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I'm considering a used BMW...am I nuts?

24

Replies to: I'm considering a used BMW...am I nuts?

  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3738 replies38 threads Senior Member
    I had a BMW X5 that was a total lemon. It lived in the shop. The last straw was when the handle that opened the driver’s side door came apart. I bought a Mercedes ML350 (SUV). It is now 8 years old and has 160K—I will keep it until it hits 200K. We take this car for regular maintenance to an independent shop that works almost exclusively on Mercedes autos.
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  • ollie113ollie113 307 replies1 threads Member
    You’ll always want a BMW until you have one. Then you’ll know where you fall on the fun/reliability line. I loved mine, still wish I had one, but just can’t take the hassle of trips to the dealer.

    So buy it, and just set a limit for maintenance, when it’s too much, sell.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80939 replies727 threads Senior Member
    surfcity wrote:
    Clearly @ucbalumnus is not a car person

    Do car people assume that people with a limited budget can afford luxury-priced cars that come with luxury-priced maintenance and repairs? There are also fun-to-drive cars that do not have the luxury-prices.
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  • sherpasherpa 4854 replies96 threads Senior Member
    There's nothing cheaper to drive than a Honda; there's nothing more fun to drive than BMW...
    Very true. I own one of each. Because of my irrational frugality I put a lot more miles on the Honda (currently at 205,000) but I much prefer the BMW. Compared to the BMW the Honda seems like a go-kart.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 4938 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Porsche. There is no substitute.
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  • WellspringWellspring 1533 replies9 threads Senior Member
    I think if cars make you happy and this car makes you happiest, then do it.
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 3032 replies162 threads Senior Member
    We don’t have any information on your financial situation, as to whether you can afford such status symbols. From purely a driving standpoint, it seems pointless to own a race car, if 95% of your driving is going 25mph in city traffic.
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  • pishicacapishicaca 376 replies14 threads Member
    edited February 2018
    Oh boy. This one is near and dear to my heart. Owning a German vehicle vs. a Japanese vehicle. Driving experience vs. hassle-feee ownership.

    If you are willing to accept constant and expensive maintenance for a potentially more enjoyable driving experience, German may be the way to go. Also be prepared to continually worry what is going to need to be replaced next and how much it is going to cost. You already know what it’s typically like to own a Japanese car...minimal and inexpensive maintenance, largely worry-free usage with little fear of reliability issues or catastrophic failure.

    I know where I ultimately landed...I no longer have any German vehicles and would hesitate to purchase another one. There ARE sporty and fun to drive Japanese vehicles that also deliver reliability and relatively low maintenance. That’s what I own now and I wouldn’t go back. I just got tired of having my car be one more thing to continually worry about. And I am a car person. :)

    Oh, and if you have to go German, CPO or a quality extended warranty will be your best friend. Really, the best way to own a German car is to lease a new one so you can turn it back in before the warranties expire. But if used is on your radar, are sure you have some sort of extended coverage. You will likely need it.
    edited February 2018
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2817 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @rocket88 said:
    A car is an appliance ...
    If my kids said that to me, I would stop paying their college tuition.
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  • sahmkcsahmkc 589 replies19 threads Member
    I second @pishicaca We own Japanese luxury brands - Lexus and Infiniti.We have owned a Mercedes and it was our least favorite car. Currently, our son drives my husband's old 2004 FX45 - it still looks brand new and has given us 0 problems. It has over 130,000 miles on it and is still going strong. We had another Infinity sedan that we passed to my mom and then my mom passed it to my niece. It had close to 300,000 miles on it when my niece slid on an icy patch and put it in a ditch. The repairs were more than the car was worth at that point. So my vote for a luxury car is Infiniti.A side funny story - My DH was discussing cars for kids with a neighbor and they were talking about the Ford Escape his DD had. My DH said that they were nice SUVs for teens and that we looked at those for DS, but decided to hand him down my car. Friend says I don't think you can compare a $30,000 used car to our used Escape. DH laughed because the FX had a $12,000 blue book value when we handed it down. Everyone just thought it was so expensive because they hold up so well. Freind was shocked the car was a 2004 and only worth $12,000.
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2817 replies39 threads Senior Member
    I own an Infiniti G37S that my kids now drive. The Infiniti/Nissan VQ35 and VQ37 engines are highly reliable, and our 2009 G37S has had zero issues with over 110K miles.

    But in the last few years, Infiniti started using a 2.0L Mercedes engine in some of their cars. I wouldn't assume that to be nearly as reliable.
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  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12281 replies217 threads Senior Member
    My H, as I've mentioned a few times here on CC, is a car guy. He's had several BMWs through the years, a 5 series, a 6 series coupe, an M3, two X3s, and loves driving them. He doesn't tend to keep cars for long. One of my Ds has an X5 that she loves. She's had it for probably 5 years now and hasn't had any problems with it. We regularly maintain our cars, though, which I know that a lot of people don't.

    I agree with wellspring, if you want to get a BMW and you can afford it, why not? Life is short.
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  • suzy100suzy100 5695 replies58 threads Senior Member
    My vote is for a used Lexus. I've had an LS430 for almost 10 years now (bought it used) and it's got just over 200K miles and *knocks wood* is still going strong. She's not as pretty as she used to be, but is still an awesome, reliable ride.
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  • MomofJandLMomofJandL 1786 replies39 threads Senior Member
    A BMW is about how it drives, not about the status symbol aspect. Or at least anyone who keeps one very long thinks so. Anyone more concerned about status than performance driving will trade in the BMW for something that doesn't require such frequent expensive maintenance. But if you love it and want to have fun driving and can afford the repairs, why not?
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  • SouthFloridaMom9SouthFloridaMom9 3416 replies30 threads Senior Member
    Honda person here . . . just bought our 5th one (a Pilot).

    Loved the BMW smaller SUVs but honestly for the $$ much prefer the Pilot which rides great and feels 'plush' to me.

    We rented a luxury BMW sedan, and wow. I can see why people fall in love. But this was a $70-$80K vehicle brand new. (!!)

    We keep our cars so long, and I just can't handle my anxiety with looming repair bills (German cars) on the horizon.

    Porsche Carrera is my dream car.
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  • anomanderanomander 1803 replies4 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    A BMW is definitely not a race car. They’re somewhat sporty, fun to drive premium cars. A ferrari or a Porsche 911/cayman is closer to a race car, although I would call those sports cars since they’re still street cars.

    I characterize BMWs as “durable” rather than “reliable” (although all of mine have been very reliable, if needing somewhat expensive maintenance). I bought a 2002 330i new and when I sold it in 2014 with 120k miles it still looked awesome and got a lot of compliments despite a book value of 5k. The guy who bought it swapped cars with me for a weekend to try it out - he gave me his 2004 Camry. That car was 2 years newer than my 330i but felt about 20 years older; maybe it cost less to maintain but it truly felt like a horrible piece of junk that should be abandoned roadside... and somehow it was worth as much as my older BMW that felt, drove, and looked almost new.

    I actually frequently regret selling that BMW, but we didn’t need it at the time since D had been driving it and she had gone off to school out of state.

    Anyway back to the OP’s question - he’s looking at what’s called the F30 generation of 3-series which was introduced in 2012. I recommend against buying the first or second year of any new BMW generation, so if he’s really interested in a newer 3-series then look at 2014 or newer. And as I posted upthread, I think a CPO 2015 320i is a great deal that would squeak in around his 20k limit. However IMHO the value of the included warranty would balance out buying a cheaper but non-CPO private party car.
    edited February 2018
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @anomander To your point, there are some potential issues inherent to the early generation F30 platform(I always over -research before I make a big purchase). Specifically, they've had timing chain failures that potentially destroy engines. Most of those failures have been attributed to owners not changing the oil more frequently.

    On the upside, the car I'm looking at has the SULEV engine, which carrys a 15yr/150k warranty on the emissions control components, which means replacement of thing like the catalytic converter would be covered until 2028.

    The brakes/rotors were just done on this car. It comes with custom wheels & fairly new tires + the original wheels with winter tires mounted. I'm specifically interested in an AWD car.

    I'm still on the fence with this. I'd actually love to buy another used FJ Cruiser but they are very expensive.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5555 replies265 threads Senior Member
    I will always opt for hassle-free ownership. Always. I won't part with my '02 Corolla until it dies, and that doesn't appear to be anytime soon despite its 150,000+ miles. Buy the "used Honda, or Toyota, or Subaru."
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  • Time2ShineTime2Shine 215 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Hassle-free = low cost = sensible...which is essentially what I'll end up defaulting to with a son heading to college in the fall. Being a grown-up means being boring for the right reasons I guess.

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  • anomanderanomander 1803 replies4 threads Senior Member
    BMW extended the timing chain warranty on those 4-cylinder engines (the N20) due to the failures. You should view the “insufficient oil changes” excuse with a grain of salt, as BMW included free scheduled oil changes for 4/50. Therefore any insufficiency would be due to BMW’s own policy but more importantly if the excuse were true then the risk would be widespread amongst every car they sell due to their policy.

    That said, for 2012 and 2013, IIRC BMW had a longer oil change interval. Something like 2 years / 15-20k I think? In 2014 it was officially changed to 12 months / 10-12k or some such. Another reason to be wary of the 2012/2013 models.
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