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      02-04-2012, 02:51 PM   #1
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Test drive experience - kinda disappointing

Hi All,

I went to the Mountain View, CA (Bay Area) BMW dealership today and I test drove two cars: 535i and the M3.

Each car I was allowed to test drive around 7 - 10 minutes. The salesperson did not know squat about either car. I expected her to show me the different settings (Drivelogic, EDC, the power button, "M mode" etc. etc.) and she said people usually drive with everything set to default and I could tell for sure she did not know anything about those settings. She did not know what DSC was and said "I always keep *DCS* on". I also wanted to take turns at high speed, which I did not.

All in all, I came away with the feeling that the 535i and the M3 are pretty much the same (which is BS of course) - but that's the way my test drive went. Of course, I tried shifting and revving on the M3 and the engine sounds great.

I then met her manager and requested for a longer test drive (around 20 mins - 1/2 hour) and I told him I wanted to push the car. But since she was standing next to me, I could not say I wanted a different salesperson who was more knowledgeable. So, it is going to be a test drive with the same person, just a little longer a few days down the line - I don't know how much it can help. Also, when I was trying to push the car, I could tell she was kind of scared, and she was holding on to the sides of the car (max. speed I did was 80 mph on the freeway). She's clearly not a car person.

How do I sort this situation out? Do I contact another dealership so I get a different salesperson?

To be fair to her, I want to add that she was very nice and treated me well and tried to answer all my questions. Just that she did not know much about either car very well.

Considering what an awesome car the M3 is, I think dealerships should have one dedicated "M guy" around to take people on test drives ...

The effect of the test drive on me was this:
Before test drive I think to myself, the M3 is such an awesome car, I am going to get it for sure and the test drive will be like driving on crack.

After the test drive I am like, meh, they both feel more or less the same, with the 535i obviously much bigger and more roomier.

Kind of sad ...

Last edited by cacofonix; 02-04-2012 at 02:59 PM.
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      02-04-2012, 02:59 PM   #2
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I strongly suggest that you find a local Carmax that has an E9X M3 and take it for a spin. It's broken it already, and they're going to be more willing to let you open it up a bit. And if that doesn't work, try other used car places that are more willing to do so.
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      02-04-2012, 03:02 PM   #3
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Right off the bat, I'll tell you this. I was sold on the M3 the moment I drive her. My friend wanted a 535. He was more into the luxury and what not. He had a GS350. I told him he had to drive the M3 and how it was a drivers car and what not. He didn't believe me at all. He was sold on the 535. I went with him to the dealership and convinced him to drive both. He drove the 535 and then the M3. Needless to say, he got the M3!!
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      02-04-2012, 03:05 PM   #4
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Yes, but you got to have someone who knows the car well, and will show you how to drive the car on different settings and push the car. I think I knew much more about the M3 than the salesperson I was with - to be honest.

And clearly, the M3 is way sportier than 535i obviously - just that I didn't see any of that. I must say though that the engine sounds S-W-E-E-T.
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      02-04-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Yeah, many dealerships are loathe to let you flog a new car and I laud those with that policy. On the other hand they will often let you put a used car through its paces. This is what I did with the M3 because I wanted to redline it. Another thought is that sales people can normally sniff out someone who is legitimately shopping with blood in their eye versus someone who is just kicking tires and will usually see to it that the former gets all the test drive they need to seal the deal.

There is little comparison between the 535 and the M3 in terms of fun. The roomier 535 is probably in most ways a better family car but when you get ornery it doesn't deliver anything close to the M. My thought is that you have not been on a test drive. Yet.
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      02-04-2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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they are totally different car , doesnt care if its new or not. I think you should just go and take the 328i no offense. I got a 535i as a loaner before and it drives totally different. Although the sales person knows nothing about car, you should be able to feel the difference between both cars
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      02-04-2012, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cacofonix View Post
Yes, but you got to have someone who knows the car well, and will show you how to drive the car on different settings and push the car. I think I knew much more about the M3 than the salesperson I was with - to be honest.

And clearly, the M3 is way sportier than 535i obviously - just that I didn't see any of that. I must say though that the engine sounds S-W-E-E-T.
I had the exact same experience as you and I got a C63 AMG. Well when the lease was getting close to ending I did another test drive of the M3 but couldn't push the car much or really get a feel for it on the second test drive.

I went ahead and ordered one on faith.

This car is spectacular. The engine revs endlessly and it hauls ass and handles well. No regrets.
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      02-04-2012, 03:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emory335 View Post
first world problems
Awww...somebody found a new meme.
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      02-04-2012, 03:29 PM   #9
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When I bought by used 08 M3 recently, the salesperson (at BMW dealership) let me install my 14 months old carseat in the back and offered to let me take the car for a while to "go show my wife". It was a good move on his part, because it was only the 3rd M3 I had ever driven, and the first alone. At the end of the drive (maybe 30-40 minutes) I started to get a little too used to the car and bought it. Same thing when I bought a used 335 a few years ago, salersperson let me drive the car alone.
I think it's a pretty good move for a salesperson to allow this to a serious buyer.

Last edited by skins333; 02-04-2012 at 03:29 PM. Reason: typo
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      02-04-2012, 03:30 PM   #10
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Bring a friend who knows more about M3, or go for a ride along with a friend that has one. It really helps if the saleperson is a car guy and a fan of the brand, but sadlly most saleperson just care about the numbers and not the brand. If you were any closer i would go with you and show you the different setting, but im in sacramento.
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      02-04-2012, 03:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edjay View Post
Bring a friend who knows more about M3, or go for a ride along with a friend that has one. It really helps if the saleperson is a car guy and a fan of the brand, but sadlly most saleperson just care about the numbers and not the brand. If you were any closer i would go with you and show you the different setting, but im in sacramento.
Its a good point. I have a friend of a friend who has a 2011 M3. Maybe I can ask him to help me out ...
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      02-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #12
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You are buying the car. Man up and say you want to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about. They are a SALES business. If nobody knows, do elsewhere.
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      02-04-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cacofonix View Post
Hi All,

I went to the Mountain View, CA (Bay Area) BMW dealership today and I test drove two cars: 535i and the M3.

Each car I was allowed to test drive around 7 - 10 minutes. The salesperson did not know squat about either car. I expected her to show me the different settings (Drivelogic, EDC, the power button, "M mode" etc. etc.) and she said people usually drive with everything set to default and I could tell for sure she did not know anything about those settings. She did not know what DSC was and said "I always keep *DCS* on". I also wanted to take turns at high speed, which I did not.

All in all, I came away with the feeling that the 535i and the M3 are pretty much the same (which is BS of course) - but that's the way my test drive went. Of course, I tried shifting and revving on the M3 and the engine sounds great.

I then met her manager and requested for a longer test drive (around 20 mins - 1/2 hour) and I told him I wanted to push the car. But since she was standing next to me, I could not say I wanted a different salesperson who was more knowledgeable. So, it is going to be a test drive with the same person, just a little longer a few days down the line - I don't know how much it can help. Also, when I was trying to push the car, I could tell she was kind of scared, and she was holding on to the sides of the car (max. speed I did was 80 mph on the freeway). She's clearly not a car person.

How do I sort this situation out? Do I contact another dealership so I get a different salesperson?

To be fair to her, I want to add that she was very nice and treated me well and tried to answer all my questions. Just that she did not know much about either car very well.

Considering what an awesome car the M3 is, I think dealerships should have one dedicated "M guy" around to take people on test drives ...

The effect of the test drive on me was this:
Before test drive I think to myself, the M3 is such an awesome car, I am going to get it for sure and the test drive will be like driving on crack.

After the test drive I am like, meh, they both feel more or less the same, with the 535i obviously much bigger and more roomier.

Kind of sad ...

Do you also live in the American Gardens Building? Do you like Phil Collins?
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      02-04-2012, 03:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by immiketoo View Post
You are buying the car. Man up and say you want to talk to someone who knows what they're talking about. They are a SALES business. If nobody knows, do elsewhere.
+100000000.

If she's apprehensive about a spirited drive (hands clutching seats) and isn't knowledgeable about the product she's selling, she doesn't deserve the commission on the sale and should probably find a different job.
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      02-04-2012, 03:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cacofonix View Post
Hi All,

I went to the Mountain View, CA (Bay Area) BMW dealership today and I test drove two cars: 535i and the M3.

Each car I was allowed to test drive around 7 - 10 minutes. The salesperson did not know squat about either car. I expected her to show me the different settings (Drivelogic, EDC, the power button, "M mode" etc. etc.) and she said people usually drive with everything set to default and I could tell for sure she did not know anything about those settings. She did not know what DSC was and said "I always keep *DCS* on". I also wanted to take turns at high speed, which I did not.

All in all, I came away with the feeling that the 535i and the M3 are pretty much the same (which is BS of course) - but that's the way my test drive went. Of course, I tried shifting and revving on the M3 and the engine sounds great.

I then met her manager and requested for a longer test drive (around 20 mins - 1/2 hour) and I told him I wanted to push the car. But since she was standing next to me, I could not say I wanted a different salesperson who was more knowledgeable. So, it is going to be a test drive with the same person, just a little longer a few days down the line - I don't know how much it can help. Also, when I was trying to push the car, I could tell she was kind of scared, and she was holding on to the sides of the car (max. speed I did was 80 mph on the freeway). She's clearly not a car person.

How do I sort this situation out? Do I contact another dealership so I get a different salesperson?

To be fair to her, I want to add that she was very nice and treated me well and tried to answer all my questions. Just that she did not know much about either car very well.

Considering what an awesome car the M3 is, I think dealerships should have one dedicated "M guy" around to take people on test drives ...

The effect of the test drive on me was this:
Before test drive I think to myself, the M3 is such an awesome car, I am going to get it for sure and the test drive will be like driving on crack.

After the test drive I am like, meh, they both feel more or less the same, with the 535i obviously much bigger and more roomier.

Kind of sad ...
I'm not sure if there is any dealer out there that will let you push the car to its limits for a test drive specially on the street/highway. If you really want to you can go to BMW performance M school for 1 day and find out how the M3's performs. I tell you this if you do end up getting one you won't be disappointed.
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      02-04-2012, 04:02 PM   #16
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go to a different dealership or find a new sales person. Once I drove off the lot...my sales guys told me let her rip red line 1-3 gear
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      02-04-2012, 04:27 PM   #17
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Definitely get a new sales person...your test drive sounded boring as shit! Not how mine went at all. Tell her manager you want someone who specializes in Ms like someone mentioned above and you won't regret it. Good luck!
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      02-04-2012, 04:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emory335 View Post
first world problems
Right. Because this is a board for people who own (or want to own) a BMW E9x M3. If you're in that position, you're by definition in the top 0.1% or better of the world population. There are a lot of other places to discuss how to solve world hunger, peace, etc.
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      02-04-2012, 04:41 PM   #19
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I don't think any dealer would like the idea of you going over 80mph in one of their cars on a public road.
... more to the point, I'm sure their insurance company wouldn't like it.
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      02-04-2012, 04:42 PM   #20
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You can call the Manager and tell him/her exactly what you told us. Including that she's nice and all. And then request another salesperson.

Look, she doesn't sound like she should be in the car sales business. I'm not trying to be mean, but unless she starts studying and learning more about the cars, she is not going to help the dealership nor herself.
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      02-04-2012, 04:51 PM   #21
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1) All the times that I'd gone for a test drive before buying my M3 (at two different dealerships), the salesperson photocopied my license and handed me the keys with instructions to be back in 20min or so.

2) I'm glad you weren't allowed to push the car, since it was not broken in yet and shouldn't be driven that way. You've got a buddy with an M3, ask him if you can flog his car. At my local dealership, they've had at least one car totaled when a customer turned off DSC during a test drive.

3) If you can't tell the difference between a 535 and M3 within 10 seconds of driving the car, even in sedate city driving, then I'm really not sure what to say to you. I test drove a 535 and knew immediately that anything short of an M5 was out of the question if I went for a 5-series.

4) So what if you know more about the car than the salesperson. With all the info online, if you've read up on a product, this is often the case.
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      02-04-2012, 04:58 PM   #22
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When I was doing the car shopping thing, I was not pleased with the CA I was dealing with and was very polite but honest with the manager about it. So the manager paired me up with another CA, whom I liked much better. I could have just purchased the car elsewhere, but it was important to me to buy locally. At the end of the day, everything worked out, but this was only because I spoke up. M models are not exactly ordinary cars, so you deserve to work with someone who is fully informed about the product. Explain to the manager that the CA seems very pleasant and that you are not trying to take the sale away from said person, but that you would feel much more comfortable working with someone who is more knowledgeable about the M3. If this place wants your business, they will do what it takes to make you happy.
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