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Unread 04-14-2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default Considering a BMW 3-series as my next car...opinions?

I am going to be entering my senior year of undergrad in the fall and starting my graduate studies in 2010. I currently own a '97 Honda Civic LX 4 door with 95,000 and I would like to buy a used car that is slightly more late model, has less miles on it, and carries a certain prestige (it's BMWs, so clearly).

I am looking at the E46 2001-2005 BMW 3-series cars. I have a budget of about $10,000. What I want:

Must be Gray, black, blue, or green
Must have less than 75,000 miles on it from a single owner
Must have sunroof
Must be AWD
Must have decent stock sound system
Leather seats are a plus but not required

where/what should I be looking at here? I bought my current car from a local car dealership. There is a single BMW dealer in the Erie, Pennsylvania area who may have something I am looking for, but they mostly sell new cars.

Also this is my first post but I have wanted to join for a long time, I post as d3v0 on Overclock.net (which advertises for carforum) so I hope someone can give some worthy advice

Thanks!

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Unread 04-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #2
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Well, I'm not trying to discourage you, just be aware that BMWs have ridiculously high maintenance costs - for example, a MAF sensor for my car costs $150, for my co-worker's BMW, it costs $550. They're nice cars if you don't mind spending a bit of extra cash.

But coming from a 97 Civic, it'll be a big difference. You might also consider a Lexus - they carry their share of prestige, but are a bit more reliable.
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Unread 04-14-2009, 03:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for the fast reply! I have my heart set on the 3-series BMW's (mostly due to their aesthetic appearance) but I am open to similar options.

I am also considering an Audi or an Acura TL or something similar. What do you think I could find from these brands with similar characteristics of what I am looking for for the BMW 3 series?

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Unread 04-14-2009, 05:06 PM   #4
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An Acura TL is probably your best bet as far as reliability, but just realize this: if you start to modify any of those three cars you are going to start spending some pretty significant money.

Also, are you saying your TOTAL budget is 10,000 or that after you buy your car you'll have 10,000 left over? Because, to be honest, 10,000 is not likely to get you a very nice version of any of those three cars.

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Unread 04-14-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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$10,000 is what I have to spend haha. I just want an entry level luxury car that at most all I would have to modify is the sound system.

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Unread 04-14-2009, 09:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetRacingTechno View Post
An Acura TL is probably your best bet as far as reliability
Agreed.

If you really want the luxury appeal but don't have the cash, have you looked at a Grand Am/Grand Prix?
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Unread 04-14-2009, 09:43 PM   #7
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I would just say do some research into the vehicles you are considering. I was looking at 02-04 BMW 330i's until I checked out some BMW forums and found out that they have many common, relatively expensive issues. Radiator's cracking, rear subframe problems, etc.

The same goes for the Mercedes I was considering. The S500's (00-03) have air ride issues and require a $2k+ repair if the system goes out. And the CLK430's I was looking at cost a few hundred for something as simple as a spark plug replacement, although I would still consider one if it wasn't for the bad fuel economy. A 275hp RWD V8 powered luxury car would be fun.

I looked at Escalades and Tahoes too, and although they get better city fuel economy than my jeep, the insurance on them is insanely high.

You could also look at a Subaru Legacy. It would fit nearly all of your requirements but the prestige.
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Unread 04-14-2009, 09:54 PM   #8
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Yeah, the Subaru is a pretty cool sleeper car, imo.
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Unread 04-14-2009, 11:28 PM   #9
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buying a BMW is a great move just make sure to nail down a good 60K plus job first before settling on the car or else you could be out of work with a broke ride. Seriously I've heard the most important thing to look at on a BMW is the main. record get a list from the dealer of maint up onto now as in how many services should have been done and at what intervals as long as the owners has done all the maint to the ride and nothing kicks you as out of the ordinary then i'd say it's a confident buy if something is missing in the records then walk away. And remember even if the car only has 10K but it's 2 years old the fluids should have been changed ounce for age not just miles.
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Unread 04-15-2009, 02:56 AM   #10
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Alright, since starting this thread I have reviewed my options.

-AWD is still a must-have.
-My purchase limit has increased to the neighborhood of $16,000 perhaps allowing $20,000.
-I am considering the offerings of Audi in their Quattro series. To avoid problems with the 330, I would look at 325xi BMWs. I like the Acura TSX but once again, I prefer AWD.
-I would consider the Legacy aside from the fact that my sister's boyfriend drives the same car haha.
-I am considering compact-mid size SUVs of the same quality and price range.

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