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Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-16-2010, 1:52 PM Reply   
So I sold the Prius and now I need a real car! I am thinking a BMW 545i sport is the next family sedan for my family but I am open to suggestions. It should be comfortable for 4 adults, capable of handling 2 car seats if my Tahoe is not available, needs to get 20+ MPG for my commute, should be comfortable, sporty, stylish, and classy. Seems that a nice european sedan is call. Oh yeah, my budget is $25k including tax for this purchase.

Suggestions?

thanks,
Mike
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       08-16-2010, 4:24 PM Reply   
Awesome car, but I would plan on expensive repairs if you are buying out of warranty. Hopefully Evan will chime in. He works on them every day.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-16-2010, 5:16 PM Reply   
Jarrod is right on. Make sure you buy one with as low of miles as possible and have a competent BMW shop perform a pre-purchase inspection on it before you buy. Best bet is to buy a certified pre-owned car from a BMW dealership with a nice long warranty.

Other than that, they're great cars. Awesome to drive. You may also consider the 6 cylinder cars. The 3.5 turbo is almost as fast as the 545, but better on gas. The 3.0 is no performance slouch and can be had a bit cheaper. All can be had with the sport package. I'd highly recomend a car with active steering. It's really cool and comes with the active sway bars. Simply amazing handling from a larger car.

You'll get opinions in every direction about these cars. Personally I think they're pretty solid and I work on them all day. I'm sure some of the japanese cars are more reliable, but they lack a lot of the soul of the german cars. IMO the 5 series is an excellent compromise between sport and utility. If you drive one I'd be willing to bet you'll agree.
Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-16-2010, 6:10 PM Reply   
this unit has 75k on the ticker, my previous 328 went to 135k with minimal concerns (water pump, air pump, conv top synch, abs reset, etc., I consider these minimal).
Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-16-2010, 6:35 PM Reply   
yes it has the active steering
Old    Marty McFly (mcfly)      Join Date: Jan 2002       08-17-2010, 8:06 AM Reply   
Evan, we are in the same boat as well. We are looking at the 5 Series BMWs, but are still learning about them.
Is there a year model to stay away from? We are looking at around 2006 and newer.
Our situation is basically the exact same as Mikes...we want something that can be a great daily driver and handle two car seats.
McFly
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-17-2010, 11:19 AM Reply   
75k is a bit high. Once you get to 100k you'll start getting into some of the expensive repairs. Valvetronic motors, transmissions, big cooling system repairs. When we talk about the 5's and 7's during training we all see the same problem with people buying them used. It doesn't matter what you pay, it's still a $60-$100k vehicle and it'll cost like one to maintain.

I think this is why BMW's sometimes have a bad rap. The guy that can drop $100k on a 7 series can probably afford to maintain it. He gets 60-100k of good reliable mileage. At that point he sells it cheap, or trades it in. The next guy that get's that vehicle gets a great deal on purchase, but wears the price of maintanence.

If you want my personal opinion you could probably just judge by my actions...... We're about to buy my wife a new vehicle. This time around we're looking used. We'll probably buy a 15-20k mile X5 or Mercedes ML. Something about 1 year old that's taken the depreciation hit, but is still under warranty and has lot's of good miles left. I've drawn the line at buying something with over 25k miles and would really think hard about financing anything with that kind of mileage. That's just my opinion. I can work on my own vehicles and get parts at cost, but it still doesn't make sense for me to get into a vehicle that will imminently need expensive repairs if I haven't gotten lots of good miles out of it first. I'm not saying this is the rule. There are those that will buy a 75k mile BMW and get another 75k miles out of it before running into problems. I guess you just have to ask yourself how good is your luck, and how strong is your stomach toward $1-$2k bills each time you take your car in for service.
Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-17-2010, 1:14 PM Reply   
My situation is kind of special, my cycling buddy is my used car dealer. If I buy the car from him I get to use his shop, get access to his mechanic, and get parts at his cost. I can buy a nearly identical car with 45k miles for about $5k more from a private party. If I do that then I don't really have access to my buddies shop. So when everything is considered the 75k miler starts to look a bit more attractive. That $5k will do a couple heavy duty repairs on the car with the higher mileage. I also have 3 vehicles so I don't expect to put more than 10k miles per year on this vehicle and project to have it for only 3-5 years. Again my situation is a little special.

Thanks Evan, that is very good advice.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-17-2010, 1:30 PM Reply   
No problem. Sounds like you've thought it through pretty well. Having 3 cars is nice, too, if you're considering something with slightly higher mileage. Being down a car is no fun when you're reliant on them both.
Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-18-2010, 12:13 AM Reply   
We'll just finished my test drive in the 545i. Since he is a buddy he let me take it before he did the safety on the car, sometimes I do his test drives on cars anyway when we ride our bicycles out to Tracy and pick up cars he buys and drive them back to San Ramon.

This car felt pretty good, very slight bearing or tire growl from right rear. Took it up into some curvy roads and pushed it a bit. Hit a minor bump in a turn and the car electrical system went berserk. The check engine light, the seat belt light, the trans warning light, the adaptive control system light, abs light and a few other warning lights all lit up at the same time. Also the speedo went dead in addition to the MPG indicator. Almost like the computer system for all of these systems had it's power connection fall off, or maybe the speed sensor plug?

The mechanic is going to check it out tomorrow. I am now thinking about holding off for a few months until after Thanksgiving when it's a real buyers market???

Evan, I would love to hear your comments about the electrical exorcist that appeared when
Old    Rob Sanchez (rsanchez)      Join Date: Jun 2010       08-18-2010, 9:48 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeski View Post
We'll just finished my test drive in the 545i. Since he is a buddy he let me take it before he did the safety on the car, sometimes I do his test drives on cars anyway when we ride our bicycles out to Tracy and pick up cars he buys and drive them back to San Ramon.

This car felt pretty good, very slight bearing or tire growl from right rear. Took it up into some curvy roads and pushed it a bit. Hit a minor bump in a turn and the car electrical system went berserk. The check engine light, the seat belt light, the trans warning light, the adaptive control system light, abs light and a few other warning lights all lit up at the same time. Also the speedo went dead in addition to the MPG indicator. Almost like the computer system for all of these systems had it's power connection fall off, or maybe the speed sensor plug?

The mechanic is going to check it out tomorrow. I am now thinking about holding off for a few months until after Thanksgiving when it's a real buyers market???

Evan, I would love to hear your comments about the electrical exorcist that appeared when
Honestly, don't buy a BMW out of warranty. It'll cost you more to maintain than an italian exotic, seriously. Even if you have a free shop+mechanic and parts at cost, I would have a hard time enjoying a car that was constantly eating parts. As others have suggested, if your buddy is a dealer have him find you an 07 or newer in warranty, you should be able to find something in your price range if you wait for a good deal.
Old     (fatsac)      Join Date: Jun 2004       08-18-2010, 10:09 AM Reply   
A good buddy had the 545 as a daily driver. Holy cow did that car spend time in the shop. He was meticulous about maintenance but once it hit 90k or so, just about everything seemed to crap out. Nav system, radiator, window motors, etc. Like everyone seems to say, I love how they ride but would never have one out of warranty or lease.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       08-18-2010, 1:37 PM Reply   
Mike.... With all those issues jumping up at the same time I'd be inclined to look at your battery connections or charging system.

Again, I reitterate what I said before. These cars make me a lot of money.... Need I say more?

I think big electrical glitches and expensive diagnosis is going to become common place. Think of how sensitive your laptop computer is. Now take 50X the number of processors and put them in a car that is exposed to constant vibration and hot/cold extremes. You'll get failures. The car companies are really excited about their new technology and it's amazing what they can do with it, but gone are the days of the cars that'd go 200k with limited problems. It'll be interesting to see how things go in the next couple decades.
Old    Mikeski (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       08-18-2010, 4:32 PM Reply   
I think I am going to pass on this one. Thanks Evan, I really value and appreciate your advice. Mike

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