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      11-02-2015, 09:21 PM   #1
absoluteis350
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Exclusive World Premiere and ED of Individual Singapore Grey M3 w contrast stitching

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Hi all!

Welcome to the exclusive World Premiere of the Singapore Grey BMW M3!

The exterior color choice was a long story, buried in these forums somewhere, that started out with McLaren Volcano Red, and ended up with this as my backup color. Yes, I realize that some think it’s close to mineral grey in color. That’s fine for them. I wasn’t about to go with mineral grey; too light and Singapore grey has more depth to it. And it certainly seems more reflective (see the section below where I remove the Trakktape). Anyway, the interior is full merino black leather with contrast red stitching (Sakhir orange).



The full build is:

2016 M3 6MT
CCB w black 19" rims
M adaptive susp
Carbon fiber interior trim
Carbon fiber roof
Executive package
Lighting package
Side and Top View Cameras



Big thanks to everyone on this forum for helping me out with my research on both the car (especially the clandestine world of BMW Individual) and how to properly arrange Euro Delivery, suggested itineraries, etc.

Having already been to Europe many times, and having visited Munich several times already, my ED wasn't focused on sightseeing (eg Neuschwanstein castle). It was more about making sweet, sweet love to the road.. No, not literally. More a driving vacation; having an awesome car on some of the world's greatest roads. I can always visit the typical sites and attractions on a European vacation in a regular, underpowered "reasonably priced" rental car. However, I will rarely get the opportunity drive these roads in a high powered M car. In addition, you will see that I only took limited photos of Munich, since it’s pretty much the same thing everyone else has posted.

Driving highlight of the trip: without a doubt Route Napoleon and Routes des Grandes Alpes

If you choose not to read the rest of this ED Diary, please just read these two take home points:

#1 - Everyone doing ED, who has the time, needs to drive Route Napoleon and Routes des Grandes Alpes in the French Alps. That is where you can enjoy the car to its fullest; short of a track. These are well maintained, fast roads with sweeping turns, through large uninhabited stretches. It has high speed turns, low speed turns, has large run off areas in parts, goes up tall mountain peaks, via amazing passes, and into incredible valleys. The sights are truly varied and incredible. Plus unlike other drives, it really lets you experience the car. In short, forget Austria/Switzerland.. those are roads that look nice.. If you want a REAL road, one that makes your pants firm or nipples erect (I will not assume everyone reading this is a man) then you need to go to France. The roads I mentioned are a phenomenal driving experience. From dangerousroads.org "The Route Napoleon road itself is a fantastic design, with cambered corners and fantastic scenery. In contrast with the mountain passes, this route is more designed for speed and the ability to really appreciate the performance of the car." Route Napoleon That is a perfect description.

#2 - Anyone that is into food should experience Schauenstein Schloss, in Furnstenau Switzerland. (Sam Pellegrino Top 50 World Restaurants, #48 Schloss-Schauenstein). It is relatively close to the alpine passes many of us visit. The quality of food coupled with the ambiance of eating in an old castle result in an absolutely unforgettable experience, no matter where else you have dined in the world.

Also, I will warn you, I Trakktape'd the front of the car, and did a pretty lousy job since we were in a hurry. I cared less about how the car would look in pictures, and more about rock chips, before doing a proper clear bra in the USA. So get all your "Great pics but the car looks like ass with the tape" posts out of your system before reading any further :P I'm not out to take pictures for an automotive magazine, I'm out to document my trip the way that it occurred. On that note, the Trakktape was on the car 5 days, saw both rain as well as freezing conditions. On the last day, I removed it without an issue, without breakdown of the adhesive, and without any marks. The paint under the tape was pristine, and like glass. So in short, it worked very well for me.

Another thing to note is that the car was obviously equipped with summer tires, which comes into play throughout the trip. That plus my limited recent experience with RWD high torque cars in the snow made me probably more nervous than I needed to be (?).

As I already alluded to, the other aspect of this trip, was to hit a couple of the "Sam Pellegrino Top 50 World Restaurants" that were along the alpine routes. The ones that fit the best were Mirazur and Schauenstein Schloss. This provided a nice way to spend several of the evenings, and a nice highlight to the trip. In regards to our hotels, we did our research, trying to keep our hotel choices as nice as possible, but mid-priced. In the end, the hotels we picked ended up being a resounding success, mostly thanks to it being October, the off-season :P (one of the hotels we stayed at has a summer price per night of about $1200+, but we got it for $200)

I will try not to bore everyone, but I tend to get long winded at times. There is just so much that happened on this trip, that I could probably write a book with all the details.. but I will attempt to keep it focused and brief (edit- attempt failed miserably.. this ED journal is too long, dear reader).

So without further delay, here is my trip--

Goal: Drive my M3 on amazing roads, hit some amazing restaurants, and see some amazing sights. Munich->Nice
Result: Mission accomplished, good sir, mission accomplished

PREFACE/FORWARD/PRETRIP PREP

The only unusual things I did: Optiseal to make the wash easier later, rent a really nice Canon lens (edit- would have helped if I actually knew how to use it to its fullest, oh well, next time), purchase Trakktape to prevent rock chips, and purchase a SpeedCheetah C550 to detect all the speed cameras throughout the trip. The SpeedCheetah did a stellar job, even though about half of the time I was not exceeding the speed limit anyway. However, it did not detect one speed camera in Switzerland, and I definitely got flashed for doing 6 kmph over the 130 limit. Given how ridiculously strick the Swiss are with their speed limits (I believe I even read one member suggesting avoiding Switzerland entirely) I felt this purchase was completely worth it. Although I believe it is technically illegal, to me it is a completely irrelevant point considering I saw maybe a handful of police in the entire week, and they were not doing any traffic stops or enforcement. Besides, we had the SpeedCheetah in the cup holder, so it was impossible to see from outside the car anyway, and easy to disconnect if we did get stopped. Here is our SpeedCheetah in the cupholder. (See just above the stick shift in the following picture)



Along the lines of traffic (speed) enforcement, on my trip it was all done using speed cameras. I did not see a single manned speed trap.

I will also say, as others have reported, everyone loves cars over there. We were constantly getting checked out, complimented, blinked on the highway, etc. In Menton, one motorcyclist literally stopped rush hour traffic, and was getting honked at, but would not move until we started driving beside him.

Finally, I had a notebook, with a page dedicated to each day, with starting locations listed, the proposed itinerary, expected travel times for each leg, our hotel for the end of the day, our restaurant reservations and which underwear I would wear. Yes I over planned. Shortly before leaving for Germany, I wrote down the GPS coordinates for all of these locations, as suggested by a forum member. This is, by far, the fastest, easiest and most unambiguous ways to enter your trip into the Nav computer. It is just so fast to enter several digits rather than going through typing the names, cities, etc.





On to the flight.







DAY 1-2 Munich

I had the good fortune of spending the first part of my trip with my cousin and his wife, who drove down from Warsaw in their AMG CLA45 (got to drive it a bit, loads of fun, great exhaust note and backfires) and provided a companion for my M3. Beyond the obvious joys of spending time with family, it also made things a lot easier in terms of transportation, as they were able to drive us to BMW Welt so we didn't have to worry about it.

We arrived in Munich on Saturday morning, direct flight on Lufthansa, cattle class. Typical long haul plane ride, just bear down and take it like a man. We arrived under overcast skies and chilly weather. Headed to a beer garden immediately and proceed to drink beer in the size it is meant to be served: one liter glasses.



They had the heat lamps cranked, and I was sitting under a restaurant provided blanket, as I left all the luggage at the hotel and forgot to bring a coat. So I don't have a picture, but apparently Lederhosen are not cliche ... guys actually wear these and go out to the beer gardens. The guys opposite us, in their early 40s, doned these bad boys like champs! They also apparently drank like champs, finishing about a gallon and a half of beer each (I kid you not, 5-6 glasses a piece) over the course of our several hours there. After beer, pork and potatoes, we stumbled jet lagged back to the hotel. We stayed in the Hotel Sofitel Bayerpost, as we got a great rate through hotels.com.. One of the nicest hotels of the trip.









Their indoor parking garage is quite good, and was filled with a spectacular Ferrari FF, Porsche's, another M, an i8, Audi RS's, etc. So for anyone looking for a fantastic hotel with an indoor self-park lot, I would highly recommend this place. There’s also a Rolls Ghost parked outside, that you can rent for a night on the town. Surprisingly, it’s not outrageously expensive, at least relative to black car service in Boston.

Imagine showing up to Hofbrauhaus in this bad boy.



Some of the cars in the indoor parking garage. This car was beautiful!







That evening, we headed out to one of the nicer restaurants in Munich, Atelier in Hotel Bayerischer Hof. One michelin star. I guess that means ‘A’ for effort ? Extremely nice decor, and an interesting take on how one might elevate 'typical german cuisine' to a gourmet level. It was fine but I probably will not go back a second time.
Atelier












So the next day was Sunday, and literally NOTHING is open on Sunday. You will starve to death in Germany before you find a restaurant that takes Sunday reservations. We ended up eating at L'adresse 37, which is a french bistro type of place. It was open, tasty and not expensive, which are all positive attributes. The only problem with it was that if you didn't have a car, it would have been a pain to get to. We took some obligatory Munich pictures.













__________________
2016 Singapore Grey Individual M3 with Sakhir Orange contrast stitching
Completed (summer tires)- Grossglockner alpenstrasse, Gardena pass, Fluela pass, Oberalp pass, Furka pass, Grimsel pass, Susten pass, col de Vars, col de la Bonette, col de Turini
Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

Last edited by absoluteis350; 11-02-2015 at 09:37 PM..
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      11-02-2015, 09:22 PM   #2
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Day 3 Monday- Delivery- Munich to Strassen

Morning of the delivery, we had a 9:50a appointment. Got there without issues. Ate breakfast in the BMW lounge, which is quite nice. Our BMW delivery agent was also quite nice, as was the carpeting and the seats we sat on. He was a bit business-like, and it seems they delivery Individual BMWs as often as they deliver weisswurst. Which is fine, because I was on a strict timeline to get on the road. While in the lounge, I had checked the webcams on the Grossglockner alpenstrasse, and it was glorious! Sunshine, above freezing temps, max visibility. We had lucked out: the weather was perfect the one day I had scheduled to drive GG. The couple days prior, and the next couple days, all had snow in the forecast. Anyway, after he showed me where the cup holders were, where the clutch is, and how to open the trunk, I did my victory lap and we headed out. Oh! I will add, he did show me one thing I didn't know: How to open the exhaust flaps. He had me rev it with flaps open inside the Welt... well that sure drew a crowd, hah. I must admit, after all the semi-bashing I have done regarding the exhaust sound, it actually sounds quite good in person ! (Not quite like my V8 RS4 did, but still good)









Take a good look.. This is the last time she would be this clean and shiny. (The car, not my wife...) After the coating of dirt and ?salt we got in Davos, she would be a dull grey the rest of the trip.











I really, really like the contrast stitching. It’s exactly what I had hoped for. The interior pictures were difficult for me to take, given my limited photography experience and my older camera body with relatively low ISOs relative to todays cameras. Here are my best attempts:







We took some pictures outside, then went into the BMW Welt garage where I proceeded to prep the car: Optiseal the front (I should have also optiseal'ed the lower sides and rear bumper in retrospect as they picked up a lot of dirt by the end). Followed by a quick Traktape job, helped by my cousin. Since we were already 30 mins behind schedule, we did this fast and 'dirty'. But this was my only opportunity to tape the front, so I at least had to make an attempt.













I took this opportunity to fulfill a promise to you all on Bimmerpost, by playing the marvelous ballad “Beammer, Benz or Bentley” by Lloyd Banks as my first song in the new car. Oh how my wife was pleased ! Little did she know how enamored she would become with me this day. We drove to a MediaMart, where we were supposed to quickly pick up some walkie talkie’s. I proceeded to annoy the local Germans, by holding up parking garage exit traffic when I didn't validate their silly "plastic coin ticket system" (even though our parking was free due to the short time). I was stuck in my car because I had pulled up so close to the ticket machine, with the gate in front, and a line of angry Germans behind me. So my annoyed wife had to bail me out by getting out the passenger side and running up two parking garage levels to the machine to validate the coin thingy. Not happy with me, she was.. not.. at.. all.. However, with walkie talkies in hand (comms between our two cars), russian truckers blaring over the speakers, we drove to Grossglockner.



May I just add that the Austrians do not believe that tourists produce urine. Either that, or they enjoy torturing them. Because even the gas stations "had no toilet". We ended up finding a hotel which thankfully had some pity.

On to Grossglockner - it was a beautiful day. Arrived later than I had hoped, but we made it. Beautiful and highly recommended. We ran across an i8, and couple porsche turbos tearing down the back side of the pass.



















We also drove down to the glacier, which you should definitely do. Since we were off season, and the only nice day in a week otherwise filled with snow, we had a 4 story massive parking garage all to ourselves, which made for some nice pictures.









The following day’s destination was the Sella Ronda so we stayed in a small town at Strasserwirt Herrenansitz zu Tirol; reportedly nice hotel and good restaurant. Wow! Lots of character, beautifully done, fantastic! food (dinner and breakfast) and not expensive at all. Another highly recommended.



__________________
2016 Singapore Grey Individual M3 with Sakhir Orange contrast stitching
Completed (summer tires)- Grossglockner alpenstrasse, Gardena pass, Fluela pass, Oberalp pass, Furka pass, Grimsel pass, Susten pass, col de Vars, col de la Bonette, col de Turini
Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

Last edited by absoluteis350; 11-02-2015 at 09:42 PM..
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      11-02-2015, 09:23 PM   #3
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Day 4 Tuesday- Strassen to Davos

Due to the fact I had slept poorly so far, combination of jet lag and excitement, we slept late this morning. It was lightly rainy and cloudy that day, with light overnight snow in the forecast for our eventual destination of Davos (I'll get to that). We ended up only driving Gardena pass, due to time constraints as my cousin needed to return home at the end of the day and we needed to make the long drive to Davos. However, the Italian Dolomites are an incredible drive (in terms of scenery). Even though it was beautiful in the cloudy weather, I always wonder how much more spectacular it would have been in the clear. After lunch in Bolzano, we parted ways.













The fall color of the trees added to the beautiful scenery.


















The drive towards Davos had some awesome moments. Lots of little towns where one minute you are driving the main road, and the next minute you hit a village center and the road becomes too narrow for two cars to pass each other- so picturesque. Specifically I'm thinking of Glorenza Glurns.. Yes, that is the main road that all of a sudden turns to one lane and goes through the old gate.



It's a shame we didn't have time to stop here, as it was truly a stand out location. However, I have no idea what possessed me to book a hotel in Davos. Probably the World Economic Forum? Anyway, I didn't realize it was the highest city in Europe/Alps. And on top of that, a cold front was going to move through the area, bringing overnight snow. However, in checking the weather forecasts, I did not think this would be a problem as it was supposed to be mid 40s during the following day, and the overnight snow was to be light.

Some of the tight roads

















Anyway, time and kms wore on, as we drove towards Davos. By now it had started to get dark, but the Nav showed only 26km to Davos. We entered the town of Susch. The sign said left, to Davos, via a moutain pass "Fluela pass". There was a light stating the pass was open (meaning that there were obviously times when it was closed, which definitely came into my thoughts). As it was getting dark, with rain/possibly snow in the forecast and not knowing how high the mountain pass was, I decided I would be more comfortable if I went further north to what appeared to be a nice long tunnel, Vereinatunnel. So I turned onto the main road towards the tunnel, only to realize that there was a little picture of a car on top of a train, on the tunnel sign. Crap.. a car train. No way in hell I was putting my new M3 on a train. But those were my only two options.. no other way to get to Davos. So after my wife and I half-heartedly muttered to each other "how bad can it be, we will be fine, its only 26km", we took the pass. At night. In light rain. With snow in the forecast. By the end of this pass, I had shat myself so very thoroughly. One of the hairiest drives of my life. Let me read for you, an excerpt about the pass from dangerousroads.org: "Conditions can change quickly and be harsh." "Road closures can be frequent." The road ... has a fearsome reputation" and my personal favorite "The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both)." That is my favorite part: It is a nightmare in the wet and dark, which it was. Oh yea, and possibly snowy too.

So as we started the pass, the temps were fine.. like 40F or thereabouts. The first part of the climb was fine, and I watched the kms to Davos click down. But the road kept climbing, and climbing. And the temperature started dropping. And the temp alarm on the car came on, to add to the ambiance. The worst part was that I had never driven this pass before, and therefore did not know what was to come, how much higher it would go, how much lower the temps would drop, when the snow would start (and how heavily it would snow on the pass, regardless of Davos’s “light” snow forecast), or what awaited us in the darkness. But we drove on slowly, with the “km remaining” ticking down. Then the visibility went to zero, literally. We entered into either a cloud or thick fog, the likes of which I had never seen. We could literally see 3 car lengths, maybe. We literally were driving at a crawl, in a cold sweat, not knowing what was ahead in the dark fog. And the time was ticking away with the prospect of snow getting all the more real with each passing minute. I seem to remember that the forecast had called for light snow at about 7pm, which it basically was by this point. However, we were enticingly close to our destination, like 15km left. So we drove on, white knuckled. This is a photo we took as we emerged from one cloud, right before descending into another cloud, which you can see the road going into. The ambient light was much darker than the photo indicates. We thought of stopping and trying to take some cool ‘in fog headlight’ photos, but I was too concerned with losing any time and potentially what weather we may find on the pass.



We eventually made it out of the fog/cloud and to the other side. The drive into Davos was one of the happiest days of my life. We pulled up to the Davos Seehof hotel, where we stayed in a bargain room. It was mediocre at best. The hotel may have had amazing suites or something, but our room must have been the hotel.com teaser rate, because it was tiny and tucked away in a far corner of the place. The room itself was "fine". Suffice to say the hotel had generous indoor parking, which was requirement #1. I wouldn't stay there again tho unless every other hotel in Davos didn’t have indoor parking.
__________________
2016 Singapore Grey Individual M3 with Sakhir Orange contrast stitching
Completed (summer tires)- Grossglockner alpenstrasse, Gardena pass, Fluela pass, Oberalp pass, Furka pass, Grimsel pass, Susten pass, col de Vars, col de la Bonette, col de Turini
Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

Last edited by absoluteis350; 11-02-2015 at 10:26 PM..
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      11-02-2015, 09:24 PM   #4
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Day 5 Wednesday- Davos to Thusis

Ah morning in Davos. How splendid. The night before, the front desk had assured me they were going to get "1 mm of snow overnight", and since the temps were going to be 40F at 10am, I had no concerns.. I looked out the window and exclaimed WTF is that!? It was more like 6 inches of snow fell, and we were in a winter wonderland. Which is great, if you are Santa Claus. Or a wooly mammoth.. But not when you are running summer tires on a RWD car.







The plan for the day had been to do the Furka, Grimsel, Susten loop passes, but we decided there was no way since they likely also had gotten snow, and I wasn't keen to rush out of Davos until the temps came up a bit. So we slept in. Which was a poor choice, as we would find out later. Davos was beautiful in the snow, and the roads were like my buttocks after a shower: wet but clean. Still, I was happy when we were finally out of there, even though the air temps were ~40F. So since we had a late start, and clearly NOT doing the passes (so we thought), we tried to decide how to make best use of the remainder of the day. Looking at the map, we decided that we would at least drive to the base of the passes, to Andermatt.





The route we chose was via the Oberalppass. The pass turned out to be a pleasant surprise as it was beautiful and the road condition was good, even though the views were somewhat obscured by overcast skies.













However, as we ascended the pass and broke through the fog at the top, we stumbled into absolutely STUNNING scenery. Crystal blue skies, white mountains (from the prior nights snow fall), beautifully clear road, punctuated by a scarlet red Alp Express train. I don’t know if they had pumped drugs into our coffee that morning, or if there was LSD in the snow, but the intensity of the scene/moment was stunning. “Stunning” as in we stopped on the side of the road, got out, and just had our minds blown. Vivid. Clear. Saturated colors. No picture we took captured this incredible moment. It was breathtaking.













Along this pass we also got a chance to witness road construction, Alpen style: There was a helicopter ferrying materials from one mountain, across the chasm, to our mountain road; back and forth. Pretty cool to see a chopper hovering 30 feet over your car :P













Descending into Andermatt (beautiful town, I will definitely return here) we saw Furka pass in the distance, under crystal clear skies, with a fair amount of cars using it. The temps were ~40F in Andermatt, so we decided we must at least drive this one pass, which was on my to-do list. Our leisurely morning made this decision quite difficult as we had wasted a lot of time, and we had to make it back to Thusis that night due to dinner reservations at 7:30pm at Schauenstein Schloss. Anyway, we went up Furka. This is, by FAR, the hairiest pass of the three to drive. Many areas are single car width, there are trucks using it (I have NO idea how they do it) and there are shear drops with few barriers.



Even with the chilly temperatures on the summer tires, we had no problems. Some areas here had melt crossing the road, but with clear skies the sun kept the road surface warm enough. Beautiful drive.

Furka in the distance



Furka ascent



Otherwise known as James Bond Strasse, from Goldfinger











Those tiny little posts are supposed to keep you from going off.. Or impale you so that you die before you hit the valley floor below.





Summer tire weather, baby !





We came down the back of Furka in good time, and saw that Grimsel had similar conditions. So blinded by lust, we ascended Grimsel too. What spectacular vistas: Furka descent looking at Grimsel, and Grimsel ascent looking at Furka. Incredible, incredible sights.

Here’s lookin at you, Grimsel.





Backside of Furka, how cheeky!











Grimsel looking back at Furka



Grimsel was much more pleasant with a wider road. Once we hit the peak, and drove past Grimselsee, we went straight into a cloud/dense fog, much like on our drive to Davos. But without the threat of snow, and without nighttime conditions.










I did drive slowly/carefully as I assumed the dense fog would prevent road surface temps from being as high as the other passes, and the snow along the side of the road had not melted as much. Finally, we made it onto the Susten pass portion of the route, with time running short. This was to be the second most unnerving drive of the trip. The beginning part of the Susten leg was fine, with quaint towns and cows scattered about. This is the spot where we were able to take the obligatory M3 plus cow picture.







It was fine until we started to climb. Once again, we went into a cloud/super dense fog. No real traffic was here, but temps dropped like a rock, and I became nervous as we continued to climb.. not knowing how much higher we needed to go was the worst part of the drive. We ended up with a min temp of 27-28F. The roads were dry thankfully, but I did detect faint snowflakes in the air, all while we were still climbing (meaning it was potentially going to get worse). With the dense cloud cover, I no longer had confidence in the road surface temps, and I was wetting myself with every turn. I don't think the roadside drops were that bad, or barriers too small (certainly it was a billion times better than Furka) but I suppose I couldn't see the drops in the cloud. We finally made it through this pass, but I can't say much about it since we were lucky if we could see the upcoming turn, let alone any vistas.



Once again, the guard rails inspired a sense of confidence in me. I think they are that small so that they can be easily replaced if some clown on summer tires goes off the edge ;P



We made it through the pass and raced back to Thusis, barely making it in time. We stayed at Hotel Weiss Kreuz, and although we had outdoor parking, it was in good company (Porsche 911 next to us). I give the hotel massive credit, as they ironed my shirt for me while we got ready for dinner. The girl apologized for doing an imperfect job at the ironing, even tho it looked perfect to me. Dinner was at Schauenstein Schloss). What an experience. If you are into fine dining, this is a must do. Even if you aren't into fine dining, you need to do this. The 3 Michelin star quality of the food coupled with the ambiance of eating in an old castle result in an absolutely unforgettable experience, easily one of the highlights of the entire trip. That is not an exaggeration. The restaurant also arranged for a black A8L limo to pick us up from our hotel, and deliver us back at the end of the night, at their expense. Simply awesome evening. Just this dinner has so many stories associated with it: the intrigue, the mysterious undertones (with the neighboring tables: is the boss seriously trying to seduce his employee? And why isn’t the other couple at the other table, from New York of all places, more friendly towards another couple from the US. And what is going on with this other couple that might have just gotten married?) Ah the stories..







Yes.. that is an iPad I am eating off of .. a tad gimmicky, but nice to see them making an effort to incorporate technology into the dining experience. There were other examples and methods that they were using to incorporate apps and technology, and some of them worked quite well.





__________________
2016 Singapore Grey Individual M3 with Sakhir Orange contrast stitching
Completed (summer tires)- Grossglockner alpenstrasse, Gardena pass, Fluela pass, Oberalp pass, Furka pass, Grimsel pass, Susten pass, col de Vars, col de la Bonette, col de Turini
Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

Last edited by absoluteis350; 11-02-2015 at 10:02 PM..
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      11-02-2015, 09:25 PM   #5
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Day 6 Thursday- Thusis to Grenoble

This day was pretty much a writeoff. There was a moderate amount of rain, Chamonix had received a fair amount of snow, so we opted to route around and take the highway from Thusis to Grenoble, via Zurich, Geneva, etc. Nothing much to report except highway driving. At one point we ran into a GT3/M3 convoy, they blinked us a thumbs up. Ran into an AMG CLA at a toll booth, who expressed his admiration. This is the road which I got flashed by the one camera the SpeedCheetah didn't pick up.. figures.. But it was only for 5kmph over the limit.



This is also the place where I may have rev’d the engine briefly beyond the 4500rpm limit. I had stopped too far away from the toll booth ticket machine, and in pushing off to reach for the ticket, I accidently placed my foot on the corner of the accelerator and rev’d the engine. It was only for a moment, as I initially thought it was someone else rev’ing before I realized that it was me. As someone put, hopefully no issues, and I have no idea what RPM I hit. Anyway, we stopped briefly at Annecy, which was nice but clearly in 'off season' mode: The canal was mostly drained for repairs, restaurants were shut down until late dinner time, and the number of people was relatively small. It was still quite pretty and worth the bathroom stop. Finally, we arrived in Grenoble.








Unfortunately, the garage by the hotel had tight little parking spaces, but fortunately for us, the garage was mostly used during the workday and afternoon. Considering we were only staying overnight, we had no problem finding a spot with no other cars around. In any case, each garage spot had door "bumpers", which I thought was rather clever, and hadn't ever seen before.





We stayed at Grand Hotel Grenoble Center, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room and bed. We had a lovely old town/mountain view with a nice balcony. Very nice place, highly recommended. For dinner there are two inexpensive french bistros, which exude traditional french bistro: ie- awesomeness. Good food, good wine, good price. L'Ardoise (which we couldn't get into) and Le Lyonnaise, which was fantastic. I had the veal or calf head. I was a bit disappointed not to actually be served the entire head, eyes and all, on my plate. Rather it was various cuts of meat that they had already shaved off the head. Gloriously fatty, gloriously salty, and spectacular with the basic house Bourdeaux. As a whole, Grenoble was far nicer than the pictures on Google images, so I definitely plan on returning for a proper visit one day.







Day 7 Friday- Grenoble to Menton

Knowing we had a long day of driving ahead, we enthusiastically jumped out of bed at 6:30am, while still dark outside, feasted upon the endless bounty of the buffet breakfast, and got our car out of that tight little garage before the enthusiastic throng of French worker bees showed up. We planned on a combination of Route Napoleon (from Grenoble to Gap) and Routes des Grandes Alpes (from Mont Dauphin to Menton).









As I already mentioned, the Route Napoleon was a great drive, and I finally got to open the car up a bit on the back roads. The southern French Alpes can usually be driven this time of year since they appear to be 10-15F warmer than the Swiss, Austrian alps up north. So we drove over to join up with the Routes des Grandes Alpes at Col de Vars. Unfortunately, there was a sign in Mont Dauphin that informed us that Col de la Bonette (which was supposed to be my crowning achievement) was closed due to snowfall overnight. Nevertheless, we at least wanted to see Col de Vars. Col de Vars was a beautiful drive, different in its own ways from the Swiss passes. There was really no one else on it, which made it all the more fun. Mid way through the climb, we passed at least 10 camouflaged Mercs that I guess were being tested or on a press drive. That was a pretty cool sight.



























Just look at that glorious road !! Just look at it ! And it is empty ! Those surface cracks could not be felt in the car, so the pavement was actually much smoother than it looks.







When we got to Jausiers, which was the start of Col de la Bonette, we saw a sign that now stated the pass was open until 7pm. I was ecstatic, yet cautious. So, knowing that this meant there was snowfall yet enough had melted to ‘open’ the pass, and equipped with the knowledge that the temperature at the peak was forecast for 50F in an hour (it was 1pm at this stage), we had another one of our “How bad can it be” exchanges, and proceeded up. What a spectacular drive. Essentially no other cars anywhere (since the pass was opened just for the afternoon) and relatively warm temps in the 40s. A few areas had some slush on the road, but with such warm temps, it was no issue. Col de la Bonette is simply spectacular!









Once again, how amazing is this road? Absolutely love it.













My attempt to get artsy.. didn’t work so well



Little panorama















In the valley after Col de la Bonette, we encountered some amazing fast roads, with wide lanes and sweeping turns, just a glorious drive. We also encountered a large flock of sheep being herded down the road, since the road is pretty much the only flat surface in that valley. That was pretty interesting, as at one point all the cars essentially forced themselves through the flock of sheep, with an ocean of sheep all around us. After that little experience, and with my car thoroughly christened by animal manure, we drove on.









More small towns, more climbs and descents, and on to Col de Turini. The road surface at parts of Col de Turini needs to be redone, but overall it was a nice drive. Unfortunately, since it’s below tree line, the views aren’t always up to par with the alpine passes, and it’s near impossible to take any good pictures of the road. Oh yea, did I mention we almost front ended a bus? That was fun. I was surprised it had taken this long for a near miss given all the blind hair pins throughout the trip. Fortunately, we both were driving sensibly/slowly and I had CCB’s, instantly bringing my car to a stop. If I had the regular M brakes, we would have all been dead. ;P I kid.







These roads were also a pretty good drive, because you could actually carry some decent speed in places.



Col de Turini









The sign for Route de Grandes Alpes



We easily made it to Menton, where we stayed at Hotel Napoleon. Above average place, but probably the best in the area. They have secure parking, which was my primary criteria. Found this little guy in the parking outside the hotel.





We had booked dinner at Mirazur that night (Sam Pellegrino Top 50 World Restaurants, #11 Mirazur), which was another highlight of the trip. Local ingredients, many picked that day from their private garden, coupled with typical fall flavors of squash, game, truffle… Just fantastic. Top ten meals of my life, which says a lot.

Mais oui, my bouche is most amused !



Sweet breads? Bien sur ! Neither sweet, nor bread. But glorious.



I think my brain blew all its dopamine on this dish: White truffle, game bird (forgot which, I was too drunk by now), foie gras, barley





Have many more food pics, but didn’t want to bore the forum with more. PM me if interested :P
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Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

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      11-02-2015, 09:26 PM   #6
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Day 8 and Day 9 Saturday, Sunday – Menton to St Tropez



There is not much to say about Saturday. We started off in Menton, with the intention of passing through Monaco and at least driving “the hairpin” and “the tunnel”. Well, Monaco was a goddam zoo. Couldn’t break through to Hotel de Paris/Casino square due to some type of event and road closures. It had traffic in the entire city at a crawl. We finally made it to see the Formula 1 landmarks I wanted to see, and then we proceeded to get out of that mess.

Menton





Tape removal just prior to entering StTropez





Like glass, baby.. Like glass



Nothing more exciting happened on our drive there. We arrived in StTropez, where I was forced (mostly by my wife) to valet park the car at our hotel, Hotel de Paris St Tropez. I figured these guys park enough high end cars that my car will be fine. Anyway, this was by far the best hotel of the trip. It was just stunning at every turn, extremely well done: the lobby was amazing, the elevators were amazing, the hallways were amazing, the room was amazing, the town view was amazing, the bathroom was amazing, the shower was amazing, the roof deck was amazing, etc. etc. etc. and (for what we got) the off season price was amazing. I didn’t want to leave this place.







St.Tropez, as you can read on the internet, is pretty sleepy in the off season. But that was fine, we just wanted to walk around for a bit, not drive (we had literally spent 8+ hours a day in the car since Monday) and relax. The small streets were very cute and the town was very nice. We got in some great pictures at the end, squeezing the car onto some of the small streets. The day before I had walked around in an almost “pre track analysis”, planning my path through small streets of the town, planning my ‘emergency escapes’, and looking for potential obstacles as well as street width, angle of turns, etc. Again, my wife was not too pleased with the time I spent planning this out . The French Bistro scene at night was a great experience.. very cool. You are all eating in a small space, in a tiny but excellent restaurant, with tables right next to one another. Inevitably (“inevitably” being after the wine makes you the friendliest person on earth), you strike up conversations with everyone around you. One night we were talking with a lovely couple from Australia, an author and a jewelry designer that routinely spend 2 months in St.Tropez. The next night we dined beside an American couple from New Jersey as well as a French couple from Le Mans, where the husband had won the amateur class at Le Mans several times. All in all, a very pleasant and relaxing end to the trip.





















Day 10- StTropez to Nice dropoff and Conclusions

There is only one thing to say here: what a crap airport Nice is.. at least they had free wi-fi.

The car wash, located at Nice airport, was pretty nice actually. It cost me a total of 5 euro, there was no line, and the implements were clean and exceptionally soft. I wasn’t going to use the brush at all, but when I saw how clean and how soft it was, I used it gently (even though I am overly cautious in how I hand wash my car usually). The before and after pictures really show how dirty the car was.







Dropoff was easy and smooth. Saw and photo’d the three M3’s that were there for Euro dropoff, all forum members if I remember correctly. Pretty exciting to see that several of us had dropped off at this rather remote location at almost the same time 



In the end, the trip far exceeded my expectations. There is simply no reason not to do Euro delivery (if you have the time). I would even do ED if I only had 4 days to spend there. All of the elements of our trip, from the actual delivery day, to the I’m-going-to-poop-myself nighttime drive to Davos, and the incredible dining experiences we had, all combined to make for an unforgettable experience.



And it was all thanks to YOU, dear reader.. Thank YOU.

Please, feel free to PM me or post if you have any questions or need help with anything ED related.
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Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19
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      11-02-2015, 09:33 PM   #7
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Congrats! Love the color!


I pray that no one will quote the full post.
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      11-02-2015, 09:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djsaad1
Congrats! Love the color!


I pray that no one will quote the full post.
Lol it will happen

OP that is one classy M3. Thanks for sharing!
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      11-02-2015, 09:53 PM   #9
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Obviously I am having some issues embedding youtube videos.. the [youtube]url[/youtube] is not working out.. advice?

-edit- I figured it out.. its [u2b] [/u2b] .. sheep video above
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Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

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      11-02-2015, 10:18 PM   #10
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Beautiful exterior colour with cool contrasting stitching, tastefully done .
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      11-02-2015, 11:07 PM   #11
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Color looks great on the F80 M3. Definitely can see the difference between it and MG.

Great read also, read through most of it!
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      11-03-2015, 03:31 AM   #12
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Awesome pics and read! Thanks for sharing and congrats!
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      11-03-2015, 04:47 AM   #13
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Awesome! Great spec.

On the road between Gap and Vars, you've probably seen a huge lake "Lac de Serre Ponçon". We have a house there so I know the roads quite well: they're the best driving roads I've driven on, ever. I was there in July and will be back in December for skiing in Vars.

I drove up the Restefond this summer. Amazing to drive up to 2800 meters above sea level.

Must've been a very cool trip!

Congrats on the M3.
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      11-03-2015, 05:06 AM   #14
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Beautiful colour and I agree with most....with so many pics and under so many lighting conditions, it is definately different than MG. As for your trip, well I have to give you credit for running those roads under those conditions with THOSE tires on the car. Pics and your daily stories were excellent, happy to see you guys made it back alive lol.
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      11-03-2015, 06:22 AM   #15
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Great trip and write up, Singapore Gray looks lovely in different light. Congrats on the M3, nicely done.
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      11-03-2015, 08:26 AM   #16
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Great thread, thanks for sharing. Singapore grey is a hell of a lot darker than i remember, but it looks great.

Like you, I've also done all the touristy ED stuff before in a rental car, so if I ever did ED again, it would be just to enjoy the car and the roads.

Congrats again!
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      11-03-2015, 08:27 AM   #17
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Absoluteis and I took Welt delivery at the same time. I can attest to how striking Singapore Gray is in person. Great trip, great pics, congrats!

Raj
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      11-03-2015, 08:34 AM   #18
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Awesome trip and excellent color choice! I travel to Annecy quite a bit as our company's HQ is located there. Great little town
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      11-03-2015, 09:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vdvpj View Post
Awesome! Great spec.

On the road between Gap and Vars, you've probably seen a huge lake "Lac de Serre Ponçon". We have a house there so I know the roads quite well: they're the best driving roads I've driven on, ever. I was there in July and will be back in December for skiing in Vars.

I drove up the Restefond this summer. Amazing to drive up to 2800 meters above sea level.

Must've been a very cool trip!

Congrats on the M3.
Ya, you can't miss that lake! We took pictures of it but just didn't have room to post them. Wow ! That's fantastic to have a house on that lake. How is Vars to ski ? I was imagining what it would look like in the snow, and put it on my 'to-ski' list for if I go to Europe skiing.

Definitely agree with you... People doing ED really need to hit home just how amazing the French Alps are for driving. They blow Austria, Switzerland away when it comes to driving enjoyment. When I was researching ED, I don't think I read many threads that really did justice to those roads. Simply amazing.

Thanks for the read and comments

Quote:
Originally Posted by sraj View Post
Absoluteis and I took Welt delivery at the same time. I can attest to how striking Singapore Gray is in person. Great trip, great pics, congrats!

Raj
I was great meeting you Raj ! Always a pleasure to meet another forum member. Beautiful car you have yourself too I wish it was warm enough here for a 'vert

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark's M View Post
Beautiful colour and I agree with most....with so many pics and under so many lighting conditions, it is definately different than MG. As for your trip, well I have to give you credit for running those roads under those conditions with THOSE tires on the car. Pics and your daily stories were excellent, happy to see you guys made it back alive lol.
:P Ya, those two hairy drives were unintentional, and I would have never done them if there was another way.. But in both cases we were essentially trapped and the only way was forward. The Davos drive was the worst, in not knowing how much higher it would go and if those higher elevations would mean an early change of the rain to snow. It was so quiet in the car you could hear a pin drop. Again, I was probably overly nervous, but it wasn't without justification
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Singapore Grey Euro Delivery Diary Monday Oct 19

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      11-03-2015, 09:49 AM   #20
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THAT'S how you do ED! Beautiful car! Great choice of transmission too!

Enjoy her in the best of health my friend!
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      11-03-2015, 09:58 AM   #21
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awesome trip and write-up! i'm so jealous. one of these days i will do ED. maybe with the M2???
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      11-03-2015, 10:26 AM   #22
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love it - individual paint and stitching, F80, 6MT... awesome choices. thanks for sharing
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