Considering a BMW - A Few Questions

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After driving Subarus, Toyotas, Hondas and yes - a Chevy, all my life, I'm finally at the point that I can afford (and want) to step up to a new "luxury" car. However, I still want to find the best overall deal
(ie - bang for the buck). That's just my nature, I guess.
I'm just getting started looking at BMW's, Audis, Acuras, Infinitis, Lexuses (Lexi?) etc, so I'm far from finalizing a decision.
I have a few general questions about BMW's:
1. Does BMW ever run "specials" on new car purchases - ie - rebates, etc? Is there any "better" time to buy? Any buying tips?
2. Do BMW's generally require Premium gas? If so, what are the practical consequences of running mid-grade or regular? Engine Damage or just less-than-optimal performance? (By less-than optimal, I mean just normal tooling ariound town - no redlining).
3. I don't have a garage, but parking is off-street, so how well do BMW bodies hold up? (I live in Central Virginia).
Can't think of anything else to ask right now. Any help with these questions would be appreciated.
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<BRH> wrote in message

lower performance and economy due to the retarded timimg. So it's probably penny-wise & pound foolish to use less than 91 octane. My 328i and Z4 3.0 both get 22 in town and 30 on the road with 92-93 octane, and I suspect that most of the cars you are considering also require premium.

I'm in the DC suburbs and my non-garaged 1999 328i still looks great (Zymol wax at least three times per year).
Tom K.
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BRH wrote:

I'd go with the Lexus. I'll never buy another BMW, but that's just me. Do what you like.

No, most dealers will give the poor mouth, claiming they can't afford to lower their prices.

My owner's manual recommends the mid-range octane as a minimum. Another source recommends the highest octane, so flip a coin. I can tell you that while running mid-range, I still get pings, say, when going up fairly steep hills.

A bad seam under the edge of my hood started a bad (really bad) rust problem which spread to the top of the hood, lifting paint as it spread. This car has always resided in snowless (very very little anyway), sea-less central Georgia. And it has always been very well maintained (with regular washes and at least two waxes per year). Had to have hood refinished at my own expense.

I'd X out BMW as an option.
-- Cliff
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Why bother reading this group, then? Or are you wistful about what you're missing?
Lexus make fine cars. Pity they're just so boring to drive.
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*Is there another word for synonym?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

IMO, life is too short to drive (even luxurious) boring cars.
--
-Fred W

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My 2 cents/pennies worth...
If you want a cosseting limousine like silky ride and lots of toys and gadgets in your car don't buy a BMW 3 series; a Mercedes C class (over priced)) or the new Lexus IS probably are better bets. If a classy luxurious interior is the priority the Audi A4 is probably the best bet. If reliability is the priority Lexus again, though any problems on BMW's are generally minor and few (according to various consumer surveys in the UK). Volvo and Saab win for seat and long distance driving comfort, the Saab 9-3 has the most comfortable car seat I've ever sat in. The Jaguar X-Type manages to be a great all rounder that sits somewhere in the middle of this lot and has one of the quietest diesel engines... which is meaningless in the USA
If you want everything else a luxury/executive/premium sports car can offer in a practical package (seats for passengers, trunk for luggage) then it's the 3 series. BMW beats Audi/Mercedes/Jaguar/Saab/Volvo on refinement (it's quiet), performance vs. fuel economy (comparing 5/6 cyclinder engines and diesels if you are in Europe), space (more leg room than the others and equal best trunk/boot space) and of coarse handling and steering responses. The build quality and quality of materials is higher than Toyota/Honda/Subaru. I was able to get the additional equipment I wanted from the options list without spending too much extra, lumbar support essential option for me as seats not quite comfortable enough without it.
The 3 series highlights are the engine and the drive, you have to want great handling as the ride is a touch on the firm side (hence the "limousine like silky ride" comment above) but for me never uncomfortable. There are some that hate the firm ride, so you need to drive it yourself.
BMW is not exactly exclusive but still very desirable and in demand used which still makes them a good buy despite higher prices as they hold their value well... at least in Europe.
There are few horror stories around on the internet about exploding engines etc., but just as many if not more similar problems with Honda / Toyotas etc. No machine is perfect.
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Hmmm -- haven't sat in one. Does it have the extended thigh support of the BMW sport seats?
My wife's 325i has the leather sport seats with 12-way adjustment, etc.. For me, at 6'3+", the extendable thigh support makes all the difference in the world.
-- Larry
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I don't think so, just a long seat base as standard, no need for extensions. 3 series plus sports seats a better option for the enthusiast as the Saab is a bit soggy compared to 3 series and Volvo even more soggy. Also engines though good, not as good.
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The other day a colleague and I hired a Saab 9-3 (in western Europe), both driving it.
Our journeys were not long enough to comment on the seats but we both found it tinny and a great disappointment (his comments are not printable in a family newsgroup, even though this is not a familiy NG...). "GM penny-pinching" is another comment.
I had not been in a Saab for many years, having driven one once with a view to getting one as a company car. Tinny then, tinny now. Just did not feel solid, not at all like the Volvo S60 I rented a few weeks before. Now that was a revelation.
If you're wondering, he drives a VW Touareg, having had a BMW X5. We have a Merc CLK Cab and a 190E. Even the 190E feels more solid than the 9-3...
DAS
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PS. Cf the Saab 9-3, IMO we would probably have been better off sticking with the originally-reserved (European) Ford Mondeo...
DAS
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AGH! wrote:

Yes, no machine is perfect. In fact, nothing (except G-d) is perfect. That being said, the following views are mine alone...
1. BMW is a nice car, but overpriced and expensive to maintain. Also, undriveable in the winter without very good snow tires (except for the AWD XI models). They are still rated an enthusiast's car, particularly known for their exceptional handling. And yet most are sold with automatic transmissions. because a lot of folks just want the cachet of owning a bimmer. 2. Volvo used to be known as "the car for people who hate cars". That is, folks who did not care that much about driving per se, but wanted safety, reliability, and longevity. The 240 was a legend on all three counts, but Ford has unraveled a lot of what Volvo stood for. EG, now they do not do particularly well in crash tests, whereas they were once the benchmark. Still good cars, but not what they used to be. 3. Saab has been eviscerated by GM. The only things left are the signature grill and the key in the console. All of the great individualistic design is gone, all of the quirky but loveable Saabisms are history. A very sad story. Buy a Saab today and you are getting a gussied-up Opel, or an overpriced Suburu. But, thanks to the durability of Saabs, there are a lot of pre-GM examples still out there that are real bargains. In its heyday (the 70's and early 80's), Saab was every bit as good as BMW (but in a different way). 4. Mercedes-Benz is now a mediocrity, after its fusion with the brain-dead Chrysler Corporation. They now make $100K cars that match Yugo and Renault for reliability problems. 5. Jaguar is junk. It used to be the country club car for English lords and ladies (and those aspiring to be such). It is now a marquee of mediocre engineering hiding under nice leather and wood interiors. 6. American cars are pathetic. The country that invented automotive mass production now can't seem to make cars that appeal to its home market. Very depressing. 7.Asian cars will rule. So get used to their unique combination of reliability, gee-whiz gimmickry, and anime styling. It's here for keeps. Sob.
On second thought, go out and get that bimmer!
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This simply isn't true. The engineering is fine and quite innovative - the major use of aluminium in some models is ahead of the pack. Their main problem IMHO is basing the smaller models on Ford body shells and failing to make them look special. And with the larger one sticking to the classic look of a '60s design.
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On Wed, 28 Dec 2005 09:08:34 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Plowman (News)"

    I agree. Jaguar is still making some very impressive cars, but somewhat like Porsche's unwillingness to let the 911 die, they seem terrified of doing a serious redesign of the XJ.     epbrown -- 2003 BMW 325i Black/Black 2003 BMW Z4 Black/Black
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E Brown wrote:

Jaguar is one of the most unreliable cars made, only slightly better than the Chrysler Sebring (according to Forbes).
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Is that because it gets confused at being driven on the wrong side of the road? Getting it's bonnet called a hood? It's boot called a trunk? And to crown it all it loses it's engine to a 'motor'!
The Chrysler Sebring??? Should have been RWD as all good Chrysles were, Charger, Challenger, Barracuda with REAL engines 440 Cid 426 Hemi etc and even the 318 was a nice little mover.............
Sir Hugh of Bognor
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Joe Sterling wrote:

Nonsense. BMWs are no worse to drive in the snow and ice than any other RWD car, and due to the balanced weight distribution, are actually better than some. The "legendary" Volvo 240 was a RWD car and was certainly as bad or worse than current BMWs, even though they came from Scandinavia where the winters are notorious.

Yes, they are (were?) an enthusiasts car, no doubt. But they have achieved such a cult status that they are perceived as "luxury" cars by the general public. This doubles edged persona is what has been the downfall of BMW development in my opinion. Because the majority of the car buying public cannot appreciate the superior driving capabilities of a BMW, the design goals have shifted to the more profitable luxury cachet features. The mere inclusion of these features (NAV, PDC, etc.) is a big mistake in my opinion.

Now that I can agree with. But don't do it for the perceived status. Do it for the driving experience. If you can't appreciate that, then don't do it.
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Fred W wrote:

I can attest to that, being Scandinavian and all. My dad used to have one of the Volvo 240, and if you didn't take care how you cornered you would go straight ahead.
I usually had to downshift and blip the pedal to have it swing the rear out to recover when that happened. Which was quite often. The car had a turbocharged intercooled B21 engine and was rather fun during summer, but it was during winter it was the most fun.
--
BBO, BMW '90 318i E30

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BBO wrote:

You have a point about RWD in the snow. But BMW seems to be more prone to winter skidding accidents, at least in the USA. I think that's one reason BMW has introduced all-wheel drive in more of their models, including the 5 Series.
Part of the reason may be that these cars come equipped with large wheels and performance tires and have torquey engines, and people in the States are less inclined to put on snows in the winter.
I don't think the 50-50 balance makes much difference.

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people just don't know how to drive them properly. Rear wheel drive is great if you have some understanding of how it works and any fool who drives in snow without a winter tire is an accident waiting to happen.
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Depends on how much snow one gets whether it is worth switching. In southern England it snows little and then the snow rarely stays on the ground very long.
One just has to drive extra carefully or avoid a journey.
DAS
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