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Top Marques For Service


I’ve just bought a new car. Not completely new mind, it’s 18 months old. I decided I wanted one of these cars (a BMW 318Ci Coupe) for several reasons:

  • It has a big boot that I can get my mountain bike in to.
  • It has climate control and I love climate control.
  • It has a 6 CD multi-changer and I stay awake on long journeys by singing (not necessarily in the right key).
  • It has ABS and traction control which a bad driver like me really needs to stop me from crashing my car (I’ve had a few knocks over the years).
  • It’s completely over the top as far as quality goes (I’d previously been in a couple of new BMWs and always thought they were superb).
  • When I have kids I’ll never be able to afford / justify one, but I can for the moment.

I wasn’t interested in image, I never have been with cars. Over here anybody who drives a BMW is automatically labelled as an asshole. I must admit that I often held this view too, but they’re so common now that loads of people drive them, not just executives constantly trying to impress everybody. But I realised that buying one would make people think I’m a git. As most people who know me think that anyway then there was no way I could lose!

So with all this in mind I started looking around for one a couple of months ago. I quickly realised that I wanted one sold after September 2001 as at that point the put a larger engine in (2.0) with more power and included cruise control. This restricted my options somewhat as there didn’t seem to be many about. Then I checked out the BMW website’s approved used cars section. Knowing that to buy from an approved dealer would mean paying more, I had a look anyway to see what there was.

You put in your location and it works out the nearest dealers to you and shows you what they’ve got. I could only find one within my price bracket, close by and that wasn’t yellow. It was situated at the Harrogate dealer. Harrogate, for those of you not familiar with North Yorkshire, has a reputation for being a bit of a posh place. House prices are astronomical and there are loads of rich people who live there. So going to have a look at an expensive car in a place like that made me expect the “Pretty Woman” treatment (you know the bit when she goes into the clothes shop and gets thoroughly put down) – except I had no Richard Gere to rescue me.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The people there were great. I went out on a long test drive and was treated extremely well throughout. I was waiting on my mortgage coming through so I couldn’t buy the car there and then and they were quite happy with that telling me to come back when I had that sorted out and they could easily source me the exact car I wanted if the one I’d initially seen was sold by then. When I could wait no longer I returned and thrashed out a great deal on the car I was interested in. It was quite hard work but salesmen aren’t paid to give cars away!

The service was excellent and I even got a free BMW-Williams F1 golf umbrella (very handy in Yorkshire). I’ve mentioned before that I’ve come across some bad service, but these guys were brilliant. Very slick and professional.

As for the car. It’s awesome. I drove 750 miles over the weekend up and down motorways and on twisty roads and it took everything in its stride. Very comfortable, very fast and very refined. I’m glad of the cruise control otherwise I’d have lost my license from speeding. But enough about that, it’s only a car. My point was that there is great service out there and all it takes is a bit of friendliness and professionalism. And it works, because I’ll definitely get my car serviced there and buy my next one from them and recommend them to anybody who’ll listen (like now). Unfriendly sales assistants take note…

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

13 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I think your line….

    Over here anybody who drives a BMW is automatically labelled as an asshole.

    … sums things up well!!!

    Still, sounds like fun to drive so being percieved as an arogant roadhog by all around my well be a price worth paying??

    I think the best “vibe” i ever had in a car was a trip from Lancashire to Glasgow in a Citroen 2CV…. it was a painful 5 hour drag, but EVERYONE seemed to wave and smile as they went past. Something that will NEVER happen whilst in your coupe!!

    P.S. – bob over to Morley and let’s have spin 😉


  2. A fresh mortgage and a new car? You have much more faith in the impending upswing in the economy than I, good sir.

    The car sounds sweet – if you want to drive around in a Weasel-mobile, that is… 😉


  3. I’m getting it while I still can. If I lose my job / house / girlfriend / will to live, then I can look back and say I made the best of it while I could…


  4. Let’s count how many days John has this before Her Majesty’s finest decide his license is a thing of the past :).


  5. “I wasn’t interested in image, I never have been with cars” – tut, tut, John – I can see your nose growing from here! I seem to remember endless bragging about a certain (unreliable) red Golf, which you thought was the bees knees as far as image was concerned…

    And anyway – what exactly is wrong with a yellow car? Has saved me hours of searching in multi-storey car parks…….!


  6. Come on, the golf was years ago…

    And if having a BMW isn’t enough reason to make someone want to key it, having a mustard yellow one would be the final nail in the coffin.


  7. That’s why you should have bought a nice yellow Nissan Micra….. I may get mocked in the street, but at least I have no fear of my lovely little Canarymobile being keyed……


  8. Enjoy it while you can. I had a red Mazda Miata once. I swear that I broke into a huge smile whenever I started it up. Jeez it was fun!

    Now I’m married, a kid, and driving a 7yo Volvo Wagon – with the small 4 cyl, non turbo charged engine (tank!). Its fun too, but in a totally different way. Hmm, perhaps I just convinced myself of that in a cognitive dissonance kind of way. Oh, and the wife hates it, but them’s the breaks.


  9. You will be able to fit Sandy’s petrol tank in yer boot, he will be happy.
    BMW service and after care is unreal they keep phoning and sending letters to check that I am happy with my Mini.
    Do you not find cruise control difficult to use in heavier traffic? Only Scotlands motorways are suitable.


  10. Yeah, the cruise control is a bit tricky in heavy traffic and not recommended. But as long as you can go at a steady speed it’s alright. I tend to do motorway driving when it’s quiet anyway…


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