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Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car



  • Nice!

    The S is a nice car, but I would think even a base new one is peppier than an XA.

    Just be forewarned about the "free" servicing, it's a load of nonsense... they pay for a fraction of what the car truly needs but you knew that I know :)

    Hey, whatever happened to your 164LS?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Thanks for your input. Your conclusion seems to be in virtual agreement with my earlier comments.

    Is the '07 base Mini sufficiently more satisfying than the xA to justify the cost of trading the xA in? How do the ride and handling of the two cars compare? The reason I ask these questions is that, regarding the power advantage of the Mini over your xA, I believe Scion sells a supercharger for the Scion, which might give the power advantage back to the xA, at a lower cost than trading the xA for the Mini. Of course, adding a supercharger wouldn't address the image issue, which you indicated mstters for your work.
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 5,284
    Nice report. It turns out my first suggestion may have been more on the mark. I have no doubt that not only does the base Mini have more power, but also better handling. And then there's the matter or style. The Mini is still rare, and really good looking. I'm sorry to say but the xA is one of those cars that only a few beyond a mother could love. I happen to think that even the xB (original) looks better. The new xB is awful. Anyway, style is part of the need here, because Shifty is in the car biz. An xA, in my mind, has minimal street cred, while a Mini, even a base, is really classy and good looking vehicle. And, because it's not a turbo, you'll probably be getting in the high 30s for mpg—not that far from a Prius.
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Good comments from you all! Very interesting!

    Well yes, the xA could in fact be made into a credible MINI Cooper; however, a supercharger would add at least $3,500 to the cost AND would immediately void the warranty, at least on the drivetrain.

    So essentially, as I see it, I would be turning the xA into the exact same situation as the used 2003 S -- a car that costs me more but still has no warranty protection.

    Without modifications, the MINI is clearly superior to the xA in handling, even after I've put on sway bars and strut bracing. The xA could be further improved in handling with new tires and wheels, lowering springs, and different perhaps $2,000 to make the xA a real handler. Not an unreasonable alternative.

    To do Supercharger + handling package, well over a $5,000 investment, seems pointless, as I could just buy a new MINI, put $5,000 down on it, and have basically very similar car payments to what I have now.

    If the xA had an engine equal to the base MINI, I might very well just modify the suspension and be happy enough.

    But you can really notice that the xA's low end power is from gearing, not from torque. The power curve seems to flatten out rapidly, while the MINI's power curve feels quite broad.

    Of course, ultimately, none of us "needs" a new car or a good-looking one. We could all grit our teeth and drive beat up ten-year-old Corollas and get to where we need to get to.

    Natch, I don't want to show up to a client's fine home in a beater; but the Scion doesn't "lose" me any business I don't think. Probably it just requires me to spit out a little more car nomenclature to assure the client that I really do know the difference between a Ferrari and an Odyssey.

    Bottom line? I'm in a car sometimes all day for 200-300 miles. I need AC, I need satellite radio, I need fun, I need gas mileage, I need legroom, I need to scoot, scurry, dodge and dart.

    Now really, what car does all that?

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    Woo Hoo!!! Sounds like Shifty's off to buy a new Mini. Please fill us in on the purchase details. :shades:

  • It's a tall order but it makes perfect sense. Now.. the 88 527i that I am building does all of that for about a $3,000 investment, but then again, I am absolutely insane.

    If a small car works for you, I think the Mini is absolutely the ticket.. I have heard good things about the 2nd generation ones but am holding off personal judgement until I get seat time in one.

    Also, it's a really "cool" car, especially for someone in the car business.. it's the kind of car that car people will respect and appreciate so I think it's a good image car for you.

    Now what happened to your Alfa Romeo???
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,379
    "It's a tall order but it makes perfect sense. Now.. the 88 527i that I am building does all of that for about a $3,000 investment, but then again, I am absolutely insane."

    No Argument there.... ;)

    The Mini is a great choice. Very hard to go wrong. Unfortunately when I was kicking tires at a local car lot (one that has nice toys but overpriced and hasn't figured out that not everyone wants an automatic) with my 15 year old daughter in tow she spotted a sweet red and white Mini and decided that would suit her just fine. Fortunately she's the sort that if I buy a relatively new American car that has has all the depreciation wrung out of it she'll be fine with it come time. I admire her taste, though.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    Yeah, your logic makes perfect sense. Trying to convert an xA into a new generation Mini would be like trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, or something like that. You'd not only never recoup the expense, or even come close, but the end result wouldn't be too satisfying.

    On the other hand, you could look for a pristine '05 Acura RSX "S" 6-speed... Naw, you've got to put a value on your time. A new Mini's the way to go.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    OOOOhhhhhhhoooo, an RSX. Now that's a whole new can of worms. :surprise:


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    That RSX looks like a car one could have fun in. But often I have trouble fitting in a Japanese svoopy-doopy coupe with sunroof. MINI has lotsa headroom and ridiculous generous amount of legroom. So we like that.

    Oh the Alfa 164? That went away to a friend. I told them what to expect (lots of clutches and electrical glitches) and that proved to be true. Fun car but I really do need absolute reliability these days. I'm often out in the boonies (California farm country) and a long way from home base.

    SO ANYWAY--dealer tells me in the showroom that there's no bargaining...I say okay, let me sleep on it...well today they call me and maybe there IS some bargaining...heh...heh...
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    SO ANYWAY--dealer tells me in the showroom that there's no bargaining...I say okay, let me sleep on it...well today they call me and maybe there IS some bargaining...heh...heh...

    Funny how that works. He told you the truth, just not the WHOLE truth. There is no bargaining... with overly-eager buyers. :P

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I have this philosophy with car shopping. I never buy quick but I NEVER waste a salesperson's time either. When I am ready to sign the check, that's when I start bargaining.

    This strategy allows me the highest card in negotiation---the ability to always get up and leave the table. If you simply can't leave the table because you are too invested in owning the thing, you can't really negotiate.

    Also I don't grind to the last dollar. When I hit "fair price" I'm done. I don't care if I leave a couple hundred on the table. Let the salesperson have it. (if the dealer will give it to him/her).

    NEXT STEP: Now we do the "dance"...coordinate selling Scion, getting used car to drive around while MINI is built (8-12 weeks!). This part drives me nuts, makes me want to say "Why can't you just leave well enough alone".

    But then if Bell, Columbus and Edison thought like this, we'd be living in a dark flat world without a telephone!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    It's not as though you've got a deadline, and the auto business isn't exactly booming these days. Sure, Minis are hot, but given the housing market and today's employment report, I imagine that even Mini dealers are wondering whether sales will hold up. Time is on your side, Shifty.

    The 164 that got away was no loss. Sure, it, or some other interesting orphan, could be fun as an extra vehicle, but not as the car you must depend on for your livelihood. No way!
  • Hehe which dealer? I still have contacts in the MINI community but I am not sure if they reach that far west.

    RE:Run flats and 17 inch tires: They just ruin the car. Over 200 lbs of unsprung rotational weight on a car that small is stupid. That is why when I ordered my car I bought the sport package in pieces so I could leave out the 17 inch wheels. I got a better ride and it saved me 400 bucks or so.

    My plan was to buy a set of light weight 17 inch forged wheels and summer tires from... ehh I forget the company name but they were great wheels and a decent price plus half the weight of the factory 17s and a few pounds less then the factory 16s. I would buy snow tires for my 16 inch wheels and run them all winter.

    I sold the car before that happened and the buyer wanted run flats on it so I just replaced the worn front tires.

    Putting lighter weight 16 or 17 inch wheels with go flat tires on a S with the 17 inch run flats completely changes the car. It is much faster since you can usually lose 80 or so lbs of unsprung rotational weight. The steering quickens up and the ride is much, much better. Going to lighter weight wheels in tires is worth a couple of tenths in the quarter on a Stock MCS.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I feel the same way as you do. I respect the sales person's time, and won't be pressured into accepting a deal I might regret the morning after, but I don't insist on the ultimate discount, either. It's possible to be one's own advocate, and fair at the same time.

    Since there's a good market for xAs (unlike an Alfa 164, VW Phaeton, or a Maserati 164, say), why not sell it just before the Mini arrives, or immediately after?
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 5,284
    Which options do you plan to get on the Mini? And what's the total list price before ttl? I assume xm or sirius is an option?

    (My aftermarket xm for my Accord only has so so sound, I think because it transmits via fm signals to the radio. It sounds better when I plug it in at home. That's why for my next car I'd like to have xm as part of the factory equipment.)
    2018 Acura TLX 2.4 Tech 4WS (mine), 2018 Honda CR-V EX AWD (wife's)
  • I'd have bought the 164! I'm after an LS 5-speed and I figure if I got yours at least I'd not be in for any MAJOR surprises! :)

    Oh.. and Mr Fezo Sir.. the 527i is a 1988 528e (aka "Super Eta") with a 325i head, intake and cam and custom software.

    185ish HP, 28mpg or the power of my 535i and the economy of a 528e.. building it for 5erFest 08 out in Cali.. too long of a drive to take the M5 on and the Turbo 535i won't be done in time.. of that I am sure.. still gotta do engine, trans, Euro bumpers, bodywork, dash, clutch, standalone engine management, etc...

    I am certifiable! :)
  • Like I said you need help. How long will it take your shop to shove a V8 M3 engine into the 1 series when it comes out??? :shades:
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    One of my cars is a 325 with the stock 2.7 Eta and manual transmission. I'm happy with it, and the fact that it's not a revver and only has 121 hp doesn't bother me, as it apparently does some people. The good torque characteristics of this engine means that you just drive it differently than the 168 hp 2.5i. Mine has ample accleration and can cruise comfortably at 80 mph, without apparent strain, so the performance exceeds what one would expect from the horsepower to weight ratio.

    How does the "Super Eta" differ from mine, and was it a U.S. market engine?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    The xA market is really good. I was looking at the window sicker for my car, which was $13,334 in late 2005 and I have a buyer at $11,500 so $1,800 loss in two years and 30,000 miles is pretty good I think. 'Course there's sales tax lost, but I write the car off as a business expense, so I think I done good on this car all in all. I think I could even get more for the car but it's a friend, so fair's fair on the price.

    "Good for buyer, good for seller"

    Better than whoever bought a Jaguar in 2005 at any rate. :P

    MINI Equipment?

    So far for options it's premium package (sunroof, auto AC, 6-speed Getrag trans, multi-function sport wheel), sport seats, front fog lights, rear fog light, arm rest, map light.

    That's it so far. If I can bargain down the price I'll throw in Sirius radio--they want $950 for it!!!!! Seems to me for $950 I can have a radio with a carrera marble front and ruby-encrusted dial faces--GEEZ!

    No stability control for this kid.
  • You know I never found the DSC all that intrusive on my MINI and it did help in the snow. You don't have snow out there so I guess that doesn't matter.

    950 bucks for Sirius???? I hope that includes a life time subscription. Sirius on our Land Rover is a 400 dollar option and then Sirius offers a lifetime subscription that is transferable from receiver to receiver for 499 or so.

    If life time Sirius is included for that 950 then that is an ok deal.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I love satellite radio but I understand the portable units don't work as well.
  • Yeah some of them aren't so great. The cool thing about the lifetime subscription is when you sell the car you just call Sirius tell them you are trading in the car and give them the ESN of your new Sirius receiver. They deactivate your old unit and activate your new unit the same day.

    Blitzafe makes after market integration units for XM and probably Sirius too that work with most BMWs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I've been subscribing to yahoo alerts on MINI reviews, so that I get an e-mail whenever a new review on a 2007 is published by a new buyer.

    I tell you, people are really whining about run-flats. This has got to be a big liability for BMW. One poor slob had the car a couple weeks, and picked up a nail, and had to shell out $448 for an RFT on his Cooper S. Not a happy camper.
  • Yikes 448 bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!! :surprise: :mad: :cry:

    Were they 17 inch tires?

    I paid 325 dollars for two 16 inch run flats plus mount and balance 16 months ago when I sold my MINI. Bought them from tire rack and had one of the little independent shops down the street from my dealership install them. I would have just had it done at my shop but they weren't comfortable working with the runflats.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    So what's the deal on the BMW "free" service? What's the fine print (I'm getting old, I can't read it anymore) At what point should I be careful about bending down in the showroom?
  • They come with V8s.. but a customer wants a V10 but it's been done.

    Toying with the idea of a supercharger tho... :shades:
  • Free servicing is 12k mile oil changes, never chaging trans or diff fluid, 2-3 years on brake fluid...etc.

    Its crap.
  • Someone already has done a V8 in a 135i???

    I had seen V8s and V10s in various 3 series but I never saw anything like that in a 1 series.
  • Oh crap I thought you meant new M3.. my bad.

    Nah not yet that I know of.. I'll wait till I see the first ones arrive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I might pitch the dealer to throw in the ruby-encrusted $950 satellite radio and I'll order the car; otherwise I might sit tight for another round. I realize the salesman has got to eat and I'm fine with that, but the MINI dealers have been hogs at the trough for a year now...time to trim down and put on their fighting weight!

    I've kinda given up trying to score a 911 at a decent price....the problem is that these owners want the book value but have not taken proper care of the cars. So every 911 I look at needs a quick $5K at least. And it's hard to offer $10K to a guy looking for $16K on a car that, to the casual observer, looks fine. I can't stand to drive a car that has major needs.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,379
    Mr. Brentwood, you are a sick man. I mean this is the absolute best sense of the word.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    Did you buy a car yet?

    Are you only a one car guy right now, or do you still have the 928?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Oh I'm still screwing around. I need a therapist. I've been leaning very heavily toward ordering the new MINI (2007), but that's $ then I was thinking, what about a used 'Vette? If I could get a C5 w/ 6-speed, it should be okay on gas. I know it's a bit cheesy in the interior, and will probably break down, but gee, you can get parts for it at KRAGEN for gawd's sake!

    I did drive some 80s era 911s for sale, but you know, cars have come a long way in 30 years, especially Porsches which now feature actual ventilation, working AC, not leaking targas, and buttery smooth shifting, unlike the 80s cars.

    I'll get something soon. I HAVE to. I sold the Scion xA to a friend who was desperate for a car (just about out of warranty on mileage anyway). I did GREAT on that xA....34,000 miles, trouble free, in just two years, and sold it for $2,000 less than I paid for it (minus sales tax of course). That ain't bad. Consider the poor Jaguar owner who bought in 2006 and sold yesterday. Can you say whiplash?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    "I sold the Scion xA..."

    Do you have an extra set of wheels to tide you over, or are you taking public transportation, as needed?

    I like the C5.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yeah I have another car...a 1995 Toyota Corolla beater. Can't kill it.

    C5 is pretty nice. Kind of a big butt but you can't beat the "bang for the buck" and a good driver can get around 28 mpg on the highway.

    I don't really care for the "image" of a Corvette but that's also what makes it get outside your own version of yourself.

    Natch it would have to be a 6-speed.

    Hmmm, I wonder if they'll nail me on insurance?
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I have a friend with a 1998 C5 with a 6-speed. We occasionally trade cars for the day. Much to my surprise, I have to say that I love that car. If I didn't have access to his, I'd have to buy my own.

    High teens $ gets you a late 80s 911 or a late 90s C5. The C5 has a great stereo, a/c, etc in addition to its monstrous V8 with good gas mileage. I would guess it is no less reliable than my 1998 3-series. And like you said, parts are cheap.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I have to face the facts...I cannot really afford the high standards of maintenance and repair I'm used to giving a car, if I buy a late 80s 911. I know I have high standards, because whenever I test drive a late 80s 911, it always needs something, and usually something BIG lurking in there somewhere. "Oh, it runs great! It has this little oil leak, but I'm sure it's just a gasket"

    Yeah, or cam covers or a rear main seal. KA-CHING!

    "Oh, it shifts great. The clutch pedal is a bit stiff though. Must need adjustment".

    Yeah, or a new clutch, as this is the first warning sign. KA-CHING!

    Geez, the local GAS STATION could fix a C5. (well some things anyway--he'd run screaming from an old 911).
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,858
    VW GTI?

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Too unreliable. I have no faith whatsoever in a VW. If you believe JD Power and Consumer Reports, etc etc., they are among the worst cars in the world today.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,858
    4 year warranty... Plus, good re-sale.. It is one of my favorite FWD cars..

    I wasn't suggesting a used one.. :surprise:

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Better idea but still....nope, I'm totally gun-shy of VW. I couldn't do it. I mean have you read some of the VW forums? It's hair-raising!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 170,858
    Yeah... I just can't get past it, though... I like the Jetta, GTI, and Passat.. Heck, if it weren't for the mileage and weight, I'd even like a Touareg!!

    Having owned eight (8) Honda products, I probably won't get one.... but, I can't help wanting one.. :(

    Nothing is worse than the Land Rover Freelander forum, though... :surprise:

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    VWs drive great. A Passat might be okay but they aren't on my radar.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    We had a Passat that we bought new. It was a wonderful car, so much nicer to drive than other 4-door midsized sedans. Of course, it always had little things going wrong like the radio wouldn't come on or the turn signals would quit working, etc. We sold it with about 30,000 miles on it and got a Honda.

    My father-in-law also had one that he bought new. He had to replace the entire top half of the engine at around 80K miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    yeah, the sludge monster strikes again.

    I've researched the MINI for tragic flaws and the only one that seems to pop up are motor mounts and maybe some rear spring glitch. With VW you are facing a myriad of hidden coronaries.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,699
    I've got anecdotal evidence about everything.

    My neighbor just bought a used Cooper S with 60K miles on it. In the first two weeks he had it, it got stuck in limp home mode for no apparent reason and unrelated to this it left a beach ball sized pool of oil underneath it one night. My neighbor said the dealer "replaced some stuff" to fix it. He has no idea what. He loves the car anyway. I drove it and I liked it pretty well.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Oh I'd never buy a MINI out of warranty. Therein danger lies. :cry:
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,345
    Shifty, I'm glad you're subject to the same disease that has kept me out of show rooms for years - 'analysis paralysis'. I can come up with good reasons to look at a dozen different cars, which keeps me from buying any. I do have to admit, you threw quite a curve ball in the Mini/C5 switch...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I think as a car enthusiast gets older he can go one of two ways---either he sticks with what he knows, or he decides time is running short for his top driving skills and that he should taste the unusual while he has the chance.

    I spend so much time in a car that this decision might be more important for me than for most others. I've got to weigh things like 4-5 hours of seat time a day (on some days), and 200 miles + a day fuel costs, with other factors like depreciation (important to a small businessman) and fun factor.

    There aren't many cars that fill all these needs!
This discussion has been closed.