The challenge is this: Spec out a car that you can buy, pick up at a European factory, drive around for two weeks in Europe without feeling envious of other, similar, Euro-spec cars that you may see in parking lots over the next two weeks whilst driving your new purchase around, and then ship back to the US while still feeling good about your decision. This is difficult of course because it requires knowledge of what is NOT available on US configurable cars. (Hint: it's everything. Seriously, enable google translate and spend some time on the Audi or BMW German configurator sites)

The reason for this challenge is that I am currently in Germany for work. My rental car is a BMW 116d 4 door hatchback with a 6-speed manual. Usually I hate my rentals, including the last rental I had in Germany, because it was a shitbox Opel Astra wagon with a hard 100,000 km on it. This BMW has pretty much everything I need, (bluetooth, heated seats, sport mode button) and nothing I don't (all of the luxury shit I would have to add in to the purchase price if I wanted bluetooth, heated seats, and a sport mode button) with the added benefit that it drives like an actual honest-to-God BMW despite being essentially the base model. If I could spec one out for purchase in the US, it would be this car. Not happening on the BMWUSA configurator.

There are a metric (heh) crap-ton of potential vehicle configurations available in Europe. It seems like anything you could possibly want, you could get. I'd love to one day, configure exactly what I want, pick it up, drive it on the Autobahn and beyond for a couple of weeks, and then let it live out the rest of its life in my service on the US interstate system, but I can't for the life of me imagine that I'd feel good about my hypothetical 328i "Sportwagon" purchase knowing full well that BMW has the capability to put the freaking 6-speed in it, especially when I park next to a 335i Touring with the 6speed, sport package, and M-wheels at my hotel in Munich.

This is not an easy challenge. Prove me wrong. And if you're a BMW/Audi/Mercedes product manager reading this: What gives?!