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Summertime, and the (European) Drivin’ is easy -- with Tourist Delivery

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/26/2014 Frank Markus

My recent drive of the BMW Alpina B6 started off as it would have had I ordered the car at home and taken European delivery. I arrived at the Munich airport and was whisked directly downtown to the BMW Welt complex across the street from the company’s iconic “Vierzylinder” headquarters. Owners are treated to a special lounge experience while they wait for a product specialist to deliver their car. Diversions during one’s stay at BMW Welt include a gastronomic restaurant, shops selling BMW accessories, displays of BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce products, and of course the adjacent BMW museum. BMW Welt in winter© Provided by MotorTrend BMW Welt in winter


When the appointed hour of delivery arrives, expectant owners are escorted from the lounge down a grand staircase leading to the owners-only mezzanine level, where they get a terrific overhead view of their new baby. The delivery officer explains all the features of the car, takes time to assist with phone pairing, radio station preset selection—all those things that might otherwise cause you to crack the owners’ manual at home. When everything is ticketyboo, you take the driver’s seat and follow the flashing yellow lights of a “BMW Safety Car” for a slow lap (or two) of the delivery mezzanine level, before descending the ramp to the ground level and exiting the building and beginning your grand tour of Europe. View of the delivery mezzanine from the grand staircase© Provided by MotorTrend View of the delivery mezzanine from the grand staircase

With BMW, European Delivery includes the cost of

  • 14 days of free, road insurance (this can be extended)
  • Tourist registration
  • Factory preparation
  • European inland transportation from the drop-off point to the nearest port
  • Marine insurance
  • Customs duty and clearance
  • U.S. port processing and accessory installation
  • Wharf and handling fees
MotorTrend Image© Provided by MotorTrend MotorTrend Image

When you’re done, simply drop it off at one of many land or sea ports and BMW will get it from there to the dealer from which you ordered it in a matter of weeks.

The cost to you, the customer: Nada. In fact, the Euro delivery price of “my” BMW Alpina B6 dropped by $8160 (or 6.9 percent). Taking Euro delivery of the 4 Series Gran Coupe I drove later in the week saves that same 6.9 percent, or $2770-$3155 on the base price, depending on model. That amount of savings can seriously defray the price of your European vacation, while making possible all sorts of drive-of-a-lifetime opportunities. (Google Maps says the Nurburgring is 5 hours 8 minutes northwest of the BMW Welt.) And if your state doesn’t require a front plate, you can lord your Euro drive over your fellow motorists by retaining that slick Tourist Delivery plate for as long as you own your car. 05 Viercylinder© Provided by MotorTrend 05 Viercylinder

A couple of hitches: sorry, you can’t take Euro delivery of Spartanburg, SC-built products (Z3, X3, X4, X5, X5 M, X6, X6 M), nor can you take Euro delivery without committing to ordering your car in advance—a concept that remains strangely anathema to the overwhelming majority of the American buying public. Driving our new babies out of the delivery center© Provided by MotorTrend Driving our new babies out of the delivery center

If you’re in the market for both a European brand car AND a European vacation, you owe it to yourself to check out the European delivery option, some of which also include meals and hotel stays near the delivery center.

BMW European DeliveryReady to blast off to the Nurburgring!© Provided by MotorTrend Ready to blast off to the Nurburgring!

Audi European Delivery

Mercedes Benz European Delivery

Porsche European Delivery

Volvo European Delivery

00 Lead Shot© Provided by MotorTrend 00 Lead Shot

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