Who would've thought we'd be doing another BMW European Delivery...
Three years later the leases on both our 2015 MINI convertible and the 2015 BMW X1 were coming to an end. Both of us were retiring and our financial situation would be a bit more challenging. Back in December, on a whim I had test driven a Subaru Forester and was duly impressed. Many of the gizmos BMW offers on their luxury cars and with a much lower price. If they had been able to find a way to get us out of one or both of our leases a few months early this amazing trip would never have happened.
With 5 months remaining on the X1 lease I started getting emails from BMW dealerships offering to get me out of my lease early. Reading the fine print revealed that this offer was only on leftover 2017 models currently on that particular dealer's lot. One dealer in New Jersey had an X1 that had all the refinements I was looking for, but I hesitated. We weren't sure we wanted the expense of another BMW. Once both of us pulled the plug on going to work everyday I set my mind earnest on finding a car. I emailed a number of BMW dealerships with my requested list of options and the price I wanted to pay. If nobody came through a jaw-dropping deal I'd forget about BMW. I wanted a BMW but they were going to have to offer us a sweet deal to keep us as customers. If we found an amazing deal on a BMW we would plan to go down to just one car. Because of the constant anxiety we suffered trying to keep our leased cars within the allotted mileage restrictions, this time we wanted to buy the car outright.
One of the many reasons I wanted to stay with the BMW brand was that we had put down rather significant amounts of cash as security deposits on both my BMW and Gail's MINI. Knowing we would be purchasing another BMW product might make them more lenient in assessing any damages at lease end. (It did in the case of the MINI) If we switched to another brand we would also owe a $350.00 termination fee for each vehicle.
Most of the dealerships I emailed never responded. Others told me to wait a few weeks until new incentives rolled in. Two or three tried to sell me cars currently in stock that came close to my requirements. Finally Ryan at Thompson BMW in Doylestown, PA wrote back and made me a very nice offer on a car with just one flaw: it had those stupid run flat tires. My ideal X1 would not be shod with these useless, over-priced pieces of junk. What's the point of tires you can drive when you have a flat but only for fifty miles? Why not just pay less for regular tires and carry a donut that will take you the same 50 miles to the closest tire shop? And swapping the run flats out for snow tires every winter is a major pain for our local tire guys. The run flats are too stiff and wreck their machines when remounting. They don't want to deal with us anymore.
I had to decline Ryan's offer but he was persistent. Having told him about our previous two European Delivery's and about the fact that this program can save the customer 5 to 7%, he soon worked up an offer for our perfect car. It came in slightly under budget due to a big BMW incentive but it meant financing through BMW's financial services (BMWFS) at a higher interest rate than my credit union could offer. I checked with my credit union and found I might be able to refinance through them later. It took some coaxing on my part to convince Gail to buy such an expensive car, but I reminded her of BMW's reliability, quality, safety, free maintenance for the first 3 years, the first class treatment they always gave us and the innovations they always seem to have before everyone else copies them. However what convinced her to go through with this was the chance to be treated like a VIP at BMW Welt in Munich along with a nice leisurely two week vacation. That and my constant badgering.
I agreed to Thompson's deal and was asked for my preferred delivery dates in Germany. I was caught off guard and quickly glanced at a calendar. I gave them three dates but much preferred the latest of the three which was the second week of May. Sure enough, they gave me the earliest pickup time. At the time this sounded like we were heading to Europe at the tail end of Winter. As things turned out we couldn't have picked two more perfect weeks to go. We had ideal weather throughout our trip. Others taking delivery the week after we did experienced rain every day.
At the same time all of this was going on our kitchen was being gutted in preparation for a complete remodel. Relegated to staying in the same room near our computers every day I had plenty of time to work on the itinerary of our trip. In the past when we had done European Delivery in Munich we had flown in the same day that we picked up the car. The jet lag would hit me in the late afternoon as I was driving the brand new car to our hotel far out of town. Now we had plenty of time to do things smarter. Without having to milk every single second of our precious vacation allotment this time we could fly over a couple of days early, get accustomed to the time change, and pick up the car when we were well rested. We would stay in Munich near BMW Welt and a subway line. We could use public transport to get around the city and not have to worry about parking. BMW gives the buyer 2 weeks of complimentary car insurance while doing European Delivery. We wanted to maximize our usage of that freebie.
I had already devised a somewhat circular tour of Bavaria in my head. The plan was to visit some of the tried and true places and also to include a couple of brand new cities. Almost all of my reservations for accommodations were done through Booking.com. Our two favorite “must-visits” were sold out on that website but direct emails got us our rooms. I had four criteria when booking: Free breakfast, WiFi, parking and under $100 per night. Two of our hotels were a little more expensive but I also found a few places significantly cheaper which brought down the daily average. I also contacted a couple of attractions that we had long wished to visit but could never schedule because of their being closed in the Winter. Additionally, I booked a tour of BMW's Regensbug, Germany plant where our car had been built.
The night before flying over to Europe we stayed at our daughter's house. She would be watching our dog while we were gone. Since her place is equidistant to the airport in Newark there was no sense in adding more mileage to our leased car.
Now things began to run like clockwork. The drive across NJ to Newark Airport was quicker than expected. Getting to Wally Park where we would leave the car for 16 days went without a hitch. Our prepaid reservation was accepted without question. It was a bit of a delay waiting for the shuttle to the airport terminal but we made it to the United counter promptly. Check-in, bag drop-off and then through security. Being old seems to be an advantage stateside because we were passed through security immediately with TSA Pre-check clearance. I hate taking off my shoes.
We had time enough for a snack before boarding our rather full United 767 to Munich. For a change we weren't in the last boarding group so we actually had room in the overhead compartment. I had gone through a long agonizing debate over what to bring on this trip. The weather back home in the Poconos was still cold and “Spring” was just a word to us. The forecast for Germany was daytime temps in the 70's but falling into the 40's at night. I opted not to bring any shorts but packed a bathing suit for the thermal baths I hoped to visit instead. I decided to wear my medium weight Winter jacket for those cold German nights. I never needed it and it was a bit of a pain lugging it around all trip.
Our flight was quite smooth, the food adequate with free beer (The worst beer of the entire trip – Heineken), a nice selection on the inflight entertainment system and clean bathrooms. Neither of us could sleep.
Tot: 2.545s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 22; qc: 100; dbt: 0.0766s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb