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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    Thanks for the input. I was leaning towards that, but you know how money/job crises can make your sphincter clench up.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    If you do lose your job, don't let the characters on the G35 vs. 330i board know. You'll be sure to see some dumb comments like...

    "Yeah he's the typical Bimmer owner who just buys the car for the flash and to keep up with the joneses, but he can't even afford it now that he lost his job."

    You've been putting up a pretty good fight over there on that dead horse beating thread!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • Sorry to hear about your situation. Keep in mind that since you currently have warranty on the car for another 2-3 years, your monthly payments are predictable. If you buy a used car, you may end up incurring costly repairs for which you may not be prepared. In addition, every transaction costs too much money - you have to pay sales tax (5% here in MA), registration, etc. Finance rates on used cars tend to be higher than rates for new cars. Plus, the 540 may be quite expensive to maintain. All I can say is hang in there till better times.

    And BTW, I could care less what any board thinks in this situation. You gotta do what's right for you.
  • I know it can be tough. It might not happen. I'm on board with the feedback given so far. I'd try to hang in there with both the car & the mental outlook. Nice seeing your logon, by the way, you haven't been 'round for a while.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I'm on board with everyone else, but for a different reason. Any time you flip cars you incur a lot of overhead - taxes, registration, salespeople, dealers, etc. That's the last thing you need now. And if you do lose your job you may want the flexibility to sell down to a Nissan Sentra, not have to sell the used car you just bought and incur yet more overhead.

    Ride it out.

    - Mark
  • hey all. my first post. glad to have found this forum - edmunds is a great resource.

    ordered an '03 325i last week and hope to have it before december... sold my '97 z3 about a month ago and miss driving a bmw.

    just wanted to chime in. will surely have questions and/or comments in the future.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    What are you driving in the mean time? What color & options did you order? Which Z3 did you have?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • I'm also in the telecom industry and just got the call that my 2003 325XI will be ready for pick up on Monday. Who cares about the job...if you get laid off, you can spend the next two months ripping around in your bimmer from job interview to job interview while you're collecting severance. If you're good, you'll find a job that will cover your monthly car payment. Well, that's my plan anyway.

    Not to compare, but...I also checked out the G35, since I'm a tightwad and always out for more bang for my buck. While the G35 will certainly dust the 325 off the line, I found the overall drive, comfort and look (especially the interior) of the 325 worth the extra $$. Add in the fact that the G35 doesn't come in AWD, and I chose the BMW. When a G35 blows me off the line, I'll soon pass it a mile or so ahead while its pulled over by a cop.

    Anyway, to each his own. You can't go wrong with either car. Is it Monday yet? I never thought I'd look forward to another Monday.
  • I also ordered a 325XI 3 weeks ago and currently my status is produced but not shipped. how long it takes from my current status to be delivered to my dealer?

  • Hi all-
    Does anyone have experience driving the 325xi with an auto trans? Is it really sluggish like some people say? I live in NY and dread having to drive a stick in traffic! Also, does the sport package slow the car down (extra weight)?
  • tchootchoo Posts: 93
    I thought you worked for the govt? How's Lena? If I remember correctly I bought my 325Ci right about the same time you did. My opinion? Keep her. Its gonna give you a lot less trouble than a 97 5-series. 97 was the first year for E39's and I hear there were some teething problems.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I agree with Mark by default.

    I wouldn't do what you propose because a large part of your "savings" is stretching the loan out from your current 3.5 years remaining to what... 5-6 years?

    If you're going to make a big change for a budget reason, make a BIG one and ditch the 3er in favor of truly cheap transportation. Swallow your pride. Then when things straighten out, get another nice car.

    For the time being though, I'd stay pat unless that $640 car payment is burdensome even with your current job.

  • Personally, I wouldn't have a $26k loan on a car, but to each his own. I saved my pennies for over two years without a car payment, sold two cars, then paid cash for my 325i.

    I think you would be fortunate to get $28k for your 2 year old 325. If you do sell your Bimmer, I wouldn't be buying a used car for $21k, I would get something under $10k, save your cash for a couple years and get a much lower loan when you can afford it. A little something called living below your means.

    Do you own a house? I refinanced my house last month at 5.75% for 15 years and locked in for a second refinance at 5.25% without making a payment! The interest I pay will drop by more than $3k the first year. 30 year loans can be had for under 6%.

    You might be able to refinance your house, roll in the balance on your car and have lower payments than your house + car payments. This would be a great option IMHO.

  • nyccarguy-

    '97 z3 was my first bmw. just the 4-cyl, silver/black w/ chrome pkg. really was a great car. would have loved the 6, but couldn't afford it at the time.

    interim car is an '88 acura legend v6 w/ 50,000 miles - was literally a grandma's car, willed to us this year. reliable (and boring) just like a honda....

    '03 325i will be 5-spd, steel grey/blk leatherette, titanium trim, moonroof, on-board comp, hk and zenons. just what i wanted, really. will have a bmw friend install a 6-disc and maybe new wheels down the road.
  • Your advice is very sound except that I don't see the appeal of paying cash for your car/house or whatever. The money you used to pay for the car has opportunity cost which has to be factored in. The 32-33K that you tied up in the car could be working for you instead - the 30-year T-bill is still at 5-6% and you could have financed the car with a 3-4% tax-deductible loan. You are using an expensive asset regardless of whether you finance it by using someone else's money or your own. What's more important is optimizing your rates of return - that is, getting loans at the lowest possible rate and investing your money at the highest possible rate (same risk assumed). It's good to have some leverage (cash in this case) esp. if you have some money set aside for a rainy day and/or you have a steady and highly predictable income stream. All IMO, of course, and coming form a guy who bought his 325 with no money down and no regrets.
  • you could have financed the car with a 3-4% tax-deductible loan

    Is that 3-4% before or after the tax deduction? If you know of a 3% before tax loan, please share.

    In general, I don't disagree, but as stated in the start of this thread, these are uncertain times in terms of job security and investment returns. If Ddblue or anyone here loses their income, the last thing they would want is a $20k loan regardless of what they could "earn" in a risky market. At best, we may have gained 1 or 2% annual return in the 6 months since I bought the car, but could have lost 29% on the S&P. Not much opportunity there!

    Paying off a loan or avoiding a loan completely may not always be the "best" investment, but it is probably the safest.

    FWIW, my wife and I have been paying the maximum 401k percentage for over a decade in addition to buying my company stock at a discount and putting aside money each month for our child's education. I don't feel that I need to take the risk of "borrowing" money to invest, as you suggest, to have a secure future. Ddblues job insecurity indicates he is in a worse situation to take on investment risk than I am.

  • Hi folks: I am desperately seeking infomration on the following:

    BMW 325i
    Automatic Transmission + leather + premium package + sports package + xenon lights

    15,000 miles per year, 3 year lease

    I am in Fremont, CA (Bay area). One dealer said that the residual value is 59% and the money factor is 2.65, the other dealer said that the residual is 58% and money factor can be as low as 2.25%. I really need your help in figuring out what the right residual value and money factor should be. Thanks in advance for all your help.
  • Except for maybe the ultra rich, we all borrow money to invest, including you. Unless your house is paid off, I don't know... In my situation, we would not have been able to put a down payment on our house if I had paid cash for my 325 and the A4. By using leverage, we can afford the lifestyle that we like now when we are in low 30's. As I mentioned before, I would only recommend that only if you have "some money set aside for a rainy day and/or you have a steady and highly predictable income stream". It just goes to show that it's hard to advice anyone on their investment choices without a good understanding of their financial situation.

    Try this link - 4.5% before tax, which would equate to 3-4% after you write off the tax expense.
  • denkdenk Posts: 75
    I have a 2002 325xi with automatic and I have never felt that that the car was sluggish either in local traffic or on the highway. In fact, at times the car seems so fast and resonsive it is scary. And, you have the sport mode if you want to extend the shift points. I don't have the sport package, so can't speak to that question. Unless you do a lot of track driving like Braveheart and some others, I doubt you will ever feel that the car is sluggish.
  • Well, my car is already at the dealer, and the BMW Owners Circle website says its 'En Route' to the US!! I was told it would take about 6 weeks from the time I ordered the car until I could pick it up (however, i believe it depends on the time your particular VIN was scheduled for production). My car came in over 2 weeks early. Anyway, as soon as you see your car as 'En Route' to the US, you can expect a call from your dealer within a week. You should also notice an 'Estimated Delivery Date' under 'Review Order Detail.' Although its a bit vague of what delivery they're referring to (prep center or dealer), this ended up being the date that my dealer had it in his hands. If you're planning on selling a car on the street to use as a down payment, I suggest you don't rely on the website data and wait until the last minute. The unexpected early arrival of my BMW left me with 2 days to try and sell my car on the street, so now I'm stuck with trading it in.
  • From a wear & tear maintenance perspective, how long can I expect the Sport Package tires (Dunlop/Contis/Mich) to last with average driving habits--meaning not too aggressive? I am torn between getting this package, but do not want to be spending $175 per tire every 15,000 miles, which equates to a years worth of driving. My conservative side in me keeps saying go with the non-sport package and save the expense of replacing low profile tires. Opinions/experience is welcome!
  • Does anyone know how many more years the current body style of the 3 series will be around for? I've found that it was introduced in 1999 and the earlier body style around for 7 years. With the change in the 7 series, I wondering if a similar change will be forthcoming for the 3 series for 2004/5?

    Any comments on experiences between with 325i and A4 as we're down to these as our choices.

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I'd estimate you'll get 20-25K average out of sport package tires, another 10-15K out of the non-sports.

    I hear MY 2006 (fall 2005) is the most likely time for a new 3-style, likely phased in over the model line starting with the sedan.

    - Mark
  • Thanks for the response.
  • burrsrburrsr Posts: 255
    Thought I'd let the rest of you know that I just completed an electronic survey from BMW Consmuer Research on what the name of the upcoming "enhanced" sport package on the 330i should be called. Others may have also received the survey. Key highlights include (I'm quoting the survey):

    Increased horsepower
    Faster 0-60 mph time than normal 330i sedan
    More aggressive looking and sounding exhaust
    Aerodynamic kit (front spoiler, side skirts, and rear apron)
    Special interior with alcantara cloth
    Sportier gear shift
    Sports suspension
    Sport seats
    18" wheels

    Thought this looked interesting and worth passing on...

    ddblue -- either keep Lena or sell her and buy a 3-year-old Civic. DO NOT sell her and buy a '97 540i -- you'll be at parity financially, best case.

    sjmurray2 -- remember that when the SP tires wear out, you can always replace them with all-seasons (with the obvious handling compromises), which may yield about twice the mileage, since wear is important to you.
  • Thanks for the quick response on the tires! One more question: Is it possible to do ED Invoice on a convertible? Passport told me the answer is no. No one will do ED Invoice on convertibles period. True statement? Scott
  • Except for maybe the ultra rich, we all borrow money to invest, including you

    You're right, but there is a huge difference between borrowing for a house and borrowing for a $30k car.

    By using leverage, we can afford the lifestyle that we like now when we are in low 30's

    Like you said, I don't know your situation. I took a slightly different path preferring to live a bit below my means in my early 30's so that I have the choice to pay cash or borrow for a BMW in my mid 30's. A year or two of saving instead of making payments can make a huge difference in the loan amount.

    I'm not criticizing you or anyone here, but I believe our society is too easily swayed to borrow for everything instead of saving. My advice is to know your own situation and be prepared for the worst.

    BTW, I didn't find the specifics on the loan you mentioned. I assume it's a variable rate that probably won't last too long.

  • Thanxs for your info! I guess i have to wait for another 3-4 weeks before getting the car.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    This sounds like the "M Sports" package we've been hearing about - basically the a sedan M3 without the high-strung engine. I think there is a market for a car that niches in where the old 240-hp M3 4-door used to sit with a similar performance level and price. BMW sold a ton of sedan M3s when they were offered.

    - Mark
  • Living on credit is the American way, what can I say... We are all "guilty" of that to some degree.

    Yes, that rate is tied to the prime, so it fluctuates with it. But if it goes up, so will bond rates - all I was saying is that paying for an asset with cash does not make it free. It will likely make it cheaper to finance because the opportunity cost of your money is generally lower than the rate that you can borrow at.
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