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Orion

Help me choose a car

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So I need another car. The only things it needs are 4 doors, a good safety rating, and something mechanically sound / reliable. Other than that, I don't really give a shit what it is. We're gonna give it to my wife's younger brother in the next year or so, so we'd like to keep the price under 15K, under 10K would be even better. We've looked at a Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and a Passat already, but what else is everyone feeling? It needs enough space for a carseat and I'm not gonna race anybody...but we do want something that would be fun or enjoyable to drive. Used, up to 50 or 60K on it is good with me.

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im kinda in the same position myself..also looking for a 4-door but sportier models.

my mad generic options: 2002 wrx, e46 325i, 540i w/ 6-speed, g35 sedan

seems like youre going for fuel economy though.

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I only drive 3-5 miles a day, so I don't need good mileage, but we already have a 99 Range that gets something like 10mpg... My grail is a '99-'01 540i, but I don't want to hassle with more maintenence right now. We're about to have to dump 4k into the Range for head gaskets and suspension...

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The 540i is pretty reliable day-to-day. I drove mine (I should actually say beat the living hell out of) to 185K miles and I only ever had a problem with some sort small tiny hydraulic thing connected to the alternator that kept draining my battery once (cost like $300 to fix but it was a $175 part and this generic old-timer VW guy in the ghetto actually had this part in stock, haha)...

It would run kinda warm (maybe 2/3rds on the temp dial) sometimes, but then again I would be setting the cruise control on at 125mph with the AC blasting for 2 hrs.

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Oh but I should say that it was a Bimmer so eventually one or two of little things went and I just never bothered to get them fixed. Pixels in the dash died, I think the 3-driver seat+mirrors memory in the seat stopped, little shit like that.

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BTW I've already told shimshimhae to buy the '03 540i M Sport with the 6. The MT is rarer but you still see one or two one ebay at a time. That isn't a hand me down type car though, that is a nice car you just try to keep nice for a long time and drive forever.

This one is about $5K out of your price range because it's one of the nicest examples you could find of this model, triple black, 6 speed, low miles, and a third party warranty (better than nothing), only missing the widescreen nav, but yeah. Fuck, it's really nice. Those forged M-Parallel spoke rims alone are worth like $3000 or more on ebay or something, the whole car is a really well edited package full of value.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/BMW-5-Series-02-540-I-530-2003-BMW-540i-M-SPORT-BLK-BLK-58K-6-SPEED-4YR-WARRANTY_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trkparmsZ65Q3a12Q7c66Q3a2Q7c39Q3a1Q7c72Q3a1205Q7c240Q3a1318Q7c301Q3a1Q7c293Q3a1Q7c294Q3a50QQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em14QQhashZitem1c0a71c4e1QQitemZ120434312417QQptZUSQ5fCarsQ5fTrucks

This is the same but a bit cheaper, nice color too:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2003-BMW-540i-M-SPORT-6SPEED-SERVICED-4YR-WARRANTY_W0QQitemZ120431787942QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Cars_Trucks?hash=item1c0a4b3fa6&_trksid=p4506.c0.m245&_trkparms=65%3A12|39%3A1|72%3A317|240%3A1318

These with the 6 speed (not so much the automatics) will hold their value pretty nicely, they're one of the last unoffensive looking Bimmers that people universally liked, and the 6 speed plus M Sport pack is rare, it might only be 03. There's a 540i wagon (only auto I think) with this M Sport pack that is super rare in America.

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These with the 6 speed (not so much the automatics) will hold their value pretty nicely, they're one of the last unoffensive looking Bimmers that people universally liked, and the 6 speed plus M Sport pack is rare, it might only be 03. There's a 540i wagon (only auto I think) with this M Sport pack that is super rare in America.

m sport pack on the 540i wagon would be sick but imagine owning this.

BestinshowSteveWrightsE39M5Touring.jpg

having never owned a bmw, ive done my research and come to the conclusion that these five series models are either a nightmare or a blessing depending on whether you get a lemon; always one end of the spectrum. how dependable is the 6-speed transmission? reliability is pretty high on my list since im still a student.

im also considering the e46 330ci sedans.

damn i wish i was making bank so i could cop 64 continental instead.

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they're rock solid, don't buy an m5 if youre a student though. M cars generally cost twice as much parts-wise than a standard Bimmer.

The 6 speed is Getrag, standard issue shit that comes on a lot of cars nowadays, if you're a regular driver you'll wear through clutches, costly but no biggie. Maintenance costs are no more for a 5 than a 3 once you've bought one.

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Thanks for the heads up Dis. If we saw a 5 that seemed like too good of a deal to pass up I'd have a hard time saying no... The last thing I need right now is more expensive repairs but it sounds like you had some pretty good luck with the reliability on yours. I'm definitely gonna keep it on the list.

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I know for 14k you could get these cars for new or slightly used:

Nissian Versa

Nissian Sentra

Toyota Yaris

Toyota Matrix

Toyota Corolla

Honda Civic

Honda Fit

Scion xa

Scion xb

Scion tc

can't believe Prius's are 30k though. defeats the purpose of a money saving vehicle if your paying an extra 10k.

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lol all dem car owners be 4 like Kevin Rudolf and Asher Roth fans. but dey cheap and b good for mild city drivng

I'm a sedan man myself. so i wouldn't personally fux wit des

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Why fake baller out with a used car when you can get a reliable VW for cheap. Just my two cents. Fun to drive and safe and the work. Which is a bug fucking plus to me.

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lady down the street from me drives that exact car. makes mine look peasant status.

shes kinda hot too and her husband drives a fucking maxima or some shit.

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Why fake baller out with a used car when you can get a reliable VW for cheap.

Really? Where?

VWs are not cheap relative to their competition, and they are infamously UNreliable.

The VW selling point is style. To have one that performs or coddles you, you need to spend a lot of coin.

Dismal - I like you and respect your knowledge, but why the fuck are we talking about 540is and M5s and such in here? Dude wants an economical car that he can pass on to his wife's brother...not a man-toy.

Orion - I was in your shoes recently and ended up buying (joint purchase of course) an 06 Accord Coupe. V6 (260hp on 93 octane), 5AT, heated leather, sunroof, loads of airbags. Ours had 31K miles on it at purchase time, and we got it for 14.5K out-the-door. The sedans are also great cars and you really can't go wrong with Hondas in general.

Civics are also good, but you'd be surprised how close their prices on the used market are to Accords. We were looking at Civics but then realized we could get Accords of similar year/mileage for not much more money, and we wouldn't feel like college kids driving them.

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He said he likes 540i/6s in the OP man...

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The kid would be back to buying his own if I swooped on a 5... This sounds way too good to be true, but a buddy of mine's employer has a 740 with 48K on it he wants to get rid of, asking for 10 grand. RSR, I appreciate the heads up on the Honda. We had a Jetta for a while and just got rid of a Passat GLX 4 motion wagon and we didn't have any significant problems, but I know people who have had some pretty bad experiences with VW...

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Really? Where?

VWs are not cheap relative to their competition, and they are infamously UNreliable.

The VW selling point is style. To have one that performs or coddles you, you need to spend a lot of coin.

Dismal - I like you and respect your knowledge, but why the fuck are we talking about 540is and M5s and such in here? Dude wants an economical car that he can pass on to his wife's brother...not a man-toy.

Orion - I was in your shoes recently and ended up buying (joint purchase of course) an 06 Accord Coupe. V6 (260hp on 93 octane), 5AT, heated leather, sunroof, loads of airbags. Ours had 31K miles on it at purchase time, and we got it for 14.5K out-the-door. The sedans are also great cars and you really can't go wrong with Hondas in general.

Civics are also good, but you'd be surprised how close their prices on the used market are to Accords. We were looking at Civics but then realized we could get Accords of similar year/mileage for not much more money, and we wouldn't feel like college kids driving them.

yo u come off a bit aggressive when it comes to cars. wut it do.

but i can't deny it. Honda's be pretty reilable for what he was in the market for. would've suggest a Accord or a Camry but I figured he wanted a newer car (read 07-08) for his asking price.

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yo u come off a bit aggressive when it comes to cars. wut it do.

My bad...just don't want someone to go make an expensive mistake, cars are big-time purchases. I know a couple of guys who are really good w/cars and have still nearly gone broke fixing VWs...they are fun but dangerous.

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Never really liked the 7 as much as the 5, it was a good design and everything, just too big and dated too quickly. The M-Sport 5 and M5 on the other hand, those belong to the category of universally well-penned modern cars that you like to look at when they pull up next to you at stoplights. The well-spec'd but rare E34 M Sport, the E39, late-model W124 Mercs, 911s, they just have a completeness and visual firmness that brand new cars lack.

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damn, kid backed out of buying my truck...so sick of people flaking. i want a new car already.

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dismal, you must have had some celestial luck with your 5. I've put about 20k miles on mine (02 540i Sport) and have gone though an alt, MAF, and a rare throttle body freeze (mech. failure) and VANOS rebuild. Suspension is next, tho not surprised with the miles on her. The E39's are notorious for a shitty cooling system and it's not unheard of to go through two system overhauls before 100k.

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dismal, you must have had some celestial luck with your 5. I've put about 20k miles on mine (02 540i Sport) and have gone though an alt, MAF, and a rare throttle body freeze (mech. failure) and VANOS rebuild. Suspension is next, tho not surprised with the miles on her. The E39's are notorious for a shitty cooling system and it's not unheard of to go through two system overhauls before 100k.

Yeah, I guess I did maybe, your experience doesn't sound so great. Mine was actually the E34 with the Nikasil engine, and it ran to 175K on the original block too, and I'd run it on medium octane (always a college student pumping the wrong gas into his BMW to save 25 cents concept). The cooling system wasn't great on mine either but like I said, I really beat the hell out of that car, I'd say it probably didn't have much of a problem with carbon buildup, because I'd go WOT on it about every chance I could get.

My aunt had the E34 530i V8 wagon around the same time, hers just gave her mountains of problems and it eventually got a complete new Alusil longblock and transmission from BMW. Hit or miss I guess.

The E39 540 is supposedly a much better sorted out version though, and has a good reliability history, amongst BMWs. It is a sleeper among sleepers. At the time, I switched from a Civic to the BMW and the Bimmer cost me less to insure. haha. Never got a ticket or even pulled over in it either, and I was really running it.

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Dismal - I'd also put the 7 in that category of timeless designs, along with the E34 and E39 5-series sedans (which I adore). It just has this overwhelming sense of brawn, and the later sport models look fantastic.

Also, you can have them for cheap nowadays and they are more likely to come from good families. Depreciation on them is worse than the 5, but the owner demographics are much better.

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