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Looking for advice on BMW 3 series

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I'm considering an E90 BMW (2005-2013) for a daily driver and occassional long distance car. I live just south of Denver but am not afraid of a RWD drive car for winter. My current ride is a leased 2014 VW Tiguan which has been reliable but the maintenace costs for a new car are ridiculous and the gas mileage poor, not to mention the inexcusable audio system interface. I'll mainly use my next vehicle for running around town, going into the mountains to see friends, and an occassional trip to Kansas City, but for the last I can use my wife's 2015 Mini Cooper S 4Door.

I know the BMW will not be as reliable as a Lexus ES350 but I'd prefer something that doesn't put me to sleep whie driving. I gre up driving sports cars and motorcycles and my wife loves manual transmissions. She stole my RX-7 shortly after we got married. Let her drive it once and she never gave back the keys. We want to know what we'll be getting into regarding maintenance and repair on a 328i. A local dealer has a 2009 328i with 90,000 miles and manual tranny. Askingprice is $9500 and it is in excellent condition.

I'd appreciate any feedback on maintenance costsand things that are likely to need replacing other than brakes, rotors and tires.

Priorities: Handling / Fuel economy / Front seat support & comfort

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 100000
Maximum age: 8 years

Maximum price: US $ 12000

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Response from Dnslater

12:02 pm February 2, 2017

I did a lot of research on E90 BMW's as I almost bought an E91 wagon after VW bought back my TDI.

The inline non turbo 6 in the E90 BMW's is actually a rock solid engine that is tried and true and very reliable when properly maintained. This is one of the last great naturally aspirated engines with everything now going to less reliable turbo charged inline 4's. The engine has a great design and makes the right noises. Torque is linear and plentiful. Some of the earlier versions had ticking in the hydraulic valve adjusters, but this was remedied for cars manufactured after November 2008 - so early 2009 models could be afflicted. Something to ask about.

The turbocharged 335i models are less reliable and more maintenance. I would avoid these if you are looking for reliability.

Overall, the key to keeping maintenance costs low is either doing it yourself, or having a good independant shop. A BMW dealer is going to charge very high prices for maintenance. I'm guessing Denver has some good options for BMW maintenance to avoid the dealer route.

You often find BMW's for sale with 90-100k miles. There is a reason for this.... there is a lot of maintenance needed around this point. Service records are helpful here, if you do not have them you need to replace a lot for piece of mind. Flush all fluids (coolant, tranny oil, brake fluid), replace plugs, filters, etc.... I would budget at least $1k for maintenance the first year. With the car only costing $9500 you will still be in good shape if you need to spend another $1-$2k the first year.

If you are used to a Tiguan, at least your expectations are lower than Honda owners, so the BMW should be fine. Have it looked at by an independent mechanic before buying/

My budget was closer to $20k. For me this would get me an E91 with 75k miles or a Certified Pre Owned 2015 GTI with a warranty and much better mileage and more power, so I went with the GTI. I do love those BMW's though. Good luck!


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Response from doug_the_elder1

12:07 pm February 2, 2017

I don't have a 3-Series but this online forum should have some information that might be useful to you:
3 Series Forum

By the way, my wife also drives a manual transmission MINI Cooper S, 2003 model year.


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Response from DarronS

4:50 pm February 2, 2017

Thanks guys. Both responses helped. The car was manufactured in February 2009, so the lifters should not be a problem. Reding the forums it seems poeple are getting 200,000 miles out of these cars with just the usual suspects for a car that age: starters, ignition coils etc. I'm heading to Kansas in the morning and returning next Tuesday. If the car is still there Wednesay I'll go drive it and have it inspected. Seeing as how it is a RWD car in Colorado I think there's a good chance it will still be available. If I buy it I'll have all the fluids changed, and there is very highly rated independent shop in Englewood (south Denver).


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Response from NormT

9:32 am July 13, 2017

The Cadillac ATS is in the $15,000 range and is quite entertaining to put through the mountain curves and plenty of pep with the 2.0T that can see close to 40 mpg @ 65 mph on flatter elevations. It also a luxury so it takes to the highway with comfort and quietness.


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Cadillac ATS
Cadillac CTS
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