We’ve been having a blast looking for a vehicle here in Germany. As many of you know, we sold our Targa to a friend in Dusseldorf last year, I sold my ’79 Beetle Convertible through a consignment lot, we offed the Tahoe to a wholesaler, and a good friend and Aptos neighbor bought the BMW. If you know us at all, you know that it’s ‘against our religion’ to buy a new car, so the hunt for a good used one ensued.
All along, Theo was trying to sell me on the idea of a BMW 500-series sedan for cruising. We need to allow enough room to travel with the two dogs, luggage, and occasional guests. And we wanted something comfortable, but small enough to fit in the teeny parking spaces and NARROW parking garage ramps!
Then I’m thinking…brocante shopping, flea markets, the occasional home improvement project…that an SUV would be better. Plus, I’ve been driving a full-size SUV for over 15 years and am so used to sitting up high (not to mention how much easier they are to get in and out of as we age and get a little wider and weaker!)
And so we piled in the car with our brave friends, August and Sybille. Sniffed on countless cars and SUVs in every little town—BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Mazda, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Audi, Ford, VW, and Renault. It was an exhausting few days.
It was interesting to experience the wide variety of test drive procedures, varying from them simply handing us the keys with no questions asked to:
• “My wife has the demo car out today doing some shopping.”
• filling out paperwork with signatures and copies of licenses
• the salesman in the back seat
• “can you come back on Thursday?” Wha???
• to the quintessential ‘non-service’ experience—no one in the showroom…anywhere
In the end, my ever-German husband could not bring himself to seriously consider a non-German automobile, so we ordered what appeared to be an EXCELLENT used Audi Q5 at an amazing price. When it got here from another dealer, we sat in it playing with all the bells and whistles. Then Theo froze when he saw the average gas mileage was 15 litres/100 kilometers!!! With the price of gas at €1.40/liter, we did the math and figured the big 3.0 engine would be a gas hog, so backed out of the deal.
Being that Theo truly believes that he has BMW in his DNA linkage, we scoured www.mobile.de for the newest, lowest-mile, most loaded 5-series sedan we could find. Lo and behold, we found his dream car. A 2012 (first registered in 12/2012–so almost a 2013 as T is so quick to point out to me), BMW 520 Diesel in Titan Silver Metallic with Piano Black interior. It’s loaded and comes with a warranty. They’re putting new tires on the front and detailing it for pick-up next Thursday.
Paying for the car was quite an experience. Other dealers and our friends had told us that cash was king. So while we were in Dusseldorf the other day taking care of paperwork at our bank, we picked up €30,000 in cash bills! We get ready to dispose of the huge bulge in Theo’s inner coat pocket and the sales guy tells us the maximum they can accept in cash is 14,900 and the rest will need to be transferred (money laundering laws, you know). So we left with the extra €15,100 and went on a wild shopping spree at the nearest jewelry store!!! Just kidding, we will re-deposit the cash and transfer the balance on Monday.
And so, I have a happy husband. Even though I’m not a huge fan of silver cars (19 out of 20 cars in Europe are silver or black), and I feel like we’ve ended up with a Grandpa Car, he’s happy and that’s worth something. (I’m holding my cards tight to the chest to get the house I WANT!!! Heehee!!!)