It's a good thing the E46 sells itself. Here's how my dealer (the only one in town) treated me.
I made 3 visits and 1 phone call to this dealership. On my first visit I saw a knowledgeable salesman, (Malcolm), test drove a 5-speed 323, and immediately in the back of my mind I knew "this is the car!!" Good thing for the dealer.
My next visit I waited in the showroom for a full 30 mins. before anyone approached me. It soon became apparent to me that I knew a hell of a lot more about the E46 series than this particular salesman. I could also smell his four martini lunch on his breath. I left in disgust and immediately walked across the street to view an Acura 3.2 TL, hmmmm....not even close.
I spent the next week calling other dealerships in other cities, trying to get a quote on a 323 with the options I wanted. Then, armed with this info, I called my dealership and talked with the sales manager. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was pissed off that I had called other dealerships. He then made some veiled threats like: "we provide certain services to clients that buy cars from us that we don't provide to clients that choose to buy their cars elsewhere." One of these services I discovered was courtesy cars. On the rest he would not elaborate. When I hung up the phone I was so steamed I went to an Audi dealer and looked at some A4's.....nah, just not the same!
On my last visit I wanted to talk to Malcolm. I went to the reception desk staffed by a young girl. After she was done flirting with one of the mechanics she turned to me. "Can I help you?". "Yes, I'd like to talk to Malcolm." "He's downstairs." "Can you page him for me please?" "Well, he's just downstairs..(implying, why don't you walk downstairs and find him yourself)". Little bitch.
I left that day in a real dilemma. I thought - I can't possibly give my money to that dealership, or to BMW. But deep down inside I knew I had to have my E46, nothing else compared when it came to a test drive. This dealership is the only one around for 250 miles. So, I swallowed my pride and finished the deal with Malcolm in January. Now my car is here and I pick it up in 2 days. I can't wait, both to pick up my car, and to receive my "rate our service" questionaire from BMW. Like I said, it's a good thing these cars sell themselves. THE END - or just the beginning :)