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Discussion Starter #1
As many probably know, I ordered a M3 back in June and chose the Performance Center Delivery option. For those not familar with it (which seems common on the board today), I thought I would share my experiences. It is a bit long as I will try to explain how good they treat you.

Performance Center Delivery (sometimes called Performance Delivery Center by the dealer) is free to all BMW buyers who order their car, you just have to let the dealer know about it at the time of purchase, or shortly after. Once production has started, I am not sure they can change your delivery. My particular M3 had been ordered by the dealer as a car for their stock, not for a particular customer. Orginally it was going to be a Carbon Black with black interior, manual transmission, Premium/Cold packages, Harmon Kardon stereo, 19 inch wheels, Xenon, and PDC. The dealer was able to change my order to add the Competition Package, remove Cold and Premium, change the color to Interlagos Blue, and add Cinnamon leather, adjustable seat bolster/lumbar, power seats, and moonroof. The car spec's locked in two days after I ordered, so I got there just in time! The best news, since it was pre-ordered, the wait time was cut short. The car would be at the dealer around August 8th if I wanted to skip the Performance Center Delivery. I thought about it long and hard, but decide what the heck, the Ana and I could use the vacation.

After working with my sales rep over the next two months, I had them add things like the alarm system, AUX port, Universal Transmitter, and SAT radio. I also worked with her to set a date for my pickup... August 26th. I had to give her a credit card so BMW could give it to the hotel for incidentals and pick room style (king/non-smoking). I locked in my airline ticket (Independence Air, $68 each plus taxes/fees from Dulles International to Spartansburg/Greenville "International". The next several weeks passed very slowly.

The day came, we hoped on the plane and off we went. Total tangent here, but I was really impressed with Independence Air.. from the comics doing the safety briefing to one of the articles in their mag, it was a great trip and the flight attendant was very sharp and always seemed to know you were about to ask for the bottle of water. Arriving at the airport leads me to I think my only two complaints. One, it is a bit of a hike from the gate to the baggage claim area and there is one location missing a sign, so you could easily miss your turn. The other, BMW hadn't told me which of the two Marriot hotels to use, so I assumed Spartansburg since that is the town the plant is listed as being in... that was a mistake. Total confusion. My wife picked up the other phone and called Greenville Marriot, they knew exactly what was going on, who we were, and told us that Joel was on his way in a green 5 series to pick us up, it would be about 15 minutes.

About 10 minutes later he pulled up, loaded the one bag and backpack in the car and off we went. It was only a 525i, but it was interesting to see the Portland Brown leather in person finally... not bad depending on the exterior color. It works well with the green. We arrive in the hotel, check in, and are taken to our room, where we realize that we are in trouble. Ana hadn't brought tennis shoes, and they she had to wear tennis shoes. We also realized in our rush of leaving (we were getting our house ready to sell) that we forgot some other items. Joel said no problem, he would take us to get the items we needed. A short trip (in amazingly bad traffic considering the size of the town) later, we arrived at Target. Joel said he would run and grab a bite, since he hadn't eaten that day and since we told it it would be about 30 minutes. 20 minutes later, we walk out and he is pulling up. We find out that he got off at 6, and here it is 6:20. Needless to say I took care of him on the tip. When we got back, he made our dinner reservations for us.

A bit about the hotel. It is VERY nice. They have recently remodeled it. Sorry, no pictures, but it has a really interesting decor and everything was in great shape. The bed was one of the best I have slept on in awhile. We walk down to dinner after relaxing a bit, with the intention of sitting at the bar and having a few drinks, but our table is ready for us so we decide to go ahead and sit. BMW has chosen a menu, Filet Minon with some potatos, a salad (their Ceaser is great) and desert. Drinks are included, but not booze. The bartender (don't remember his name, big black guy with dreads) makes amazing drinks, Ana recommends his Fuzzy Wuzzy for those that like Fuzzy Navels.. Basically, food was great, and the chocolate cake... wow.

The morning of... you have to be ready at 7:45 to load into the hotel's van for the trip. Breakfast is also included, it is a buffet, but there are also fresh eggs/omlets, pancakes, waffles, etc. My wife who is like death in the morning when I try and wake her was up shortly after 6, and by 7 we were enjoying breakfast. You must bring your stuff unless you are staying another night. We weren't and since we finished breakfast a bit early, decided to take a walk and enjoy the morning. Once the mods approve the pics I uploaded, I'll put in some of the pics.

We loaded up in the van, there was a single guy there picking up a X3, two ladies picking up a Z4 (which was for one of their husbands), and two guys picking up a X5. The ride took about 10 minutes and dropped us off at the front door of the Performance Center. Inside Jonathan and a lady were waiting for us, they are the Delivery Specialists. Jim was introduced as our driving instructor for the day. They explained the three steps of the day. Tour of the plant and museum, driving instruction, and taking delivery. They divided us into two groups, the X owners went to take delivery, while Ana and I and the two ladies picking up the Z4 went to drive!

The room they put is in for the lecture part was very comfortable and has a large map of the tracks on one wall. Jim explained his background, if memory serves it was motorcycle racing as well as auto racing, and some time at Skip Barber's as an instructor. After introductions, he started explaining some car control techniques, which Ana found to be very helpful. In fact, she made a comment that she uses some of the things she learned that day everytime she drives, especially when driving aggressively. After about 30 minutes, it is off to the cars.

Outside, the cars that will be used that day are sitting there, cleaned and warmed up. They try and put you in a car as close to yours as possible. We drove a red M3 with Competition and a manual. The Z4 owner had a black Z4 with SMG, although they had ordered a manual. Apparently, they do not have any Z4 manuals at this time. He showed her how to use the system and then spent some time explaining how to best adjust the mirrors, seat, steering wheel. Then, off we go.

Enter what I consider the biggest disappointment of the day. We started out at what was pretty much a oval skid pad, about 200 feet from center of turn to center of turn. One end was being sprayed with water from a sprinkler, the other was dry. He explained how he wanted us to take some laps (one car at a time) however we wanted, and then instructed us to fully turn off DSC. Since I hadn't driven a ZCP before, and hadn't really had a chance to drive a M3 aggressively before, I decided to have a bit of fun. Yep, I was power sliding it out of most of the turns, spun it two or three times. I was also a bit shocked at the amount of understeer the car had. After the last spin, Ana had had enough! So, I cut my drive short and turned off. The Z4 took off, and it was like a drive in the park for her, no sliding, no full throttle. After a bit, Ana takes off with me riding and at first she was taking it really easy. Jim kept talking to her over the radio to go faster. Finally, she was sliding it out of the turns, and eventually she went too far, over corrected, and then didn't respond to her over correction in time and she spun it. I thought she was going to die! But she was having a blast. A few more laps and off we go to let the Z4 for for awhile. Jim rode with the lady and really helped her.

Ana decided to pass on my second drive, and Jim talked to me over the radio about things to do differently. I stopped goofing off and got a bit more serious with the intention of really pushing myself and the car. I did spin, but it was spectacular! I almost drifted it the length of the "straight". Ana's second trip, Jim went with her and really helped her alot, from showing her how she should have her seat and wheel adjusted to helping her in the turns. After she got back, she told me he just keep telling her "FLOOR IT!" as she started to come out of the turns.

To finish up our driving, we played a game. The lady in the Z4 was lined up right behind me. My goal was to go all the way around the track and catch her, her goal was to not let that happen. In this situation, the M3's power is not an advantage, and the Z4 is one hell of a handling car. Within a few laps I was only a few car lengths behind her, staying in her mirror, but I didn't want to spook her. She was starting to really slid the car around, I didn't want her to panic, or spin and then me slid into her. I think Jim's goal was to have us push her, and she really went for it!

And as quick as that, our hour and a half of driving was over. We didn't get to go on the road course, which is a bummer, I was looking forward to that, as was Ana.

So, we switched up, the X owners went for their portion of the driving, and we went to take delivery. As we are walking in by the entrance, Ana sees a IB M3 in a "showroom" and says "Hey, that one is just like ours, cool!" To which I respond "That is ours rockhead!" We have an interesting relationship.

More to come...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So, we walk into a room with a small table in one corner that has the owner's manuals and the other junk that usually lives in the glove box, the keys, and a couple of chairs. In the other part of the room is the car, clean as a whistle. We took a few minutes to walk around the car, then sat down for the show. Jonathan went through the different pieces of the manuals, he pretty much glazed over it since he could tell we had done some research on our own, so he spent more time on the accessories we had installed. After going through everything, we started going over the car in detail and taking some pictures. It had 1.1 miles on the odometer sitting in the room. Our bags were already in the trunk. We pulled the car out so I could get the SAT radio activated. That was simple, took about 10 minutes. Since we were the last to be delivered that day, he said I could leave the car there.

So, now we are just cooling out jets until the Z4 delivery is done and the X owners are back from their driving session. We could take the car for a ride if we want, or just chill. Since we were pretty tired from the driving, we just chilled for a bit. Walked around and took pictures, including one of a huge spider. Jonathan came out and told us about the spider, what it was called (Rotting spider) and told us about their pet one and how big it got. After a bit, we ended up in the M Cafe watching the X owners finishing their drive. Lunch was there in the M cafe (well, in a meeting room next to it), and while not a 5 star, was pretty good for cafeteria food. Drinks, lunch, dessert, etc. Their country fried steak is not bad, but their okra is excellent!

After lunch, everyone drives over to the museum and factory. Being owners taking delivery, we take the shortcut, driving over the sidewalks and parking right next to the museum, again on the sidewalk. Things start off with a tour of the factory, which is impressive. We got a special tour since we were picking up cars. The lady (sorry, I can't remember her name, it was a kinda strange German name) was authentic German. Having been to other factories, it was interesting to see the detail and time they take at each station. It was pretty obvious why these are such great cars. Unfortunately, we could not tour the Z4 section, and there were parts of the X5 line we couldn't see, because we would have been able to see the Z4 line better. This, combined with a car under a cover lead us to believe it was the Z4 coupe... which has since been displayed, at least pictures. There was also a very large vehicled there covered up, from its profile and size, I am thinking it is the new X5. Too bad they don't allow cameras.

After leaving the factory, we spent some time in the museum checking the cars out. From several old Isettas (in fact, there are two or three of them there) to the hydrogen powered 750, and the 2001 F1 car, the first Z3 built (the one in the James Bond movie Goldeneye), classic motorcycles, the Warsteiner M3, etc... there is plenty of eye candy.

After the tour and while Ana was buying some things in the store, I took the time to move the M3 around to take some pics in front of the museum, along side the X5 the Performance Center built.

The drive back was pretty uneventful. For me it is right around 500 miles. I tried to vary speeds, both engine and road speeds. Sometimes cruised in 5th, sometimes in 4th. After a bit, we stopped for a drink and I was shocked at the amount of oil it was burning out of the exhaust. We originally planned to take Skyline Drive back, but it started raining and it occured to us that the car couldn't be pushed because it was being broken in. So, we just stretched it and got home around 11, after a good dinner at Crackle Barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My thoughts on the car...

Handling is great. If BMW did as rumored and softened the suspension in the ZCP, I would hate to imagine the car with the regular suspension and those 19s. The faster steering of the ZCP package is worth it, hands down.

The brakes are amazing. Quiet until pushed, great feel. Pedal is a little sensitive, but you get used to it. The brakes will make noise when they get warm, almost like a horn blowing. Freaked me out at first.

Harmon Kardon... my one complaint.. it moves the sound stage to the rear of the vehicle. Other than that, it is fine. I leave it turned off, seems like the sub still works.

The paint... Interlagos is bright... but not too bad I think. I would be interested in seeing it on an M5 before making my final decision on whether or not I will get that color on the M5.

The Cinnamon interior.. words can't describe it. It is AMAZING! Perfect color, great contrast with the black dash, headliner, etc. Great contrast with the IB. I am soooo happy with the color combination I picked. If I go IB on the M5... I have to have the Cinnamon interior.

The Monday after I picked it up, I took it to have the CDV removed. Sure, coulda done it myself, but I just didn't have the time. It made a world of difference. The car went in last Friday for its 1200 mile service (1204 when I arrived at the dealer). Picked up the wheel locks, which I didn't ask for in time before delivery.

My only "issue" so far, is between 2500 and 3000 rpm in 5th while cruising. Loud drone, sounds like induction noise. Not sure if it is normal or not.

As soon as the mods approve the pics, I'll post them in here too.

For any ordering, I would definitely take the PCD option. They really take care of you. Can't wait for the M5DE!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The morning of, waiting to take the shuttle to the PC.

In the driver's training room.

What a parking lot!

Ana and Jim getting ready for some laps.

Ana taking laps on the skid pad with Jim

Ok... Ok... I spun it...

Now that is more like it!

The moment arrives.... What a cool experience.


Ready to terrorize the roads!

One of the funniest things I saw all day!
 

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Wow Dan,
Thank you for the great thread. The pics are great as well- brings back warm memories :) I like your new ride- very sharp!



I can't edit your message in this forum, but if you want to show images as opposed to links you need to get the url for the images- go to one of your links there, right click and select "open image in new window". The image will open and then copy its URL. Then in your message post, type "
" and you are set. I just did that above.

I love the CSL style wheels on this car! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Jerry, updated... I had the link to the page that would display it, not the link to actual picture.
 

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Wow, great story! What did you do? Take notes on everything? :blink:

Lovely car, looks absolutely stunning with that color combo.

Regards,

Gerrit
 

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Great story, Dan. Thanks very much for sharing, and I love that color combination on your M3.

The Spartanburg Performance Center is a fun place to be. Besides the M3s, do they still have E39M5s to use until the new M5's arrive?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nope, I asked them that. There might be some, but they are not letting anyone use them if there are. They do have at least one Z8, which I thought was interesting.

Thanks for the compliments everyone, I wanted something different for this car versus more traditional color combinations.
 
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