We sit down with Dan Irish and chat about cars, Welt, the experiences and the drives BMW’s European Delivery Program has offered him.
Today’s the day. You’ve done your research, established your budget, chosen your options and selected your preferred interior/exterior colors. It’s time. As you walk into your local BMW Dealership, you try to take in as much of the experience as possible. This memory will stay with you for a long time.
You sit down, and, as you go over your wish list with the BMW Client Advisor, you select the one option, that isn’t really an option but more of a “ticket” that will turn your journey of BMW ownership into an adventure of a lifetime: European Delivery.
For many of us, this is something that’s been put on our “Bucket List” of things to do as BMW enthusiasts. Some of us have actually taken delivery of our new BMW through this program, such as our own Horatiu with his 1M. Then there are the rare few who have experienced this pilgrimage multiple times.
If you’re planning on doing a European Delivery on your next BMW (and I strongly encourage you to do so) there’s no person more qualified to talk to than Mr. Dan Irish. Dan and I met through a mutual friend and colleague of mine, Kevin Franklin. Thanks to Kevin, Dan and I instantly hit it off. He’s a man that I believe embodies the description of “BMW Fanatic” to a tee. Extremely knowledgeable and very passionate on the subject of cars in general, his devotion to the Roundel above all other brands will become evident in the lines that follow.
James Bachici (JB):Dan, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down and share some of your thoughts as well as some of your BMW adventures with us!
Dan Irish (DI):Oh my pleasure! I’m a huge fan of BMW. I was a Mercedes guy back in the days of the 190E (an amazing vehicle) but with the emergence of the E36 M3 I just couldn’t go back. EVER.
JB:I don’t want to waste any time and I’m sure our readers are also curious: How many times have you actually done European Delivery?
DI:I have done a European Delivery 5 times. An E46 M Sport Sedan, which was probably one of the most favorite experiences for me. It was new, but there was no navigation system. So maps were required. It was a smaller vehicle but we drove it everywhere (Austria, Italy, South of France, Germany (Nürburgring), Holland (Amsterdam) and of course, back to Munich.
That was followed by an E90 Twin Turbo Sedan. (2007) Now that was an amazing experience – the torque in that vehicle was amazing and efficient. We did a high-speed run one morning starting at 5am in Amsterdam all the way back to Munich. We got about 200 KM done in the first hour easily before traffic slowed us down.
Which was followed by an E90 M3 (2008), where my buddy and I arranged to have our cars delivered on the same day, appointments right next to each other. We took these vehicles to Monte Carlo, stayed a week of lavish fun on the beach and more, as well as around the Nürburgring. Of course, he had a 335i and I had an M3. Around the Nürburgring, the 335i didn’t stand a chance.
Then I bought my mom a 328i, which I took delivery of for her. We drove it to Austria, staying in Cologne, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague and back to Munich. Parking it at the Westin Munich was awesome. Pulled right out onto Friedrichstrasse and then onto the famous Unter den Linden.
Then in 2011 the best experience ever came down the pipe. A red Competition Package M3. Absolutely stunning vehicle. The best I’ve ever owned, driven or loved. This vehicle went to the Alps for a nice high compression, low RPM break-in period. Then Salzburg. Across Germany to Belgium to see Bastogne. That town loves Americans for some reason!
2 Days at the Nürburgring was the best and most exciting time ever driving a BMW. I bought 12 laps but could only realistically do about 6 laps per day between my friend Kevin and I. That is a demanding track, both physically and mentally. We experienced rain, sleet, bright sunshine and wind all in the space of 48 hours. Check out the videos as they are narrated by Kevin Franklin, the best Nürburgring passenger I’ve ever had.
JB:Wow! That’s pretty amazing. You must have some fond memories from all that traveling! After a response like that, I can’t help myself but wonder, how many BMW’s have you actually owned and which one are you fond of the most?
DI:Each BMW body type has its own character, its own personality. I’ve owned the following vehicles:
1998 E36 M3 Sedan, Silver with Silver leather interior. This was my first BMW and of course, my first love. You never fall in love a second time, so it holds a special place in my heart. The balance of that vehicle was perfect, the power to weight ratio stunningly tuned, and the overall performance legendary.
2001 E46 Coupe. Silver with Black leather interior. This vehicle was specially tricked out by BMW of Portland. It had the 5 Series rims, special body kit and tinted windows. While awesome to look at and drive, it seems that my heart was really for the Sedan.
2004 E46 Sedan M-Sport Edition was also Silver on Silver. This was the favorite for many reasons, but most importantly it had perfect handling, roaster feel, great price for performance and my first European Delivery vehicle. Unfortunately, it did not include a navigation system, which led to some interesting adventures in navigation through Europe. I spent a month in Europe on this trip and it was the first time I could afford nice hotels, great dining experiences and the joy of the Nürburgring.
2007 E90 335i TwinTurbo. This vehicle was the first vehicle where I decided that it’s better to be safe than sorry and so I sprung for the navigation system. It was the right choice. Europe was at my front door as a result and I never spent a moment distracted trying to figure out what the next set of turns and landmarks were. It made for a much more enjoyable trip. This trip consisted of Monaco, Italy, Nürburgring, Salzburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Baden-Baden and back to Munich. It was a whirlwind tour, but one made enjoyable by the power of the 335 TwinTurbo engine. Racing back from Amsterdam to Munich in one day, to make a 2pm flight. We left at 7am and had no issues heading down the autobahn at 135 MPH.
2008 E90 M3 Sedan. This was the first generation M3 and damn was it amazing. Taking European Delivery was absolutely the right choice. I organized the delivery to coincide with the delivery of my friend’s 335i TT. We had a great time racing the highways in Europe together, going through Northern Italy, Monaco, Nürburgring and back to Salzburg and Munich. ON the Nürburgring, the 335i could not keep up with the M3, even with me behind the wheel and the M3 being driven by my friend in a “not as aggressively as Dan drives” manner.
2011 E90 Sedan 328i. This car was for my mom. But we still drove it on the Nürburgring, to Cologne, Berlin, Warsaw, to Prague and back to Munich.
2011 E90 M3 Sedan. I could write a whole article on this car alone. It was the pinnacle of perfection in my view. A culmination of the learning and refinements from the last 5-6 models of cars. The engineers at BMW dialed in everything about this vehicle, from the suspension to the throttle response. It was tight and I didn’t think that was possible. The double clutch transmission was amazing and I was in love with a stick previously. Now, I am never going back to manual. We’re talking racing bike acceleration out of a V-8 Sedan. This was the car for the 2 days at the Nürburgring.
JB:Now that is an impressive collection of cars and memories! I’m sure a lot of our readers are curious, how does one actually go through the process of European Delivery, what does it all entail?
DI:It’s pretty simple actually. Go to bmwusa.com configure the vehicle the way you want it. Save it. Send it to your local dealer. Call them and ask for European delivery. Pick a delivery date. Pay your deposit. Book your tickets to Munich and pick up your car! Honestly, I don’t understand why more people don’t get their BMWs this way.
JB:Ok, so you arrive at BMW Welt, what happens next?
DI:BMW Welt Experience is like nothing else. Depending on how you arrive. I usually stay at the Westin Grand Munich which is not far from BMW Welt. They have a ton of collector BMWs in the lobby and a few exhibits explaining the history of each vehicle. A 2 min cab ride and you arrive at BMW Welt. Go to the BMW delivery desk where they greet you with a “glad you’re here Mr. Irish… come with us” and then some nice German escorts you to the waiting elevator. You go up a couple floors to the BMW European Delivery waiting area. This is a massive expanse of a waiting room, individual advisors desks, and of course a refreshment area. After a bit of paperwork and a few refreshments, you wait until the appointed time. An advisor appears and takes you down a ramp overlooking all of the interior of BMW Welt. From this vantage point you can see your vehicle come up in a glass elevator and drive onto the delivery floor. They place is on a turntable, where, as you walk down the ramp, the advisor pushes a button and your car spins on its turntable in a spotlight. It is quite the experience. The advisor takes you through the vehicle, answers any questions you have, and in my case, delivers a bottle of champagne in the trunk. Once my photo was taken, I was handed the keys to the car. At this point, the world awaits the roar of the engine. Upon starting the engine, I noticed that everyone in Welt is looking down at me. We get into the vehicle and spiral down from our perch in the middle of BMW Welt, all eyes focused on the Red BMW M3 Competition Package, the glass doors to the street open. I pull out of BMW Welt and the street invites me to hit the gas. At this point the M3 is free of its showroom bounds, ready to prove it is the Ultimate Driving Machine.
JB:Sounds like quite the experience! With so many European Deliveries, you must know where all the good driving roads are, where best to stay and also where to eat! Care to share any of your stories?
DI:I’d suggest the following drives in order of difficulty and experience evolution:
- Munich to Oberarmergau. The A95 South of Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Then follow the signs to Oberamergau. This is a great high-speed (under 100 MPH) autobahn without much traffic. It takes less than an hour and you can cruise up the windy roads in high gear, low RPM, high compression.
- Salzburb to Bozen in Northern Italy, then up over the pass to San Michele, then to Revo. This is amazing and with both views and roads to be respected. A Great combination of high-speed freeway driving and mountain road and passes to cross. Stop for lunch at the summit and enjoy the view.
- Genoa to Eze. This is a long drive from Genoa (the birthplace of Christopher Columbus) to the mountain village of Eze in France. Amazing views from high-speed divided highways overlooking the Mediterean and mountain driving up to the historical village of Eze which takes you back to Roman times. No cars are allowed and reservations are recommended before you arrive in Eze.
JB:Dan, thanks for sharing your experiences with us today and for all the tips! We appreciate your time and hopefully we can sit down again in the future and talk some more shop!
Well, there you have it. If you’ve ever considered European Delivery, the opportunity to meet your new car at its birthplace, the possibilities of taking your new BMW through Europe and the chance to explore both your new car and new locations, we hope this piece has helped you in your decision process. Personally, when I’ll be greeted with “glad you’re here Mr. Bachici… come with us” I can assure you all that I’ll be smiling from ear to ear!
Big thanks again to Dan and Kevin for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with all of the pictures and videos. Be sure to check them out in our gallery below.