As you step into the world of BMW, you may notice that you can customize one to your liking. It might take a big longer, but your patience is rewarded with the exact spec you want. But what if I told you that there’s a place that makes taking delivery of this unique BMW even more special? Well, there is, at the BMW Performance Center Delivery Experience. I decided to pick up my G80 M3 here.
What is BMW Performance Center Delivery?
A day involving your new BMW that makes the event much more memorable. If you’d like to take delivery of your new BMW at the Performance Center, you can tell your Client Advisor when you make your purchase. Any new BMW can be delivered at the Center in South Carolina (California does not yet offer delivery).
BMW pays for your hotel stay the night before, and provides you with a two-hour track session, two hours with a delivery specialist touring your specific car, lunch, off-roading in an X vehicle, and a BMW plant tour. It’s a busy day.
What is track time like?
First, you don’t take your own BMW on the track – it is, after all, brand new. Instead, use a school car that’s similar to your own. In my case, that meant an M3 Competition, as oppose to my base stick. Close enough.
My track time involved a few exercises; emergency braking, auto cross, and a lesson in under and oversteer on the wet skid pad. It just so happened that many M3 and M4 owners were taking delivery at the same time, but you only share the exercise with one owner, and you each get your own car.
It’s a taste of what M School is like, and as always, it’s extremely fun.
What’s a hot lap like?
The instructors at the Performance Center are real pros – our instructor was a NASCAR driver. They put you in an M3 or M5 and take you for a literal spin on the track, going as fast as they can while following the racing line. You will get thrown around a bit, but it’s extremely fun.
Who shows you around your new car?
If you’ve ever taken delivery at a dealer before, you may have been underwhelmed with the BMW Genius on staff. Sometimes you get lucky, but more often then not, you leave with questions. iDrive is a complex system in modern BMWs.
Well, forget all that at the Performance Center. My guide, Seth, knew the ins-and-outs of my own M3. This is BMW number seven, my second M3, and I know these cars inside and out. Seth knew more.
He showed me settings in regards to M mode that helped set the car up quicker, as well as iDrive quirks in regards to keys and driver profiles. It was a great experience, and an important one, because you’ll most likely have a long drive home.
How do you get home?
I drove all 9 hours and 700 miles back to New Jersey! It’s a great way to get rid of that break-in mileage.
Alternatively, you can have your car shipped back home for an additional cost.
What’s the plant tour like?
If you’re a bit of a tech head like me, you’ll love this part. The BMW Performance Center is literally across the street from BMW’s Spartanburg factory that produces the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7.
They produce over 1,400 cars per day, and you’ll walk the assembly line (from a safe distance) watching each step of the process, from initial chassis construction through the car driving off onto the docks for transport. The tour is set up in the part of the plant where the X3 and X4 are built, and it’s usually about an hour long. Sorry guys, no pics allowed.
Is the Zentrum worth it?
This might be my least favorite part of the day, and you don’t have to go here. The Zentrum is BMW’s museum near the factory, and inside are historically significant vehicles to the brand. If you’re expecting a Welt-like experience, you’ll be disappointed. Still, if you have the time, it’s fun to explore. An E92 M3 GTR on display was a highlight for me.
What’s the X off-road experience?
In addition to the track, the BMW Performance Center features an off-road course. It’s likely you’ll never take your X into an extreme off-road environment, but after doing this course, you’ll want to. Drive through door-high water, go over frame-bending rocks and dare yourself to let hill-decent control take over as you go down a steep hill. It’s a lot of fun, and a great tie-in to the plant tour that showed you how they are built.
What else is included in BMW Performance Center Delivery?
You get a one-night stay at the Marriott Hotel close by, along with dinner, breakfast the next day, transportation from the airport to the hotel, and then to the Performance Center the day of delivery.
Anything you didn’t like?
Nope. They really did think of everything. The customer next to me taking delivery of his M4 did not receive his temp plates from the dealer, and the PDC took care of the problem right away.
The day ends around 3PM, which is plenty of time for you to hit the road onto your next destination.
Does it delay delivery?
In short, yes.
Only when your car is “ready”, meaning it’s passed VPC inspection, will the PDC schedule your delivery. It’s always booked, so expect to wait 2-3 weeks extra for the car.
Geography is also involved. I live in New Jersey, so my boat would have stopped here before heading down to South Carolina. If you live in Chicago, your car must pass through a coastal port anyway, so it might not add much of a delay.
Would you do it again?
I would! And if I didn’t just do it, I’d book it for my X3 M40i. But I plan on going back again, maybe for that M3 CS I want…
To find out more about the Delivery program, visit the school’s website.
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