Well, the time is almost here for my first "new" (meaning new to me) car
purchase in a decade. My 94 toyota truck still runs well but - well
generally it isn't any fun to drive, or look at, or sit in and I'm tired of
My price range is $20,000 to $25,000. 25k is an absolute limit and I would
REALLY like to keep it closer to 20k.
What I am after:
After researching and driving more cars than I can even remember (meaning,
many were forgettable) ove rthe last few months it has come down to these:
2002 330i - with ~50,000 miles
and (no giggling) the 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT with ~20,000 miles
I want a car that is FUN to drive. Fast, good handling, nice interior,
nice exterior, etc. I really like to drive and even used to do it
professionally a long time ago.
I don't actually drive all that much these days. I telecommute to work and
live in largeish city where most things are nearby. Right now I'd say I am
driving about 6000 miles a year. But when I do drive, I'd like it to be a
good time. I'd like a car that impresses me, my friends, the girls I date,
etc (mostly me). Car needs to be a manual tranny and I plan to keep it at
least 5 years.
For those not familiar with the Subaru, here are the major bullet points
(pro and con):
*Accelerates like a rocket (250 HP and 250 ft lbs) 0 to 60 in under 6 secs.
Has just a touch of turbo lag in the manual
*Has all wheel drive (a nice plus but not really mandatory to me)
Handles pretty well
*Is not "bad looking" per se, but is not lust inducing by any means
Interior is just "so so". HAs some things that annoy me such as a factory
stereo that is more or less impossible to change out (no I am not kidding)
*Would be under factory warranty for several more years
Presumably would be very reliable in the long run, being a Subaru
*Doesn't hold its value all that well (compared to the BMW)
I see VERY few of them on the road, so even though it isn't a "looker" per
se, it is pretty unique when you do see one.
*Gas milage is pretty bad. Looks like people who drive one with any verve
at all average about 19 mpg
The paint job is not the best
*Accelerates almost as fast as the subaru, though it is smoother all the
The handling... Oh God it's just so nice. I really can feel what it is
people mean when they talk about how this car connects you to the road. I
took a 330i on a 45 minute test drive in the middle of the day when traffic
was sparse and I threw it around like a freak. Amazing...
*Does not have AWD (and I think the 330xi is going to be too much $)
Is just absolutely beautiful to look at. I see an "average" number of 3
series on the roads here and every time I do I have to stare at it. When I
see one in black that has been nicely detailed I seriously want to take off
all my clothes and go lay on it. The shape, the wheels, the paint job...
*Not only is it beautiful to look at, it's beautiful to listen to as well.
The interior is nicer. A lot nicer. Better seats, better leather, etc...
*Better milage than the Subaru
Now the stuff that worries me:
*Would not be under warranty.
As such, if it breaks it is on me to pay for it and apparently parts and
labor are not cheap
*Long term reliability... Based on thorough research... Well I don't know
what to think anymore... Anecdotal evidence through various outlets such
as edmunds, CR, epinions and so on would have me believe that BMW
reliabilty could possibly be a problem.
Similar anecdotal evidence leads me to believe by and large, even a to-be-
driven-hard Subaru like the GT is going to hold up better over the long
So I guess you can see where I am heading with this. My head says Subaru,
but my heart says BMW. But I don't want to live to regret listening to my
heart 2 years down the road after a half dozen major repairs on the 330
that cost me 6 or 7 grand...
I guess this post was just kind of a stream of consciousness type thing to
help me sort out my thoughts, but I would like to hear any and all
opinions. I am truly stuck at the cross roads on this.