I've decided that I'm not doing another year of winter commuting in my FWD work car and I'm looking to upgrade to a decent used car.
What I'm after
-4 wheel drive
-decent gas mileage
-under 100k miles
-shorter overall length (no truck)
I looked at a Volvo T60, several Subarus, Mitsubishi Lancer, Pontiac Vibe, and several BMW 3s.
I've found one BMW that I think looks decent however I know nothing about foreign cars but I'm not driving a f*cking Vibe.
So it's an 04 330xi AWD, 80k, 6 speed, leather, full size spare, heated mirrors, 60% tread life, electronic seats etc.
It's had 3 owners, 6 years, 2 years and the last year. Serviced at the dealer with good complete records for its entire life. Had a campaign for an ignition coil and not much else - taillight ground wire, brakes and tires.
The dealer had it listed at 13.2 and I got them down to 11.5 by spending a couple days haggling over the phone. Is this a good buy in terms of the car? Price? Is there another car that fits the bill that I should look at instead?
I know OEM stuff is pricey, don't know what the BMW aftermarket support is like for service items but I'm a pretty decent wrench. I figure minor stuff like brakes, plugs, clutch etc I could handle myself. I have a 4th gen Camaro and 2 sportbikes so I have no intention of doing any performance mods, just keep it running and take it to work and occasionally have the car seat in the back.
Dont get me wrong. They are both convenient in their own situations. And in some cases 4x4 is necessary. But my truck doesnt go in 4x4 unless I plan on going where only 4x4 will go. I remember going with my grandpa through field with everything, mud, snow, ice, water. He never owned a 4x4 vehicle and never got stuck. He was VERY talented though. Much more than I. He is just proof to me that with enough skill it is easily done
Its just alright. The thing is that anything you have to replace is going to be expensive no matter what it is, unless you're under warranty. Its just ridiculous. Maddening even. HOWEVER, BMW makes a quality car and it is rare that anything goes bad. But when it does, watch out!
I'll agree with the "run from BMW" comments. Bought a 325e e30 2 Years ago, and it died 5 hours after I bought it. Still don't know what went wrong, and I rebuild cars, so I know what to look for.
On another note-- EVO FTMFW!!!!! That is all.
Awd, boooooooooooooooooooost, 6 speed, sexy. All you need, in one fast little Japanese package.
Seriously? The e30 is as simple as can be, I've owned 5 of them including a 325e and spend the majority of the time making upgrades not fixing breakdowns. They do happen but most of my problems have been corossion from poorly maintained seals letting water into electrical.
Late model e46's are fairly reliable save for ignition coil failures and the regular crank case vent valve problems. Suspension on a bmw is the pricey point, and the awd is a whole nother world so if you want to get one find an example that has been well maintained in general. You don't want to get hit with the multi thousand dollar shock/strut and subframe bushing replacement or have to replace a thousand dollar CV.
Drivability wise they are popular for a reason, the car's are fantastic on the road and a pleasure to drive daily. I'm a BMW fan but hold bothing against Subaru's (I want WRX Impreza myself), and I'm sure there are other great cars out there with AWD but most of my experience is RWD sports car biased
Dont take ANY of my advice, EVER, when it comes to riding motorycles.
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Boca Raton, Florida
Motorcycle: 2003 GSXR 1000
Re: Opinions on a used BMW 3 series?
Ihave had several BMW's. You can expect more repairs then a typical Japanese car and more expensive to repair and maintain. VW, Audi, pretty much the same thing.
Subaru is most likely going to be reliable, not too bad to maintain, but something like a WRX that's fun is going to be expensive. A used WRX or STI in excellent condition will sell for close to what it cost new.
The German cars do drive much nicer, much sportier then the Japanese stuff, I just wis hthey could build in Japanese reliability.
Motorcycle: 1936 BMW SV999-ZQR with a quad tip intake, dual foot pegs, pink flame paint job and a purple track suit to boot
Re: Opinions on a used BMW 3 series?
A buddy of mine just bought one and loves it. You already mentioned that you're decent with a wrench, so as long as you can get past the fact that instead of nuts and bolts euro cars use hex and torx you'll be fine. One thing that I did read is that pretty much all of the I6 in those bimmers is the cooling system is going to be an expected replacement. Water pump and radiator, etc. But there are bimmer forums all over and they have pages dedicated to general maintenance that you can expect.
Frankly when anyone I know buys a used car I tell them to set aside at least $1,000 for immediate general maintenance. Plus euro cars in general are actually really easy to work on in my opinion. I did a timing belt on a VW passat about 5 months ago and it was the easiest belt I've ever done (aside from civics anyway, since even my grandmother can change one of those)