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NoSoup4U
01-03-2005, 02:12 PM
As I see new car designs come out and their specifications. I have to admit, I am not as big of a fan of BMW products.

a) I do not feel you get your money's worth with BMW. Previously, you spent "X" dollars and you received a good return value. Dependable, handling, aesthetics, and performance. These days, I just do not see it.

Now, if you autocross or track the car (god forbid you drive in a safe environment) -- BMW tells you, the car was "not" made for that type of driving. Gee, I guess the moniker "M" holds no credibility anymore. I bought a nice $55K "M" paperweight. But, if I drive like an idiot on the street, BMW will cover parts that fail. Ironic.

Plus, the prices of BMW is increasing astronomically. People see the 2-series, X5, X3, 5 series, 7 series, M division, 3 series, Z-series, etc ... as being good. I see it as diluting quality. To many cars to maintain proper build quality. I mean, yes, the new M5 is awesome with "x" HP -- but, honestly, where can we use it? Not in this region unless you want to become friend's with bubba.

b) Cars are getting heavier. I would personally like to see 300 hp, 260 ft*lbs of torque in a car that weighs around 2900 lbs (fully optioned). That would be a great car to have. Have you ever picked up an E46 M3's seat? It is TWICE as heavy as the e36 M3's seat.

c) Build quality. This ties in with point a. Build quality is decreasing IMO. For vehicles that cost 36K+ ... you would expect less rattles, less electronic anomalies, etc -- and definitely no engine problems. I mean, when I start considering purchasing a car that is a RELIABLE and DEPENDABLE daily driver. First name that comes to mind is Lexus. I have a lexus '92 SC400 that I bought for my cousins. They LITERALLY did not change the oil for 60K miles -- did absolutely ZERO maintenance on it. I finally paid for a tuneup this year -- ONLY service done in the past 75K miles. No problems -- zip, zilch, zero.

I was seriously contemplating a daily driver 5-series -- but, I know Lexus will outlast it. A 540i around 1997-1998 costs about $18K -- same price as a Lexus. But, Lexus, hands down -- better value. Better interior, more luxury (we are talking daily driver here), far superior electronics, and better gas mileage.

Sorry for the long post; but, I am curious to see what keeps you guys loyal to BMW. IF I buy another BMW, it will be probably be an E36 M3. Even the E39 M5, I think I will forego. The new ones, I can't see spending that much money. I look at Acura's TL, Honda Accord EX-V6, and Lexus -- and see you get far more for your dollar.

It seems BMW is analogous to MB now -- you are paying for the circle. At least with Lexus, IMO, you are getting what you pay for -- a car you know will last pretty much forever.

kenkamm
01-04-2005, 03:24 PM
I agree with you on almost everything James. This is why the C6 is looking so attractive to me. Smaller... more power... instead of bigger, more complex.

The thing I don't agree with you on is the seats. We weighed one of John V's manual E36 M3 seats at like 60 lbs. The E46 M3 seats are very close to that, depending on who you ask. Also people think the power option adds a lot of weight compared to manual seats. It doesn't... the difference is like 5 pounds.

Jed
01-04-2005, 03:51 PM
James-

I completely agree with you. At different price levels, I find that there are more options out there than a BMW.

For example the 325i:

I test drove an Acura TL a few weeks ago for the heck of it and honestly, I would MUCH prefer that car to a 325i sedan, in terms of an entry level/near luxury sedan. You get way more for your money, it's a more powerful car, buttery smooth and it's a Honda product so you know it's going to last.

Again, that's in terms of a plush daily driver in the low 30's, if you were looking for something sporty and aggressive, I would be hard pressed to look at a BMW-when you have the Mitsu Evo VIII or Suburu WRX STi. Or if you wanted a RWD luxury sport sedan, for the price of a 325i you can get into a well equipped IS300.

I tend to think that BMW is resting on their laurels and you are right, you really aren't getting what you are paying for. They are nice cars, but honestly, there are much better choices out there now.

Anyone who still thinks modern day BMWs are better than some of their competitors is a brand enthusiast and not a car enthusiast.

I'd be hard pressed to buy another BMW.

woodym3
01-04-2005, 09:36 PM
James,
You ask the question, "Are you going to remain a BMW enthusiast?". In my opinion, that has nothing to do with the question of would you want to buy a current model BMW. I agree that there are many better buys on the market today whether you're looking for style, performance, prestige, economy, etc. I can't see myself ever buying a new BMW again (unless I win the lottery). My last new BMW was in 1987. But I have been a BMW enthusiast since 1967 and will always be one. Should I have stopped being an Austin-Healey enthusiast when they stopped making new ones?
By the way, the Lexus might be a fine car, but it would be one of the last I would consider for a new car.
Woody Hair

mk14617
01-04-2005, 09:50 PM
I'm afraid I agree fully. After many BMW cars, my 330xi is up for sale (see classifieds -- it's truly a great car!). The new bimmers turn me off, totally.

I've ordered a LeMans Blue C6, and will be driving it later this month.

330x
01-04-2005, 10:59 PM
I am a little bothered by the quote "BMW tells you, the car was "not" made for that type of driving." My impression is (was) that BMW still supports fixing things if they break, including track driving. Was there never such a policy or has it really changed?

kenkamm
01-05-2005, 08:30 AM
If BMW suspects you are using the car for track driving, they'll tell you to go fly a kite when you ask them to fix your car. Some dealers are more willing to help out than others, and it really comes down to that when the situation arises. If you can find a good dealer to work with, you're lucky. If you can't, and you call BMW USA, they'll tell you that their dealer network will not support you if you track your car.

NoSoup4U
01-05-2005, 10:02 AM
I like my dealership -- they are mod friendly. I can personally introduce you to the service director and my service advisor. I brought them gifts for xmas because they have gone out of their way to help me, even though my car is a little more than stock, hehe. Privately pm me if you are interested. I do not want to get them in trouble. There is also a great dealership in MD, pm Jed/Kenkamm, etc for more information.

In general though, I know BMW of Arlington would tell you to jump off a cliff before fixing your car, even IF you just merely autocrossed it. It's sad, they are like 3 miles from me. There was an interesting article, I'll see if I can find it.

Previously, BMW would suggest oil changes at 3K miles (even with synthetic oil) and diff/tranny service at 30K (drain/flush/fill). Before, this would be covered under the maintenance. However, this is an example of cutting costs. 15K oil changes and now, the fluid is deemed LIFETIME. I've heard of stories of clutch replacement, RTAB's, and when a BMW NA rep learned the car was tracked -- he made the dealership charge the customer.

I am curious Woody, why would Lexus be the last "new" car you would buy? When I say "new" .. I do not necessarily mean "brand spankin' new." I mean, "new" to me at least. Usually, an older model, e.g., 1998-2000. So, that's what I meant. When I considered a reliable daily driver under 20K that would last forever, Lexus came to my mind, at least first. If you look at acceleration - faster than a 540i. If you look at luxury - lexus wins. If you look at electronics - lexus wins. If you look at aesthetics -- I think the GS400 w/the wing looks good. E39 looks better -- but, not enough to sway my opinion.

You are right though, I should have phrased my question, will you remain a BMW enthusiast to the newer models. I mean, the rumor is the new E90 M3 is going to have a 12-15% increase in base price. I mean, yeah, new v8 and 7spd smg might be awesome -- but, 12-15% increase? The C6 didn't even experience that much of an increase and it was vastly superior to the C5.

JRG_in_MD
01-05-2005, 10:05 AM
I've driven Lexus, MB, and BMW, and there's no queston in my mind. The BMW wins in handling and is just about even in straight-line performance. You want an luxo-coupe? Certainly, go with Lexus or MB. You want performance you use on a twisty road with confidence? Stick with BMW.

The question of where do you use it is a fair one. I for one am not about to give up on my quest of "fun" driving routes, even if my daily commute is pretty boring.

My $0.02 worth.

Rich
00 M5
94 F-150 P/U

woodym3
01-05-2005, 11:36 AM
I'm just not into the whole "luxury car" thing. I'd be happy if BMW never became known as a luxury car.

How do you know a BMW won't last as long as a Lexus? Do you know anyone who has bought either a recent BMW or Lexus with plans to keep it forever? (Actually I might keep my 88 M3 "forever"). Other than eletric grimlins in the new 7-series, I have no reason to think a BMW will not last as long as a Lexus. My '96 328 is now 8 years old and has over 120,000 miles. I still consider the car as like new. How many Lexus owners do you know with that many years and miles?
Woody

[QUOTE=NoSoup4U]
I am curious Woody, why would Lexus be the last "new" car you would buy? When I say "new" .. I do not necessarily mean "brand spankin' new." I mean, "new" to me at least. Usually, an older model, e.g., 1998-2000. So, that's what I meant. When I considered a reliable daily driver under 20K that would last forever, Lexus came to my mind, at least first. If you look at acceleration - faster than a 540i. If you look at luxury - lexus wins. If you look at electronics - lexus wins. If you look at aesthetics -- I think the GS400 w/the wing looks good. E39 looks better -- but, not enough to sway my opinion.

erickblackwelder
01-05-2005, 12:26 PM
I drifted away from BMW for six months in a Ford Excursion for hauling horses.

I just about went crazy without a "fix" of BMW driving.

Bought another 2001 325xiT like I sold in May from CarMax for $23K and I am once again a happy camper.

Nothing drives like a BMW. Yes, I have driven a Lexus...no comparison in my mind.

David Hicks
01-05-2005, 12:26 PM
All cars will last forever if you maintain them. Just look at cars in Cuba. The reason people say Lexuses (Lexi?) will last longer is because they will cost less at every age (after warranty expires) than any European car. Statistically, they will cost less than ANY car. People are more willing to drive an older car if it doesn't rattle, looks good, and doesn't cost them the equivalent of a new car payment every month.

I'm sorry to see cars get heavier. They may be a little safer in the "passive safety" category (ie safer if you are involved in a collision) but is also means everything has to cost more for the same performance - suspension, brakes, engine, cost of fuel, etc.

Another thing that bugs me is that carmakers are falling into the tech trap. Marketers are insisting on things like adjusting headlights, excessively fancy wipers (The E39 M5 wipers are absurd), and electronic control everywhere. They might be better than what was there before, but they are not ready for primetime yet and still they are being pushed on the consumer. 2004 saw a record number of recalls in the industry in the US.

I see BMW making nice cars now - the 5er has grown on me, and I like the Z4 and X3. Am I willing to pay that much for dealing with electronic gremlins and breaking power equipment that will no doubt crop up as soon as the warranty expires? Getting 19 miles to the gallon of premium gas in a "compact sedan" that ways 3400 lbs? Nope and nope.

It's really not just BMW - the whole industry is becoming more and more like the software industry - and that's not a business model anyone needs to follow.

NoSoup4U
01-05-2005, 12:27 PM
Me. '92 SC400. No oil changes and no maintenance were done for 75K miles. I bought it with around 25K on it. I think it has gone now another 40K without any oil changes or maintenance. My cousins do absolutely nothing on it. My friend has 250K on her 1992 ES300. Nothing major other than suspension and typical tuneups. Previously, owned a 1994 GS300. For 65K miles, I never changed the oil or did maintenance either. I beat the crap, and I mean the crap out of that car in college.

Any car will last a long time provided you throw enough money into it. IMO, I find Lexus requires less money to overall keep the car running. JD powers and consumer reports -- most satisfied and most reliable for how long running now? I mean, this year alone -- I think BMW fell below a saturn IIRC in terms of reliability.

Your 1996 328 was a good value back at that time. But, look at how much a 330ci costs these days and what you get. I am speaking more in terms of the new generation of BMW's. Even when they become more affordable in price, I would still have no desire to own them b/c of the potential costs of maintaining them.

kenkamm
01-05-2005, 01:45 PM
Me. '92 SC400. No oil changes and no maintenance were done for 75K miles.

Previously, owned a 1994 GS300. For 65K miles, I never changed the oil or did maintenance either.
James, give me the VINs of those cars so I can spread them around the internet to make sure no one buys those cars. HOLY CRAP, MAN! :)

NoSoup4U
01-05-2005, 01:47 PM
James, give me the VINs of those cars so I can spread them around the internet to make sure no one buys those cars from you. HOLY CRAP, MAN! :)

GS300 was sold when I moved here. I was a broke/cheap azz in college. Although, somehow, the dealership gave me the car loan at the time based on my waitering job at Perkins, hehhe.

The SC400 I bought for myself and then gave to my cousins. The car will probably be driven until it falls apart. They don't have the money to keep it up. I am the one that does everything, whenever I get it.

My friend does not want to get a new car even with 250K on it, she says the car has been so reliable, she does not want to betray its trust.

Jed
01-05-2005, 03:35 PM
Your 1996 328 was a good value back at that time. But, look at how much a 330ci costs these days and what you get. I am speaking more in terms of the new generation of BMW's. Even when they become more affordable in price, I would still have no desire to own them b/c of the potential costs of maintaining them.

You know what's funny? Things that were standard in the E36 coupe that didn't come standard in the E46 coupe. Like mine came with leather standard (I actually still have my window sticker from my car). The 330Ci has leather as an option (don't know if that still true-but when I looked at one it was an option).

The 325is and 328is came with a lot more than their E46 328Ci and 330Ci counterparts. Back then when you bought the higher level coupe you got more. Now it seems like you still have to pay for the goodies as options.

Pete
01-06-2005, 10:38 AM
I think that I will always remain an enthusiast of the older body style BMWs. I must agree with you James, that when it comes to the new cars, I would be hard pressed to purchase a new one with the exception of the E46 M3. The new 5,7 and the upcoming E90 just aren't doing anything to inspire any desire to own them. The combination of their size and electronic everything is an approach that I'm not in league with.

In the future, I guess I will have to search for a used M3 or perhaps switch. I have been toying with the idea of a P-car for sometime. Perhaps in a few years, when I'm in the market, I will look for a 993 C2 or C4 or a 996 since they are coming down in price so much.

Who knows, maybe BMW will snap out of it and produce cars with a focus on fun to drive again instead of the have it now crowd.

Pete

kenkamm
01-06-2005, 11:01 AM
You know what's funny? Things that were standard in the E36 coupe that didn't come standard in the E46 coupe.

It's all about reducing the base price they list in the ads.

BMW used to market to a different crowd than they do now. Now, they want everyone driving one.

SMOODY
01-06-2005, 02:30 PM
I seen this debate many times before on other forums. I used to frequent the Porsche forums when I was toying with purchasing an older 911. The same debate was also going on in those forums. "Has Porsche lost its way? The new cars are heavier, more expensive, no longer the value they once were, too refined, not for the enthusiest, etc." I have also seen similar complaints about the newer Corvettes.

Having said all of that, you also have to understand that each manufacturer produces cars that have different advantages and disadvantages based what they think "their customers" want. BMW is trying to position their cars as luxury performance cars. Give customers the luxury of a Mercedes or Lexus, with the handling and performance of a sports car.

The value of a particular vehicle is based on what you value as the user. If you want the ultimate in luxury, then buy a Mercedes. Want luxury and bullet proof reliability, then buy a Lexus. Reliablilty, near luxury, with reasonable street performance then buy an Acura. Cheap performance, then buy a Mustang. But if you want luxury for the daily commute, but still want to tear up the track on the weekends, then buy a BMW.

For me, a slightly used BMW is the best value in the market right now. The cars handle and drive great, are very comfortable, room for my family and stuff, and are still fully capable of going Autocrossing or to Summit Point on the weekends. For all of that, I am willing to live with "average" reliability backed up by my toolbox and occasionally a good mechanic.