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      10-17-2014, 06:16 PM   #1
Chowbow
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F31 European Delivery honeymoon. Nürburgring, Autobahn, and Oktoberfest content.

Long post... TL;DR is in the next post.

Wanted to share our European Delivery / Honeymoon experience for my wife's F31 - we've seen many threads on here and thought we'd share ours too. Some background and comparison info: we currently have an E36, E46, and E90, and this would be our first Euro Delivery. As the E46 is getting pretty high up in mileage and my wife wanted something new, we went shopping. We had planned to go to Europe for our honeymoon in October this year, so we killed 2 birds with 1 stone.

She had her heart set on the 228i but after test driving everything, she ended up deciding on the 328i wagon. It's more practical, fast enough for her, and she really likes the look of the wagon, as do I. We decided the 328i wagon would be a purchase meant to last 10+ years and chose options that we thought would best suit us for a long time.

She insisted on having heated seats and the rearview camera. So we got the M-sport, M-sport brakes (more on this later), xenon lights, rear camera, and heated seats. We did not get Premium because of leather - it doesn't wear well unless you take spectacular care of it, and I don't think she will. We also skipped Tech / navigation, as it will look shitty and outdated in a few years. A smartphone just works so much better.

We ordered through David Aviles @ Steve Thomas BMW based on many recommendations. A great decision I think as we are only a few hundred miles from him to pick up the car, and if any complications came up I was confident somebody that does volume like David would get it resolved. It proved useful when 3 weeks before our pickup date, the wheels that are required for M-sport brakes were unavailable. We looked into just having a different set of wheels bolted on over the M-sport brakes, but BMW could not accommodate that as their systems do not allow such an option.

This meant a few options: wait until November to pick up our car (not possible, all travel booked by then); go as scheduled and drive a rental provided by BMW (nope, not going there to pick up a rental); or take the car without the M-sport brakes and different wheels (I was not happy with this, the M-sport brakes at $650 are a steal). None of which really worked for me so David was able to work out a deal where the M Performance Brakes get retrofitted when the car arrives stateside at the dealer. They're basically the same as the M-sport brakes but with red/yellow/orange calipers and slotted/dimpled rotors. Not our preference as the red calipers stand out quite a bit vs. the blue ones, but a small problem in the grand scheme of things. So we continued with our Euro Delivery with regular brakes, and the 400M staggered wheels.

I'll save you guys the pre-Germany honeymoon stuff, but basically we went to Paris, Milan, and Lake Como before heading to Munich. Once we picked up the car, we went to Nurburgring, Berlin, then Frankfurt. The only thing I'd add is that it would have been nice to drive the car to Lake Como and explore with the car, but scheduling Nürburgring to fall into a weekend didn't allow for that to happen.

Onto the European Delivery days...

Day 1 (Thursday) in Munich: we check into the Leonardo Royal hotel. Nice place and recommended by the BMW ED travel folks. I really enjoyed it because they had a cigar lounge and a good scotch selection. Don't drink and drive.



The hotel is also super close to BMW Welt, and easily accessible by subway. Nice rooms except the frosted glass door to the bathroom. Definitely not a hotel to share a room with some bros unless you want to see the silhouette of someone wiping their ass.

Cool subway station by the hotel.


We arrive at the BMW Welt and we're both pretty excited. Awesome looking place. I'll put a few pics, but many of you have seen better pics from other members already. We did the factory tour which was super cool. The robotics and automated welding there were super impressive and since the F31 is built there, my wife got to see exactly how her car was built. No pictures allowed on the tour so nothing to show here, but I'd recommend it if you go.

Welt


i8


Cutaway with TTs in the valley. Nice and short manifolds!


On the delivery floor, a big sculpture of a header


Before we actually picked up her car, there was an intro session on some of the benefits of the car like the efficient dynamics and xDrive etc. and she did a virtual driving simulator. A bit of a waste of time IMO, but it was just 20 minutes and it was part of the experience. I'd skip it next time.



It was time for her to see her car. We were upstairs in the lounge and she didn't even notice it's the car RIGHT there below us.

First view of it.


As we walk down towards the delivery floor, here's the view from the walkway above.




My wife was ecstatic. She had actually not seen the color of it before we ordered it, but was not disappointed with the blue. She originally wanted black but I persuaded her away from that with the detailing horrors.

As she was getting acquainted with the car, I took a few pictures, including the 1M lap car that you follow on the way out. Good view from where we were to get the BMW HQ in the background too.







So we take delivery, drive out following the 1M, and take it back to the hotel and settle down, then head out to central Munich for dinner and to see some sights.

We find a parking garage as we won't street park it yet, and as I'm backing into the parking spot, something in my pocket hits the trunk button, and the power hatch opens up into an air vent while we're still backing up. OMFG. 10 miles on the car and we get the first scratch on day 1. It's really small, 1mm X 1mm, the size of a rock chip on the hatch, but we were both pretty annoyed. I don't see anything in the settings where you can disable the remote's hatch button while the car is driving - ugh.

Day 2 (Friday): We found out October 3rd is Germany's "Unification" day, and everything was closed. Except Oktoberfest, and museums. So we stopped by Oktoberfest early in the morning to avoid the crowd of drunks. We took the subway and got there before 9am, and this was how our "avoiding the crowd" strategy played out:



With that under our belt, and everything closed, we decided to head back to the BMW Welt and go to the BMW Museum as we did not get to do it on day 1. Another awesome time there since there were very little people there and I was able to spend a lot of time taking photos. We ended the day with a few photos of the car right outside the Welt, then went back into Munich for dinner.

































Day 3 (Saturday): We leave Munich to head to Nürburgring. As a track guy, this was huge on my bucket list, and we rearranged our whole trip, including skipping the Stelvio Pass, and not having the car in Lake Como, just to fit this into a weekend. The Ring's "tourist drive" days are open all day only on the weekends. On weekdays they are only open from 5-7pm.

So we head out to the autobahn, it's actually the first time my wife has finally driven her car for any amount of time. We get our first taste of the autobahn and are very impressed. People following the rules of the road, super organized road works, and an unbelievably smooth road surface. Before long, she was happily clipping along at 110mph. On my leg of the drive I was able to briefly take the car to 155mph to check that one off the bucket list too.



We arrive at Nürburgring and check-in at the Dorint hotel. Cool place for car people, everything is car themed, and our room overlooked the start/stop of the F1 circuit. The parking garage had amazing cars too. Sitting next to a Clio, a Porsche 918 hanging out there.



Astons, Ferraris, GT3s, bunch of track cars that I didn't take pics of. And as a reminder to how dangerous Nürburgring is, there were 2 fatalities on this day that closed down the track for significant amounts of time.

Day 4 (Sunday): It's the day to drive the Ring!!! It opens at 8am. I'm up at 7 to have a hearty breakfast. I look out the window and the fog is HORRENDOUS. The track has got to be closed right now. I go and get my 4-lap Ring Card, and head to the gift shop to buy some Nürburgring swag, and get the obligatory photo.



Then I head out to the Nordschleife parking lot to wait for the fog to lift, usually by 9 to 10am. My wife is still sound asleep in the hotel, and she pretty much knew it would be a dead day for her so she would just hang out at the hotel. 10am comes around and the fog just got heavier. Visibility is about 150'. I decided to go back to the hotel for a while and come back around 11am.

11am. Foggy. Noon. Foggy. 1pm. Foggy. I head back down to the parking lot and have already met some cool Englishmen and had a good chat with them. They've never seen it fogged in this late in the day. RSR, the company that rents cars out for the Ring, said based on their experience it will be closed for the day. The staff at the Ring said they will likely close for the day. Great - the one day we had planned to drive Nürburgring and fog closes the track down for the whole day. This is the 3rd day in the entire year that has happened. Shit luck.

So instead, we headed to the Reine river area and checked out some castle and got this picture. In comparison to what I was supposed to be doing, I thought it was just lame.



At night we went to Tiergarden hotel for dinner. It's owned by Sabine Schmitz' family and was a very good meal in comparison to the generally not that great food in Germany (they had a tough act to follow after France and Italy). I was super bummed that I didn't get to drive the Ring, and the next morning we were scheduled to go to Berlin...

Day 4 (Monday): Foggy with a stroke of luck. Nürburgring's M-F tourist drive days are open from 5pm-7pm. Somehow, on this Monday, it was scheduled to be open all day from 8am-7pm. I woke up again at 7am, to fog. By now, my wife has pretty much figured we're not leaving to Berlin yet, and we even talked about canceling the Berlin leg of the trip so I could drive the Ring. I didn't really want to do that as she wanted to go, but she also knew I wanted to do this so bad that we rearranged the whole trip during the planning stages so I could do this. Keep in mind she already spent all of the day before sitting around a hotel doing jack shit and then went to a lame castle. I really didn't want a repeat of yesterday.

I head down to the Nordschleife parking lot at 9:30am. Still foggy. Same guys hanging around and chatting it up complaining about the weather. 10:30am. Foggy. 11am. Foggy. Wife asks hotel for a late checkout, extended until 1pm. 11:30am. I can see the Bridge. Wife texts me that the fog has cleared outside our room at the F1 circuit. There's hope!

Noon. Nürburgring opens. The last day and a half of fog, mist, and dew has left the track completely wet, still foggy in some areas, and it was cold that day as well. Didn't matter, I've already bought 4 laps and a bunch of swag - I'm going out.

I cannot stress this enough: don't push it at the Ring. Don't time yourself. Let the piece of shit Peugeot hatchback pass, because he/she IS faster and the only thing you can do about it is crash. There is no run-off. Most of the corners are blind, some off camber, and there are a few places where you wouldn't just wreck your car, you'd die in a street car. My first lap I went through very slowly. 2nd lap a bit faster, and 3rd lap I was getting comfortable. Not fast, but I had hardly any traffic in the whole 13 miles - I came across like 5 cars, and had a BLAST.

Here's the video, it's slow and not exciting, but the amount of work we had to put in just to get these laps in, made it so much more worthwhile for me.


Now it's 12:55pm, I've done 3 laps, and I race back to the hotel since our late checkout was up. The wife had packed everything into our suitcases and was checking out of the room. We decided she would ride for my last lap, and then we head straight to Berlin. We loaded the wagon up with all our luggage, and hustled out for my 4th lap! She didn't enjoy it as much as I did, and she does get carsick on track but she got through it and can say she's been on as well. I was planning on doing about 10 laps on Sunday, but was happy to get my 4 parade laps in and check this one off the bucket list.



Now it was time to haul ass to Berlin - we're leaving 4 hours late and had 370 miles to cover. And haul ass we did. The wife drove the first leg and was really comfortable on the autobahn now. She drove at a good clip and was happy cruising along at 120mph along the unlimited portions. I took over once we quickly burned up that tank of gas. I hop back on the highway and ran into a very long unlimited section of highway A9. Ahead of me was a 335d wagon, and an Audi A4 wagon. The 3 of us followed one another for 35 miles, topped out at 155mph nearly the whole way. I averaged over 100mph for my leg of the drive and really got a good feel for the car at high speed. We made it to Berlin VERY quickly to check-in and head out to dinner.

Here's a video my wife took while I was following the other cars, maxed out at 155mph:


So basically, pretty much the best day ever.

Day 5 (Tuesday): Nothing car related really. Skip.

Day 6 (Wednesday): Back to Frankfurt in the rain. Our scheduled drop off is the next day at 1pm, but we decided to head to Frankfurt a day early just to have a quick look. It's now raining pretty good and we were in the wet pretty much the whole trip. Again, owing to good driving habits of the Germans, good draining smooth roads, we were able to moving along pretty quickly even in the rain. We happily cruised along at 90-120mph in light to medium rain with lots of distance to other cars. We were more impressed with the roads and other drivers than the car.

Thursday, day 7: Returned the car 1400 miles later.



All in all, a great trip and so glad we did it. The European Delivery experience was super fun, and I got to drive the autobahn and the Nürburgring. I'll have to do it again, but maybe next time in a P-car. We drove the car hard from day 1 and we were happy to do so. I'm not fond of pussy footing the break-in period and I just drive it how I would drive it, but I doubt the car will ever see such hard use again. It will be commuting around the Bay Area curbing rims and sitting in traffic when my wife gets it back. :P

Overall comments about the car, in no particular order.
  • The motor sounds fantastic in the car. I was surprised and expected less, but it sounds great, since it's fake. We really got a chance to hear it as it screamed from 60-155mph.
  • It's got plenty of power day to day with a bit of turbo lag off the line, and I think it feels as fast as it does because it's paired with a great close ratio transmission. It takes quite a while from 130mph to 155mph in 6th gear, but nobody in the US will need that kind of speed. Side note: the car cannot maintain 155mph in 8th gear, but can do so in 7th gear in manual mode. In regular automatic mode, 155mph is maintained at redline in 6th gear and won't shift up to 7th automatically.
  • Transmission is excellent day to day. The close ratios in gears 1-5 is awesome. You can always get in the powerband just by stepping on it.
  • Transmission in Sport mode is terrible on the track. It doesn't hold gears as I would like and doesn't know to downshift prior to a corner.
  • Transmission's manual mode is not manual. It upshifts at redline and downshifts if you hit the kick down. WTF? Many times at the Ring I am WOT through 3rd, and manually upshift to 4th at redline. Except the transmission also automatically upshifts at redline as well, so the car does 2 upshifts from 3rd to 4th to 5th and bogs. Now you have to shift back down to 4th so instead of 1 shift you've just done 3 shifts. Terrible. The workaround is to shift early, which sucks.
  • The paddles are in the perfect spot and easy to use on track, except for the above bullet point[/*]
  • Weird kick at WOT 6-7th gear. OK so this will never occur again but in manual mode, shifting from 6th to 7th gear at WOT, the car has a weird kick/lunge like it shifts too slowly and the power cuts out and comes back on abruptly. This occurs at about 155mph so we'll never experience it again but I found it disconcerting. Partially lifting off the throttle during the shift alleviates this.
  • X-drive is useless for us, we're in California - but you can't get the wagon in the states now without it. It makes the car heavier, there's more stuff to break, and I wish we could get it in RWD only.
  • X-drive without sport suspension... meh. M-sport cars with X-drive don't get a sport suspension. It rides super high, to the point where my wife noticed another M-sport wagon on the street was a lot lower. It rides too soft and I'd much prefer a sportier suspension setup. Another reason I didn't want an X-drive car.
  • Steering. Electric steering seems to be a hot topic nowadays. I wanted to keep an open mind but after driving with it for a while, but I hate it on the F3x. I'd separate it into 3 areas - effort, accuracy, and communication. In comfort mode, the power steering is so boosted with so little effort necessary it feels Camry like. Except, you also don't get all that much communication through the wheel, that it's worse than Camry like. In sport mode, the steering effort lowers to "just right" but the same low level of communication is apparent. On a few corners at Nürburgring where I was comfortable pushing it, I could feel the front tires slipping and understeering in the wet, but it was SO subtle through the steering wheel that the best I can say is that it's numb. I'd get used to it, but this is a step backwards on the car compared to any of our previous 3ers. I will say, the steering is very accurate as expected. It's easy to point the car exactly where you want to, it's just a numb and disconnected when you do so.
  • The key is huge. Seriously? We can fit 128GB of data on a pinky fingernail and this car key would make a jailhouse smuggler gasp and think twice.
  • Pairing 4 bluetooth phones with the car is awesome, and the ability to choose one for music and one for calls etc. is also awesome. Great feature.
  • iDrive interface is still pretty crap, but better than the E9x POS by miles.
  • Pleather sport seats are really comfortable. On our long road trips it did not get tiring at all. And the pleather looks like leather to me.
  • The huge panoramic sunroof is cool... But I bet it's heavy as hell. All that weight at the highest part of the car must kill it in the handling department! I'm just thinking like a track guy. My wife loves the roof.
  • Rear camera is awesome. I was not convinced we needed it for $1k when you can turn your head around, but it proved to be really useful parking. It was easy to judge the distance down to 1-2" with the camera.
  • The car is really stable at 155mph - seriously impressive. And the speed limiter is non-intrusive. The car just stays at 155mph without "hitting" it like a wall and bouncing off of it.
  • The standard brakes are more than capable of hauling the car from 155mph to 60mph, the M-sport / M Performance Brakes probably won't make any difference on the street. Might be nice on the track with slicks though.
  • The turn signal stalk is as annoying as the gear shift lever. At least with the turn signal I was used to how annoying it was on my E90. What's wrong with a "regular" one again?
  • Same with the song up/down on the steering wheel. I'd rather hit a button for up or down, not a press/scroll/press.
  • Wagon storage and organization is awesome. The privacy shield thing, the net, the hooks, and the storage bar thing, and how it all stows away - really nice.
  • If my wife decides to get something later on I would happily use this as my DD - after lowering it some and throwing on a set of 18x9.5s with 265s all around. It's a fantastic daily driver, and really glad we chose this over an SUV. I don't think it will ever see any track time again, and the automatic is pretty terrible for the track anyway. But just in case it does, the M Performance Brakes will be installed once it gets stateside!

I'll do an oil analysis when it comes home since it needs an early oil change and do some of the drivetrain fluids closer to the 5k mark. Now the 8-10 week wait for the wagon to arrive. Anyone need a high mileage E46 330Ci in Norcal?
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Last edited by Chowbow; 10-19-2014 at 01:09 AM. Reason: Added autobahn video.
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      10-17-2014, 06:17 PM   #2
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TL;DR: Wife bought an F31. Picked it up at the Welt, topped it out on the Autobahn, and drove it on Nürburgring.
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      10-17-2014, 07:36 PM   #3
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Looks like you guys had a great trip. Congrats on the nuptials and the new F31.
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      10-17-2014, 08:47 PM   #4
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Nice write up. Throughly enjoyed it. Car looks great. Congrats!
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      10-18-2014, 12:55 AM   #5
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Very nice wagon thanks for sharing.
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      10-18-2014, 04:13 AM   #6
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Great write up and nice photos!
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      10-18-2014, 12:58 PM   #7
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While i wait for this page to load, i just have to post here and say: Way to goo!

Would love to have another opportunity to take my wife there...


By the way, you're only missing the E30 ... nice collection of 3, if you can post all of them, that be great.
You have a very undersanding wife .. props to her!
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      10-18-2014, 06:04 PM   #8
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Nicely done.

You got the Safety Car escort on your victory lap too? I no longer feel special.

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      10-19-2014, 01:01 AM   #9
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Thanks guys.

Isn't the victory lap part of every European Delivery? I thought I saw someone else doing the same thing earlier on in the day. I actually have the video of my wife driving out behind it but it wasn't too exciting so I didn't post it. Were we extra special too?

Here are some pics of the other cars that I could dig up quickly and upload. I don't have a pic of all the cars together though, my track car is in storage. I might get a pic of all of them when we pick up the wife's car. I've thought about getting an E30 to "complete" the 3ers but I also have a W203 Mercedes so that's a total of 5 cars already. We really can't have another!! In fact, we need to get rid of 1.

My E36 328i track rat


My wifebeater. Er, wife's beater...


My E90 335i. Doesn't see much autoX or track time now. Mostly a garage queen now.
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      10-19-2014, 07:41 AM   #10
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Sure, everyone can do a victory lap, some people do two of them. But the escort by the MotoGP Safety Car, only the special people get that.

Enjoy your new ride, I know we are enjoying ours. No regrets.
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      10-19-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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Looks like an amazing trip and congrats on your new car.

That line for Oktoberfest was crazy!
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      10-19-2014, 07:13 PM   #12
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Nice report, thank you for sharing.
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      10-20-2014, 12:44 AM   #13
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Did the person handling your drop off note the scratch on the lift gate? I believe if BMW knows about it, it will get fixed at the VDC.
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      10-20-2014, 11:11 AM   #14
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Ah, I didn't know that not everyone gets to follow the pace car. Cool.

The Oktoberfest line was at one of the "small" tents they had. And as we expected with German efficiency, we got into the tent in 25 minutes even with a few thousand people there.

We also did note the little chip on the tail gate and will see if it gets taken care of at VDC, or I will take care of it after I get it home.
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      10-22-2014, 03:19 PM   #15
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Great photos and what a great way to enjoy your honeymoon! As many times as I have been to the Welt, I never tire of these ED trips/tours.
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      10-22-2014, 03:21 PM   #16
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Why 328i instead of 335i? I would think someone who can afford to take a trip like that could afford to get the top of the line version

Looks like an amazing trip nonetheless!
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      10-22-2014, 04:31 PM   #17
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Loving this as a daily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingc0bra View Post
Why 328i instead of 335i? I would think someone who can afford to take a trip like that could afford to get the top of the line version

Looks like an amazing trip nonetheless!
No F31 335i unfortunately.
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      10-22-2014, 04:46 PM   #18
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Yeah the only F31s available in the US are the 328i or 328d with x-drive.
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      10-22-2014, 04:57 PM   #19
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Excellent write up!! I regret not doing ED around Oktoberfest.

Congrats on the new ride! So much love for the F31s
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      10-22-2014, 05:21 PM   #20
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Epic journey. Congratulations all around and very nice F31 build.
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      10-22-2014, 06:03 PM   #21
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Enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing.
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      10-22-2014, 06:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowbow
Yeah the only F31s available in the US are the 328i or 328d with x-drive.
Had no idea! Thats pretty crappy of bmw
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