GT 550: Europe Delivery Completed! My Review.
I'm new to the forum. I've been following here and there but decided not to join until I completed the purchase.
European delivery was an adventure! I posted some of the pictures in my forum album.
My wife and I flew into Germany for the pick-up, drove to Paris the next day, then drove to London a few days later. First time to Europe it was a great way to experience it. We did 1200 miles in just over a week. I was at the gas station often re-filling, but i guess that should be expected for this size, weight, and engine. I probably won't put 1200 miles in 2 months once its back in California.
I was happy to discover that I didn't need to pay $400 for an ipod adapter, at the munich plant they provided me with an aux plug for $10 and the ipod worked fine through the radio system (although it used its own display rather than the radio's). The sound system was good enough, without the upgraded amplifier option. Unfortunately Satellite radio doesn't work in Europe so the ipod was a lifesaver for our cross-continental tour.
I was surprised to see our GT came with Pirelli tires - they look better than the Goodyears I saw at our local dealer. The ride was silky smooth almost always, just as I remembered on my test drives.
The seats are very comfortable. I particularly like that the headrests fold on the sides towards your head. I used those for late night passengering. We had the same headrests on the German airline we fly there on. The active seat option felt strange while driving at 125 mph on the autobahn. Not sure I will use it that often, I really wanted the cooling seats part of that seat package. Strange thing, I coudnt really feeling the cooling, but my wife said she could. I guess I need to play with that some more. I wish it had the active seat side bolsters that pop out on turns, like in the Mercedes AMG I test drove. My wife hated those but I loved them.
The rear view and side view cameras and Parking Distance Control worked OK, certainly better than nothing, but in the narrow compacted European cities we still needed to get out a look/direct each other many times. We each managed to curb a wheel and almost the car... the parking garages/spaces/train carrier in France were probably laughing at a car this size. The car was just barely small enough to fit in the standard train carriers for cars (rather than SUVs) to cross from France to England. The width and height were at the maximum. We could not fit to drive into/through some of the Paris parking garages though. I don't think this will be much of a problem in California.
We probably should have kept the speed down in England - we met some guys in Ferraris, Lambos, Porsches, and Cobras on the train carrier. They all came up to the GT in shock - what is it? what engine? they asked. On the highway back we kept up with them until we realized the 3 series touring behind us not riding along with us, it was a local town police car and it proceeded to demand we pay $100 immediately or have the GT "immobilized". We agreed $100 was fair. I don't believe those freeway ticket cameras forward tickets to America, I hope not because we passed many of them.
I honestly couldn't get a very tight feeling of control in the GT's steering at high speeds. I remember a much different feeling in my E39 525 manual at high speeds. I know the vehicles are completely different in size, weight, transmission, steering system, etc. And I am 10 years older and more concerned (read: scared) at high speeds. But, I felt tense when I pushed the GT above 80 into the low to mid 100s. I felt the car steered too much from small inputs and that I could not get a "right" position with my hands on the wheel. The car seemed to dart left to right to stay straight when my wife was driving. For me it didn't but I had a 'death grip' at times to keep it planted. It wasn't bad. It just was an OK for high speed control. I tried adjusting the suspension and transmission settings, and the gears; that made slight differences. It low and normal freeway speeds it felt good, which is where it will be driven majority of the time.
The power was good and moved the car with enough gusto. I can't say it felt like a muscle car, but hey I actually cross-shopped a E63 AMG and I wasn't blown away by the feeling of its 500 hp powerplant, or $90k price tag. So back to the GT, I picked up my nephew in London, he sat in the back and a big smile was on his face the whole time. The transmission was smooth, it took me a while to get used to the downshift being up. I finally began to think of it as shifting up to "3rd" and down to "2nd" and that sunk in. Paddle shifters would probably be enjoyed better, the shifting itself was good though. I followed BMW Welt's (and owners manual) advice and did not "floor it" in the break in period, but I did unintentionally exceed 4500 rpm to 5500 rpm at freeway speeds. The engine noise reminds me of a diesel. I don't remember that on my test drive, but I suspect thats the sound of the turbo. Not a good tune. My wife began calling it a truck after we noticed this sound.
We really enjoyed this adventure. The BMW Welt center in Germany is an architectural wonder. You spend 1/2 day there from the welcome center, to the new owner's lounge, to the actual delivery and demo and pictures with your vehicle, to a tour of the manufacturing plant, to the museum, lunch, its quite an experience. Then you take it on the Autobahn and see Europe with it. Spectacular. BMW did a great job designing this delivery program and this car.
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