Buying a new car is a special occasion for anyone. It’s special because you get to pick out what you feel suits your individual needs and what you want to say about yourself to those around you, transposing some of your own personality into your vehicle. It’s also special because you’re either giving up a lot of money or signing a contract to promise to give up a lot of money for a long time – or both. Either way, it’s a significant day – you get the point.

As we’re all BMW fans here, I’ll skip the question of “what brand do I want to buy and what does it say about me?” and go straight to the fun part of buying a new or even used car: speccing the car out for the options you want.

6 1/2 years ago when I picked up my first BMW it was an E46 sedan in Orient Blue on gray leather with the Premium Package, Sport Package, Xenons, the Harmon Kardon sound system, and a Steptronic transmission( I hadn’t learned to drive stick at that point). I’d debated the exterior color for months going from Sapphire Black to Steel Gray to Orient Blue – I couldn’t decide until finally I realized that of the three colors Orient was the most unique and rare. I picked out all the options and ran through them in my head too many times to count trying to justify each one and how much use I would get out of it or what was a must-have option. Through BMW forums such as I’d picked up that the sports package was a necessity and that the premium package was a good option as well and that Xenons were truly a safety feature rather than a “look-at-me” option. Well, in early May 2002 I fell in love the first time I drove my new E46 off of the lot and it was downhill ever since.

Well, definitely downhill for the options. Three years later and my second go round, I dropped two options and two doors picking up my 2005 325Ci in Silver Gray on gray leather with the Premium and Sport packages, Xenons and the then-new iPod adapter. I’d dropped the Steptronic transmission in favor of the standard transmission as well as dumping the Harmon Kardon system as it didn’t add much to the sound quality besides the subwoofers.

As I toy with the idea now of acquiring a new bimmer, I’ve found I’m down on more options and that really the only ones I can’t live without are the Sports package, Xenons and the iPod adapter. For me, the added bolsters of the seats, suspension and upgraded wheels and tires of the Sports package is a must, I hate the radio and I cannot live without my iPod and Xenons really do help to see better at night. Those are the options I can’t live without if I had to submit an order form right this second.

So I pose the question to you guys: What can’t you live without if you had to do it again, right this second? The all-wheel-drive Xdrive system? Your Nav/iDrive unit? Satellite radio? What suits your life
and you couldn’t do without?