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Old    Ray Markham (wakeborder5)      Join Date: Jun 2002       08-05-2012, 12:09 PM Reply   
So I am in the market for a car. I am looking to spend somewhere in the $15-20k range. AWD, good handling/fun to drive are my main priorities, with good MPG as a close third.

I was looking at 2010+ used Subaru Legacys as they are AWD and get good MPG in the 2.5i and drive somewhat sporty.

Recently, I have been looking at BMWs, particulary 3 series xi models for their AWD as RWD would be no fun in Michigan winters. I know there are quite a few guys on here with experience with beamers and I was hoping you could provide some advice on what generations/models had any recurring problems to avoid or any other concerns regarding reliability. Any suggestions for good forums to research them at?

Here is a 2009 335xi I found locally

I've always been inclined to bmws, but how do A4's compare in regards to performance and reliability?
Old    Patrick (jetskiprosx)      Join Date: Aug 2004       08-05-2012, 12:30 PM Reply   
The 2010+ Legacy's are cool, but the 2.5 (non turbo) is anything but sporty. The AWD is awesome and they get around 30mpg on the highway. Unless you step up to the turbo or the 3.6 I think you will be disappointed in the 'fun to drive category' I have recently looked at buying one, but didn't want the added expense and decreased fuel economy of the 2.5 turbo and the regular 2.5 was just too gutless. I still love the Legacy, but I doubt one will be our next car.

What about the Lexus IS250 AWD? It should be more reliable then the BMW & Audi, and surely the maintenance costs will be less. I used to have an 03 Audi A4 and it was a sweet ride, but probably the last German car I will own until I can afford not to care about the costs of repairs
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       08-05-2012, 1:21 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetskiprosx View Post
The 2010+ Legacy's are cool, but the 2.5 (non turbo) is anything but sporty. The AWD is awesome and they get around 30mpg on the highway. Unless you step up to the turbo or the 3.6 I think you will be disappointed in the 'fun to drive category' I have recently looked at buying one, but didn't want the added expense and decreased fuel economy of the 2.5 turbo and the regular 2.5 was just too gutless. I still love the Legacy, but I doubt one will be our next car.

What about the Lexus IS250 AWD? It should be more reliable then the BMW & Audi, and surely the maintenance costs will be less. I used to have an 03 Audi A4 and it was a sweet ride, but probably the last German car I will own until I can afford not to care about the costs of repairs
Agree 100% with all this.

As an aside, we just got a third car because I have a new driver in the house. Started looking at legacies and honda elements in the 10K range, but they were all high miles and beat. Then I started to see 4matic c class benzes and I found an 04 one owner car with 75k on the clock for 10k. A few blemishes, but way more car than a legacy (I'm a former wrx owner).

Holy crap after 10 months of ownership I've sworn that if the benz breaks again its gone. It has been in the shop four times so far, the last time for $1K. Ouch.

Which is all to say that I too will stay away from german cars unless I can afford to get into a certified pre-owned car.
Old    Nick Heckerson (kstateskier)      Join Date: May 2002       08-05-2012, 2:32 PM Reply   
I've got an '07 Infinity G35x with 105k miles on it and have done nothing to it but brake pads and tires. The thing is bullet proof so far, knock on wood. Performance is great, fit and finish is about what you would expect of a japanese luxury car and it has a lot of toys. I feel more comfortable in the snow than I did in my Ford F150s. I have friends with the IS250 AWD that wish they would have bought the G35 because the IS is a dog. The G35 has more than enough power.

My only complaint is gas mileage at about 20 mixed. I had heard they burn tires but I'm getting 45k+ out of the Hankooks I currently have on the car.

If you are looking for the used market, I would stay away from German unless you have a fat wallet. I personally love the German vehicles as much as the next guy but would never drive one out of warranty as I just don't like spending that much time or $$ at the dealer. For cars that I'm going high mileage with I always go with the japanese brands. I have experience with Acura and Infiniti. The Acura TL would also be a good bet. They take some getting used to with their style, but could be had in that range for that exact reason as the '08+ body style was not near as popular at the '04-'07.
Old    WaterBullDawg (WaterBullDawg)      Join Date: Mar 2010       08-05-2012, 6:37 PM Reply   
Sounds like you are looking at the wrong vehicles for your price range man. What's wrong with something like a certified Ford Fusion or something similar?? Great vehicles that you could get nearly new. I have nothing against German cars as I drive a nearly new Volkswagen Touareg and my wife had a new Passat, but if you are buying used they can get expensive to fix.

Unless it helps your career(taking out clients) then be smart and save your cash. And quite honestly I think it is rare now a days for people to really care if you drive a BMW or a brand new Maxima. Now a 79 Pinto is another thing.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
Old    WaterBullDawg (WaterBullDawg)      Join Date: Mar 2010       08-05-2012, 6:38 PM Reply   
Saw someone mentioned an Acura TL. I've heard those are fantastic cars and can be had for a very reasonable price. Sharp looking as well!!

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
Old    Someone Else (deltahoosier)      Join Date: Jun 2002       08-05-2012, 7:58 PM Reply   
Someone correct me if I am mistaking, but one thing you have to watch out for on AWD is really staying on your tire rotations and keeping them really close in size. If you don't, you are taking a big risk in destroying the differential.
Old    Boarder85 (fouroheight68)      Join Date: May 2006       08-06-2012, 11:22 AM Reply   
I just picked up an is250 (not AWD), 59k miles, 100k mile warranty (from lexus) for 18k. Awesome car
Old    Tom (boardjnky4)      Join Date: Dec 2011       08-06-2012, 12:18 PM Reply   
BMW isn't exactly known for their AWD systems. Most BMW enthusiasts recommend just getting the RWD version. They're not bad in the winter as long as you're not a complete retard. Winter tires will improve the situation VASTLY. I know plenty of folks that live in Buffalo, NY and drive RWD BMWs through the winter with no issue.
Old    Bruizza (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       08-07-2012, 4:38 PM Reply   
We just picked up my fiance an Infiniti G37X. Super fun to drive with Awd and 328hp. Mde by Nissan so you know it will be reliable. I will have to say I have been most impressed with the braking. The thing stops on a dime every time!
Old    Patrick (jetskiprosx)      Join Date: Aug 2004       08-07-2012, 5:06 PM Reply   
I love the Infiniti's but with their performance you get hammered on MPG's. If gas mileage wasn't a factor our next car would probably be a used G35.
Old    Nick Heckerson (kstateskier)      Join Date: May 2002       08-07-2012, 8:46 PM Reply   
Braking is great. I've also noticed that the market is getting flooded with them and they can be had on the cheap, relatively, on the used market. I'd buy a new G37 in a heartbeat if we weren't needing an SUV. I wish they made something capable of pulling a boat that didn't cost $72k (QX56).

Bruizza, what are you experiencing with the MPG. The website says 25 with the 37 on the highway. I get about 20 flat across the board. I guess I might be a little heavy on the gas...
Old    Nick Tomsyck (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       08-08-2012, 9:53 AM Reply   
I've owned a Lexus IS AWD for about 18 months now and the car has been great! I was in a similar boat as you and my checklist was the following items: AWD, sporty (or at least sporty looking), 25+ mpgs, 4 doors, and reliable..... Lexus nailed it with the 2nd gen IS

1. The IS250 handles well but is slooooww, the IS350 on the other hand is quite zippy, but finding s IS350 awd might be tougher to do.

2. The awd system is AMAZING.... seriously this thing outperforms anything else I have ever driven in the snow.... obviously if there is like +10" you're screwed, but in the north they're so good about getting most of it clean up that is rarely an issue. With 1"-5" though the car is amazing. With traction control on I honestly CANNOT get it sideways, the car won't allow it.... its amazing.

3. MPGS - I run premium due to the 12:1 compression and with premium I get:
City - 24
Highway (45-60 mph) - 34
Interstate (75+ mph) - 27


The car is sharp looking and (knock on wood) has been very reliable for me.... I know some of the guys on the clublexus forum have 250k+ on their cars with only doing basic maintenance.

I just did my brakes (not rotors) and it cost me $110 for parts and labor and my spark plugs were $300 for parts and labor.... maintenance is pretty reasonable.

I highly recommend and 06+ IS
Old    Boarder85 (fouroheight68)      Join Date: May 2006       08-08-2012, 12:42 PM Reply   
Nick - Ive seen you on CL
Old    Bruizza (bruizza)      Join Date: May 2009       08-08-2012, 1:08 PM Reply   
20 across the board is what we are seeing as well. My fiance is heavy on the gas and brakes though. When I hit the interstate it's upper 20s all day long. 37 hwy sounds like a pipe dream lol.
Old    Ray Markham (wakeborder5)      Join Date: Jun 2002       08-10-2012, 9:46 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the responses. I start my real job next month and after budgeting for my finances, I can spend $20-23k before tax.

Many of you made a good point about other newer/more reasonable cars, but I don't mind paying more now rather than have to turn around and upgrade cars in a couple years. However, I am considering more reasonable cars.

Currently, I'm looking at 06-09 BMW 3 series (xi if reasonable, but not necessary) and ~08 Infinit G35X and G37X (if priced down). I like the BMW for the drive characteristics and better MPG, while the Infiniti had a nicer interior and amenities despite an unappealing MPG.

I'm considering the Lexus IS, but haven't gotten the chance to drive or sit in one yet.

Here is a low-mileage 06 BMW 330i that I'm interested in.

1. Does that look like a good deal?

2.Does that low mileage give comfort that I should be able to get 100K out of it without too much maintenance/repairs?

3. What types of things should I check for when I look at it? Or should I have it checked out by a mechanic? Anything in specific to have looked at? How much might that run?

(CIE Evan, I'm looking at you!)

4. If anyone has a CarFax account and could pull me up one, please let me know. It would greatly be appreciated!
Old    sperbet            08-10-2012, 9:48 AM Reply   
You should just email Evan. I'm sure he could help out. He used to be a BMW tech and he owns an Audi.

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