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S6 Delivery July 2014

 
Old 09-13-2014, 09:46 PM
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Default S6 Delivery July 2014

I wanted to pass along my experience with the Audi European Delivery programs and help people with some of the things that I learned.

Overall, It was a fantastic experience. I would certainly consider doing it again. I will break this into three parts: (1) The Pre-Trip Experience; (2) The car pick-up and drop off; (3) Travel Tips with the New Car.

Essential Facts:

Car: Audi S6
Estoril Blue Exterior
Black Leather Interior with Carbon Atlas Inlay
19” Wheels with All-Season Tires
Innovation, Drivers Assistance, Night Vision and Individual Contoured Seat Packages
Delivery Date - July 17, 2014

The Pre-Trip Experience

After planning for over a year, I started working with the dealer in February. We sat down with the dealer and filled out the order paperwork and left them with a $1,000 deposit to reserve our delivery date. Against advice from the dealership, I had already booked airplane tickets the previous September in order to use frequent flyer miles.

in late May, the car went into production and we had our delivery date confirmed. I received a package in the mail at the end of may with the confirmation of my delivery date, the VIN number of the car and the details of the delivery (it also had a nice pen, key chain and travel mug).

Due to business travel, I finalized the contract at the end of June (later than I would have liked), and it went very smoothly. The car price was not negotiable and they applied the standard MRSP discount for European Delivery. I negotiated some dealer extras (paint clear coat, pre-paid maintenance, etc.). Where there wasn't negotiation on the car price, there was significant room for negotiation on the dealer extras. I will leave it at that… By the time I left, I and the final contract in hand and the payment schedule ahead of me.

I chose the dealership (Barrier Audi in Bellevue, Washington) because they had someone who was experienced/trained in the European delivery program. I understand that no all dealerships have someone with this experience.


Car Pick-Up and Drop Off

My wife and I flew into Munich and elected to stay at the hotel that was at the airport. This was very convenient, as you can walk from baggage claim to the hotel. Within walking distance from the hotel, there is a grocery store (water/snacks) and a couple of restaurants. The hotel is a typical German business standard with clean rooms and a decent breakfast.

On the delivery day, we were scheduled for a 10am arrival at the delivery center and a 2pm delivery time. We were picked up at the hotel around 9am by a very nice Audi A8 town car for the 50 minute drive to Ingolstadt. It was fun to play with all the controls in the back seat (ventilated/heated seats, seat back screens, etc.).

When we arrived at the delivery center, we were met by our contact/coordinator who arranged to have our luggage stored (it was brought to our car at the delivery time). If you take the factory tour, you cannot take any bags or cameras, so you should leave most everything with your luggage. We went upstairs and had coffee and went through all the documentation and signed the final papers. You should carefully review the list of paperwork that you need to bring with you because you need it all.

Stephanie very patiently answered all of our questions and gave us her contact information (which we used on the trip). She even got us an iPhone connection cord so we could charge our phone while driving. The whole meeting took about one hour.

We had a little bit of time to walk though the large Audi-store and then we made our way across the large parking lot to where the tours started at 11:30am. We toured the A3 line which was impressive with all the robots and moving assembly lines. We didn’t have any time to eat before the tour (which lasted until about 1:30pm), so you may want to bring a snack. You are not allowed to bring phones, cameras or pursed/bags and there are small lockers that you can use (you need a 1 Euro coin to use the locker and you get the coin back when you are done).

We had just enough time to get back to the delivery center for our 2pm delivery appointment. The mentioned that Audi deliveries ~300 cars a day (3-4 American European deliveries) and they have the routine nailed. A delivery specialist met us at the car and we spent the next hour going through all the details of the car, setting up all the preferences, connecting our phones and completing the orientation. They took our picture and gave us an 8x10 to commemorate the experience.

They bring your luggage to load in the car. Be sure you have the loose items accounted for (manuals, first aid kit, and iPhone connection cord) If you travel to Austria and Italy (and perhaps other countries) you will need bright emergency vests as well (we were told we would get them, but forgot to check and ended up buying them at a gas station - they are inexpensive). As mentioned on the website, you are given a portable GPS (ours was a Garmin) because your in-dash system is not operational in Europe. Although we would have rather had the Audi system, the Garmin worked great, was set to English and helped us on our whole trip (even alerting us for speed cameras).

We said goodbye, drove out of the delivery bay and made it about 10 yards where we parked and took more pictures. We went inside to grab a late lunch (the cafeteria is very nice and you get free food/drinks the whole day of your delivery). We were anxious to get on the road, so did not go to the Museum. If we do this again, I will make time to go there too.

That afternoon, we drove to Innsbruck (about 3 hours + traffic). In retrospect, I should have spent the night nearer to the factory (perhaps back at the airport in Munich or downtown Munich). Jet lag made me pretty tired and I would have liked to see the museum. It was great to get onto the Autobahn though and I enjoyed the drive. I asked about the engine break-in period and they said I should keep the car below 4000 RPM’s for the first 600 miles (1000km). I was able to get up to 125mph on the Autobahn while keeping it below 4000 RPM’s…

I will skip to the drop-off and put the travel tips in the next section. We dropped the car off in Nice. You need to set a date/time reservation for drop off at least 3-4 days before you arrive. I simply called from the Audi delivery center and made the reservation at the Nice drop off so I wouldn’t forget.

In Nice, the drop off is actually at the airport. There is a special lot (which was very difficult to find), but the contact gentleman was helpful and met us at the airport departures area and showed us where to park. Before the drop-off you need to wash the car so that it can be inspected. Most of the gas stations had automated car washes which require coins to operate. We needed an extra 30-45 minutes to get the car washed before getting to the airport.

We did an inspection of the car together and showed all the paperwork before going inside to sign the transportation papers. I learned that all the drop off locations truck/train the cars to Eindhoven in the Netherlands where they are put on a ship to the US. We were given a wide window of shipping time (6-13 weeks) which I understand is highly dependent on how long the car sits at the port waiting for the ship to fill up.

The ship goes to Houston where the car passes through customs and is then trucked to the final destination (in my case Bellevue, Washington). We got an e-mail notification when the ship was about a week from Houston with of the shipping and customs papers. We were told to get these to the dealership ASAP so they can pre-order the license places, making sure there is no delay in getting me the car once it arrives.

As I write this, the car is still on a truck from Houston home, so I can’t write the final chapter.


(3) The Travel Experience

After picking up the car, we traveled through Austria, Norther Italy and into southern France. I will not chronicle all the details of the trip, but include the things that we learned about traveling with our new car.

When driving in Austria you need a first aid kit and reflective vests. You also need to to purchase a highway toll pass to put in the windshield. You need to do this BEFORE entering Austria and it can be purchased (along with the vests) at most gas stations in Germany within a few hours of the border.
Once of the best roads I have ever driven on was in Austria. It is called the Grossglockner Road and details can be found here: Großglockner Hochalpenstraße
I recommend pulling up some websites on driving in Italy before you get there. It is not hard, but understanding the signs and how the toll system works will make it less stressful. We found that driving in Italy wasn’t difficult, but we avoided the downtown area of the major cities.
We spent a couple of nights in Venice, parked at the airport and took a shared water taxi into the city. We felt it was safe to leave our car there and the boat was an easy way to get to our hotel near St. Marks square. If your hotel is at the other side of town (near the train station) you may want to park at the “parking island” and some in on the train or boat.
The Autostrada (toll highway) travels pretty fast (130kph speed limit) but you don’t see much. The back roads are much more scenic but can take 2-3 times longer.
Gas is expensive. We spent $120-$140 per tank filling the car 3/4 with Super.
Tuscany was a blast with lots of small roads to drive on. We depended on the GPS all the time.
It was very difficult to find parking in large cities. We ended up either parking on the outskirts and walking/taking a cab or parking in a small town and taking a train into the bigger cities (this worked out very well).
Radio stations were not a great pleasure, so we spent most of our drive listening to iTunes through the car audio system. Plan ahead with plenty of recorded music!
Always have some Euro coins to pay for parking, buses and coin operated machines where they may not take credit cards or bills.
When booking hotels, we tried to find ones that had parking garages and/or valet parking. We wanted to be sure that the car was secure each night. We followed some good advice to be sure we did not leave anything visible in the car when parked.
The drive from Genoa to Nice was about 100 miles and took us about 8 hours along the coast. It was a long day, but the views were incredible and well worth the time. It would not have been the same drive along the Autostrada.

Overall the trip was one of the best that I have had in many years. Driving your own car through Europe is a great experience and I recommend it if you have an adventuresome spirit.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:17 PM
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S6 in Tuscany





S6 in Tuscany





S6 in Tuscany





S6 in Tuscany





S6 on the coast of France





S6 on the road to Nice
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:28 PM
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Great post and photos! Thanks for sharing.
We drove from Genoa to Nice also. But we stop in Varraze and spend few hours on the beach. Happen to be a very nice place with best onion pizza I ever try.

Last edited by TIME89; 09-14-2014 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for the post. Next time we will have to travel into Italy.

Did you take any other Alpine roads besides Grossglockner? We took that in a round about way from Zell am See to Salzburg and while enjoyable it was crowded.

Next time look into Gerlos and Nockalm. They were terrific and less crowded.
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Old 09-14-2014, 04:11 PM
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We took the back roads between Innsbruck to Zeil am See, had lunch and headed south from there to Grossglockner. The roads were all great and I would go back in a heartbeat.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:54 PM
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Great post and car!!

We are doing ED (Sept 29th at 1030am!) and drop off in Nice as well.
Do you mind sharing your itinerary? I had budgeted only 2-3hrs from Genoa to Nice!!! Be nice to check my trip with someone who has actually done this!

Also, how did you get back after dropping off the car in Nice at the airport back to you hotel?

thanks!
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wiseguy67 View Post
Also, how did you get back after dropping off the car in Nice at the airport back to you hotel?

thanks!
Taxi is the best way to go.
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:39 AM
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We booked hotels in advance, but left each day to do what presented itself.
  • 2 nights in Innsbruck (I think Saltzburg is better, but we had already visited there)
  • 1 night in Heiligenblut (after driving the Grossglockner Road)
  • 3 nights in Venice (parked at the airport and took a water taxi to the hotel)
  • 4 nights in Tuscany between Florence and Siena (bed and breakfast well off the beaten path - can provide a link if interested)
  • 1 night in Genoa (visited Pisa and Lucca along the way and didn't spend any time in Genoa)
  • 3 nights in Nice - one day we took the train to Monte Carlo (dropped off the car the last full-day)

You can do the trip from Genoa to Nice in 2-3 hours (traffic dependant) if you take the Autostrada (toll road). If you take the coast road through the little towns it is much, much slower, but more scenic. You need lots of patience and it may go faster in September (we did it in July during vacation season).

After dropping off the car, we took a cab back to the hotel - it isn't too far. I think it was 20-30 Euros for the cab. We took the train the next day (cab to the train station) to Paris for a few more days before flying home from there.

Be sure to have the phone number of your drop-off contact in Nice. When you make the initial appointment, they will give you directions and a code for the parking gate. We drove around and around the airport looking for the special parking lot and never found it. Ended up calling and meeting the nice gentleman at "departures" and he directed us to the parking lot. The lot is an off-shoot from the round-about after you leave the departures area.

Hope you have a great trip
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:35 AM
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4 nights in Tuscany between Florence and Siena (bed and breakfast well off the beaten path - can provide a link if interested)
Very interesting - please post.
The more I look at your pics - more I fell in love with color of your car.
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Old 09-15-2014, 08:55 AM
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The place we chose was based on recommendations from Trip Adviosr. It is an old farmhouse that has been converted into a very nice bed and breakfast. The staff is wonderful. Warning - it is very much off the beaten path (drive through the countryside and about a mile down a gravel road). Also note that it has modent conveniences (wifi, etc.) but it is not like a modern hotel (no elevators, etc.). It was a nice home-base and we explored local castles & wineries along with reasonable drives to Siena and Florence. I recommend driving to a train station and taking the train to Siene and Florence instead of trying to find parking in those cities.

Il Paluffo - Main House B&B (Certaldo, Italy) - B&B Reviews - TripAdvisor

Paluffo - B&B Paluffo Tuscany, in the Chianti Hills close to Florence, San Gimignano and Siena
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