Actually, the debate was between an Impala and a 328. The 328 is over
priced--should be something in the range of $7,000-9,500, not $15,000.
In regard to cramming yourself in a Civic, I drive a 50 mile commute every
day in a Z4 because I can afford the Z4. If I only had in the range of
$15,000 to spend, I'd get something like a new Civic, which I've driven and
it isn't the Civic of 20 years, or even one year ago. I don't feel crammed
in either car (as you can't drive any car sitting in the back seat, anyway).
I have no idea how I translated a 328 into a 528 in my head but that is in
fact what I did. So point taken there. :-)
A very new Civic isn't much smaller in the front seat than a E46 actually,
so I will have to withdraw that part of it. I greatly prefer the layout and
feel of the E46 interior mind you, but strictly looking at space, it's not
I have driven last year's civic, which I wouldn't take over my E30 never
mind the E46, but I've heard that the 2006 Civic is vastly improved. It
seemed a rediculous thing to put against an E39 and an Impala, only slightly
less so against the E46 and the Impala, but front seat room would not be the
part of it that's rediculous.
Given the choice between the Impala and the Civic, I would probably take the
Civic. American cars have this interesting way of seeming nice on a test
drive -- lots of power, lots of room, lots of features, comfy seating... but
you don't get to really explore the handling and brakes on a test drive and
you realise how uncomfortable the seats become after the first hour. You
fall out of love with them quickly. Whereas any BMW I've ever driven I've
liked more and more as I spent time with it. There are a lot of die hard
civic fans out there so I suspect the same is true of them. You don't see a
lot of die hard Impala fans. :-)
According to InternetAutoGuid.Com...
2005 Civic 37.8 inches
1998 BMW 3 series 37.8 inches
Front Leg Room
Civic 42.2 inches
BMW 32.72 inches
Front Shoulder Room
Civic 53.1 inches
BMW 53.19 inches
I was incorrect about the airbag. For some reason I was thinking of an 1989 BMW
not a 1998.
That's ok, I was thinking of a 528 (E39) not a 328 (E46). :-) Maybe we
should both read before posting, lol.
Still, even the lowly 3 series has had airbags basically standard since
1991, long before the Civic. ABS basically standard since 1988. Japan does
*not* lead Germany in safety advances very often.
(I say basically because you could probably still order a 316 or something
in Europe without it, but in NA they were standard equipmenet which you
perhaps could delete by choice)
Just to clarify...I personally would not choose a Civic over the beemer either.
I just bristle at the notion conveyed that anyone driving a Civic (or any other
smaller) car must have no concern for their own safety. This idea has been
largely put forth by people who drive large vehicles and feel guilty about it so
they try to assuage their guilt by claiming "safety" is the reason they drive
what they drive. I say drive what you want, just don't blow smoke up my ass
about why you made your choice.
I can understand your objection to the fellow that stated unequivocably that
anyone driving a Civic has no concern for their own life. That statement is
difficult to support. As is your assmption that anyone who says such a
thing feels guilty about their larger car. :-)
According to Kellys Blue Book, the BMW is overpriced by quite a bit.
I like the typical quality of the BMW engines, but don't know about the
transmission. I felt that some of the older BMW 3 series were a little
body integrity (paint, mostly, but some panel issues too) was involved.
If I could get the manual transmission BMW for about $10,000, I might just
and save the $5000 for eventual repairs and maintenance.
Given the current perception of GM quality, I would likely dodge the
If you are content in the Impala, and the BMW is not "really better to
drive" (the impression you give), then maybe you should get the Impala!
BMW's are for enthusiasts that feel the difference, which some people don't.
For those of us who do, there is no substitute.
The 328 will outlast the Impala by far.
The driving pleasure it offers is tremendous and you will
likely realize it soon enough if driving 60 miles a day!
But it is overpriced, find a 5 speed or an auto that has been maintained
(lifetime fluid is not really for the lifetime of the car!)
I am selling a 540, 1994 with 125k miles for 7k, super condition! way better
than the 328, half the $$! keep looking.
With a bimmer, you NEED an independant mechanic that specializes in BMW, or
you will be sorry! They are easy to fix also, if you have some wrenching
+1 on this opinion.
If one is having second thoughts between 328i and some American wreck then
there is no doubt; he should buy this Impala car wannabe. Nothing personal,
but if you don't know why you are buying a BMW then you better not buy it,
you will be disappointed.
It's not like you are comparing two similar cars; BMW isn't some gas thirsty
ugly car without handling like 95% of American car industry (nus)products.
A choice between a BMW vs. an Impala is really laughable. Of course you
get the BMW. They are not even the same class vehicle. its apples and
oranges. Anyway, if you are going to be driving a lot you get the
luxury car not the family or sporty car.
I would expect cost over the long haul to be about even.
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
Well the old (somewhat flippant) response to that is something like, "if
you're really considering both and you've driven them both, get the Impala,
because the strengths of the BMW are lost on you."
I think if you factor in that the bimmer goes longer between more expensive
repairs and a 1998 had done so much of its depreciation already, you are
about right. Provided you have the right people looking after your bimmer.
That seems like a little high for the Impala. Leftover '05s never off the
lot should be going for that. And others pointed out that that seems high
for the Beemer, too.
And CARFAX both. GM could be trying to unload on you something they could
not repair for someone else. Maybe the Beemer has issues.
20 Years ago, I bought my first foreign car, a Volvo, 6 months old with 14K
miles on it. I was concerned about the cost of Volvo repair, since it was a
"foreign" car. I figured out a couple of things:
If the car is simple, it's easier and, therefore, cheaper to fix. The BMW
may not be as simple as my 4-cylinder Volvos but look under the hood and see
if there's reasonable space in the engine compartment for getting things
done. Is it an in-line engine vs a transverse V? Are the spark plugs, water
pump, etc, accessible? If so, the time to replace/repair such things will
probably be lower. While my Volvos (3 to date) have not been
super-reliable, they have been relatively inexpensive to repair, so the
total cost of maintenance has been very reasonable.
Trained mechanics matter. Is everybody at the BMW dealer good at fixing the
cars? When I owned Chevys, two or three trips per problem was the norm.
With the Volvos, I take it in once, they fix it and I only see one bill. 3
Hours of labor at $80 is cheaper than 6 hours of labor at $60. Plus
unnecessary parts. I gave up the Chevys quite a while ago, perhaps they've
improved but I wouldn't know. As around. Is there a local, non-dealer shop
with people trained on your car? Do you know others who use them?
BMW seems to me to build the same car for a number of years. If this 328
was built 5 years into a 6 year run, it should be pretty solid and there are
probably some design changes in it for reliability.
Have you looked at Consumer Reports?
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