|Saturday, 10 March 2012 12:48|
We visit one of the south’s leading BMW specialists, which boasts a fully-fledged workshop and five full-time BMW-qualified technicians...
TBMW has featured quite a few BMWs that have seen the inside of the Bartley workshop, the most recent of which were Bartley Independent BMW Specialist’s boss Dermot Dromey’s own E46 M3 (issue 132) and a customer’s pretty extreme, track-focussed M3 CSL (Issue 134). So this is definitely a place to go if you want to make your BMW go faster.
But don’t let that give you the wrong impression: the company’s speciality is not modifying BMWs. Not to say it can’t, because it most definitely can, but first and foremost it is simply an independent alternative to the main dealer. And, like many an independent specialist, Bartley’s origins can be traced back to the main dealer via its founding member. In fact Dermot went straight from school to a franchised BMW workshop, and stayed there right up until he set up Bartley in 1997.
It might not have the glossy floors or plush sofas of a main dealer – although there is a while-you-wait service, with café facilities on site if you take that offer up or no-cost courtesy cars available if you don’t – but Bartley’s got it where it matters; that is, the latest and best equipment and the expertise to use it, coupled with affordable labour rates. The team of six consists of Sharon, Financial Director, and five BMW-qualified technicians, the two most seasoned hands boasting almost 50 years’ experience between them. Three fully-equipped workshops feature every BMW specialist tool you can think of, all the latest diagnostic equipment and a four-wheel laser alignment setup that Bartley is particularly keen to shout about: it will set the correct ride height with weights, and centre the rack, for a fixed charge of just £110 plus VAT. Not bad considering they’ll spend up to two hours making sure the job is done.