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Reliable Late-Model Bimmer?

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I happened to see our former neighbor a few days ago who mentioned that his low-mileage (27,000 miles) ’09 BMW 335 convertible is for sale. The car has nav, an automatic transmission and the base 17” wheels. The neighbor is in his mid 60’s (like myself), he's a careful driver who takes good care of his vehicles. He's the original owner and reports no service or reliability issues.

I hadn't really thought about a convertible. but this opportunity popped up and I'm ready for a change from my '99 Accord (160,000 miles), although it still runs very well. Knowing the original owner farily well helps with the possible purchase of a used car purchase, yet future reliability is an important factor for me. Truedelta's database suggests roughly average to slightly better-than-average reliability for a 3 series of this year.

Any feedback on the reliability of this specific model would be appreciated - thanks!

Car Needs: Daily commuter / Family transporter / Errands about town / Long trips

Will consider both new and used cars

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Response from mkaresh

1:17 am April 1, 2014

I think our repair-odds stats, which tend to be overlooked in favor of the average repair frequencies, can be instructive here. We don't have these stats for the 2009, but do have them for the 2008, which should if anything be less reliable. As seen at the link, with the 2008 you have about a 55% chance of no repairs at all in a year. And that's before factoring in that your neighbor's car has been well-maintained and doesn't seem to have had any serious problems. This is much worse than the most reliable cars, where about 90 percent of the cars require no repairs in a given yaer. But not nearly 100 percent.

Another factor with European cars is that, when they do require repairs, these can be expensive. In the case of the 2008 3-Series, about half of the repairs are over $500, and about a quarter are over $1,000. Combine this data with the repair odds, and you'd essentially be rolling a die each year with a (roughly) one-in-eight shot of a repair over $1,000. The percentage going forward might be a bit higher, as the pie chart includes all reported repairs, not just recent ones. But it's clear that you're much more likely to have no significant problems with this car than an expensive one.

There are no guarantees. The car could turn out to require some expensive repairs over the next few years. But unless you're not comfortable with the moderate level or risk involved and absolutely want to avoid any problems it seems like a good bet. Especially since you know the car and owner.

To improve the odds, I'd have it inspected by someone who knows BMWs before buying it, just to make sure there aren't any lurking problems your neighbor simply isn't aware of.


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Response from vincer77

2:52 pm April 7, 2014

Response from vincer77

6:06 pm April 7, 2016

I ditto the above response. My friend who had a 335i with a CPO also found many repairs not covered by the warranty. Also had another friend who had a new 3 series with a hardtop convertible under factory warranty have problems getting it fixed. As mush as I like that car, it is not worth owning IMHO.


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