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04 Acura TSX vs Certified 04 BMW 325i vs 04 Saab 9-3 Aero

drollydrolly Posts: 32
edited March 2014 in Acura
I've been reading through the forums today and think this is a better place than most other car forums for asking this question. It seems like most people have an intelligent opinion on here rather than being more concerned about tricking out their cars.

Over the past month or so, I've been researching cars... learning more about them, narrowing down, adding more to the list, and repeating. I currently have an '03 Mitsu Eclipse GTS. I bought it new in August of '02 and it currently has 83,000 miles on it. Found out recently that we'll be expecting our first child in August, so looking to trade up to a 4 door. Would like something that has a little luxury and that's a little fun to drive as well. Already eliminated
1. '04 Infiniti G35- For every one that I see that I like, there are 5 that just don't appeal to me.
2. '04 Audi 3.0 A4- Don't like the ugly gray color trim on the bottom, looks too much like a Passat to me, and would have to drive at least 150 miles roundtrip to even test drive one (all 1.8T's around dealers here)
3. '04 Lexus IS300- Too much for too little, and after seeing the new IS line, it makes these look ancient.

So, I've pretty much narrowed it down to a Certified '04 BMW 325i with 30k miles, '04 Acura TSX w/nav 20k miles, and an '04 Saab 9-3 Aero with 20k miles. Only the BMW is certified.

Living in Wisconsin, so will probably have to put up with a few snowstorms a year. The RWD of the BMW concerns me a little, but I'm sure it wouldn't be a huge issue. The I4 of the Acura concerns me because I was orignally looking at all 6 cylinders. The Saab concerns me simply because it's interior seems pretty drab and I'm not sure how often mechanics around here deal with Saabs (one Saab dealer here in town and it's a hut with like 4 cars), plus I think I've read of some electrical problems on this board.

Word of mouth scared me on the BMW because of it's supposed reliability issues and cost of maintence/repair. BMW offers an additional warranty on top of their extended certified warranty for around $1300 that would extend my 50k warranty to 100k, only a $50 deductible would apply. However, after looking at Edmunds and other sites, it seems like repair and maintanence costs on the TSX and 325i are pretty comparable. Strange because most polls show Asian cars as significantly more reliable, and sometimes show American cars as more reliable than German cars.

My wife leans toward the Bimmer simply so she can have the BMW plate and tell people she's putting our child's car seat in a Bimmer. I think I'm leaning towards the Acura because I still think it's more reliable through word of mouth, even though numbers don't seem to back that up. The Saab is kinda in the same category as the Audi (have to drive a bit just to get a test drive in), but I really like the look of the Aero (and it can be had for a bit cheaper than the Acura and BMW).

Price on the Acura and BMW would be pretty similar because of the mileage difference. Saab would be a bit cheaper. I've rattled on for long enough, so if anybody has any more insight, it would be greatly appreciated. I know there are similar threads, but those seem more geared to '06 models. Thanks in advance!


  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Are you looking at automatic or manual transmissions?

    If you're interested in fun-to-drive and are looking at manuals, I say the TSX and BMW are a wash. The BMW will have a slight performance edge, but the Acura will likely have the edge in reliability. Drive each one and go with your priorities.

    If you are looking at automatics, the performance gap between the BMW and Acura widens significantly. The TSX loses a good amount of it's sporty, fun-to-drive character when saddled with a slushbox - the BMW not so much. Of course, many people I know swear by their auto tranny TSX's so you definitely need to drive them both and decide for yourself.

    Stay away from the Saab. There's a reason why it's so inexpensive. Unless you really like it and need to save a few bucks, the other two are far better choices - in my opinion.
  • drollydrolly Posts: 32
    Oh yeah, I knew I was forgetting something. :blush:

    Automatics trans on all.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    OK. Get the Bimmer.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "BMW offers an additional warranty on top of their extended certified warranty for around $1300 that would extend my 50k warranty to 100k, only a $50 deductible would apply."

    If this BMW is truly a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) car, then it should already have warranty coverage to 6yr/100K miles. The standard warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for 4yr/50K, and the CPO warranty provides additional coverage up to 6yr/100K, with a $50 deductible per visit. The CPO warranty is not a full bumper-to-bumper warranty, but it seems to cover most of the expensive components and electronics.

    Hence, I'm not quite sure what you were offered for around $1300? :confuse: I'm guessing this was either an offer to improve the CPO warranty into a full bumper-to-bumper coverage plan, or this was an offer to purchase an extended service plan to increase the no-cost maintenance up to 100K miles. Either way, if you decide not to pay this $1300, you will still have significant warranty coverage on that BMW for up to 6yr/100K.

    Once the no-cost maintenance expires on the BMW, some of the maintenance costs will be more expensive on the BMW than the Acura, especially if performed at the dealer. A brake service, or the 60K service (Inspection II), are expensive on a BMW. Because of that, I plan to buy the extended service contract for my BMW. Around here, I can purchase it for $1195.

    Chances are a typical Acura model will be more reliable than a BMW. However, keep in mind that 2004 was the very first model year for the TSX in America. First-year models typically have more reliability issues. However, because the TSX is based on the European Accord, this may not matter.

    The key point in this discussion is you will have a longer warranty with the BMW, if the TSX is not certified.

    I would be careful about the Saab 9-3. Whereas the '03 and newer BMW 3-series had fairly average reliability ratings (good enough to be recommended by Consumer Reports, for instance), in contrast, the 9-3 exhibited much worse than average reliability in recent years, based on the info I've seen. About 4 years ago I had some interest in a 9-3. With apologies to the Saab fans, I personally would never purchase one now.

    Before you decide, I would recommend taking one additional test drive and a closer look at both cars. Also, ask the dealer if they can pull up the service/repair history on each car.

    Two other points:

    1) Another upscale sporty sedan to consider, especially for your region of the country, might be a Volvo S60. There should be big incentives -- if not now, then a little later this year. The S60, with the premium package, arguably provides a little more luxury, but the handling won't be as sporty as the BMW or TSX.

    2) Congratulations! I assume this car will not be the primary "family" vehicle? I previously made the mistake of thinking a mid-sized sedan could serve as the primary transportation for my wife and toddler. It was fine for trips to the park or shopping malls, but it did not provide enough cargo space for vacations trips. Toddlers require lots of equipment and supplies when taking vacations! :surprise:
  • saablcpsaablcp Posts: 195
    Why isn't the SAAB certified? If you are buying from a SAAB dealer there is absolutely NO reason for it to not be certified and I would not suggest buying from anyone other than a SAAB dealer.This would also allow you to ask the dealer for the vehicles warranty and service history.Most of the problems which bring down the vehicles over-all reliability rating would have surfaced by now.I had a 2003 Vector (same model,different name)drove the vehicle for 3 years and 35,000 miles,minimal problems,maximum fun.Really enjoyed the car.
  • drollydrolly Posts: 32
    Saab isn't from a Saab dealer. The only ones I've found around here are at CarMax and the nearest CarMax is about 70 miles away.
  • drollydrolly Posts: 32
    If this BMW is truly a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) car, then it should already have warranty coverage to 6yr/100K miles. The standard warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for 4yr/50K, and the CPO warranty provides additional coverage up to 6yr/100K, with a $50 deductible per visit. The CPO warranty is not a full bumper-to-bumper warranty, but it seems to cover most of the expensive components and electronics.

    Hence, I'm not quite sure what you were offered for around $1300? I'm guessing this was either an offer to improve the CPO warranty into a full bumper-to-bumper coverage plan, or this was an offer to purchase an extended service plan to increase the no-cost maintenance up to 100K miles. Either way, if you decide not to pay this $1300, you will still have significant warranty coverage on that BMW for up to 6yr/100K.

    Yes, that is what was offered to me. I think it was around $1200-1300, and it did something like that. I think there was a $50 deductible involved, but I may be mistaking that with the CPO warranty.

    I have test driven both cars already, albeit about a month apart. I'm hoping to either go tonight or Monday night to test drive both the Acura and BMW one after the other. After first test drive, I think the BMW drove better than the Acura, but the interior of the Acura blew the BMW away. BMW seems more geared to driving than "living" and unfortunately, I do a fair amount of "living" in my car.

    Not to drive a point into the ground, but you have no concerns about a RWD car in Wisconsin winter?

    Actually, I'll just do this. Based on more research and feedback on this thread, I've pretty much eliminated the Saab. So, pro's and con's of the remaining 2.

    Pros: Nameplate/prestige, warranty, RWD (I'll throw it in both since a lot of people swear by RWD), renowned driving experience/ride, full size spare tire, heated seats, drive and passenger power seats

    Cons: RWD in WI, reliability reputation (friend has a Benz that he's had to replace the water pump twice in 3 years), cost based on reliability reputation, simple interior

    Pros: Xenon headlights, heated seats, Nav system, FWD (some may consider it a pro in WI), cool-looking intrument panel, CD changer (currently have a 6-disc in my Eclipse, really like the changer), reliability reputation

    Cons: 4 cylinder, seats feel a bit cheaper, no power seat for passenger, warranty (or lack thereof), first model year in US

    Anything else that I'm missing or should/shouldn't be worried about?

    Oh, and I considered a Volvo, but just don't like the way they look. Forgot to throw that in the eliminated category in the first post.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    You make a good point. I'm far from an expert (living in the southwest), but I think I would prefer FWD in snow, same as you. Having 60%+ of the car's weight on the front drive wheels seems like it would help with snow traction.

    Does the BMW have the Sports Package with 17" rims and performance tires, or does it have the standard 16" all-season tires? The latter could provide reasonable traction in snow. The low-profile performance tires provided with the Sports Package won't.

    Regarding your friend's Benz, well, I must admit I take stock with the general reliability data provided in Consumer Reports. For the past few years, they have shown several Benz models having poor reliability. I've also seen reports in different forums of unhappy Benz owners, as well as my neighbor who traded in his Benz after less than two years with it. In fact, the 2007 New Car Preview edition does not recommend any new Benz model. That doesn't necessarily mean they are bad cars, but many of their models tend to require more visits to the dealer.

    Although European cars, in general, have lower reliability, we shouldn't lump them all into the same category. For instance, the 04-06 CR data indicates the Volvo S60 was slightly more reliable than the Infiniti G35 or the new 2006 Lexus IS350. The 2006 BMW 3-series was rated just slightly above average reliability, while the 2006 Lexus GS350 was just slightly below average. Hence, some European models compete reaonably well... some don't.

    I looked up CR's reliability data for an '04 TSX, and it looks quite good. The one glaring problem area was the audio (stereo) system. All other systems looked good.
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    One additional thing to keep in mind about the Saab: resale value is about as bad as it gets. If you can't buy this one for a song, whatever you save relative to the other cars you're considering will be lost, and then some, if/when you go to sell it.

    If you go with the BMW, plan on getting a set of dedicated snow tires for the winter, preferably mounted on their own set of wheels.

    Either the Bimmer or Acura should do you well. Good luck.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I never even considered the Saab, just don't like how it looks. Should have a least test drove one. :cry:
  • drollydrolly Posts: 32
    Regarding the warranty, here is the email I got back from the BMW sales rep...

    "As far as the warranty, there is a 4 yr/50K new vehicle warranty. This covers everything (including maintenance/oil changes/brakes and rotors but not tires). After that period expires you would have a Certified warranty that takes over. This warranty is good for 6 yrs/100K and covers everything but the maintenance items. If you would like the maintenance to be included for the 6yr/100K (basically paralleling the new car warranty) the cost is $1495. If you are planning on keeping the vehicle it really pays for itself time and time again (covers your 60 and 90K maintenances/brakes/etc). This warranty also stays with the car (not the owner like some other manufactures)."

    I'm assuming this would probably be worth it?

    Regarding your friend's Benz, well, I must admit I take stock with the general reliability data provided in Consumer Reports
    I looked up CR's reliability data for an '04 TSX, and it looks quite good. The one glaring problem area was the audio (stereo) system. All other systems looked good.

    Ha, but if I followed CR to a T, I'd be working for the worst cell-phone company in this country :D . From what I can tell, you need to have a CR membership to access this info?
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    $1495 is a little expensive for the extended maintenance plan. You can purchase this any time from any BMW dealer, until the car reaches 4yr/50K miles.

    As for CR, I've found them to be relatively on-target, when considering all the data from a broad spectrum. As always, your mileage (experience) may vary.

    Coincidentally, the only major problem I've had with my previous S40 2.4i was with the stereo (head unit) -- which is what CR reports as the main trouble spot for the 2004 and 2005 S40.
  • ytsejamytsejam Posts: 11
    This is probably too late, but here's what I'm thinking:

    1. If you care about handling on the snow/ice, get an AWD car. Do either Acura or Saab offer one? Didn't think so. BMW has been making the xi trim on the 3 series for a while now.

    2. If you are really concerned about BMW maintenace costs, check out some specialized boards on the web, like for an estimate of the yearly maintenance cost. The 325 is a very low maintenance car (at least while still under the CPO warranty); a friend of mine ends up changing oil every 15 K miles or close to that (as the computer suggests). So I wouldn't worry too much about buying a maintenance contract from the dealer - you will be paying the same money you could spend on the repairs from an honest independent BMW shop, only up front.

    3. As the others pointed out, Saab's depreciation rate is much higher than that of the other two. Its reliability is considerably lower, however.

    4. As for the handling - when doing a test drive, push each of these through a tight corner and see for yourself (if you catch my drift).

    I just bought a 325 so I guess I'm a bit biased, but the only minor annoyance I've spotted so far is the high-pitched wind noise when you go above 70-75 mph. While I can't complain about the level of tire noise, I've heard the wind is a common issue in the 3 series. On the other hand, this probably wouldn't even be noticeable in a poorly built car due to higher overall road noise levels.
  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    New: Buy BMW or TSX
    Certified: Buy BMW or Saab
    Used: probably TSX
    Safety: Exclude TSX (close the doors and trunks of these cars will tell how week the steel metal a TSX is). Saab is better.
    Handling: Of course a Bimmer
    Highway driving: BMW or Saab, they are so stable.

    A new Bimmer with the "standard options" probably cost you a lot. A used one probably has most options.

    Yes, Saab has lower resale value. If you look at MSRP, the resale value seems to be crazy. However there is usually several thousands of factory to dealer incentive (usually it is $3000-$5000 I think the record was $7000 for a 9-5)

    You probably don't need a certification for a TSX. You really need a warranty for an European car.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    ytsejam - The TSX and 3-series both require the same level/frequency of maintenance. Just because BMW says 15K oil changes and "lifetime" transmission fluid, doesn't make it a good idea from a longevity point of view. If you want your BMW to last 10 years, please service it more frequently than the manufacturer recommends.

    Also, could you define "AWD handling?" AWD may help your BMW accelerate up an ice covered hill, but it does nothing to improve your ability to turn or stop on snow/ice.

    r34 - If the TSX's steel is so "week," then how come it performed better than the E46 BMW in the NHTSA crash test?

    TSX scored 5 5 5 4 and the BMW scored 4 5 3 5. The BMW's "3" in front seat side impact was accomanied by a "safety concern" regarding, "intrusion of the left front door during the side impact test...causing a high pelvic acceleration."
  • -ytsejam is correct. The shorter oil change intervals in the past were recommended because of the different oil and engine specs. Unless your driving your car very hard in the extreme climates, changing oil every 3500 mi is just a waste of money.
    If I am correct, the BMW maintenance computer-assisted control not only provides you with a mileage countdown to a service but also keeps a log of the oil temperatures and adjusts the service interval accordingly.

    -about the AWD system. It not only helps to climb up a slippery hills, but also minimizes chances to flip your car when it hits an ice patch/water puddle on a highway. The conventional traction control is no help here because it is usually designed to work at the speeds below 50 mph. Yet, the AWD system along with a stability control helps to minimize understeer/oversteer when driving on a dry, curvy road.

  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    Sorry for the typos. Sometimes you think of a word/sentence but you type something else.

    For those safety ratings, I found a lot of vehicles got 5 stars rating (even a Kia). It will be interesting to see 2 different vehicles hit together. The TSX comments were based on my experience with my friend's car. I think a TL is much more solid.

    I guess European cars probably require more attention. Most people agree the TSX will be more reliable but I don't think I will pay a premium for a non-turbo 4 Japanese car.

    I don't think the TSX is comparable to the other 2 cars. Maybe a TL is a better choice.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Re: Oil - Do you run your brake pads down to the last millimeter and run your tires to 1/32nd tread depth?

    BMW recommends 15,000 miles oil changes - this from the company that says you NEVER have to change your transmission or differential oil? Does the BMW maintenance computer monitor the ppm of wear metals that have accumulated in the oil. Does it tell you to top-off the oil when you when you get 1/2 quart low? Does it detect the presence/amounts of insolubles? Does it tell you when the filter needs to be replaced? What about changes in viscosity?

    I agree that the day of the 3000 mile oil change is long gone, but I disagree that 15,000 mile intervals are sufficient - even full synthetic. Seriously, is it worth saving $30/year?

    Re: AWD - The Acura and Saab both have Stability (yaw) Control systems. It works at any speed, and constantly monitors vehicle speed, throttle position, individual wheel speeds, steering angle, lateral g-forces, and yaw rate to correct oversteer and understeer conditions.
  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    I think the 15,000 oil change interval is what BMW covers in the free mainenance. It's better to do the oil change more often. I guess at least 5000 mile for regular/semi-synthetic and 10,000 miles off full-synthetic. I think the BMW free mainenance covers more items and longer than the Saab's.

    If you are buying new, it will be fun to use the European Delivery program to pick up the car in Europe (Saab gives you more travel money and I think Volvo is the best).

    If you are leasing the car, I think Saab has the best deal.

    TSX - reliable, nice package (value) but under-power and not so luxury.

    BMW - good handling, more feedback from the car but there are too many around and more expensive (I think you need to pay for leather seats even for a M3!)

    Saab - unique, better look (at least to me), very comfortable leather seats (9-5 probably has the best), turbo is fun but interior is not so good an certain things are outdated.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,651
    Fed, I believe Shipo did some TBN analysis on his 530 and also his DGC in terms oil life. I do not recall what they were but I believe he sticks to around 5K-8K mile oil changes w/synthetic for the BMW due to the better engine tolerances. I know he uses Mobil 1 on his vehicles, which I have done also since the mid 90's.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    Here is a note from one independent test on M1:

    Based on the results we've got here, we'd recommend 8,000 miles between oil changes on an engine that uses no oil at all, perhaps 10,000 miles on an engine that uses some oil, and 15,000 miles or beyond with a filter change every 5,000 miles. This, of course, isn't any kind of guarantee, and you must evaluate for yourself what your engine requires. One thing we're pretty sure about though: 3,000-mile intervals is a huge waste of resources.

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Yes, European delivery would be the way to go. If I ever buy a new BMW, that's what I'd do.

    Why do you say the TSX is underpowered? On the dragstrip, numerous magazine tests show the 2004 TSX is just as quick (if not quicker) than the other two.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Thanks circlew. I've followed that study of Mobil 1 and Amsoil synthetic too - very interesting stuff...

    Personally, I change the Mobil 1 in my BMW and Volvo every 6 - 7K miles.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Based on the title of this discussion topic, I'm assuming we are comparing used cars, not new ones. Hence, I assume this is the E46 BMW platform.

    I don't have the literature in front of me, but if I remember correctly, the '05 325Ci brochure calls out 0-60mph time of 7.1 sec with the 5-sp manual. I have an old Car & Driver review that measured 7.0 sec for a 325i. I thought I saw a TSX road test that was slightly above 8 seconds?

    But if we are comparing new cars, such as the new 328i, then the difference will be greater. I think the 328i is somewhere around 6.4 seconds.

    The one thing I remember from an extensive TSX test drive: I needed to rev the engine at high rpm's in order to get reasonably good acceleration from it. That's not exactly a real-world driving style for me. At lower rpm's, it didn't seem any quicker than my Volvo S40 2.4i (non-turbo) model.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Yes, we're talking about the E46. The E46 325i with manual transmission will hit 60 MPH in about 7 seconds. Unfortunately, we're discussing the 325xi - add about 1/2 second for the AWD model.

    8 seconds is for an auto tranny TSX. The 6-speed is quicker - in the low to mid 7's.

    Revving the engine and shifting through the gears is one of the joys of driving the TSX. But if you're addicted to torque, it's definitely not the car for you.
  • Yes, I am serious and actually own 2005 325xi.

    Oil change: Nice try, but don't you think that all the possible events, i.e. metal particles, insolubles, plugged oil filter etc that you have listed would indeed affect the oil temperature?- I thought so.

    FYI, oil change at the BMW dealerships costs $199.00. How did you come up with the $30/year saving?

    AWD - Stability control, but not the traction control in the Honda/Acura models works at all speed through application of the brakes to a particular wheel(s)to correct skidding. In the front/rear wheel drive cars traction control usually operates at the speed below 50 mph. Again, it offers a little help and adds very little to a car safety at a highway speed on slippery roads.

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Oil change - If a parachute manufacturer computer-tested their chutes and determined they would remain failure free for 1500 openings, would you jump out of a plane with a chute that has logged 1488?

    Sorry, but an onboard computer programmed with an algorithm to "predict" oil life will never be a substitute for preventative maintenance.

    $30/year - KMart sells Mobil 1 for $4.99/quart. - ors&sLevel=0

    AWD - Stability control by definition is a combination of anti-lock brakes, traction control, and yaw control. All three systems are fully integrated and in effect at all speeds.

    "ESC also integrates all-speed traction control, which senses drive-wheel slip under acceleration and individually brakes the slipping wheel or wheels, and/or reduces excess engine power, until control is regained."

    "Laying the groundwork for stability control, in the mid-80s Bosch brought the antilock braking system (ABS) to market...After Bosch perfected ABS, the company moved on to the second "building block" — traction control...This brings us to our present topic: stability control. The third "building block" in modern braking systems, stability control incorporates everything ABS and traction control do plus a yaw-sensing feature..."
  • Well... and the song remains the same.

    The wrong parachute analogy: if the car is still under a warranty, and all the recommended service was properly performed at the respective dealership, the manufacturer will assume full responsibility for the engine failure.

    KMart Mobil 1 - I honestly do not think that a mix between KMart and BMW would be a nice blend. If you bought an expensive car: stop counting beans. In your cost saving estimate you forgot to include a cost for an oil filter and oil disposal.

    AWD/Stability control: the information you have provided does not apply to all car models. For example, in BMW and Volvo cars it is called stability and traction control, or STC. You can have a traction control in Honda/Acura cars without the stability one.

    Good luck,

  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    "...if the car is still under a warranty, and all the recommended service was properly performed at the respective dealership, the manufacturer will assume full responsibility for the engine failure."

    I've gone both ways on this argument.

    When BMW introduced the E46 3-series for MY1999 with oil change services every 15K miles (on average) or 1-year intervals, I was skeptical. My initial thoughts were:

    1) BMW is attempting to reduce their costs for their factory scheduled maintenance program.

    2) Hey, the drivetrain warranty is only 50K miles! How much risk is BMW taking??

    After talking with several service advisors/technicians, as well as reading articles and info within forums such as this one, I have since taken a more "neutral" view. If I remember correctly, other European manufacturers also went to a similar oil change service schedule, such as Mercedes.

    Another point is the BMW CPO warranty. Most BMWs that are returned to the dealer, via trade-ins or lease returns, typically become Certified Pre-Owned vehicles with 100K/6yr warranty coverage from their in-service date. If the standard maintenance program was risky or problematic, I doubt BMW would be willing to warranty all the major components for a full 100K miles.

    As for me, I don't plan on keeping my car past 100K miles. Therefore, with the CPO warranty, I am not worrying about performing additional oil changes. I'll keep to the standard BMW maintenance program. However, I suspect I would consider a 2x normal service interval, such as every 7500 miles, if I purchased it new and planned to keep it well beyond 100K miles. Just my $.02.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Changing oil at 15,000 mile intervals will not cause an immediate catastrophic engine failure. It will cause premature wear and loss of performance over time - which you probably won't detect until more than 100K miles. Most people are happy with BMW's maintenance coverage because they don't plan to keep the car that long - heaven forbid that Buffy should have to open the hood and touch some icky engine thingy!

    "A mix between KMart and BMW?" So, because you own a BMW, you should spend $200 for an oil change? Thanks, but I think I'll stick with $30.

    I didn't include the cost of a filter because, although you may want to run your oil for 15,000 miles, I couldn't conceive of you not doing at least one interim filter change. And what's up with your "disposal fee?" Don't you know that most auto parts stores accept used motor oil for no charge?

    I wish you lived near me. I'd change your oil for $125 - you save $85, and I make $85 (not bad for 1/2 hours work)!

    Call it DSC, STC, VSA, ESC or whatever you want. Whether you drive a BMW or a Buick, it works the same way. Here's a quote from the company (Bosch) that makes it for BMW, Volvo, Toyota, Buick, Mercedes, Subaru, etc...

    "ESC incorporates anti-lock brakes and traction control but goes a step further."
  • saablcpsaablcp Posts: 195
    My suggestion is to mostly disregard NHTSA's crash test ratings.Their testing methods are outdated and not stringent enough,hence the abundance of 5 star rated cars.Much more demanding standards are used by I.I.H.S.,The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.They use the much more demanding frontal off-set collision.a side impact that simulates an SUV hitting the car and rates rear end collision /whiplash protection.If you consult their test results you will see that the Saab 9-3 has a much higher safety rating than either the BMW or the Acura(either TL or TSX).As a matter of fact it rates higher than any competing sport sedan ,Euro or Asian with the sole exception being the Audi A-4,which shares the same triple "BEST PICK" Gold level rating.
This discussion has been closed.