I learned to drive manual in 1991, while in college. It was kind of funny. I came home one summer. My stepfather had bought a Mitsubishi Colt. He did not realize that I could drive a manual until I took my mother and his car to the grocery store. My love for a manual really depends on the car. My Ford Ranger is a manual. It is a 4-cyl, so from the moment I hit the gas, I have to row thru all four gears in quick succession. I do not find this to be fun. I drove a European Ford Mondeo with a manual and it was not the same issue. The easiest manual that I have driven is the BMW 530i. My wife is still kind of frustrated that I did not buy one. I preferred options over size especially given that I had a max that I would spend.
The high HP thing that not make sense to me. The driver is what makes the difference. If ones reflexes are slow they would wrap a Chevy Nova around a tree in no time. Responsive cars have the ability to save lives if one decides to take classes. I believe that most people on this list love spirited driving but safe driving too. I am kind of scared to drive on the road with these pocket rocket flying down the speedway. Even worse, when my wife is behind the wheel, people get to urge to race the BMW. I should take off the model designation. I think that would put an end to that.
My premium for the M3 is $1400 a year for both liability and collision. Liability is 100k/300k coverage.
SL55: A joke! 493hp and an automatic! Weighs 4500lbs -- you thought the M3 was overweight. Cost $120k. I do not have a problem with those who want to buy them, but I will never do a double take on that car.
Mercedes in general has a problem. They are going towards more and more electronic control and are insulating the driver from the driving experience. This formula will probably work in the US, but it does nothing for me personally. I am more impressed by the Subaru WRX driver myself. It doesn't matter to me what people drive, but I love to see someone who LIVES to drive and wants to get the most out of it. My perception of the Mercedes crowd is that they don't care for the experience of the drive so much as the experience of someone seeing them drive.
Echo Dave330i: Check out the article in Automobile magazine. Was very fair and praised some of the new high end sedans out there, but in the end, the M5 won because of its balance and the experience that it gave the driver. Great article. (The M5 is at the end of its product cycle and was the least powerful car in the bunch).
Z4: Not awful, but 4 roundels is overkill (it is sort of embarrassing actually).
Any recommended store (webstore/dealer) that give discount for BMWCCA members? I'm planning to purchase alarm kit and garage opener for my 330i. The Pacificbmw offers lower price (no discount for BMWCCA members) compare to other stores. Are there any other stores that offer good price for BMW accessories?
I really don't think that I have seen anyone cheaper than Pacific BMW. I have bought some of my accessories through them. I think their discount is normally reserved for Bimmer subscribers and BMWCCA members. Passport BMW prices are slightly higher than Pacific. There is a dealer in NJ that offers basically the same price as Pacific.
leenelsonmd: No, nothing special on my car. But Sheila knows about where I live, she lives on the other side of the lake nearest me.
mikekabrisky1: I would try BMW North, if you want to buy in Houston. leenelsonmd will tell you how much he enjoyed his experience there. Second to that I think is Advantage Downtown, where I bought mine. They were pretty fair, just not great, about prices. I have no idea about Advantage Clear Lake, I don't know how independently they operate from Advantage Downtown. I like the downtown dealership since I work downtown and can drop my car off for service very easily. leenelsonmd, does BMW North deliver the loaner car to you when you need service (I had a friend who had that service from them)? If so, that would make me buy my next one from them, considering the dealership is on the other side of town from my house, while the other three are all within 20 minutes drive.
I would stay away from Momentum, if they are still trying to convince people that everyone pays MSRP for all BMWs. A 330ci is common enough to rate a discount. Now, if you were buying an M3 or the new Z4, you would have a problem getting it for less than MSRP. I would, however, go to Momentum to have them take you on a drive on the test track. I felt no guilt about doing that and then not buying my car from them.