Initial Impressions: My wife and I arrived in Spartanburg/Greenville Airport via Delta Airways that evening. Called the Marriott for pickup and 15 mins later we were picked up in a Green 2008 BMW X5 4.8i that whisked us to checkin. Very sweet ride! I wanted to drive the X5 and was impressed by the build and quality of the X5. I had considered trading up my 2003 X5 4.4i for one when they 1st debuted but held off. Its V8 sounds sweet better than my 4.4i (but you are on here to hear about the X5 now are you) LOL. Very nice service from the drive and hotel staff as my wife forgot to bring closed toe shoes (required for the driving courses and factory tour) so the BMW/Marriot driver took us to the local mall to pickup a pair after checkin. Nice touch....
Back to the PDC Delivery...Checkin was easy, quick. Gave them a credit card to guarantee incidentals and then to our room. Typical Marriot fare...King size bed. Cable TV nice bath, etc. Dinner was on BMW tonight at the hotel; choice was from 4 entried from steak to fish with desert included. Wine and alchohol were extra.
8am pickup and shuttle to the PDC Center. Got there and upon entering was greeted by two beautiful M3 coupes parked side by side in the front show area...an AW e92 M3 coupe and a my sparkling Graphite e92 M3 coupe! WOW! I didn't know if the Sparkling Graphite one was mine or not but they both had signs saying "Customer Delivery Vehicle: Please do not touch!" We were then welcomed and introduced to the PDC staff and instructors. Great bunch of guys; wealth of experience there and very approachable.
Quick classroom session on agenda for the day which included: Skidpad, ABS/Panic Braking, and Salom Control Course, Factory Tour, Lunch, Vehicle Delivery, Off Road Course, and BWM Museum. We were divided up into three groups (9 cars were to be delivered which they told us is the maximum they do) and we were paired up with our instructors. 1/2 did Course work and vehicle delivery that AM while the others did the FactoryTour and X5 Off Road Course and after lunch we switched and each groups reversed.
Salom Control Course: Awesome. My group did this one 1st. Each of us got an e92 M3 (those that were taking delivery of M3's that AM..so my group had 2 e92 M3 coupes and one sedan all 6 speed MT's)..others got X6's or 335i's or X5's depending on what they were picking up. Proceeded to do the closed course salom after a orientation lap with the instruction leading us through the course. Was easy at slow speeds but as we did more laps our speeds increased and it became fun and challenging. All the time we were connected by radio to our instructors who radioed instructions and corrections and advice to us. Driver swapout time was avail however in my group both my wife and the other M3 coupe delivery's spouse decided to film us from the instructor's X5 which was parked off the track to the side. Cool. More speed and faster lap times for us! After a few laps we each started cutting down our lap times significantly and only 2 cones fell victim to our efforts I am told.
Next....Skidpad course. They had the water running when we got there as we were the 2nd group to go thru so it was nice and wet! All i will say is that DSC is awesome and without it each of us ended up rearwards forward more than once. Look where you want the vehicle to go was the mantra of our instructors and it does work...or at least with more practice it will!
Oh skidpad course was done in an automatic 335i with paddle shifting.
ABS Panic branking course was next. Here we each took our M3's up from 35mph to approximately 55-60mph in a full ABS panic stop with a left handed apex turn to demonstrate the handling capabilities of the BMW brakes. Our instructor performed it in an X3 and gave us the opportunity after him to demonstrate on our own. Must say braking and turning was easy...remembering to also engage the clutch to keep the car from stalling was another story. More than one of us stalled out at the end cause we were concentrating on braking and turning within the short amount of space given us that downshifting and breaking was like juggling and chewing gum at the same time. Easy to talk about but more difficult to do at the same time!
After this we were taken inside for delivery of our vehicles! The momment of truth had arrived. Honestly I don't remember my guy's name but he was thorough and spend up to lunch time with me going over EVERY aspect of my car. Across from me the other customer in the AW e92 M3 was getting the same individualized treatment. First class all the way. Guys the car has SO MANY options; there was no way we could go over them enough for me to memorize them or profess any confidence in the ability to do them all again or with any proficiency. I was able to start the car; use the Idrive and adjust my seats but that's it! My car had ipod/USB hookup and we walked through the hook up and use as well as the radio, CD and Sat Radio as well. They moved the car outside and then activated Sat radio as well as BMW Assist and Concierge service without any problems and all was done for you by the PDC staff. Best of all was the fact that the PDC staff deferred putting front plates on my car (eventhough Maryland...my state of registration issues 2 plates). After short conference with my wife..we decided to take our chances and leave them off! Delivery complete we were then all pried away from our vehicles for la buffet lunch and conversation with out instructors and fellow PDC delivery customers.
Next up....X5 off road course. Each of us got an X5 and followed our instructors thru the off road course while the others too their deliveries. Course was an enlightening example on the capabilities of the X5 and X6. More capable than I thought off and the hill decent and hill holding features are pretty good. Some of the inclines did scare my wife a little!
After this the PDC instructors asked if we were up for a little taxi ride in M5's which of course we ALL were. So each of us were treated to a full set of laps around the PDC course in M5's with the power button engaged driven by our instructors! Now that was fun...those guys are pretty good. An M6 ride would have been better!
Factory tour took place next and I was amazed at the degree of automation at the Spartanburg Facility. From robots welding X5 and X6 subframes to the sheer amount of cars being produced on the line in a given shift (321 vehicle was the goal during the 10hr shift working while we were there); it was amazing! Also so many nice cars all around..made you kinda want to get another one...sort of like asking for an extra piece of candy after the 1st one...just cant have enough. Factory was very clean and it was nice to see an get an idea of where our cars began their BMW lives from even if they were produced elsewhere for the most part! Oh by the way no cameras or cell phones are allowed in the factory.
Museum tour was okay.. Self guided and small. There is a short virtual tour also available too and a gift shop to purchase BMW items and gifts. There is also a gift shop at the PDC too as well. Oh yeah the PDC and factory are across the street from each other separated but they are building factory #2 at that site near the PDC as well for Z4 production I think.
What else??? We could have stayed drinking beer with some BMW breathen from Munich at the food court at the factory who just happened to be there that Fri afternoon (they do that frequently another delivery customer was told) but it seemed most of us were eager to get back to our cars and either the hotel OR our respective drives home......so most folks it seemed scattered on roads out of Greenville in their respective cars!
My e92 M3 got us home in 7.5 hours at a respectable 70-85 mph and 22-23 mpg! No problems. Sat Radio and Ipod worked flawlessly and best of all 596 miles were logged on the odometer. Now to scrubb off another 604 so I can unlock the full potential of the car!
Sorry for the length but I though the best overview of the PDC process would be appreciated by any of you thinking of doing it.
: great experience, 1st grade service from the staff and a truly memorable way to pick up a BMW (anyone can go to the dealer and sign papers and leave the lot! Why not be different), also nice get away with the spouse and an opportunity to show her why I am the car nut I am (may help for those of you who's significant others think you're nuts to see what its all about!..just a thought)
Also NO additional cost for you...nothing add to the overall purchase of your car so why not? Best of all on the driving courses...NYC=NOT YOUR CARS as our PDC instructors told us!
Not enough driving time....was okay but just an appetizer in a way. 1/2 morning of driving I guess outweight by the need for the factory tour and more time for delivery of your vehicle and 1on1 attention for that. Inability to take pics during the factory tour. Delay in recieving your car as PDC delays your delivery about 30 days or longer as spots fill up quick. So if you get a chance to do it....go ahead why not. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will do it again...this time with an European Delivery to go with it! Why not get 2 bangs on BMW-NA and BMW-AG for my bucks!
NOW the pics that you've all been waiting for!