|10-07-2012, 04:43 PM||#1|
335xi ordering/buying/driving experience
I recently purchased a 2013 335ix sport line and I thought the process and choices I made, and my driving impressions, might be of interest to other members.
ORDER CONSIDERATIONS AND EXPERIENCE
I previously had a 2004 330i that I really enjoyed so I knew I wanted another BMW. My budget would allow me to get a loaded 1, 3 or modestly equipped 5 series. I decided to go with the 3 series because;
1) I didn’t like the colors available on the 5, and it was too big
2) The 1 series styling didn’t appeal to me, and I wanted xdrive
After a little research, I decided I wanted to pay $600 over invoice for my vehicle, and I contact three local dealers with my list of options. I requested that they confirm that I had my options listed correctly, and whether they had an allocation or not. I did this the first week of June, 2012.
• Dealer 1, my local dealer, seemed slow and didn’t ever get back to me with a price or confirmation of an allocation. I kept hearing, “I’m going to have someone get back to you with details soon”. This was early in June 2012, and a lot of dealers weren’t sure how to price a 2013 car yet. I did provide a copy of the BMW ordering guide and suggested calling BMWNA… I ended up making a deal with another dealership 5 days into the process while I was still waiting for this dealer to get back to me with something solid. We never even got into the negotiation process.
• Dealer 2 told me that there was “No Way” anyone would sell me a 3 series for $600 over invoice, and that no one has ever gotten such a deal at their dealership, "or at any other dealership I've every heard of". I feel sorry for their customers.
• Dealer 3 suggested I add 2TB and immediately agreed to accept $600 over invoice without haggling or any games.
I decided to go with dealer 3. I went to visit them on June 11, put down a $1000 deposit, and everything went smoothly at first... When I asked for my production number they printed-out a copy of my order for me, and there was no production number on it. It then became clear that they didn’t actually have an allocation and I had just paid $1000 for a place in line. Since I wasn’t in a big hurry, and I honestly believed the CA didn’t understand what I meant by “order the car today…”, I decided to accept my place in line. Somewhat unusual I know, but I'm not financing my car, I decided to pay cash. I could tell the dealer really would have preferred if I was leasing or financing. I checked-in two weeks later, still no production number and I prepared myself for a long wait.
Most of June and July flew by and on July 23 I got a bit fed-up and wrote my dealer an email asking when exactly I would be getting a production number. He responded with profuse apologies and a 397XXXX number, indicating a pretty recent order having been placed…
A75 Melbourne Red Metallic
LCL3 Leather Dakota Black/Red Highlight
ZSL Sport Line
ZCW Cold Weather Package
ZDA Driver Assistance Package
ZDB Driver Assistance Plus
ZDH Dynamic Handling Package
ZPP Premium Package
ZTP Technology Package
2TB Sport Automatic Transmission with Shift Paddles
415/417 Rear and Side Sunshade
688 Harman Kardon Surround Sound System
The build sheet has a few other codes that BMW adds at N/C, but the ones above are what I requested.
MANUFACTURING, SHIPPING AND STATUS UPDATES
The website never really provided much information, and seemed to be perpetually behind the curve on status updates…, until the car arrived at the USA port. Once the vehicle was in the USA, the website had updates first and actually showed the vehicle at the dealer before the dealer even called me.
The 800 number was very timely and provided updated status every few hours. I once had three status messages in a single day, so I know that this system is updated more than once a day. The 800 number stopped being an effective tool once the vehicle hit the port in Bremerhaven. It was telling me that it was waiting on a shipping vessel until the day I went to pick up the car at the dealer.
The W&W website was very helpful (must have your VIN), as were the two ship tracking tools, marinetraffic.com and sailwx.info.
In my case, my timeline was:
June 11 – Order placed at dealership
July 23 – Received production number (not clear when order actually placed)
July 23-Aug3 – “scheduled for production with no confirmed production date”
Aug 4 – “...scheduled for production with an est. completion date of Aug 30”
Aug 30 – “...body shop with an est. completion date of Aug 31”
Aug 31 – “...paint show with an est. completion date of Aug 31”
Aug 31 – “...is being assembled with an est. completion date of Aug 31”
Sep 1 – “your vehicle is being transported to the port of exit”
Sep 6 – “your vehicle is at the port of exit waiting for a shipping vessel”
Sep 7 – W&W shows vehicle loaded on the Fedora
Sep 7 – Fedora leaves Bremerhaven
Sep 19 – Vehicle unloaded in Baltimore
Sep 21 – Dealer emails to say vehicle expected on 23rd
Sep 23 – Vehicle arrives at dealer
Sep 24 – Dealer begins prep and recoding of A.S.S. to be in “last user mode”
Sep 27 – Took delivery (109 days)
Delivery at the dealer was straightforward. As expected, I knew more about the car and features than the CA, but he was helpful and not intrusive, which I appreciated. Other than a couple of keychains, I wasn’t offered anything free or extra, though I did ask about sport mats and they declined to do that. I did find a paint chip on the passenger side door, and evidence of someone having buffed out the door. I attempted to have the chip repaired locally as part of the detailing and opticoating process post-delivery. Long story, but mistakes were made during the chip repair and I will end-up having to have the door resprayed to get it perfect, which is a bummer on a brand new car. I also accepted the tire and wheel insurance. Giant potholes are the rule, not the exception, in my part of the world.
I removed the dealers license plate frame, as well as the efficient dynamics and BMW assist roadside stickers. I've also ordered sport line cloth and rubber mats with red stitching. Still debating about the sport handbrake cover, waiting to see if that's an easy change or not, haven't seen any DIY's on it yet.
All my impressions are based on comparison with my Subarus and my 2004 330i.
Steering – Definitely lighter and less “connected”. It’s not terrible, but it’s not good either. Feedback is fairly minimal even with aggressive driving settings. Sport mode helps, but the steering is still too light. I don’t view steering as a strength for this vehicle, it’s almost good enough, and that’s the best thing I can say... I got VSS which is nice in parking lots, but it’s hasn’t been a factor otherwise. No steering vibration that I’m able to detect in my case. The steering wheel itself seems slightly thinner than I’d prefer.
Suspension – I got the adaptive damping suspension and I’m glad I did. In sport mode, the suspension seems to be firmer than my 330i was, and more compliant at the same time. Fast turns and quick steering inputs don’t fluster the car and it tracks accurately wherever the wheels are pointed. In comfort mode (which I use when my wife is in the car) the suspension is soft and well isolated from the road surface. She noticed right away and said that the F30 was nicer to ride in than the 330i which had a sport suspension. As others have said, I wish the car would remember the last driving mode it was set to.
Drivetrain – The engine is a nice upgrade from the 225HP unit in my 2004 and the car feels considerably faster in acceleration. Lots of power is available from idle on up, but drops off noticeable once you hit 5K. I have the AT, and shifts are almost imperceptible.
Overall/Subjective – I agree with others who have said that the car feels less “tossable”, less nimble, and a bit less fun (at least compared to the E46). Some of that will be due to the extra weight of the xdrive in my car, but the vehicle just feels “softer” to me, and I’m not really referring to the suspension. The distinctive “seat of the pants” differences that I noticed between BMW and Lexus almost 10 years ago seem to have blurred and I think a lot of that is in an effort to offer more luxury and less punishment to the general buyer who’s not going to drive their $45-60K car aggressively. That said, I feel like I got two incredible cars for the price of one. I’m very happy with my luxury car when it’s in comfort mode, and my sports sedan when it’s in sport mode, but, the driving experience isn’t quite as connected as my 2004 330i. Maybe the PPK would help…
|10-11-2012, 02:58 PM||#4|
I actually don't have my plate or tags yet. Dealership said they were sending them forward to me on Tuesday, and they might be sitting in my mailbox right now...
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