I'm a long-time reader but new contributor to BMW enthusiast forums because despite having been a Bimmer fan for several years I only now have one to call my very own! You can check out her specs in my sig – I got the moonroof because I didn’t like how the carbon fiber looked with Le Mans Blue, and I also got the new BMW Apps (6NR) option, discussed below.
I was motivated to create this thread because it was the good advice on these forums that led me to BMW of Austin and Chris Markey in particular, so I wanted to give back to a resource that has already given a lot to me and echo the great comments I read about Chris in case anyone in the Austin area is shopping. He certainly lived up to his reputation.
I'd thought about getting an M3 for a while -- I had an 08 Acura TL Type-S which I really enjoyed, but of course it was all over after test driving the M.
BMW of Austin happens to be right next to a great driving road (Spicewood Springs) and Chris even let me go out by myself. I first seriously looked into ordering last August after reading about the 2011.5 changes, thinking that Combox and a future software update was all I’d need for the “iPod Out” functionality I wanted after seeing a demo video. That turned out not to be true, but more on that in a moment.
After researching what other forum members were paying, I decided that $1500 over invoice would be a reasonable figure for both sides and enough to minimize or eliminate any haggling. I emailed Chris with this offer, he replied promptly to accept it, and that was the selling price -- he didn't agree to that price just to get me there in-person only to raise it, and except for a brief discussion about the validity of my being charged the Texas Vehicle Inventory Tax, I didn't try to force him down further. This is how buying a car should be. Could I have gotten a better deal? Who knows, but I'm happy with what I paid and if Chris would have sold for less, I'll just chalk the extra cost up to supporting a reputable dealership and a great CA in particular, which I'm totally fine with.
Chris knew what he was doing every step of the way, he was prompt and knowledgeable answering my emails and calls, and at no point did he make me feel rushed or pressured. He even proactively kept me updated on the status of my car's production. I work in IT and I first learned the importance and value of treating clients well from my dad, who's a CPA, and it constantly amazes me how few people grasp that concept. Well I'm happy to report that Chris gets it. He made the entire experience painless and exciting.
As it happened I ended up postponing my order, primarily because my fiancee and I had just started planning our wedding so we weren't sure what that budget would look like. Chris was totally understanding and said he would be there for me when the time was right, even taking the time to write detailed answers to follow-up questions I had even after I'd told him I couldn't buy right then. That delay turned out to be advantageous as it's now known that iPod Out is NOT a software-only update for Combox, but instead requires the new BMW Apps option (6NR), which includes an updated version of Smartphone Integration (which I would've skipped on the incorrect assumption that iPod Out used the normal USB port) and newer iDrive software than even the 2011.5s have -- and 6NR will apparently not be (officially) available as a retrofit.
Luckily for me, BMW Apps was announced the day I returned in February to order after plans for my wedding were set, so I added it right away. I would have been pretty frustrated if I'd bought a 2011.5 as I'd originally intended only to have it get obsoleted within a few months of owning it, and I feel for any 2011.5 buyers in that position. I feel BMW has handled this 6NR situation rather poorly -- they introduced Combox touting its software upgradeability only to launch this option 6 months later that can't be retrofitted, the BMW Connected app (which requires 6NR) was released 3 months before 6NR could even be ordered, and the iPhone 4 cradles required for full 6NR (and normal Smartphone Integration) came out 6 months after the iPhone 4 only to get recalled immediately due to overheating issues. It just started shipping again last week and I got it today -- works as advertised, though the new fan to address the overheating is very audible with the center console open (totally silent with it closed though). But that’s neither here nor there.
Bottom line: When I returned in February Chris was just as professional as he was 6 months earlier despite the fact that I regrettably had to back out on him that time. If you're near Austin and in the market, he is the guy you should be talking to!
Anyway, my new beast is gorgeous and thrilling, definitely not a bad way to start my hopefully long relationship with BMW. It must've arrived on our shores in perfect shape because it got in and out of the VPC on the same day with no work order notes, and I actually picked it up right after my bachelor party in Vegas and a few days before my 25th birthday. Between this and my wedding in June, I'm very grateful to be so fortunate. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a 6MT to learn, some BMW CCA events to investigate, and about 1200 miles to cover....