BMW 2009 3-series coupe (e92) European Delivery Journey

We will pick up our BMW 328xi sometime soon in Munich and spend 2 weeks driving around Europe. Track our planning and preparations here.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another quick update! And some VIN voodoo.

Since Saturday, my calls to BMW NA always end with "Your vehicle is being transported to the point of exit." How long does it take to take a car 127 km (80 miles)? Three days? More? Geez, come on already! I want my car in Munich ready for delivery. Hehehe. Maybe I am a little impatient. Emphasize "a little".

I also did some research into the voodoo of VIN decoding. I found a few interesting websites:
This one didn't have any information about the new BMWs, but it can be useful for some.

Baueraihenarchiv also doesn't know about the youngest BMW offspring but I found it great for older VINs.

BMW VIN Equipment Codes had some nice info, but it has to be supplemented by the following info:
11th digit also denotes the following places of birth of a BMW:
A,F,K - Munich
E,J,P - Regensburg
V - Leipzig
N - Rosslyn South Africa

Autohaus Arizona can also help decipher your VIN. Great writeup! It is not BMW specific, and the description is color coded and features a great table!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Prodution completed!

"Your vehicle production is complete and is waiting to be released to the carrier." - the voice on the other side of the telephone line made my heart race! It has been completed! Yay! The only thing left to do is to pick it up from Munich... and pay for it. :)

Other news: Purchase order has been signed and notarized (it is always great to have a Notary Public in your immediate family!). It has also been sent to my CA. The turnaround time: less than 20 hours.

Blog news: thanks to a friend of mine Peter, the blog has a new header image! Good job Peter, thanks!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Purchase Order arrived!

Another day, another nice surprise from BMW!

I just got an email from my CA with a purchase order attached in a PDF format! It looks really official, with all the logos, fine print and my car with all the build options itemized. I have to sign it and notarize it before sending it snail-mail to my CA. There is only lease agreement left.

Quick update

Just a quick post with a few details:

I just called BMW NA and here is what I heard: "Your vehicle is in the paint shop, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 19 2009" Yay, beautiful Crimson Red is being applied!

Yesterday I received a Fedex package from BMW NA with welcome materials for the European Delivery. Also included were some nice tags, for both of us. I am starting to feel like it is no longer smoke and mirrors, it is slowly materializing!

I have not signed any POs yet, but there is still time. I also have not finalized my lease through BMW FS. Two months MINUS one day from today...

Somebody pinch me, please!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

[TRIP] Important Webites

A few websites to keep handy:

1. At the very beginning, open an account with TripIt. It allows for tracking reservations, tickets and schedules by emailing them in and then viewing them online from anywhere, even when on the road, in Europe.

2. Plan your trip using an online map site, like Google Maps. An alternative to it is ViaMichelin, my personal favorite. It is in my opinion, more flexible, allowing choosing directions by the type of desired route: Recommended, Quickest, Shortest, Sightseeing and Economical. Just like Google Maps, it allows bookmarking trips, which can later be imported into TripIt.

3. When it is time to spend some money, it is best to spend as little as possible. First, the airfare, there are two options: Lufthansa offers 2-for-1 tickets, so during high season, it is most often the best option. Second ticket is free, only taxes and airport fees must be paid. Also, when booking with Lufthansa, using the promotion, the production number must be supplied and only 30 days before the departure the ticket will be issued and credit card charged.
The alternative is an aggregate fare search like Kayak. It searches through tens of websites, both wholesalers and individual airlines to find the best price. Highly recommended! All the reservations received can be forwarded to TripIt so they will be added nicely to the itinerary.

4. Now, that the groundwork is laid, tickets purchased, European Delivery scheduled, it is time to add some more content to the trip. Here are some websites: BMW own website with a section on European Delivery trips, Wikitravel is another favorite with facts and tips useful when traveling. Another one is TripAdvisor, an enormous community of travelers. Great source of information and subjective opinions, which sometimes need to be taken with a grain of salt.

It is just a beginning and a starting list of websites, I will be adding to it as the date gets near.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Got my VIN... and some doubts...

I called BMW NA to check if they can tell me where my car is being built. The person on the other side apologized and said that this info was not available but, surprise surprise, he had my VIN which he gave me!

The problem arouse when I asked if it was normal to have my car being built so far in advance on this forum. The answers I got, especially from Irv made me worried. Unfortunately, Alex has his Blackberry turned off and the voicemail greeting says he is on vacation until next Wednesday. Oh well, while he enjoys his time off, I will be awaiting anxiously his return to confirm if everything is OK and on track. We will see, I am keeping my fingers crossed!

In production!

I finally found my production number and re-enabled my BMW account. After typing in the number, the car of my choice popped up with a status just like you can see in the screen shot to the right. It turns out, my car is IN PRODUCTION already. Just to confirm, I called BMW NA at 1-800-831-1117 and asked a nice IVR system for "vehicle production status" and I was told that my car is in production since 2/11 and would be finished on 2/19. Just to confirm I opted to talk to the customer service representative who just confirmed what I just heard!

So, it is semi-assembled. Which is weird, as it is still over two months until pick-up. I guess they are not all that busy there and are my building my car as I type this! It also turned out what some say, that the car is built just a few days before Munich delivery. I will be calling daily to check on the status! I can't wait for the pickup.

I also decided to call a big family meeting (all two people) and dial-in the schedule, hotels and create a budget. I still have to find some time to do just that, but it is in the works!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trip planning

I am a bit behind in posting, but I will catch up so bear with me.

Now, that we are approved, we started putting together the itinerary. First, I opened an account with tripit. It turned out to be a good place to keep all your plans in one place. Also, using Google Maps and ViaMichelin we are putting together the trip with the following in mind:

- We leave on 4/16 on a non-stop from Newark, NJ.

- We pick up a car on 4/18.

- We drop it off on 5/2 and fly back to the States.

- I do not want to spend more than 6 hours behind a wheel on any given day.

- Every hotel should be less than 100 euro or less, with a good parking (covered preferred) and a breakfast! We figured, that is enough for a 3 star hotel with descent amenities. I will start a series of posts describing day-by-day plans.

I am still gathering ideas and searching form places to visit. If any of my readers has any recommendation, please leave a comment! Thanks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Tickets have been bought!

The time has come to block out vacations at work. We put our requests and got approved today. So, not to lose another minute, I called Lufthansa. I purchased two round-trip non-stop tickets from Newark, NJ to Munich, Germany. Yay! I still have to reconfirm them one month prior to departure and give Lufthansa the production number. If I decide to change anything, the tickets will get repriced. We got a great deal, about 40% cheaper than 2 non-stop, round-trip tickets on Orbitz.

Now, we can start packing.

How big is e92's trunk? Enough for my wife's luggage? I am totally unsure...

Third round

Back in mid December '08 we decided to take another look at the BMW, since the 09s were in! We went to the local BMW dealer in Hartford, CT. After reading some disappointing reviews I didn't have high hopes when we arrived. It turned out I was right. The customer service was sub-par, car inventory was limited and we left the dealership with a bad vibe. The sales guy knew some facts about the car, but I got the feeling he was just doing his job, in fact didn't even drive a BMW (I guess he mentioned Porsche) and on top of this his communication skills were lacking.

We managed, however, to test drive the 328xi sedan and the 335xi coupe. We liked the sedan, it felt like a grown-up kind of car. And then there was a coupe. Great car for two people, wide doors, comfortable seats, awesome looking swooping roof line. It was much more hip and fun. We fell in love, my wife just nodded with a smile. I knew I was going to get it.

Then, on the New Year's eve I took a friend of mine, for a kind of peer review, and we test drove a BMW x-Series in the fresh, powdery, unplowed snow, and the combination of ABS, DSC and TC was magnificent. After about 20 minutes behind a wheel combined, we left with a great feel for the electronics in the vehicle in the snow. It felt playful and controllable. Predictable and safe. And I got an OK from my friend, he liked how it handled, praised tight turns and great grip.

We went back in and asked for a quote. I told I want to lease a 335xi coupe, with European Delivery, Premium, Sport and Cold Weather packages and some other little perks. The monthly payment came just shy of $1000. Way too much for me. I do not know how he arrived with that price, but in my opinion it was outrageous. I asked if there is any haggling possible, which met a firm "No" so I thanked politely and we were on our way. I haven't spoke with them since...

I guess, I appreciate Bimmerfest's philosophy, when it comes to choosing a dealer: try your local first, then try one of the board's sponsor. This is what I did and I am really satisfied.