only maxed at 120. Gotta say, coming out of a tunnel at 120 and entering a turn was really fun. I think I started getting used to the car's handling at speed. Stopped in Genoa to see the aquarium.

Nice was a bigger city than I thought. Got the car to the dropoff point just in time. Met a guy from Cali doing ED dropoff on a 750i. He said he remembered my car and plate because I passed him the other day. His wife nagged: "You were a BLUR!!" Poor guy probably didn't get that sweet machine over 80 mph with her in the car. Took a $50 cab ride to go 4 miles back to the hotel (asked the hotel, and that was a legit fare).

1258 miles total
About $330 in gas ($7/gallon and averaged 20 mpg with AC on at speed) Note: 1st tank of gas was in the car at delivery.
About $100 in road tolls
About $300 in big city parking
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The trip was more expensive than the savings on the car, but if that was really the point, I would not have bought new camera equipment and would have done delivery in the spring or fall when flights and hotels are cheaper. Still, the savings subsidized a huge portion of the trip. Getting locked in at 1.9% easily covers the rest (but that's savings I haven't realized yet).

Now I'm just waiting for redelivery back at the dealer. Driving my 1997 Honda Accord is killing me. Lame throttle response, no brake feel, loose steering, stupid 4 spd auto, etc...

If anyone cares, here's my original ED thread:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154029
 

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Powder Days
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Great report. I agree, Florence or Rome cannot be driven in by people from the USA, except perhaps those from Boston. :D .

Cheers
 

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Happily Driving
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Thanks for the writeup!

Photo's??
 

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wideopenthrotle said:
Coolest feature I didn't know about:
You can program the iDrive so if you get off work at 5:00, it'll start the AC at 4:45. Great for a dark car with black leather in summer.
Wow, I was not aware of this either. And this is accessible through the iDrive 'climate' functions?
 

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friend of the marque
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It actually runs the fan to vent the hot air.
I use this every day.

It does not start the engine which would be required to run the AC compressor...

Regardless, sounds like a wonderful trip and your car sounds gorgeous!
You got what I consider a BMW's 'must have' items: Sport Package+manual transmission!
 

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great report! photos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here's a Teaser:

The "Old Town" side of Monterosso al Mare, Italy

...in the Cinque Terra region of Italy on the North Western coast.

I stayed in the Hotel Villa Steno in the old town. http://www.villasteno.com/en/

They have their own parking lot. A bit tight, and you have to leave a key at the door so the owner can move cars as needed, but all the cars there were nice and he proved to be an expert at maneuvering cars in tight places. The turn to the hotel is just past the traffic gate that prevents cars from getting into the vehicle restricted area. If you call ahead when you're 0.5km above town, they can open it for you. If not, you have to walk to the hotel and get the transmitter from the desk.

There's a walkway thru a lemon grove to a gate, then a staircase in an alley that takes you to the main drag. It's a short walk to the old town square, and a short walking tunnel to the newer side of town.

The dinners were amazing, but upwards of $50-$75 per person with wine at the better restaurants. If you eat at CIAK, get the seafood ravioli. Stunning. If you go to MICKI, get reservations and the anchovy sampler as an appetizer. I never liked anchovies before, but fresh caught and well prepared ones have changed my mind...
 

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Don't be a left lane hog
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wideopenthrotle said:
Here's a Teaser:

...in the Cinque Terra region of Italy on the North Western coast.

I stayed in the Hotel Villa Steno in the old town. http://www.villasteno.com/en/
I'm taking notes for my next ED.:thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Grossglockner:

A view of Grossglockner (the mountain) and the parking lot at the top of the road.


My car. Yes, it looks black, but it's Monaco blue.


Can you see the road? That was the straightest part...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll upload more when I have time tonight...

FYI: The parking job was not my fault... there was a car that crossed into my spot when I got there - then he left and I looked like the idiot.
 

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wideopenthrotle said:
I'll upload more when I have time tonight...

FYI: The parking job was not my fault... there was a car that crossed into my spot when I got there - then he left and I looked like the idiot.
Sure........:rofl::rofl:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
FYI: My camera is a Cannon EOS 20D. For many shots I used the 10-22mm EF-S lens. This creates some perspective distortion that I still need to fix in photoshop. You can see this distortion if you look at the picture of St. Mark's square, all the buildings appear to be leaning toward the center.

Bavaria and Grossglockner:
See the earlier post

Venice:

St. Mark's square at dusk (need to fis the perspective distortion from the 10mm lens)


Gondola docks at dusk (long exposure - look at the 3rd and 4th gondolas and you can tell a wave went by).


This was really cool because just before I took this picture Italy beat Germany in the world cup quarterfinal. I've never heard so many boat horns at once while it seemed that every gondoleer switched from romantic opera to the Italian national anthem...

Florence:

View from the bell tower of the Dom looking toward the Uffizi gallery.


Montalcino:

View from the castle tower. This time the parking job was my fault. My hungover buddy is passed out in the passenger seat.




Rome & Vatican City:

The Spanish Steps


You know where this is (gotta love that 10mm lens):


St. Peter's square from the top of the basillica dome:


Cinque Terre:
See the earlier post

Monaco:

The Casino at Monte Carlo
 

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Beemin' in my Bimmer ;-)
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Great photos of what sounds and looks like a very nice trip. Beautiful car too! :thumbup:

Edit: and BTW, your assessment of the police on the Autostrada reinforces the feelings that I had. It seemed as if they did not care if you were speeding as long as you weren't driving aggressively (tailgating, lane changing, etc.) It seems we were almost always able to cruise at at least 110-120mph. Saying that, I take no responsibility for anyone else's ticket. ;)

Oh, and Cince Terra is one of the places we had wanted to visit but could not fit into our trip. Will have to make it there on the next! :thumbup:
 

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weissbiermeister
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Let's see a pic of this 'hot chick' at the delivery center.
Anyone??
 

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Flying Scot
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I find it remarkable that I picked up my car at noon on the 6th of July. From your license plate it would appear that they have delivered 58 cars between yours and mine! That is without all of all of their domestic deliveries also !!!
 

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Wannabe Bayer
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flyingscot said:
I find it remarkable that I picked up my car at noon on the 6th of July. From your license plate it would appear that they have delivered 58 cars between yours and mine! That is without all of all of their domestic deliveries also !!!
Remember that BMW aren't the only ones who order temporary plates.

WideOpen, Congrats on the new car. I need to go out and get one of those wide angle lenses for my Nikon. Great pictures! :thumbup:
 
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