My experience at the BMW dealership last night

My experience at the BMW dealership last night

BMW dealers are holding these "Ultimate Driving Experience" events where they invite people to test drive a bunch of different cars and give away swag and stuff. I received an invitation a couple months ago and signed up.

Yesterday, I get there and the girl running the sign-in table takes my information and says "So, what were you interested in driving today?"

"The M5," I responded.

"Oh, we don't have any M cars here today."

I paused. "OK, well, I'm not sure why I'm here, then."

"Hold on a sec. Let me see if the dealer has any you can look at."

I wait. A besuited salesman in his early 30s walks over and introduces himself. "I hear you're interested in the M5. We don't actually have any you can drive...they're special order only. And the 2014s haven't arrived yet."

"Ah," I say, "OK, thanks." I start to leave.

"Wait, hold up. We do have a 2013 we can sit in."

I give him this look like "Seriously?" and unenthusiastically agree. We walk out to one that's already sold. He opens the door and starts it up while I'm standing outside. He revs the engine. To my surprise, all I thought was "What a noisy waste."

Now, I'm a car guy. I've raced Porsches, owned RWD muscle cars and AWD rally cars, and generally appreciate great cars. But I was amazed to realize that the noise and bluster of an M5's engine didn't particularly excite me.

He asked me what other cars I was looking at. I gave him the list that I had made up before I decided to go for the MS: "Other than the M5, I've been considerng the AMG C63 and the Panamera 4S. Oh, and the Tesla Model S."

He didn't have any reaction to the first two, but when I said "Tesla," he looked at me with a start. "Oh, yeah, the Tesla. I actually rode in one of those last week. They're quick."

"Was it the Performance model?" I asked.

"No, it was the Model S." "Well, so much for knowing your competition," I thought.

He then proceeded to spend the next 3 minutes bashing the Model S, specifically the fit-and-finish of the one car he saw. I just kept silent and said, "Interesting" when he finished.

I gave him my business card, looking forward to the day when he calls me to ask if I'm still interested in the M5 and I tell him that I decided to get the Tesla. That'll be a fun conversation. ;-)

cfOH | July 20, 2013

One prologue: Last night, after dinner, the family and I walked down to the neighborhood ice cream shop for some dessert. We were sitting outside and this white 458 Italia -- a gorgeous car -- rumbles by. I pointed it out to my son, who, at 5, is a huge car nut. Even my wife, who pretty much despises all things car, said "That's pretty." It took off from the light with a little more throttle than was necessary and it stirred my heart. So, maybe it's not that I've lost all appreciation for just takes one that borderlines on a work of art to appeal to me.

JAFIC | July 20, 2013

Buy that car ( 458 Italia). Strip the ICE. Put batteries/inverters and Motors. Done. XD (Easier said than done)

cfOH | July 20, 2013

Meant "Epilogue." [sigh]

hpatelmd | July 20, 2013

I had the pleasure of taking a 458 Italia for a test drive in Solignano-Nouvo, near Modena, Italy a couple of years ago, & honestly, it was probably the greatest thrill behind the steering wheel ever. Then when the Roadster was being promoted in Atlanta, I jumped on that chance, & took it for a spin. Boy, did it remind of me of Italy.

I have to say, now I am smiling daily, behind the steering of my MS, while not a Ferrari, it is quick enough!

lolachampcar | July 20, 2013

I took my MS by to visit with my long time bud who was my BMW sales guy (for the last 25 years). He won the Indy Lights championship back in his day and would have gone ChampCar had there been enough $. Anyway, he can pedal a car so we went for a drive. When we got back, he just looked at me and said "I understand". It is about the only time I have let someone drive my car that they did not get the Tesla Grin.

Yep, a 458 is on the list but they have to calm down first. I lost my preferred status with FNA and I refuse to pay over list. It is hands down the best implementation of a double clutch car I have driven.

cfOH | July 20, 2013

I just checked the specs and, to my amazement, the Model S stops shorter from 60 mph than the 458 does, despite weighing almost 1500 lbs more. Amazing job, those Tesla engineers.

JPPTM | July 20, 2013

...the huge rear Brembo brakes on the S and the weight balance really help...

cwmenne | July 21, 2013

My wife and I have gone to a couple of those BMW events (I've owned BMWs for many years) and the last one we went to was a couple days after I ordered the MS. I told the BMW corporate guy we were talking to and he said he loved the MS and he owns a bunch of stock. Honestly, the new 5 series is hard not to love, but the engine & transmission matching are a little to sluggish and soft for me, especially when compared to the MS, which gives instant response. I've now had my MS for 4 days and LOVING IT!

JPPTM | July 21, 2013

lolachampcar--the simple words 'I understand' from your friend and car afficionado speaks volumes. We Tesla owners can talk all we want, show off our car, even give folks rides as a passenger, but until you drive it, you really do not understand. Too bad he did not get the trademark Tesla grin, but he has 25 years of automotive knowledge and experience to undo. Patience....

Runar | July 21, 2013

The lack of a tesla gin might have something to do with him realising the change which is to come.. 25 years as a bmw sales guy, might put a dampener on his enthusiasm towards tesla.

Runar | July 21, 2013

Gin = grin

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

Yep, Freddy lost a very long time customer with me and he is smart enough to see the beginnings of the writing on the wall.

The VERY FIRST thing I noticed about MS was that it out stopped my Maranello. Holy Crap!; this 4700lb boat has as much woe as it has go..... I was sold and the poor guy that took me on the test drive and said I was free to use either pedal as much as I wanted was somewhat green. I think he was used to people using the throttle pedal but not threshold braking directly after :) To loosely take from Perrelli, go is useless without woe.

Bighorn | July 21, 2013

Uh-oh, lola!
Brian in 3...2...

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

Brian who?

JPPTM | July 21, 2013

grammar police....whoa, Nelly!

Bighorn | July 21, 2013

Touche(accent aigu)!

david.cheney | July 21, 2013

whoa there! no woe here!! ;p

cfOH | July 21, 2013

Lola: Yeah, in both of my test drives, I didn't take the car over 7/10ths or so as I really didn't know its limits. I don't have a lot of experience in big, fat, heavy sedans, so I wasn't going to ruin everyone's day by putting the MS into an electrical pole. But I did stress test the brakes from about 45mph and was quite impressed. My wife in the back seat did not adequately prepare, though, and I got "the stare." :-D

I still think they were wrong by not putting in grab handles. I expect my passengers will desire them regularly.

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

whoa, you are expecting toooo much out of an injeneeer :)

cfOH | July 21, 2013

I expect engineers would want grab handles; they're ugly, but functional.* It's the designers I blame...they're often more than happy to trade utility for form.

*While one could make a case that engineers themselves are also ugly but functional, it was the grab handles that I was referring to. :-)

JPPTM | July 21, 2013

...caution, in my former life I was an engineer...but I do have that gooder grammar.... :)

lolachampcar | July 21, 2013

ugly but functional.... That shoe fits :)

Brian H | July 21, 2013

?? lola's writing is exemplary.

If it's what you're referring to ... to deliberately split infinitives for effect is perfectly fine. Old rule from trying to emulate one-word Latin/French infinitives, I think. Definitely something up with which English must put.

J.T. | July 21, 2013

@Brian H

Love Churchill.

Bighorn | July 21, 2013

Not the split infinitive, but the equine command noted by others.

NomoDinos | July 21, 2013

My dog is named after him.

Brian H | July 22, 2013

Got me! I thought he was using some idiom I wasn't familiar with, woe for restriction, or SLT. Should be "whoa", of course. A completely different color.