Saturday, August 25, 2007

Winning Car Chosen

OK - so I finally got to drive the 2006 325xi. I have to say the dealer did all they could to accommodate my request for a used car. The 2006 is the bigger body year, and it has almost all of the options I'd want. The car was clean (looked brand new) and had only 10,000 miles on it since it was a dealer executive car. The only thing I didn't like about the car was it was only 215 hp. Barely a step up from my Audi and a long way from the >300 hp 335xi which won engine of the year.

Winning Car: The 335xi!
So I am planning on getting the 2008 BMW 335xi in a manual. After driving the used 325xi I drove the 335xi and liked the engine a lot better. The dealer asked which one I wanted to take home for a night, so I took the 335xi. That was a lot of fun. I was able to drive it around for a night, even took it to work and took some friends out to lunch in it. When I returned the car I had put 114 of the cars 116 miles on it! I told Meghan I was going to sleep in the car than night but I just ended up driving around town and picking people up for a joy ride.

Performance Test Drive
When I returned the car and told the dealer I was interested in the 335xi he said I should come in on Saturday morning for a performance test drive. I said sure, but had no idea what I was getting into! Long story short it consisted of taking a series of tight turns at a crazy 55 mph and going from 0 to 125 mph to get on the highway! I have to say I was a bit scared at times since the salesman that took me out was younger than me and we were in his personal 335i. The car handles amazingly well and would be a lot of fun to drive. Though my car will have options for a little more luxury than sport. This guy had all sport options and didn't take some luxury ones (like Nav system) because he "couldn't afford the weight!"

Performance Delivery
I think the dealer recommneded the performance test drive because I mentioned I wanted to do the performance center delivery if I ordered a BMW. Basically I get to tear around a series of courses on a test track with a professional driver instructing me (in a car idential to mine), and then tour the factory and museum and then have my car delivered in my own showroom. And it costs the same as having your car delivered to your local dealer. It'll be a nice 7 hour drive back to Cincinnati in my new car!

So that's it - the car search for me is probably over, I am sure everyone has their own idea of the perfect car but the 335xi is a great fit for me and has just about everything I'd want. Now I just need to pick an exterior color (I am down to picking among 3-4 colors). I will keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Crazy Car Buying

Here is how crazy car buying can get.

I have put down a $500 deposit on a 2006 325xi BMW that my dealer bought at an auction because it was an AWD manual. I have not seen the car, I have not driven the car, and I am probably not going to buy the car, and in an email the dealer mistakenly told me it was going to cost $437,800! (I told him that was getting out of my price range, he said it was a typo).

Long story short they did buy it at a BMW dealer auction thinking it had everything I wanted, but my deposit is refundable. It just gave me "frst right of refusal" so I can drive it and then tell them if I want it. It's kind of a flier, but I figured it's a safe bet, and they won't rip me off of $500 to lose the sale of a new car. I guess they think this car will move fast.

In other news, the ONLY 335xi manual in town has been sold! At least I got to drive the manual twice beforehand, however I was planning on driving it a few more times :)

The other really weird part about test driving cars is that sometimes I'll ask to drive a specific car and they say, "Oh yeah, we have one, we just sold it but you can drive it today." So a couple of times I have driven cars that other people have bought but haven't picked up yet, and let's just say people are not gentle when they test drive a car! This happened at multiple dealers and I would be a little pissed if I bought an expensive car and people were out joy-riding in it!

With All Due Respect...

I think the phrase "with all due respect" is a riot, because while at face value it may sound like you respect the opinion of the person you are talking with, at it's core it more closely means:
- I am about to disrespect you
- What you just said is stupid and here is why
- No respect is all that you are due
- I am about to belittle you
- Diss

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Additional Test Drives

A few quick updates on the car search since the last car blog.

2005 BMW 330xi
The BMW certified Pre-Owned warranty is a pretty good deal. It's 2 additional years under a warranty or an additional 50,000 miles. So a 2 year old car would still have 4 years left under warranty (up to 100,000 miles). So I figured I better see if I can find one I like.

First of all I like the interior of the 2005 3-series (2006 is the body change to the current version). I like how the dash is tilted to the driver, the radio display isn't polarized, and the built in cup holders are a lot better than the flip out version.

Driving the 230hp 2005 330xi I really enjoyed the car. It would be a fun car to drive, significantly faster than the Audi but significantly slower than the 300hp 335xi.

The 2005 options are somewhat limited though, and the body style looks "dated" according to Meghan. So I have also been looking for a 2006 330xi (really the only CPO option since the 2007 335xi's were a mid-year model). It's nearly impossible to find am xi (AWD) in a manual. I think there are pros and cons to to both and have been taking a look around.

Audi A4
I enrolled the car expertise of Jake to test drive some cars. We drove the 255hp Audi A4. I say "we" loosely because while we both planned to drive it, it was so unimpressive I just drove it down the road and returned within minutes because we had seen enough. Jake didn't see the point of taking a turn driving. It was slow, and had a cheap interior. It's too bad because I have enjoyed my Audi but really I think my 1998 interior looks way better. I think Audi went cheap on their styling now. There is NO room in the back seat, an indicator of that is how Audi carved out two grooves in the back of the seats for your legs, so you'd have an extra 1/2 inch if you kept your legs lined up! The price point puts it in line with the BMW 3-series, so Audi is in big trouble. It's also more expensive than the Infiniti G35 so it's hard to justify an A4.

Audi S4
We also drove the 340hp Audi S4. The car looks sporty and it is fast. Though it is NOT as fast as the 300hp BMW 335xi, but certainly the 2nd fastest car I've driven overall. From just a car standpoint it might rank 2nd on my list of all cars. The interior is more sporty, had comfy seats. Some of the interior design left you scratching you head, and it had some cheap buttons and knobs that you just feel like you'd have to replace a few times. Some negatives are that it is a gas guzzler with 16 mpg and only a 16 gallon tank. You wouldn't get too far from home on one tank of gas.

The Audi S4 is also MORE expensive than the BMW 335xi. So it's pretty much not in the running. The S4 is not as roomy either. I'm guessing reliability and resale of the BMW will be better than the S4 and there are more options on the BMW that I like. Besides a major strike against Audi is that after driving the S4 I asked for the S4 brochure and they said they were out of them (and that I should just go online and look at their website)! I don't think they should be trying to sell an expensive car like that.

The final indicator would be that the BMW dealer was busy on saturday, and Audi was empty.

So what does it all mean?
NET I keep driving the BMW when there is nothing about the drive that would make me NOT want it. Last week I had an hour to kill after work before a dentist appointment, so I told Meghan (jokingly) that I was just going to go sit in the back of the BMW and "be with the car for a while." She said that I have a problem. I didn't really go, but it was funny.

I think the BMW is still the leader in the car chase, I just take my time making a decision and wait to get comfy with it. The 2008 pricing should be in any day so I'll have to take a look at that, the good news is they said they are changing the rims which I think could be good so I'll have wait and see a new one in the show room and see what all of the changes are (though likely minimal).