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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • pm04,

    Benz actually seems to own the taxi market in Europe but I'm not sure how your taxi thing is a dig against any car. In Asia the Corolla seems to be the most common taxi car. Is that a bad thing? No, but I think you're making an argument that only holds water if you're a status buyer.

    The Euro-spec BMW 3-Series comes standard with a tachometer, fuel gauge, automatic transmission, vinyl-padded interior surfaces and an engine with six cylinders.

    No in Germany and most of Europe the 3 series comes with a manual standard and 4 cylinder engines. Seriously, do some research. 6 cylinder non-diesel BMWs (and Benzes and Audi/VWs, etc) are pretty rare outside of the USA. The 318d and 320d are actually the more common 3 series in Europe; our 328i's 6 cylinder is considered a luxury and a waste of money; the 335 is primarily for speed junkies in europe as the 330d is the most popular 6 cylinder 3 outside the USA. Gas prices are way too expensive in Europe to opt for a standard gas-burner 6 cylinder.

    American-spec BMW 3-Series adds leather, i-drive, and about $25,000 to the sticker price.

    Your ignorance knows no bounds, apparently. Go ahead and visit www.BMW.de ...we'll wait. Hit the 3 and then 3 Limo and Konfigurator.

    Okay, so for the 318din Germany - that's a 1.8 liter diesel - the starting price is 29,950 euros. In US dollars that's a starting price of $43,966.

    The 335i in Germany starts at 44,350E or $65,105 US Dollars. Go ahead and check the France, UK and Italy sites if you'd like too. In every case, the 3 series is far more expensive than it is in the USA.

    Via European Delivery, any US citizen can pick up a 335i in Munich with leather, 6 speed, sport package, xenons, power memory seats, active steering lights, moonroof, comfort access, metallic paint for ~$40,000 US Dollars. I personally, would not opt for leather on another BMW (unlike my 2006 330i that I bought via European Delivery for $35,700 US Dollars), so the price of an ED 335i will run me closer to about 38.5k with the features I do want - ala carte pricing is so nice for those of us who want an exactly spec'ed car.

    Sadly, an Infiniti G35 with moonroof, leather, sport package, active steering lights, memory seats and 6 speed will run me $38,865 US Dollars. Unfortunately, Infiniti forces me to get packages I don't want - namely a worthless navigation package. Still I'm sure I could negotiate 2500 off that price so we'll say $36,000 US Dollars for the Infiniti.

    That's cheaper than the 335i still but not by much. Considering I must pay for maintenance on the G35, let's add $1000 to maintain the Infiniti over 4 years /50k miles. So for a $1500 savings I can opt for a car I don't really like, G35, and that doesn't objectively perform as well as a 335i, or just pay the extra $1500 and drive something I like more and that objectively performs better.

    As I said before: for me with ED the pricing becomes moot and it's about picking the car I like to drive. The comparo swings wildly to the BMW's favor once you negate the pricing.
  • shov8shov8 Posts: 87
    Just a minor point on your post. You state you can get the G35 configured in a way you don't like (the navigation system), vs. the built-to-order ED 335i. The big caveat here that is not addressed is the "ED" part.

    With ED (European Delivery) you have to physically travel to Munich and pick up the car. ED does include shipping back to the USA and delivery to your dealer (a total of 8-10 weeks later, according to the web site). But the cost of flying to Munich and back, plus at least one night (probably two) in a hotel, isn't included. A sample trip in February 2008 (because you need to allow three months to build the BMW according to bmw.com) from San Diego, CA to Munich runs around $2000 on Expedia. Then there is a night or two in a hotel, plus misc expenses. I'm just getting a ball-park figure, but lets say $2500 minimum for the trip.

    So that +$1500 cost for the 335i just went up to +$4000 total. True, you do get to go to Munich :) so that is a bonus. Of course, you need to take time off from work, etc., so maybe that cancels that out. Still, we are trying to compare cost, so I think the trip cost should be added in.

    Since you took delivery of a 330i via ED maybe you could share the expenses involved with that so we could make an accurate 335i via ED vs G35 cost comparison. Thanks,

    kc
  • With ED (European Delivery) you have to physically travel to Munich and pick up the car.

    That's what ED is. Shrug. I didn't say otherwise as I clearly mentioned you have to get the car in Munich.

    So that +$1500 cost for the 335i just went up to +$4000 total. True, you do get to go to Munich so that is a bonus. Of course, you need to take time off from work, etc., so maybe that cancels that out. Still, we are trying to compare cost, so I think the trip cost should be added in.

    Why? It's called a vacation. I'd be doing the flight and trip anyway so it's not relevant to the cost, IMHO. Hell, we just spent two weeks in Thailand and had I bought some major ticket item at that moment I wouldn't consider the flight as a cost as I'd be there on vacation anyway. Should I opt for another BMW, I'm fairly sure we'll make a vacation of it as we have friends living in Paris and London. In fact just last night we began talking about a trip to France in late 08 or 09.

    Since you took delivery of a 330i via ED maybe you could share the expenses involved with that so we could make an accurate 335i via ED vs G35 cost comparison. Thanks,

    Flight = $900 (of course I've got about 200k in Frequent Flyer miles now so it'd be free. Additionally, Lufthansa has a two-for-one BMW special) *
    Two nights at Munich Marriott - $100 (or use Starwood points for free hotel stays)
    Train to BMW Delivery Center = $8 euros (about $11 US)
    Ride to Marriott from Redelivery Center - $35 US
    Lufthansa Airport Shuttle from Munich Marriott to MUC - $14 US
    Food - ~$100 US (actually far less as food is cheap in Germany)

    *This was a vacation so I just factored in my Germany costs. In actuality I drove south through Germany, Austria and Switzerland into Italy and then swung west through the South of France. I eventually drove through France and back into Switzerland, Austria and Germany. I noted my Germany costs only as over the entire trip I spent far more but that included nights on the French Riviera and seaside hotels.

    FWIW, if Infiniti or some other manu had a JD delivery program (and cars worth driving) I'd take another vacation to Japan.
  • shov8shov8 Posts: 87
    Looks like about $1200 extra from your list of expenses. I think, if it were not for the vacation part, your airfare would be more expensive. Not sure if the airlines like a Saturday night stay like they do domestically, but when I looked prices up on a Tues to Thurs trip it was around $2000 for airfare.

    I don't think many people will be in your situation, that is, having the time/money to take a vacation and pick up a car. Plus the waiting time to have the car built (three months), then shipped back (8-10 weeks, or more), is a limiting factor for a lot of people. You're talking almost 6 months before you actually get your car in the garage.

    I guess my point is, your original post stated that given the ED pricing the 335i wins the comparison, but not everyone can do the ED thing. I'm not saying that getting a 335i for <$40k even with the European trip is a bad thing, far from it, it's just that only a few probably do the ED experience (I wonder how many do it?) given the time/cost factors and therefore ED pricing shouldn't be used as a factor in a car comparison. Thanks,

    kc
  • I understand your point of view, but can't really agree with it. I'd contend a majority of people buying in the entry-lux market fits a few criteria:

    1. They already have a car.
    2. They spend a bit of time looking for a car
    3. They have the option of waiting for an ordered car - but many choose not to wait.
    4. Most are in fairly comfortable jobs that have PTO and most take some kind of vacation.

    BMW's Roundel mag had an article on ED. The numbers are growing yearly and have been for decades. Still it makes up a small fraction but it's significant enough that Audi kicked in their program this year and it's a bit more generous with knick-knacky silly things like "free hotel" stays and such.

    As for considering it for pricing: most people have the choice. Priorities I guess.
  • gjagja Posts: 25
    And don't forget you're still making monthly payments on it, while you don't have use of it, during the 8-10 weeks of shipping. That should be considered part of the cost.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    But you do save on a rental in Europe for 1-2 weeks...
  • You're also not putting miles on it and when you do sell it, you'll lose very little in depreciation. A BMW with an MSRP of 45k and that you bought for 39k will hit you pretty lightly compared to other cars (and even an off-the-lot-BMW).
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "And don't forget you're still making monthly payments on it, while you don't have use of it, during the 8-10 weeks of shipping. That should be considered part of the cost."

    You're missing a couple of points:
    1) BMW-FW partially offsets the "on the water" time for leased cars. IIRC there is one payment that you don't have to make.
    2) While the 8-10 week shipping time may be the case for folks on the left coast, I received my ED car in just 4 weeks when I lived in New Jersey.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ED as a way to save money buying a BMW comes up on a regular basis and the pros and cons are debated as if there is a "right" answer. There isn't.

    Having two associates that purchsed BMW's in the last 2 months highlights the differences. The one that purchased via ED took his wife to Europe for a 10 day vacation. They bought a 335i convertible and had a great time enjoying the experience. The cost of the vacation was more thn offset by the savings, especially since the car was not one that is being discounted much, if at all, stateside. He paid $1,500 over ED invoice and saved $5,500+ over the US MSRP.

    The other person, who previously bought a BMW in 1996 via ED considered going that route again. But given that he now has kids (3) at home and the trip could not be converted, practically or economically, into a family vacation, he decided to buy stateside. He bought an in-stock 550ia at close to invoice, and would have only saved an additional $3,000 going the ED route. He is a freelance attorney, with an hourly billing rate of around $500 and could not justify going away for 3-4 days to essentially save perhaps $1,500, after expenses.

    For some, the idea of ED is a very appealing way to take advantage of a significant price break, especially on certain models. But I certainly respect that, for others, time is money and the ED savings, while not insignificant, may not meet their "return" requirments, given the time it takes.

    I would agree with the suggestion, however, that ED should at least be explored and considered as an alternative. Almost everyone I know that has done it has had a great experience. The one exception is a friend who's (frequent flier) flight was cancelled and he went through hell and great expense rebooking to pick up the car within the required deadline. But even he admits that, once he got there, it was a worthwhile experience, albeit not much of a savings.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    I suspect the 135i will be the new old 3-series. I believe the size/weight is comparable to an E46. Price is $4-5K lower, repectively.

    BMW this week released preliminary pricing details on the BMW 1-Series coupe, which will go on sale in America in spring 2008. U.S. pricing will start at $29,375 for the 128i and $35,675 for the 135i, with a fully-loaded car costing another ten grand on top of that.

    The 135i features the same 300+ horsepower twin-turbocharged inline-six as the 335i 3-Series. Predictably, the 128i has the same powerplant as the 328i, delivering 230 horsepower.

    Pricing for optional equipment on the 128i is not yet available, but the 135i can be ordered with a slew of options pushing its price tag close to $45,000.

    A six-speed automatic transmission costs $1,275, the Premium Package is $3,300, the Sport Package is $1,000, the Cold Weather kit is $600, Active Steering costs $1,400, paddle shifters are a mere $100, Comfort Access adds $500, power front seats cost $1000, heated front seats are another $500, rear park assist is $350, navigation is $2,100, Bluetooth is $750, HD radio is $350, XM costs $595, premium audio is $875, and iPod adapter is $400, metallic paint adds another $475, and premium Boston Leather is $1,450.

    Since many of these standalone options are included in larger options packages, adding up all the prices won't give an accurate estimate of the cost of a fully-loaded 135i. However, taking packages into consideration, we've determined a fully-loaded 135i would cost $44,500.

    Regards,
    OW
  • Near as I can tell a 135 loaded to the gills will easily top 46k. The car's ridiculously priced.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Can you provide a link to your source regarding pricing? I need to say "I told you so" to a few folks over at the 1-series thread...

    fedlawman, "BMW 1-Series" #682, 26 Jun 2007 6:12 am

    fedlawman, "BMW 1-Series" #875, 2 Oct 2007 10:46 pm
  • It's on Edmunds, Autoblog, etc. The pricing is really shocking as makes the 135 almost as pricey as a 335i sedan. Considering getting 2k off sticker on a 335i sedan is no big deal, the cars are priced about the same. BMW is on serious crack.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    My pleasure. Have fun!

    link title

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    The EVO and WRX look real good now. The 2008 EVO MR Edition will be $38,000 with all available options.

    Regards,
    OW
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    "BMW is on serious crack."

    Well, they just lost me as a potential buyer at those prices. What happened to the idea that the 1-series were really entry level cars like the old 1600/2002 series (of which I was a proud owner)?
  • Some say they didn't want to create too big of a price gap as it would threaten sales of the 328/335 coupes.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm not a BMW marketing exec and, in fact, have never even owned one. But this notion that BMW is overpricing its cars is, based upon some hard historical data I've looked at, is absurd.

    Sorry I can't go back to the days of the sardine can 2002 tii for my analysis, but thanks to an old Kelly Blue Book, I can go back 20 years. Here are some figures for you to digest (all base MSRP prices):

    BMW Prices:
    1987 325i Sedan - $28,190
    2007 328i Sedan - $32,400
    Increase in Percentage - 14.9%

    Honda Prices:
    1987 Accord LX - $13,752
    2007 Accord LX - $20,925 (4 cylinder)
    Increase in Percentage - 52.2%

    Toyota Prices:
    1987 Corolla LE - $8,853
    2007 Corolla LE - $16,315
    Increase in Percentage - 84.3%

    I'm sorry, guys, I'm not tryong to sound elitist, but, in the past, BMW was a relatively EXPENSIVE car to be ASPIRED to. I graduated from a top 10 business school with an MBA in 1981 and looked forward to the day when I might be able to afford a BMW. That was Director/VP territory, not standard fare for an entry level analyst. Today, the 328i is barely priced above a loaded Accord V6 ($30k+ MSRP for the EX-L V6).

    The 3 series has never been cheaper, relatively speaking. And the fact that the 1-series apparantly won't undercut that price by the 30% some would like to see is frankly, too damn bad. The 135 has nearly 50 more horsepower than the original M1, for goodness sakes. It's hardly your Dad's 1600/2000 which, by the way, were WAY more than twice as expensive as the Honda Civics of their vintage.

    So pony up for a BMW 3 series or 1 series if you can afford it. But stop your bellyaching if you can't. Because you sure as hell wouldn't have been driving a 3 series 20 years ago either, if that's the case today. I, for one, don't want to see BMW stoop to cost cutting or "value engineering" just to compete for the dollars that probably should be more prudently spent on a Honda or Toyota.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    That just proves that BMW's pricing was even more absurd back then than it is now! I've always said their cars are overpriced for what you get, and I still hold to that in spite of being the happy (for now) new owner of an '08 550i Sport. :blush: And, yes, it's overpriced. Nice, but overpriced all the same.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    On the one hand, I should be congratulating you on getting an exceptional car. But given your statement, I have to question your prudence for buying a car you think is overpriced. Value is highly subjective and relative, but 6 years ago, when I decided the difference between a $32k Honda S2000 and a $55k Boxster S was not worth it, I bought the S2000. Two years ago, under different circumstances, I bought a 911S. My priorities and value equation had changed. But I still shopped like hell to get a $10k+ discount. No need to overpay.

    I would never brag about buying a car (or anything) that I truly thought was overpriced relative to the alternatives or its intrinsic value to me. It makes one seem like they have more dollars than sense.

    In any event, enjoy your 550i. And take some consolation that it would probably hold its own against a 1988 M5 which ran $49,050 back then. ;)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Not compared to a $63K Escalade with Luxo Pkg. Now that's an over priced Tahoe if I've ever saw one. I do think they finally got a good trifecta in the Lamda triplets. Too bad they are playing the short-supply game.

    Is BMW expensive? Yes. So is Mercedes. Overpriced? No problem. Stay with GM and get 3rd rate steel.

    I gladly paid the extra $ in 2006 'cause I sick of the US junk, INHO. CTS is getting there but not arrived yet as far as I'm concerned. Way over priced for the level of driving performance.

    My biggest problem is I have an acute memory of what the US WAS capable of i autos. I have only a small vote but I already have decided for the 2008 vote for my next ride.

    Regards,
    OW
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    Well, for my "wants," it was the only game in town. Had to have a V8, great handling, good comfort/fit & finish, Sirius satellite radio and a MANUAL transmission. Nothing else covers all those bases. The only thing(s) that kept me from keeping my wits and buying a 335i Sport sedan was the fact that you can't get a V8 in the 3-series (yet) and they didn't have one to my liking on the lot (or any 335i on the lot for that matter.) For the price I paid, I suppose I could've waited for the M3, but you know how price gouging works. :sick: Then again, I didn't want a coupe as a daily driver.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Interestingly, those are almost exactly the same as the base prices for my '04 E46 for a 325i vs. 330i. And close to the same optioned-out prices. I paid about $35K for my 325i when all my options were added.

    By the way, I am also one of those who likes to get exactly what I want in a car, so I custom-ordered mine -- including some non-usual options -- and waited the 8 weeks or so that it took to get it built and delivered. :D
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Just curious, why the "have to have" V8? I'm not currently in the market, so haven't test driven the 535i 6-speed or 550i 6-speed. But from my previous drives of the 530i and 545i, (both 6-speed, sport pckg) I actually preferred the handling of the lighter 530i. But it gave up a lot in power to the 545i. Now, from what I have heard from others who have driven both, the lighter 535i is neck and neck with the heavier 550i in acceleration.

    Good choice on the 6-speed manual.
  • I know that my e90 matched option to option was cheaper than my e46. The e46 was worth it though; the e90 isn't worth 5k less than a comparably equipped e46, in my view. The 1 series, with it s piggy weight and lack of doors is obscenely priced in my eyes (ditto the e46 ci and e92). It's a value call and in my eyes, the fun/utility-to-value ratio is lacking in the new BMW line-up. I'll never apologize for my 44k MSRP e46 ZHP...but I'm still redfaced over the 42k e90 ZSP.

    BTw, I'm with habitat on the 5 series thing; I'm not sure why the 550i exists when it really doesn't offer much (if any) performance boost over the 535i. Is it just for crowing that someone has a V8 - even if it adds weight and no real performance gain?
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Got a question for you...

    I am pretty sure that back in 1987 the 325i was the top of the line 3-series. Today's top of the line 3-series is the 335i and it starts at $39,000 so the increase in percentage is 38.3%. Although still much lower than the Accord and Corolla but is not as ridiculously low as the 14.9% that you have provided.

    Now the question is, what is the base model for the 3-series back in 1987 and what's the increase in percentage when comparing to today's base model 328i?

    Edit: I have just found out that the base model in 1987 is 325 (without the "i").
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I am pretty sure that back in 1987 the 325i was the top of the line 3-series. Today's top of the line 3-series is the 335i and it starts at $39,000 so the increase in percentage is 38.3%. Although still much lower than the Accord and Corolla but is not as ridiculously low as the 14.9% that you have provided.

    I tried my best to compare apples to apples in configuration. Yes the 335i is 38% more than the 1987 325i, but then the current top of the line Accord EX-L V6 at $30,260 is 96% more than the top of the line 1987 Accord LX-i 4 door at $15,434. And, if you want to get really off track, the current 335i compares very favorably performance and size wise to a 1988 M5 that ran $49,050, 26% MORE than the current 335i.

    To answer your question, the 1987 325 (no "e" or "i") had a base price of $24,655. So the current 328i has a base price 33.0% higher than the bottom of the line 3 series in 1987. But again, comparing bottom of the line Accords, the current LX 4 cylinder manual at $20,360 is 87.2% more than the 1987 DX at $10,874.

    Whether or not some consider the current 3 series or upcoming 1 series too big, too heavy, not as much fun as the little 3 series or 1600/2000's of old is a completely different matter. But when you look just at the price, it's hard not to conclude that there are more people that can afford a 3 series today that could have only dreamed of one in 1987. BMW's sales figures and increases in market share seem to reflect this. And there may be at least a few people who can't afford an Accord today, that could have in 1987. They are now buying Hyundai's and the like.

    P.S. A 1994 850 CSi? $101,500. :surprise:
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "The 1 series, with it s piggy weight and lack of doors is obscenely priced in my eyes (ditto the e46 ci and e92). It's a value call and in my eyes, the fun/utility-to-value ratio is lacking in the new BMW line-up. I'll never apologize for my 44k MSRP e46 ZHP...but I'm still redfaced over the 42k e90 ZSP."

    I don't see your logic here Blueguy (lack of doors notwithstanding).

    A 2009 128i loaded with Premium and Sport Packages will have an MSRP of about $34,000. It will be the performance equal of your old ZHP in every way, yet cost $10,000 less. In fact, even a well equipped 135i will come in several thousand under $44,000 - and even though it weighs a whopping 50 lbs more than the E46 330i, it's got performance that puts your dearly departed to utter shame.

    1-series pricing, as I've been predicting, will make a CPO E46 of recent vintage a complete rip-off.
  • Fed, I'm not following you. I was quite clear that the fun/utility ratio to price is missing from the 1 series coupe (and all BMW coupes). I said my ZHP was worth every penny; my e90 - regardless of its sticker - wasn't worth any amount to me (it's an absolute bore of a car to drive at any speed, on any road, at any time). I did not like my e90.

    I don't care if an e90 will stomp an e46 on a track...the car's just not fun.
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