Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Continuing Saga of Our New Car - Final Chapter

I thought when they checked the Beemer out to me on Tuesday, I'd have it a day, maybe two. So, I resigned myself that I would just have to enjoy the little bit of driving time available, which was mostly back and forth to work.

So, as I pulled onto the highway to return to work that morning, there were no cars in the acceleration lane. I decided now was the time to see what a fully warmed-up, 3.5 liter BMW could do. I tromped down on the go-pedal and this thing took off faster than I expected. The traction control light was going crazy, trying the keep the rear wheels planted. I went from about 20, coming around the corner, to over 80 well before I needed to merge on the highway. Needless to say, I slowed down before need to get a ticket right away in this beast!

I took a real razzing at work when I drove up in the BMW, with comments like "Man, what are they paying those IT guys!?!" *grin*

When I went home that night, there was one spot on the journey where I could legally go from a standing stop up to 55mph, so I decided to see what the zero-to-60 time was like. As I started out, I let it get rolling slightly before tipping in the throttle, as I did not want to get the traction control humming again. By my reckoning, it was about 6 seconds. Not bad for a small, four-door sport sedan.

The stereo was wonderful, the instruments clear and easy to read, the seats were very comfy...I really could not find too many things I didn't like. However, I did notice one rather annoying thing. I wear glasses to drive, as my distance vision is such that I have trouble reading street signs until I'm too close to do anything about them! When I got my glasses, I got some that have magnetic "clip-on" sunglasses. I made sure the ones I got were polarized. That helps with sun glare, and works very well. However, when I had them on, I could not see the stereo display on the dash. I had to tip my head down and look over my glasses to see it. The auto climate control display was fine, I could see it very well however it was lower on the dash than the stereo display. The stereo one was at just the right angle that the polarization filtered it out, apparently. Certainly not a show-stopper, but disappointing nonetheless.

I drove it to work Wednesday...then Thursday...then Friday. I got the call from the sales manager on Friday afternoon saying the car wasn't ready yet, and they were thinking it would be Monday at the earliest. I told him I understood and that I would wait for his call the next week...but inside I was doing the happy dance! I had the Beemer for the weekend!

My parents came for a visit that weekend, so I got to chauffeur them around in the Beemer, and they were suitably impressed.

I got the call on Monday afternoon that the Buick was ready to be picked up. So, I left work a bit early to avoid the traffic. I picked up the Riv and said a tearful goodbye to my loaner. The sales manager handed me the invoice for the work as I was leaving and said he thought I would want a copy for my records. Almost $600...glad that was him and not me! The entire shifter linkage and the park-interlock solenoid had been replaced (the button now goes down all the time without incident!), and they put another cam position sensor on the car, thinking the first one was somehow faulty. On the drive home, the Riv behaved drama.

I had told ESM I would not let her drive an unreliable car, so I took the Riv to work on Tuesday. I drove along my commute that morning occasionally glancing at the "Check Engine" light. And everything was fine...until about twenty minutes into my thirty minute commute. Hello Mister Check Engine Light! GRRR!!

So, I got to work, went in and immediately called the sales manager at BMW...again. I was told he had the day off, however there was another manager that was familiar with the situation and would I like to speak with him? I said yes, please. When he came on, I briefly recapped the situation, adding that the check engine light was on...again. I could hear his face drop over the phone. He said that he wanted the car back as quickly as I could get it to him, as he wanted to get it back to the GM dealer ASAP. They spent money to fix it, and exactly as I would, they wanted their money's worth! I spoke with my boss, who apparently loves a good, ironic car story, and got permission to leave a little early for lunch and take the Riv back again.

The substitute sales manager was waiting for me. He said he had spoken with the original sales manager and that they would get the Riv back to me as soon as they could. He then asked if I needed a ride. I did need to get back to work, and smelling another loaner like a shark smelling blood, I said yes. He replied that all their normal loaners were out, but he would see what he could do. So, I sat down in the "lounge" to wait. After about twenty minutes, he came back with an extended test-drive agreement for me to sign, and they sent me off with a used pre-owned silver BMW 2006 325xi from their inventory. Certainly not a bad ride, but when you were expecting maybe a 5-series, it was a bit of a letdown!

The four-wheel-drive of that car was excellent, however the 2.5-liter engine was definitely not in the same class as the 335 I drove first. The only other equipment in the silver one that the black 335 didn't have was seat heaters. The Riv has those as well, and boy will they spoil you in a hurry! It is SOOO nice to go out, get in, turn the seat heater on, and have your backside nice and toasty before you even get out of the driveway. Luxury!

That was Tuesday. On FRIDAY, which means it has now been two weeks since we signed the papers on the Riv, I got the call that it was ready. The original sales manager told me that GM, after performing many ancient, dark rituals on the car, finally exorcised what they thought was the demon. The wiring from the engine management computer to the sensor had a break in it somewhere, but one that would only intermittently show up. So they replaced all the wiring to the sensor. They had then driven the car repeatedly, and not had any issues with it.

Wanting to surprise ESM, I left a message on the home phone that I was going to be late coming home from work...with a generic "IT troubles" excuse. I went to the BMW dealer and picked up the car. The sales manager and I shook hands, again, and he said he was very confident they had solved the mystery, and then grinned and said he looked forward to NOT seeing me again for a bit! I thanked him for all he had done for us, and it sounds cheesy I know, told him that he had definitely earned a customer for as long as I lived in Denver. He thanked me and waved as I drove off in the Riv.

ESM and I drove the CRAP out of the Riv that weekend! We wanted to make sure the problems did not return. I am very happy to report that as of today, the "Check Engine" light has stayed off for more than two weeks! *knock wood* Now that doesn't mean the car doesn't have a few minor issues I still need to fix...the one ignition key is still a bit dodgy, the power antenna somehow got bent while GM had the car so it won't go up and down very far, just little things like that.

Overall we are very happy with the car. ESM loves the supercharged 3.8-liter V-6 under the hood, and I've seen her dip her toes into that power several times! She tells me that after driving the Riv for two weeks, she will never again allow me to purchase her a car without all of the following:

* A sunroof
* Seat heaters
* CD player
* Automatic transmission
* Cool looks

Well, I guess I better start saving for her next car now... *grin*

1 comment:

  1. ROFL! Well that is the very best new-to-me auto story I have ever heard. Don't feel like the loan stranger... before I even got to the "shark smelling blood" line I was thinking, "Ohhhh, maybe he'll get a big bad hulking Beemer this time!!"

    Enjoy the Riv, guys!!


Hey, I tell you what is... is abuse, is bad language, is spam? Oy, is big shoes!