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      08-12-2014, 11:02 AM   #1
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M4 PCD Delivery Story

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I've had my Austin Yellow M4 for about two weeks. I picked it up in Spartanburg at the PDC. Since my 15 year old nephew is a car nut with an encyclopedic knowledge of sports cars over multiple decades, I thought he would enjoy taking part in the delivery festivities at the PDC and the subsequent road trip through the Nantahala national forest and parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is my fifth M3. My prior cars included an E36, two E46s, and an E92 with the aesthetic (i.e. competition) package. Ive always really enjoyed the M3s and the anticipation of getting the next generation of these cars.

I was particularly hopeful for the F8X generation, because the E92 didn't meet the lofty expectations I had for a V-8 M3. As great as it was, it just didn't feel like a V-8 to me. At speed and running though some curvy mountain roads, the E92 was blissful. However, I grew up a muscle car fan, didn't know cars could ever go around turns that well until I test drove the E36, and always expected a good V-8 to pin you to the seat coming off the line and keep holding you there until a healthy fear of the cops or a turn popped up.

My nephew could never understand why I liked M3s. He thought they were too expensive and that you could get more performance out of a cheaper car. While there is truth to that, he didn't give any points for being a great daily driver, being well engineered, material quality, fit and finish, style, etc. My undergrad is in engineering, and Ive always admired the thought the goes into each aspect and part of an M3. However, I must admit that having a 10-15 year old over the past five years constantly think I made poor sports car choices made me think. Add that to the let down over the V-8 of the E92, and I had the following recipe: if the M4 doesn't feel real powerful, go get a C63 despite the transmission or a new Vette despite being a Vette. You cant help but like the Vette, even with all that plastic and the nobs and levers from the Cruz.

For those that haven't taken delivery at the PDC in Spartanburg, I highly recommend it. It won't substitute for a full track day, but the whole experience is pretty fantastic. BMW puts you up in the Marriott, feeds you dinner and breakfast, and takes care of the transportation from the airport to the Marriott and from the Marriott to the PDC. We were picked up in a new X5 diesel by a nice gentleman, who immediately caused some anxiety. He asked up what we were picking up. I said an M4 and noted that my nephew and I were excited about flogging someone else's M4 on the track. To my surprise, our guide noted that he was pretty sure that my nephew would not get to drive. Think about being 15, having your learners permit for two weeks, and your uncle getting your hopes up to drive an M4 on a track. I'm sure the only person more excited about the delivery than me was my nephew. I thought BMW, as crazy as it sounds, was going to let him do whatever I got to do. In any event, the dinner that night at the Marriott was fantastic, much better than I had expected, and breakfast was nice as well. While not addressing the elephant in the room, I was really hoping that my nephew was going to get to drive, or at least ride along.

After breakfast and as we started the 12-15 minute ride in the shuttle over to the PDC, the other passengers started talking about the cars that they would soon pick up. I found out that our group would be picking up a 5 series, two 3 series, an X5, and low and behold, another M4. They asked me what I was picking up, and I said an M4. I asked them what colors they were getting. All responded with white. When they asked me about the color of my M4, I sheepishly said Austin Yellow (AY). At this point I'd seen pictures, but had not seen the color in real life. I was most anxious as to whether I would like the color, as it seemed very polarizing on the forum, and no one that I know who had saw the pictures had a very positive response. I was hoping that I wouldn't be driving home in a car that was painted a color that I couldn't stand. Did I mention that my nephew really pushed for SO and highly advised against AY? I guess I could always fly him back alone while I drove myself home in a new color that was inspired by a diarrhea stained banana.

The PDC has numerous glass bays that extend from the main body of the building. Each bay can house two cars for delivery. The main entrance to the building is the central one of these bays and housed a white 5 series and the my AY M4. As the shuttle came to a stop and I saw the M4 sitting inside, I couldn't help grinning like a pubescent boy seeing boobs in the flesh for the first time. Even through the shuttle glass and the bay glass, I was immediately enamored with the color. Many on the shuttle were going that must be yours. I know it isn't for everyone, but I love AY. Ive had a bunch of white, black, silver, and gray cars, and now that Ive had a fun color like this, I may not go back. I fixed a totaled mustang GT that was red when I was in engineering school and always like that red car with the black hood bulge. Being a poor kid who was able to scrape up enough to parlay a little cash and some sweat equity into a 5.0 in the late 80s made me feel like Vanilla Ice during his summer of fame. The AY brought back those feelings. The M4 is beautiful, but AY makes it seem special, at least to me. It was a hit with the group as well, and most surprisingly, my nephew. He thought it was awesome.

As much as I wanted to check it out, we were quickly ushered to a fishbowl of a briefing room in the back for an overview of the upcoming track events. The driver instructors were greatly charismatic and informative, but the backdrop was hard to resist. Through the windows you could see every color of M3, M4, M5, M6, X M5/6 that are made. Lines of M cars were just waiting to be driven. Yas Marina Blue is great in person. SO is more subdued that I thought it would be in the sun, but very nice. SS II flickered like a blue-hued barracuda. At one point, my nephew about knocks me out of my chair to see a vintage M1 (not a 1M) drive by. It still looks cool. On the track, we will do a braking exercise, a road course exercise, and a skid pad exercise. The details were discussed, but we were a bit too focused on checking out the cars to listen.

Our driver instructor is Matt Mullens, who was charismatic, fun, patient and great all day. He walked us to our test M4, which was also AY, and asked how old my nephew was. I said 15 and quickly noted that he had a learners permit and wanted to participate. I didn't note that the learners permit was less than a week old. Matt unfortunately said that would be problem just kidding. Matt said no problem, and my nephew commenced to try not to pee himself. I couldn't have been more happy for him, but jumped into the drivers seat first. Matt dropped a walkie talkie in the drivers door storage compartment and told us to start the car. Matt would use his walkie talkie to talk us through the various exercises.

We followed Matt out of the breaking exercise where we made numerous braking runs. Each run consisted of bringing the car up to a set speed and them shoving the brake pedal through the floor. The actual braking portion was between two lines of cones, which had a slight bend to the left at the end. Matt had us stand outside of our cars by the braking portion as he gave us three demonstrations at different speeds. The first point was that braking distance quadruples for each doubling of speed. The second point was that BMWs generally have great brakes. It was out turn. Matt noted that we could and should get on the car as we drove from the braking point back to the starting point. For a hillbilly like myself, that is an open invitation to see how the car accelerates from a rolling start.

Its in MDM mode, I floor it, the tires roll, my nephew yells Oh crap, this is the fastest car Ive ever been in, I flick the right steering wheel paddle, the tires roll again, and we all giggle like little girls before needing to brake. The car pulls real hard right from the bottom and keeps on pulling. Finally, an M3, er M4, with real muscle. I love it, see potential, and want to do it again. But, that wasn't the exercise. Braking is the exercise. I roll back down the track at a constant speed to the braking section and hit the brakes. We stop fast. The brakes seem great, but Matt yells over and says to push the pedal through the floor. He didn't think that I stood on the pedal as hard I could or should. I didn't. Doing so seems so abusive, but Matt insists. I promised to brake harder on the next run right after I do another giggle inducing 0-80 MPH sprint to get back in line. For the next braking run, the speed was higher, and I headed Matts instruction. The carbon ceramic brakes are fantastic. I later ask Matt about the steel brakes on my car, and he says that they work just as well, unless you are on the track for an extended period of time. I could have alternated sprints and brake runs all day, but it was time to let the nephew have a go at it after about five runs. The only thing more fun than doing the runs myself was watching him do the sprint back to the start and brake runs himself. It was also cool to get to ride in the passenger seat and experience the car during this exercise. It feels fast and powerful and is fast and powerful from both seats.

Up next was the road course. My nephew was in the drivers seat and was going to the run the road course first. We followed Matt and the other M4 purchaser through the course to get familiar with it. The course wasn't real long, but it had a slalom section, turns of different radiuses, and enough room to get enough speed on the course to make things exciting. Matt pulled to the side, got out of his car, spaced my M4 and the other M4 apart, and turned us loose, after asking us to take it slow for the first lap or two. To my surprise, my nephew handled the car very well. He flew through the slalom, just missing the cones, and around the turns. I grew comfortable with his ability, but never quite got used to being a passenger in a situation like that. My nephew ran numerous laps, and then, it was my turn. I drove it like I stole it. I wasn't smooth, but was stomping both pedals like I was killing trying to kill something. The car stayed so flat in the turns and through the slalom, it was hard to believe. All of my prior M3s have been pretty roll resistant and responded to switch backs well, but this car wants to stay flat on a noticeably different level. Ive heard that only the AY M4s are this good, but that could be wrong. Also, when the car did slide, the slides were very controllable. The car is very quick and builds speed very fast. My E92 M3 would give you time to get ready for the speed, the M4 just pours it on immediately. Its the first M3/4 that almost seems dangerous in how quickly it builds speed. Needless to say, we were impressed. So impressed that my anti-BMW, car fanatic, nephew proclaims that he was wrong to dismiss the car before we even get to the skid pad. My nephew tends to be stubborn and pretty opinionated. Ive never heard him admit to being wrong, let alone just proclaim it like that. Oh, the power of the turbos.

The third event was the skid pad. We actually used the beater 335 instead of the M4s for this. The skid pad was wet, and Matt jumped in the car with us on this event. For the first few runs, we tracked just outside of the circular, yellow line with the traction control off. Once a steady 22-25 MPH was reached, Matt told us to floor it. Within milliseconds of flooring it, we are sent into a 360 degree tailspin great fun. With traction control on, you can really feel the car working on all four corners to keep things under control, and it does. This was great thing to experience, if you are fascinated by car technology in general. My nephew wanted to drift, but Matt charismatically forced him to spin out, when his turn without traction control came up. At that point we head back to the pit.

When we get back to the pit, Matt invites us for a hot lap of the full course, which is a decent length, in a comp package SS II M5 without any traction nannies engaged. Needless to say, Matt wanted to show off, and he did with great amounts of flare, drift angles, and tire smoke. If the lap was a mile, the rear wheels saw four miles. We were way sideways in every corner, hit around 120 on the back straight, did about three sideways laps on the wet skid pad, and then sprinted to the pit exhilarating. We both wanted more, but BMW was paying for the tires. Ive been on hot laps with pro drivers on multiple occasions, but never in a street car or with so much drifting. The M5 and Matt were impressive. My nephew told Matt that the lap was awesome, and Matt responded that the M4 would match it around the track with just as much tire spinning flair. It would have been fun to find out, but our track time was done.

I next meet a nice lady who would spent an hour and a half going through all of the features of the vehicle. There are a LOT of features. She seemed to be intrigued by the color, said it was really growing on her, and noted that she hadnt seen any AY Ms get delivered yet. It was honestly a bit overwhelming to go over each item on each page of the i-drive, but it was helpful. There were many features that I may not have known existed. We also got my phone paired, which is easy, but nice to get done, and configured the M1 and M2 buttons. I guessed wrong and will tweak them soon. Lunch in the cafeteria was next. It was great and free. Matt ate with us. My nephew and I enjoyed talking with him about his background, cars, and working at the PDC. Lunch was fun for me and very nice for a teenager to get to meet and talk to people with such diverse backgrounds.

After lunch, we hoped in an X5 and headed to the off road course. This was unexpected fun. We drove through 20+ inches of water for an extended time and traversed uneven ground, steep hills, sideways inclines, and the like. My nephew and I switched seats halfway through. The X5s did a great job and showed more off road savvy than one might expect.

So, what more can you ask for in one day. Ill tell you. We had a neat tour of the manufacturing facility. I love stuff like this, and it was the first time for me to tour an automotive manufacturing plant. What an operation. They build 1100 X3, X4, X5, and X6s a day. They will soon add the new X7 to the lineup. The X1 is built elsewhere. 70% of these cars are exported. The most amazing thing is to see how many of the SUVs are white. Its a sea of white with minor crests of silver and black. A few red, blue, and goldish Xs are mixed in ever so lightly as if someone ran out of colored sprinkles at Baskin Robins.

We made a quick pass through the BMW museum, which was adjacent the manufacturing plant. I'm not sure if we were tired or the small museum was boring, but we didn't stay long.

After the museum, we headed to Asheville, NC on route 274 through the Nantahala National Forest. Getting to the Nantahala National Forest was a pain. There was massive road resurfacing going on, which left the roads very rough and completely covered with gravel for what seemed like miles at a time. I drove very slow, pissed off the locals who passed me in apparent anger, and cringed at the constant clamor of pebbles getting throw up inside the wheel-wells (and elsewhere).

When the resurfacing ended, the glorious, curvy mountain roads emerged. With the gobs of low in torque and eagerness to run, the M4 sprinted from turn to turn with a ridiculous combination of urgency and ease while still minding the break-in recommendations for the most part. This car would be a beast if the redline was 5500. Its easily my favorite car by far. The steering is precise, and the chassis gives great feedback and keeps the car staunchly planted. This is my first go with the Michelin PSS rubber, and they seem fantastic. While Im far from an expert, the rear differential (and everything else) seems to work wonderfully in the twisties. The car turns in great without under- or over-steer and comes out the turns with great power and precision. My past M3s would tend to understeer going in and oversteer coming out of similar conditions. At this point, I realize that I may never really need (or want) much more car than this. It is way more capable than me.

I haven't mentioned the sound yet. I like the sound and cant really tell anything artificial is going on. The inside soundtrack is fun and the outside sound is frenetic. I think it matches the look, performance, and character of the car. Its a highly refined bruiser that wails, burps, and farts while doing its bidding. I know sound is very subjective, but I would encourage folks to give it a chance. I think too many people want it to sound like something else, but this is an M4 and it sounds like an M4. Many people like it. In fact, our next section of great road was part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and as a surprise to me, there were six or more tunnels on the portion that we drove. We thoroughly enjoyed wails, crackles, and pops echoing off of the tunnel walls. After checking out an overlook, I noticed a 4 series convertible tracking us. He followed us for several miles. When we pulled over at another overlook, he pulled over to check out the M4 and struck up a conversation. He and his girlfriend loved the car, the color, and the exhaust note. I actually enjoy the sound of the M4 more than the E92 M3. Its more fun and rambunctious to me. Its like an E46 on crack.

We had dinner on the outdoor patio at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville. If you haven't been there, you need to go. The Grove Park is a fabulous, rustic hotel. The huge lobby has two enormous fireplaces that are simply awesome in the winter, when the fires are roaring. We didn't stay there that night, but Ive stayed there numerous times in the past. Try it, youll like it. Ask to stay in the old section, which harkens back to the early 1900s. There is something about that place that brings immediate calm and relaxation. The underground spa is world class as well.

We end the trip the following day with a stop in Greensboro, NC to visit Foreign Cars Italia and a trip to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) for some go-karting. My nephew loves to walk through Foreign Cars, which has a spectacularly large show room filled with new Porsches, Ferraris, and Austin Martins as well as a huge inventory of used super cars, which include multiple Lambos and an R8. How Greensboro can support such a huge supercar showroom is beyond me, but Im glad they can. As we walk in, a salesman asks if we need help. We decline and tell him that we are just admiring the art. We take our time looking through the different sections and save the Ferrari section for last. As we are walking up the stairs to the Ferrari section, I notice four or five salesman walking out the front door and in the direction of my M4. I tell my nephew to follow me to the window that overlooks the parking lot and see all of them gathered around the M4. We chuckle and look at the ten or twelve Ferraris that decorate the floor.

As we leave, the salesmen are still with the M4. They love the color and want to check out the engine, interior, and engine sound. They really like the car and went on about the color, style, and carbon fiber strut brace. We had a great time chatting with an exceptionally nice group of car guys.

VIR is a little over an hour from Greensboro and has a nice outdoor track with some pretty fast karts, on and off-camber turns, hairpins, you name it. Great fun for all ages over 12. I cant believe they let 12 year olds in those karts, but BMW let a 15 year old in an M4. They claim to run 50 MPH, and it felt like it. We ran hard for 60 minutes straight, sweated out quarts of sweat, wore blisters on our hands, and cried uncle. We were soaked and done. We took turns changing clothes behind the port-a-johns and heard a screaming race car in the back ground. After we changed into dry clothes, we drove over to the pit area. The screams were of a GT3 that owned by Falken Tires. Falken had rented the track, brought one GT3, and piles of wheel and tire sets to test. It was fun seeing it, but a VIR security guy wheeled over in the golf-kart and politely asked us to leave. We obliged and headed home.


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Heres my take:

The car is awesome. You may pick a nit here and there, but it is hard to not love the total package. The car looks great, the power is addictive, the car is very fast, and the steering and chassis handle all of that power very well. If people feel disconnected, I think it may be because the car makes normal driving seem easy. Get in the twisties or on a road course, and youll find out how fast it is and how fast and precise you can roll through the turns. The car responds in direct proportion to any input with precision. Dial in your settings, and you will feel very connected and in control while getting plenty of feedback.

All of the colors look good to me. I like AY, YMB, SO the best (in that order). A sunroof really takes away from the look of the car, especially when the car is black.

I love the seats and the HUD. I dont like the settings that show the tach, speed, and gear at the same time. Its just too much and a bit distracting. However, having only the speed shown constantly while periodically showing nav directions, etc. is brilliant. It will be hard to live without it. I also really like the LED lights. They really perform well. It is also great that the position, brightness, and tilt of the HUD is controllable via i-drive.

Like my other Ms, the side and rear view mirrors are stellar. They are slightly convex. There are no blind spots. I cant believe BMW doesn't do the same on the non-M cars. I also cant believe it isnt federal law to have great mirrors like this on all cars. With these mirrors, you dont need blind spot warning lights. I also love having the hot-cool manual control on the central vent that allows you to control the temp of the air that hits your face regardless of HVAC settings. Ive always liked this feature and hope BMW never does away with it.

The only let downs for me are these:

There is a good deal of road noise - more than any of the other Ms that I owned. I went for the HK radio upgrade, but that may have been a moot point. I dont expect great sound from a sports car, but those who are debating hi-fi in this car might as well be talking about Realistic and Fisher boom boxes. The system sounds fine when the car isnt moving and in efficient mode.

Im with Jeremy Clarkson on putting the DCT in park. Why in the heck would you need to take your foot OFF of the brake (while you are in neutral) to put it in park? It just seems very unnatural to release the brake pedal while in neutral before putting the car in park.

The seat emblems do buzz, but you aren't in the car much when that occurs.

The park distance sensors, including the front ones, only work, if the rear view camera is on. Its would be nice to pull into a parking space and have the front sensors automatically give you some feedback. They only work now, if you push the console button or are in reverse. I like the way my GL has them working all the time and has some likes integrated in the dash as guidance. I don't need the U-571 map of obstacles that aren't close.

I know this was long, but I had so much fun that I wanted to memorialize a great trip with my nephew. He said the delivery day was the best day of his life. I have to thank BMW and Matt Mullens for making that happen. I'm sharing this with the forum because I've enjoyed the forum so much over the last few months while I waited on the M4.

Pics are below.
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      08-12-2014, 11:06 AM   #2
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Here are some pics. The car is hard to photograph and do it justice.
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Last edited by Audio Fan; 08-12-2014 at 11:42 AM.
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      08-12-2014, 11:07 AM   #3
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quite the post! looking forward to seeing the pics!

I personally can't wait to get back to PC, hopefully I can get back out there soon. I loved that place when I went last
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      08-12-2014, 11:14 AM   #4
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I wish you were my uncle.
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      08-12-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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Great thread. Very well articulated. Thanks!
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      08-12-2014, 11:42 AM   #6
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Outstanding post - great read!! Thanks so much for sharing with us.
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      08-12-2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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I just added some pics in the second post. Can't seem to get any video uploaded.
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      08-12-2014, 11:48 AM   #8
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One of the better reviews I have read on the PDC experience and the car. I hope you continue to put some time in on this forum. Well written, thanks for your time to share this with us.
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      08-12-2014, 11:48 AM   #9
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Great post! It's really cool that you got to share that experience with your nephew, and it is something that he will always remember.

AY is really cool and daring, if this wasn't my daily driver/customer car, I would consider AY or SO. Enjoy (and pics please!)
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      08-12-2014, 11:54 AM   #10
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Awesome write up. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to experience it for myself (and thanks for sharing that VIR has gokarts!)
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      08-12-2014, 12:07 PM   #11
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Thank you that was a very good read. Congrats and enjoy your car.
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      08-12-2014, 12:38 PM   #12
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Fantastic post...really appreciate all the detail and the time it took you to post this...awesome! Congrats on the car!
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      08-12-2014, 12:40 PM   #13
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I had fun reading this.
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      08-12-2014, 12:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for taking the time with such a great write-up.
Sounds like the PDC is truly time well spent!
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      08-12-2014, 12:51 PM   #15
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Well written and great review.

Thanks
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      08-12-2014, 12:56 PM   #16
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great write up. thanks for sharing with us. cant wait for my PCD now
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      08-12-2014, 01:33 PM   #17
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Thank you for the fantastic write up. This was probably one of the best posts I've ever read. Your PDC experience with your nephew will last forever. Congrats on the beautiful M4 and enjoy!
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      08-12-2014, 01:40 PM   #18
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I'm about to take delivery of my M4 at the performance center in mid September. I'm also taking my 16 year old brother, so I'm glad he will most likely get a chance at driving them too! Thanks for the write up, it was great!
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      08-12-2014, 01:46 PM   #19
dhoggm3
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Good writeup. BMW does an excellent job with their PCD.
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      08-12-2014, 02:15 PM   #20
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Thank you for this. I can't wait to get back there again. 26 days until 1 Day M School and then PCD the next day!
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      08-12-2014, 02:28 PM   #21
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Congratulations! Sounds like you a blast. I did 1 2-day PC driving class a few years ago, and really enjoyed it. If I don't do ED, I'll probably try to arrange a PCD.
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      08-12-2014, 03:18 PM   #22
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great post, thank you. really enjoyed reading it
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