need recommendation on buying used BMW sedan

Hi,
I've owned various German cars in the past: assorted VW's, '84 944, '87 MB 190, and '91 MB 300e. Now I want to get a BMW, but I know very little about
their various models. What I'm looking for is reliability foremost, followed by fun to drive, and fuel economy. I like a stick but am not adverse to automatics. Interior space is irrelevant because 99% of the time I'll be the only one in it.
Can anyone recommend a year/model that fits my needs and may also appreciate in value over time, or at least loose value more slowly than others?
Thanks,
Mike
ps: I have a Miata so I don't want another convertible in the stable. Most of the driving will be in Florida, so dependable Air Conditioning is important, too.
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Budget?
DAS
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Budget isn't an issue.

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How long is a piece of string?
DAS
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how long is a chinaman

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My 2 cents worth, I bought a '94 740iL sedan with 62K miles in almost new condition. Check to be sure if you get a mid 1990's V-8 that it is the replacement Alusil block, Nikasil had problems in some cars, mostly '93-95 8 cylinder. I think by 1996 they all had Alusil. You can tell by the casting number on the block, there are lots of posts on the internet with the info. Anyway, I have had mine for 6 months now and love it, the A/C will freeze you out, very smooth and fast sedan, comfortable, handles well, classic BMW styling of the old E32. They are known for a few bugs but nothing in my opinion that would prevent purchasing, every car has their particular points of contention. I paid about $9K (probably too much) due to the fine condition and low miles, and am not a bit disappointed. Would buy another one tomorrow if I had to do it over again. My bias however is to big comfortable sedans, so take that into consideration!

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Thanks for the info, but I'm not looking for a big car just now. Something smaller.

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Very few cars appreciate in value; the exceptions are few and usually expensive to start with. No BMW models (exceptions are M1 and Z8, possibly 635csi/M6 and 850csi) have appreciated in value. Those were all limited-production and quite expensive (about 450 M1's were built, and the Z8 cost about $100K new).
I'm kind of guessing, but I'd say a late-model 3-series coupe would be the ticket for you. Possibly an E36 325is or E46 with sports package. That's model years '92-'06 (the E46 coupe is still in production.) There are many E46 coupes from 4-5 years ago for sale for $20K or less: about 1/2 their original retail value.
FloydR
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Thanks for taking the time to fill me in on this I'll investigate further. Looks promising.
MIke,
wrote

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Agreed - except that the Z8 hasn't reached classic car status yet. A search of CPO models listed by BMWNA shows about 10 selling from around $90 to $115k. Original list started at $128,000 IIRC.
Now, if he can find a nice 507....
Tom
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http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/M/M5Sedan/gallery.htm
should be good enough in case not then this one:
http://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/7/760liSedan /
if still does not what you want then say how much you have and what you really want from this car
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Thanks for the links!
I'm frugal to a fault so I can pretty much buy whatever I want cash.
This car will be an "adjuct car" used for short hops, loan to friends who visit, etc., not as primary transportation.
Mike.
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I think the angels from the head of your pin could fix comfortably in a low-mileage E36 318i from the last year or two of production.
Understanding that fuel economy trades off against performance; I would otherwise recommend the 328iS. But stick for both of course.
E36's are far along the depreciation curve already, but their styling isn't terribly dated and they're nice enough inside for your friends to be impressed.
-Russ.
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Russ,
Thanks for the 318i input. I looked them up, and yepper, that's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again,
Mike,
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Mike Hollywood wrote:

If your primary criteria is dependability you are looking at the wrong brand. OTOH, if your primary criterai is *really* "fun to drive" and secondary is reliability, then pretty much any late '90s through modern day models would be fine. Since your next criteria is fuel economy (and you still haven't mentioned anything performance related) I would suggest the smallest engine 3 series that you can find.
Quite honestly, you should try to hone down your requirements just a bit. Go out and drive some and see which models you like.
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