I am finally getting around to posting pictures and a write up for my Le Mans Blue E93 M3. It was very difficult picking out "the best" pictures from the 2000 or so I took, and also a chore! Many of them were amazing and I tried to keep this thread down in size.
My car specs are:
- Le Mans Blue exterior/Black Novillo interior/Blue-gray Brushed Aluminum trim
- 19" 220M wheels
I got into Munich around 12pm on June 11 with a delivery the same day at 5:10pm. While thankfully all of the flights were on time (I had 1 connection in Paris), in retrospect this was probably not a good idea. Not because of jet lag or anything - I wasn't tired at all that day but really excited. My delivery was on a Saturday, and if my flights were delayed at all and I missed the ED, I would've had to wait until Tuesday! That Monday was a holiday and they don't do deliveries on Sunday. But everything worked out well. I did have a slight problem getting to the Welt on the S8 from the airport. I was planning to switch to the underground at Marienplatz until I found out the train I was on completely bypasses the city after stopping at Ostbahnhof. I ended up at Pasings with other confused travelers after thinking to myself, "This trip sure is taking a long time after Ostbahnhof." This only set me back 30 minutes or so and I still had plenty of time.
Having never driven an M3 prior to picking it up for the first time here, this made the ED experience all that more special. It is in a completely different league than my E90 328xi. While I loved that car and it will be missed, the M3 is a completely different beast. The sound of the V8 alone is something else. My expectations were exceeded by the car and BMW Welt experience itself.
In what seems to be typical for Germany, it was rainy and cold there - about 60 degrees or so. I was bummed about that, but wasn't staying in Munich for long anyway. Once at the Welt I was too excited to care. I spent the next few hours up until delivery exploring the Welt, watching other people get deliveries, getting my engraved key chain, taking pics, and enjoying the Premium Lounge. I decided to skip the factory tour because of my tight schedule and the fact that the Munich tour has the best part closed right now, and I have heard the Regensburg and Dingolfing tours are way better. There was a good amount of other people there in and around the Welt. Spotted an Alpine White 1M outside.
The entire experience was amazing and top notch. I didn't even get to see the museum this day. There is tons to do in the Welt, even just watching other people get their cars.
After exploring I hung out in the Premium Lounge for a bit.
I was hoping to catch my car as they brought it up the elevator but unfortunately missed it. With my 5:10pm timeslot I was the last delivery of the day. They asked if I wanted to move it up, but I told them no since I wanted to explore and relax. I stepped out onto the little observation deck from the Premium Lounge and spotted my car for the first time!
I took a ton of pictures then of the car at varying angles up until delivery time. My delivery specialist was Rolf who did a nice job of going over all the features on the car. Of course I was more excited to drive it at this point.
Sadly the top had to go up because it was raining and cold. I absolutely love the color though. The car had 2km on the odometer.
After Rolf went over everything, I made my victory lap and had the nav guide me to my hotel - ACHAT Munchen Sud (missing umlauts here, I know). I had an embarrassing experience immediately after leaving the Welt that I will conveniently leave out.
The nav worked out perfectly and the hotel was a nice, new business hotel type of place. I parked the car on the street and didn't have any issues. I didn't have many problems with the nav on the trip, but there were a couple such as 1) maps being outdated, 2) guiding me down 'Do not enter' streets, and 3) a tricky turnaround I had to make in a tight area because it sent me down a road closed for construction in downtown Trento, Italy.
Next morning it had rained overnight but was supposed to clear and get warmer. I checked out of the hotel and began the trip to Venice with backroads and stops along the way.
First stop was Linderhof Castle. Here is the M parked before most of the other tourists arrived.
The castle itself was beautiful with nicely landscaped grounds and gardens. There is also this grotto/cave area you can go into.
After Linderhof, I continued into Austria and past the Plansee. Weather finally got a little warmer, so the top went down!
The car definitely turned heads and I got a lot of compliments on it. I went to this rest area named Zugspitzblick and overheard people talking about it in German.
I then went to Nauders, Austria and stopped by this old WWI gate/fort kind of complex. It's built into the mountainside and over a small river. It was closed on this day unfortunately, but still made for nice pictures.
Next stop was Lago di Resia in Italy. Parked next to a Boxster S here. I'll still take the M3 over it
At this lake is an old 14th century church tower that is still standing and you can walk around.
I continued toward Stelvio Pass and made a photo stop.
I ended the day in Trafoi, at the base of Stelvio Pass at a family-run pension named Cafe Garni Interski. I had a nice view from the place and the owners were very interesting to talk to:
Overnight it rained and got cloudy. This made the drive up Stelvio Pass slightly less enjoyable since the clouds were hiding much of the scenery. On a good note, I was practically the only person driving up.
I wasn't totally alone though. On the way up I parked on the side of the road to snap some pics and saw these guys coming in the rear mirror...Ferrari #1
I could hear the exhausts on these cars way up in the pass and they sounded great! There's no shortage of hairpin turns here either.
It was 37 degrees at the peak of Stelvio. Good enough for some skiing.
The drive down the south side of Stelvio Pass is much more picturesque than the other side, in my opinion.
I stopped down here to take some pictures and there was another guy there. They waited until I left and took pictures of the car as I drove off
Even the chickens are checking out the M3
Didn't realize until after I entered the tunnel that it was meant for one way traffic only. Thankfully nobody else was coming either because I didn't check before you enter it. Truly some amazing scenery with the rocky cliffs and mountains on this side of Stelvio though.
After I got down from Stelvio Pass, I went through Bormio and up another pass on the road leading east out of Bormio. I am not sure of the name of it, but it is fairly high and made me nervous as the road kept getting narrower and narrower, more so than Stelvio. To make matters worse, around and after the peak and weather conditions deteriorated.
It was bad enough that the road was only fit for a driveway to somebody's house, but it became rainy and incredibly foggy. I had never encountered fog like this before and there are lots of "blind" turns on this mountain pass where only 1 car can fit and you can't see around the corner due to rock.
What we need next is an avalanche.
When I thought things couldn't get worse, I entered a tunnel and literally could not see more than 30-40 feet in front of me at certain points. I had to put the high beams on to see anything. Definitely a bit of a scary moment when you're traveling alone and there's nobody else in sight.
I was happy to see this then.
Eventually I did make it down to the valley after some very careful driving. I pushed forward and headed towards Lago di Garda after the nav directed me through downtown Trento in Italy. I got a quick lesson on driving in Italy. Lago di Garda has very beautiful cliffs surrounding the lake.
The weather got warmer and sunnier, good enough for some topless action.
I made it to my villa outside Venice that night after a "spirited" drive on the Autostrada where I spotted an M6. I didn't see any flashes in my rear view mirror, so we'll see if any tickets come in the next couple months
The villa was a nice place with a canal in front of it (behind me in the below pic) and really felt traditional.
The next day I drove to a ferry and took it into Venice. It's a nice city but expect to be walking a lot. After a couple of hours I was getting tired of the amount of tourists and people smoking like chimneys. That can be said about Europe in general. It's annoying eating outside and having somebody sit down nearby and light up, which is very likely to happen.
After Venice, I went back to the villa. The car was pretty filthy at this point and there happened to be a car wash where you could drive in and wash it yourself with the hoses hanging overhead. It was just the type of car wash I was looking for and only cost 5 euros. The next day I began the journey back to Germany and went to Lake Como. It was a beautiful, warm day and excellent weather. The above picture was near Bellamo after getting off the Autostrada.
Next I am headed to Varenna to take the car ferry across the lake. I wish I had more time to spend there as it looked like a quiet town on the lake.
Then the ferry came and the M was loaded on along with two campers and some more vehicles.
I then drove towards Lugano into Switzerland. When I was crossing the border into Switzerland they were checking for vignettes and I didn't have mine yet. I thought it was only needed for driving on the Autobahns in Switzerland so I was going to pick it up later. Turns out you need it for driving there period it seems. They made me pull over and buy it there on the spot. After that I continued north and drove through the Gotthard Road Tunnel, the third longest road tunnel in the world. If I remember right, it took at least a good 15 minutes to drive through it. It was also hot inside and got up near 90 degrees according to the car.
After the tunnel, I went up another smaller pass to Andermatt. This area was very beautiful.
Find the M3
This is near the top of the pass now. It was probably one of my favorite areas on the whole trip.
After Andermatt, I took a wrong turn but realized it fairly quickly. Even when getting lost in the Alps, you're bound to come across some amazing mountains.
The next morning I headed towards the Furka Pass.
Finally I was able to go up a pass and have some decent, sunny weather.
I then drove down that pass and past Gletsch toward the Gelmersee.
Here I took the Gelmerseebahn up the mountain to the Gelmersee. It is one of the steepest funiculars in the world. It is kind of scary going up because at first you're leaning back a little bit and as it gets steeper and steeper you start leaning forward more.
It was well worth the trip going up. It's kind of like a slow rollercoaster.
Once up top, there is a dam you can walk across as well as a lake you can walk around.
Certain parts of the trail are quite narrow and definitely at your own risk.
And back down we go!
After going back down, there is also a swinging bridge you can walk across. I made it halfway across before turning around
Then decided on a whim to drive to Interlaken which was nearby, and it was worth the drive. The lake is a gorgeous aqua color.
I also want to say I love the exhaust sound on the car. I would be driving around and people would turn around just to see that sound is.
Anyway, I then backtracked a bit and went up the Susten Pass.
The top went up shortly after because it got much cooler.
There's a good view of a glacier up here.
After this I went up yet another nearby pass - the Klausen Pass I think it's called. There was a sign posted - "Dangerous stretch." They weren't kidding. Blind corners, narrow road, and a thin rail protecting you from the edge. After this sign there were two flower memorials. It doesn't instill much confidence.
It began to rain near the top of the pass and quite heavily and made the path down very interesting. I went to a McDonalds then and saw this modded BMW there. McDonalds over there is rather convenient because the food is cheap, no smokers (but sometimes pets), it's clean, free bathrooms, and it's quick. No waiting for the bill or food. Sometimes you just want to keep on moving. The only thing you need to watch out for is sorting your trash into the proper bins.
The next morning I drove through Liechtenstein and into Austria towards Fussen. I had no intentions of going there, but decided to mostly for pictures and it turned out to be a great day. I went up another pass in Austria through Lech.
Obligatory castle pic.
I then walked up to Hohenschwangau Castle and walked around the gardens. You can go there for free and only need to pay to go inside. I figured I can go into the castle anytime, but will only be in Germany with an M3 this week so I'd rather spend it driving the car and making the most out of that.
And then it was back to Munich, but not before flooring it on the autobahn!
The next day was horrible, crappy weather in Munich. It must've been low 50s with a steady rain. I dropped the car off at the airport and said my goodbyes, where another Bimmerfest'er also earlier dropped off their matching Le Mans Blue M3!
The rest of the day was spent at the BMW Welt and going to the BMW Museum. Everyone has seen pictures of those, so I'm not posting any. A German was there picking up a VO 1M at the Welt. I actually came back to the Welt also because the picture the professional photographer takes with you and the car when you go to pick it up I accidentally left behind. Luckily they were able to retrieve it! I also got to double dip at the Premium Lounge
With the rain and cold it was an indoor type of day so I went over to the Olympiaturm then. The next day I sadly flew back home.
Oh, and if you're ever in Italy and need gas, you want senza piombo. I had quite a bit of confusion when wondering what the hell I needed to get. There is a pump also labeled Gasoline which apparently is kerosene. I also had a funny encounter when paying at the gas station, because the cashier came running after me to hear the M3 started up.
So after countless hairpin turns, u-turns, tunnels, and circles I am back in the US waiting for my car which just got on a ship this past Sunday. I have a new appreciation for circles...they really keep traffic flowing with minimum stopping where it isn't needed. Overall it was an amazing trip and I definitely recommend everyone do ED at some point. I had never imagined that I would be getting an M3 this year or doing ED and I don't regret either one bit. Everything went smooth after lots and lots of planning. I would totally only consider getting my next BMW via ED.