help this "newbie" decide what to buy
I am 50+ and looking for a new fun car. I've had an Infinity but really got the best use, over 200,000 miles with modest repairs, out of a practical Nissan. I do not need a 5 or 7 series bmw. I went to a dealer the other day to get an education. they thought I should have a 3 series coupe and didn't think I should even hear about the 1 series. What did I miss? I can only afford an older model that's probably just out of lease. This will be my weekend car, only for fun, trips, not hauling passengers. I am practical so looking for good gas mileage, no repair-drain of money. I don't care about the "frosting" as much as I care about the "cake". Thanks for any advice. Oh, I guess it would have to be about $18-20,000 with some cash down and financing. Is it better to go to a corp. or private dealer? Thanks you so much.
For that price, E46 M3 Convertible
Go to cars.com or autotrader.com. There are more than 100 convertible M3's from '01-'04 or later with as low as 25K miles.
Yeah, they cost more to maintain than a coupe or sedan (328i, 325i, 330i from before 2007) but you're not going to notice the difference if it's only a weekend car. DO NOT get an SMG.
A used Z4 may be in your price range
The first version of the Z4 was a nice car. Some folks hated the styling, but what counts is your opinion. And fortunately, they were sold with a higher proportion of manual transmissions than the overall population of BMWs in USA.
If a weekend, fun type car's what you're looking
for, I'd strongly recommend looking around for a MZ3 Coupe. Not sure I understand how much you're willing to spend ($18-$20k total, or that much down + some financing) so an '01-'02 model might be a little steep. But the '98 - '00 models are certainly within the budget. Different, less powerful engine in the earlier models, but they'll still get up and move very nicely. And they're all about the fun factor. I have an E46 M3 and while I'm happy with the car, it in no way comes near the fun factor of my old MZ3 Coupe ('01). I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to sell it. I've kicked myself in the rear more than a couple of times over it.
A standard MZ3 convertible is nice too if you're into that kind of thing. And used Z4's are everywhere, and dirt cheap to boot. Comes down to what design suits you best. (plus, the Z3/Z4 community have lots of get-togethers, drives, etc if you might enjoy that kind of thing)
I have both an E46 M3 Coupe & a Z3 3.0 roadster
The Z3 is a convertible and a wonderful weekend car. THE 3.0 engine in the Z4 will be fast compared to your Nissan. BUT the M3 is whickedly fast and still civilized for a drive to work in rush hour traffic or an outing with the family. I have had the Z3 for over 10 years and 45,000 miles and the M3 for 9 years and 95,000 miles. The Z3 has been cheap to own; but it is still an E36 essentially and much simpler than the newer cars. The M3 has been generously covered by my wonderful dealer (Town BMW -- Buffalo, NY ) and BMW. For a car that pushed the boundaries it really has been quite good and well worth any glitches.
I would suggest you get a dealer CPO car. You may pay more but the warrenty is worth it.
I am 2nd on the list for the 1 m coupe and Hopefully they will get 2. If not I will be asking your advice on what to get. It will be either a 135 coupe or a used M3. My son has a business maintaining and restoring BMWs so he can do wonders with a 135. The new 3 seriees are just so big and heavy!
I plan to sell the M3 and keep the Z3 as a toy. It got hit last fall and my son has it for restoration. So it will be newish. The insurance co gave me 16,000 and I bought it back for 19,000 with no salvage title. BMWs really do keep their value.
1997 Tire/track utility trailer for both cars
2001 Z3 3.0 Topaz
2002 M3 Electric Red
I will walk where my own nature would be leading; it vexes me to choose another guide.- E. Bronte