Un4gettable Weekend (48 hours with BMW; on track/off track/ in the garage)
I am not a professional writer; I am just a BMW fan and Super Dad. So please excuse me for any writing errors on my part. I am more interested in getting the story conveyed and share some of the pictures from an Un4gettable Weekend I just had.
Reflecting back and pondering over the Amazing weekend, I just wanted to take few minutes to capture these moments and share with the community
Beginning of the month I was contacted by Gabriela H (Digital Communications Specialist) at BMWNA. Gabriela contacted me saying how they have noticed my active involvement with the BMW community on the Internet Forums (of course the internet forums is none other than Bimmerpost / E90post). They wanted to interview me on Skype to see if I was the ideal candidate for their Documentary they are creating (The Documentary is on BMW Super Fan). So as the story goes on August 1, 2013 I was contacted by Jess L. at KBS+; KBS+ is BMW’s agency for recording the documentary interview.
Fast Forward to the weekend:
August 24, 2013 9:00 am EST KBS+ shows up at my house in Herndon, VA (For those who are not familiar with Herndon, VA It’s located near Washington DC and a suburb of DC). They come with the full staff of 15 people to record this documentary of BMW SuperFan and how I grew to love this Brand over time from childhood to adulthood. They take about an hour to select the perfect location to interview me in my house as well get the lighting, camera and sound ready.
August 24, 2013 10:15 am EST Camera Roll Take one: Scott from KBS+ starts the interview with a series of question of how I grew to love the brand, what is my favorite BMW, why I like BMWs and how I find them different car company than other brands. They were fairly good questions telling my story and I enjoyed the whole conversation. (Video edits from the interview to come soon but the pictures are already up on BMW twitter and facebook page. Anyways, once the interview concluded they told me they had a surprise for me. Scott asked me to walk outside of my house and knock on the garage door. At this time, I am like what could it be??? But let me roll with it and find out. I walk out to the garage and knock on the door. They carefully open the door to reveal the new F32 Mineral Gray with Coral Red interior. I was speechless when I saw the car. I was dying to see this car, but never imagined I would get the preview in such advanced in my own house. Wow is all I could say. If you see the picture of them opening the garage, you can clearly see how happy I looked.
The goodness doesn’t end there. KBS+’s account Director then tells me the plan for rest of the day. Next, Felix from BMW of Sterling, VA gives me the keys to the car and tells me BMWNA has given me to drive this car around for the next 48 hours. AMMMazing is all I can say. The F32 was fully loaded with Sports/Premium packages. Not to leave out the HD Navigation with HUD unit. I was gushing over the car at this moment. The lines of the car are incredible and make my e92 M3 look classic. Next, Katie B. tells me take an hour to look over the car and get some lunch then meet them at their hotel where they were residing. They stayed at Marriott Court Yard which was few miles from my house. The rest of the day consisted of my wife and I driving through windy roads of Western VA to West Virginia ending at Summit Point Race Track. Where I will be taking the car on the track in closed circuit to test out the car to my liking without any worries of Donut Eating Police Officers.
Next, before we start to roll Katie gives my wife and me a bag full of goodies for the road. The goodies were from Wegman’s and consisted of nuts, water, chocolate covered figs and so many good things I could not name. Shame on me. The staffs of KBS+ were so attentive to all my needs that they made me feel like a SUPERSTAR. Sorry, I meant SUPASTA. Lol.
Once we start rolling, they take various pictures from the front, rear and the side. There were 3 camera Vans rolling the entire time capturing each and every second of my un4gettable weekend. We make a pit stop at a Vineyard in Western VA near Harper’s Fairy. It was beautiful and the weather totally cooperated with us. This is where they took some Hero Shots of me. Lol. Of course I was so in love with the car that I just couldn’t stop smiling.
Finally a little after 5:00pm EST time I arrive at the Summit Point track Gate 1. Where I am greeted and directed to the Jefferson Circuit. Once I arrive, they take a moment to tell me that I have yet another surprise. They flew in Special Team, BMW Performance Driving School’s Chief Driving instructor Matt Mullins to guide me in the track and show me the ins and outs. Whatttttttttttttt? I was shocked and thrilled at the same time. It took me a few minutes to sink in as I am being bombarded with surprises all day long. Mind you these are all great surprises and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Finally when it all sunk in, I had to go over and shake the MAN’s hand again. Matt then took me to the track and familiarizing me with the track. He took me around few laps followed by letting me take the car. Oh, I forgot one more thing. They also had my good friend Brian Hairston from Forcast Wheels at the track to share my joy. I got to really drive the car here and push it. The car was perfect. I was actually able to drive this car faster than my Dinan M3. Having the 3 modes of suspension was a great plus. The comfort for the road, ideal for my wife; the sports for me on the road and Sports Plus for the track. I was amazed how the car handled from the factory with these settings. I was able to push the car in triple digits many times with the Turbo engine. There was very little lag in the turbo spooling up and the 8speed auto Transmission was a delight. It felt as good as the dual clutch without the docile characteristic of the car. The Sports Plus really allowed me to push the car to the limit and test out the suspension and M-performance Brakes at the same time. The car is so refined that I am surprised how they improved on perfection.
At the track, I continue to rip the car around the apex like I stole it. I had a total blast with the car. Subsequently, my wife tracks the car followed by my good friend Brian Hairston. Brian can chime in on how much fun he had.
The concluded at 8:00pm EST. Then we were to drive home the car through the mountain roads of West VA and Western Virginia. The HUD display really came in handy as I never had to take my eyes off the road while the Comfort setting allowed us to unwind the one hour ride back home. It was a wonderful day 1 and couldn’t wait until day 2 to start.
In the am I spend most of the day driving the car on the roads of VA taking my nephews out on a spin. They are the new generation of BMW lovers. Too bad none of them are old enough or close to getting their license anytime soon. However, they did all love the car and called it the BOSS CAR.
August 25th, 4:00pm EST: KBS+ come back to my house to re-interview me for rest of the documentary. They had I pictured detailing the 435i, ask me my input from the track, my future BMWs. The next 3 hours, we spend doing various indoor and outdoor shooting while every neighbor passing by wondering what is going on. The goodness doesn’t stop there; they finally end the day with two more surprises. One for my little daughter (22 months) – They give her a Fire Orange Lime Rock Park Edition push car (paint code 490, just in case we need touch up paint), t-shirts for both my wife and I, BMW mug, cap and a Key fob with all the pictures from the weekend.
I will write more of the technical review later in the day
, but just wanted to Thank BMWNA – I love you guys and the crew at KBS+. They practically felt like a family and we had so much fun together. It was unreal you can have so much fun and care of someone you just met not even 48 hours ago. J I don’t remember everyone’s name, but each and every one made a huge difference in my weekend and making it truly an unforgettable weekend. Katie, Scott, Leigh, Larry, Andrew, Matt, Dae-He, and everyone else you guys are the BEST. It was nothing short of PERFECT DREAM come true. I have loved BMWs even before I knew what they were. The love affair began at age 4 when my parents bought me an orange Matchbox BMW. And the fire burning inside has been put out. BMW continues to surprise the enthusiasts with the latest and greatest toys. There is truly no other brand out there that is as complete and no one manufacturer that puts so much attention to details on a car (or let’s just says cars that most common person can afford).
I am truly blessed to have such an awesome weekend and to be able to enjoy with my wife, daughter, nephews, friend, mom and dad.
This is the end of this chapter. I will write technical review later today to share with you guys regarding the engine, performance and the amazing feeling of driving this car.
Me at the Vineyard:
The crew of KBS+ pushing the car in while I am being interviewed inside the house. They did not want to have the engine running as I may possible hear the car and the surprise may be ruined. So smart of them:
My first real world view of the 435i:
Examining the lines of the car:
My daughter testing the navigation:
My beautiful daughter (Mash’Allah) thinking of how many more years before she can drive a car, she is starting early. 14 years to go.
Me at the Vineyard:
Talking to Brian about the engine:
Matt and I getting ready for the track:
Ripping it at the Summit Point track:
At top speed, lol:
Driving at full throttle:
Thank you all for the positive feedbacks as I am still coming down from Cloud 9. Anyways, as I promised I would also do a technical/performance write up of my experience of the 435i M-package. The 435i M package was loaded with Dynamic Handling Package (which consisted of Variable sports steering and adaptive M-Suspension), Lighting Package, M sport brakes, 19” light Alloy Wheels Double-spoke Style with Mixed Performance Tires, Technology package and Premium Package.
First I want to talk about the exterior and my thoughts on the new looks then I will begin discussion with each of the packages and what I thought of it.
My initial reaction of the car was amazing. I really like the front look of the car much more than the rear. The front is aggressive while I found the rear of the e92 more masculine. The curtain skirts on the front and rear are hot. I know someone was asking what the deal with the fog lights is, some has it and some don’t. If you get the Dynamic Handling Package which includes the adaptive M-suspension, I saw that the fog lights were omitted in the build you bmw on BMWUSA.com Overall, the shape is very nice and pleasant to the eye. The car has grown in every direction from e92 and e46 while lowering the center of gravity.
Here’s how the 4 Series dimensions compare to the E92 and E46.
4 Series Dimensions:
Length: 182.6 in (+1 in than E92 / +5.8 in than E46)
Width: 71.9 in (+1.7 in than E92) / +1.8 in than E46)
Height: 53.6 in (-0.6 in than E92) / -0.4 in than E46)
Wheelbase: 110.6 in (+2 in than E92 / +3.1 in than E46)
The increased length and wheelbase added extra leg room for the rear passengers. While we were driving to West Virginia we had Scott in the rear seat. He is 6 foot plus and he was comfortable throughout the entire ride in. I could not say the same for e92 (M3 which I have). I know I was commuting to work one day and the way back one of my co-worked found another ride back home as he said my rear seats were too crammed for him. Oh well.
The front bumper with the side curtain skirts really give the car an aggressive look. Several people asked me if this car was a M4. I can totally see how this will be a popular route to go with the added M performance front added spoiler in Carbon Fiber. The front LED lights were amazing, the squarish LEDs were bright and at night looked great. Last but not least item on the outside before I move in interior and performance is the color of the car. I have looked at the pallets available for the car from factory and based on that I would say the Mineral Gray is my favorite color. It has s a tint of blue and looks like a follow up to Steel Gray and Sparkling Gray of e46 and e9x respectfully. The Mineral Gray had a lot less orange peel than the previous model years. At certain angles the car’s paint looked like glass. Being a professional detailer, I know if I get this color I can jewel up this paint to even deeper shine. First thing that comes to mind is 22PPLE and/or Opti-Coat for preservation of the paint while Paint Protection Film for the front. The metallic paint is great as it will hide swirls much more than flat paint. This is a winner to begin with. My other choice is Mineral white, which doesn’t look like it will make it to the standard color pallet and in conjunction with the M-Package.
the interior was Superb. I loved it. Up to this point the two most comfortable car in my opinion were the interior of the Porsche Cayenne (which I also own) and a Bentley Continental GT (which I wish I could afford). The fit and finish is on par with cars costing 100k. So this car being substantially less, they have done a superb job. The new steering wheel is a good size in radius and the leather is supple and soft. Even my 6 years old nephew noticed that immediately. It does not take someone with a huge sense of acuity to notice the interior at first glance. My wife has always hated the interior of the BMWs saying they were too plain jane. She however was mesmerized with the interior and told me how great it looked. I could have not disagreed with her. The color of the interior was coral red. I really think any other color for interior is not an option for me. The red mixed with black along with silver trim accents were just the way to go. I tried to build all the possible combos in my head of the mix and match color and I had to conclude that if and when I am to get this car, it will have to have the red interior. Now with red what exterior colors work?? The only two choices I could come up with were white and mineral gray. Since mineral white is not an option, the mineral gray has the upper hand at this moment. As much I love the Estroil blue, I am simply not brave enough to drive a SuperMan color combo car. So the choice is already narrowed down here. Let’s move on.
Tech talk –
the new navigation is called connect-drive. I found the connect drive to be very intuitive. I also own a 2006 750li and I must say that is the worse system in the business, while the new and improve connect-drive is on top of the list. BMW engineers have really thought this through and to increase visibility while minimizing clutter, they have removed the hump for the navigation. This gives the green house much needed visibility compared to previous generations. The seats with lumber support were simply amazing. I drove the car on and off for 6 hours on Saturday. With all the bolsters I was never fatigued. The positioning of the seats was also good. Me being 5 10 and wife being 5 flat, both of us were able to adjust the sports seats with ideal comfort for the road and track. The Navigation had other options that were really cool but not sure how practical. One feature you can turn on where you can see the hp and torque. It looked really nice like a video game, but not sure it would be much use to me while driving. Maybe this is something I will need more seat time to determine. The new touch pad was awesome. I used it for a little bit and I am sure if I had the car for longer period of time, I would have used it for more. The HUD is a must. I used to hate this option with a passion. I have driven a Corvette with the HUD and thought it was the cheesiest thing in the world. The world of BMW have come a long with to perfect it and incorporate it in this car. After a long day at the track, on our way home I used this through the mountainous roads of West VA. I really enjoyed the driving without having to take my eyes of the road (Thanks to HUD). The Navigation with HD display and size gets an A+ from me. LOL, I am easy to please.
The M-suspension, this I really liked. The three setting offering the best of all worlds. I like to drive the car in sport or sports plus mode while the comfort was ideal for my wife who loves the luxury. The suspension travel and body roll is a little too much for me in comfort mode. After the track, I was ripping through town in sports plus cornering like Lewis Hamilton. With the optional LSD soon to be available, this car can become a monster. M brake upgrade, while it looked great not sure if there were any actual difference between the standard and this. Since I have driven only one car, I can’t comment on it but it’s aesthetics. Looks good to me. The brakes were good but I felt the brakes of my M3 is a little more responsive. I along with the world will wait to see what the M4 sports as I am 110% sure I will not be disappointed. The car was also equipped with 19” light Alloy Wheels Double-spoke Style with Mixed Performance Tires. I really liked the tires and how sticky they were. Also it was just noisy enough to let me know when I was at the edge pushing the car to it’s limit, which I found to my liking. I will not compare this to my e92 M3 as I am running 20s and it’s more show than go.
the N55 turbo I found to be a tremendous engine. I know there is a whole lot of discussion of N54 vs N55 engine and how the N54 has capacity to handle 700hp or something like that. I am really not in a hp war, so I am really going to suck in this discussion. What I can say is that the N55 engine was extremely responsive and got the job done in no time. I felt the car felt almost as fast as my M3, however I was able to take this car to higher limits. This could be perhaps I was driving this in a closed circuit track along with professional instructor. The engine also had great amount of low end torque to go from 30-100 pretty fast (according to my butt dyno). The car was equipped with 8 speed automatic transmission. I hate auto transmission but this gear was fast to find the gear in time. Not as fast as the DCT but very much acceptable for someone who do not like auto. The car also came with rev matching when downshifted. I really enjoyed this at the track. Previously I drove the Audi r8 v10 with Dual clutch with rev matching and this was 80% of the performance at 40% of the cost. Woohoo what a bargain!!!
The exhaust had a nice growl from the factory. I would however like the BMW performance exhaust to this car or an aftermarket for my liking.
I think that’s all I can think of right now and if anyone wants to ask any particular question, I will be more than happy to answer them. Thanks for reading my review.