Friday, April 22, 2016

Delivery Day / Performance Center Delivery / PCD Trip

We have done Performance Center Delivery on other BMWs and its always a great experience.  The best part, for me, is you can buy the car from any dealer you want (BMW of Santa Barbara in our case) and then pick up at PCD.  No funny business.  No finance guy.  No up-sells.  No gimmicks, no tricks.  And you can shop as many dealers as you want.  Completely no hassle.  And you get all the perks of the trip, including food, lodging, time on a track with a car identical to yours (but not yours so you can FLOG it), a factory tour, and education about the BMW brand.  For us, PCD is the only way to buy a BMW.

The delivery specialists at the Performance Center are first rate.  The dealers' BMW geniuses are good, but the PCD delivery specialists are the top-of-the line.  Josh helped us with our car and he spent nearly a full 2 hours with us going over the car and he answered every question clearly and correctly.  Could not be happier with Josh!!

We elected to skip the free included Mariott dinner.  Our family has a tradition of eating at Chophouse '47 for PCDs and M Driving Schools and this was no exception.  We did take my S54 M coupe to get the X5 and this is the first time the car has been back to its birthplace in 15 years.  Pretty cool.  BMW employees were pretty excited to see it too.

We did have an issue with the X5 license plate but Jon Shafer / BMW of SB solved it at the last minute.  We were unable to get our South Carolina plate and registration in time.  When you do PCD, your dealer is responsible to get the plate and registration handled, then send the material to PCD.  The state of SC makes it difficult for non-SC dealers to get SC plates for SC residents.  And PCD cannot help here.  Our SC plate was late, so Jon FedEx'd us a California dealer plate to use for the trip home.

When I was working LeatherZ, we went to nearly every Z-series Homecoming at the plant.  For years, BMW Spartanburg ("Plant 10") was a huge factory.  I haven't seen it in 4-5 years.  It's not just a factory any more.  The plant is more like a small city!  It has expanded and it's huge now.  The tour guide told us the plant no produces more cars per year than any other BMW factory in the world.  And it's getting bigger.  We saw the construction of the new X7 assembly hall, they are still putting in steel at this point and will finish later this year.

The driving experience at PCD was great.  We got to drive an X5 5.0i, and holy crap that is a fast car!!  Fantastic.  Long live the BMW V8!  The braking exercise was no doubt the most useful one, but the off road coarse truly showed what these cars are capable of.  I thought we were going to roll the car we were in for sure at one point.

The car itself is amazing.  You see X5s on the road and you might think, oh yeah, there is an X5 it's a nice SUV.  But when you spend time in the car and drive the car and live and interact with the car, there is a lot more to the story.  The difference between an X5 and say a new Honda Pilot, is a huge chasm.  They are not even close to one another in build and design quality.  You have to drive an X5 to appreciate them.  I am astonished how refined the car is, especially compared to the M coupe!  The diesel is fabulous... many people will never even know the car is a diesel.

I will let the pics and captions tell the rest of the story.

Packet handed to Rachel at hotel check-in.  All costs paid for by BMW.

You can eat the free, included dinner at the Marriott restaurant, or you can go out on your own and upgrade.  Chophouse is very close to the Marriott.

These X5s are used by Marriott employees to shuttle Performance Center customers who fly in to and from the hotel.  Very nice.  Car in forefront is a Mineral Silver like ours.  Both of these are diesels, also like ours.

Morning of delivery.

This is the X5 5.0i we were given to drive for the day.  Rachel and I both loved the 5.0.

My next M3 may need to be Austin Yellow like this one.  Neat color.

First exercise of the day was to learn what BMW Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) can do.  Wet laps around a polished concrete skidpad at high speeds.  Rachel was almost able to control the 340i without the DSC on, but was only afforded a few attempts.

At the end of the driving part of the day, instructors take you out as a passenger in an M3 and show you what the cars can do at their limits.  This is done for 2 reasons: 1.  Make you want an M3 or at least another BMW and 2. Make sure you know that even though you got some driver training today, you still suck at driving.  So don't think you are a hero now.  You're not.

First glimpse of our car.  The delivery "stalls" at PCD are private, closed rooms.  Just us and our delivery specialist Josh were inside.  No distractions, no one else touches your car but you.

Mineral Silver is a conservative color by our standards, but neat how it changes from silver to gold to white, depending on the lighting conditions.

The engine is actually a 3.0 liter diesel.  Sadly, BMW marketing names the cars nowadays, not engineering.

We elected to get Fineline Pure Wood trim and we really like it.  Looks like furniture-grade walnut instead of plastic with a huge amount of glossy lacquer layered on top

California Dealer plates work in a pinch.  Our dealer had to overnight them to PCD when it became clear the SC ones were not going to make it.  So for now, we are on an extended test drive from California!!

Gauges are black until ACC power is on.  When it is, the numbers light up.  Needles are still real gauges though, neither of us cared for the full-digital dashboard.

S54 awaits.

The N57 diesel engine actually does have a dipstick, unlike most BMWs.  It is hidden however under the engine cover.

5 miles on odometer.  There is a covered test track that all new SC-built cars are run on, as well as a rolling-road test.

Blue ambient lighting can be changed to driver preference and is throughout the car.

I loaded 128 GB of FLAC audio files and the car read them without issue.  Album art transferred over too.  Cool.

BMW water makes you go faster.

First light of day under our ownership.

Per tradition in our family, the primary driver does NOT get the first drive.

Mineral Silver looks more pure silver in very bright natural light.

Performance Center main entrance.  Note the motorcycles.  Champion BMW in Charleston still sucks ass and deserves to lose their franchise.  BMW take note.  I will never buy a new BMW motorcycle again.  Long live Aprilia and Yamaha. 

Very few BMWs come in cool colors like Imola Red nowadays.

Lunch at Performance Center

X5 off road course after lunch.  Less likely to puke on full stomach this way.

The water is over the door sills and not coming into the car.  In some cases the tailpipes were under water.

Surround View camera was nice to avoid rubbing against the sharp rock walls.

Rear wheel is 2 feet off the ground and car is stopped and holding.

Do exactly what the instructor says to do.  (There are radios in each car).

We thought we were going to roll the car, for sure.  45 degree incline.

Same obstacle but the couple behind us was driving their car.

One of the surprises of the day was the color of this car.  It's Sparkling Brown Metallic.  We never would have ordered a car with 'brown' in the name but it was a really beautiful color.
Track in the distance.

Zentrum museum was closed for refurbishment.