Continued from It ‘s a Process: Choosing the Right Car (Part I)

Having established my requirements and narrowing the list of prospective BMW vehicles down to 3 or 5 series sedans my search continued. Before I go any further it is important to note: BimmerFile is independent and does not work with, for, or have agreements with any of the BMW dealerships mentioned here. The opinions expressed are based on this individual experience and as always your experience may vary.

I have battled many New York winters in rear wheel, all wheel and front wheel drive cars. It is obvious that the xDrive system would be the best bet for winter but with a good set of winter tires along with the nice 50/50 weight distribution any BMW can make it through some snow safely. With that being said; xDrive, while a nice bonus, would not be a requirement when deciding on the next car. My wife’s car having xDrive also made this less of an issue because if we really needed to get through the snow there is no doubt that we could. The other reason for not getting xDrive is the lack of a true sports suspension, something I have missed in my current car and something that I truly wanted this go around.

So in reality I was left with three choices: the BMW 335i, 535i and 550i. With my short list established I began building cars over at the build your own configurator on, better seeing where these cars fit into the pre-established price range my wife and I had agreed upon. If it were up to me I would spend every last dime I earn on my cars, it is that simple. Some people are drinkers, smokers and so on, I am a BMW addict (there I admitted it) but recovery is not something I would like to explore at this time.

With the wide range in pricing based on chosen options and the specific model this became more complicated than I had thought it would be. From a lightly optioned 335i to a loaded 550i we are talking almost a range of 30 thousand dollars. Is the 550 with all those options really that much more car than the 335i? The short answer is yes but as with everything in life there has to be a happy medium and in this case it was not the 535i, it was the ///M3 sedan.

You are probably sitting there thinking, how did he go from looking at the 335i and 550i to the ///M3? Simple, I learned that dealers were now willing to move 2008 ///M sedans at a significant discount as well as BMW offering some great incentives. Having driven one earlier in the year I knew exactly what the car was about and that it would meet my needs and wants exceedingly. Now it would do all that while staying in that magic number for the budget. I would have been more than happy with the other choices, but as far as bang for the buck and overall fun factor the ///M was an absolute no brainer for me and with my wife giving me the green light, it was a go.

Once I knew I was seeking out an ///M, I realized that I would be unable to conduct business with my regular dealer, Wide World of Cars (Pat Holden and Joe Segreti), as they already had sold all of their 2008 ///M3 sedans so they would be unable to help me this go around.

The first mission was to find a car built the way I would have ordered one, or at least close to what I would have. I scoured the net and dealers inventories. I also had one of our great contacts run a vehicle search for me. Bam, there were still 90 E90 M3s in the East. That list dwindled down a bit based on specific colors and options I had chosen or eliminated. No red paint, no 19 ” wheels, no Moonroof, Technology package was an absolute must.

After contacting about 20 separate dealers within a 5-hour drive, I learned a lot about dealers and their games. Having had a great deal of experience with purchasing cars I can honestly say that I was amazed at some of the nonsense that was thrown my way. I don’t know how some of these places sell cars or even how people put up with it.

One dealer had 4 separate salespeople contact me, each giving me a different story about what they may or may not have in stock and how I must schedule an appointment and drive to meet with them. Mind you I am out of town visiting the in-laws to celebrate the holidays and all the dealers knew this, they still insisted I needed to drive there immediately. Wait a minute, I thought this was internet sales?

Another dealer kept giving me the wrong information, guess they were trying to rid themselves of an ///M3 Convertible, nope not for me. Some never even returned my calls or emails.

The trials and tribulations continued for the most part. There were several dealers that were willing to work with me over the phone and via email, meeting my needs as the customer. Finally it came down to price, colors and options.

In the end, the car I decided upon is Jerez Black metallic, Black Novillo leather with Sycamore Anthracite Wood trim. Some will say wood does not belong in an ///M, I would have agreed if BMW offered something else that was not just paintedplastic or leather made to look like carbon fiber; real carbon fiber anyone? Plus I like how most people won ‘t have it. It is equipped with the Premium Package, Technology Package (Comfort Access, Electronic Damping Control, Navigation, M-Dynamic Mode), Cold Weather Package, iPod Adapter and Enhanced Premium Sound.The only item this car was equipped with that I would probably not have originally ordered is the Enhanced Premium Sound (more on this in my future review of the car, but in short I am thoroughly impressed with this sound system and glad to have it).

I was fortunate to find a dealer that made this transaction as painless as possible and was able to meet my needs by conducting business over the phone or email.This was Devon Hill BMW. Being located just outside Philadelphia, Pa. the trip for me from the metro NYC area was simple. Dealings with my client advisor Claudio Mascioli could not have been any better, from our first conversation I knew he was going to be a top-notch guy. There was no need for me to haggle, as what was offered was more than a fair price. I am not one to waste my time with negotiating over a few bucks since life is too short and dealers, as well as salespeople, need to pay bills just like the rest of us. While 6 hours away from home at my in-laws, with exchanging just a few emails and phone calls, everything was set to go. We scheduled the pickup for New Years Eve Day so that I would qualify for the promotional ///M driving school BMW kindly offered up to those purchasing ///M3s.

We safely arrived at Devon Hill, and there she was.

To be continued…