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Reliable luxury, single mom, 2008 bmw 328i driver, RWD

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I currently have a 2008 BMW 328i RWD tech and premium packages. Love it. But I have 174K mi. I prefer RWD. Do not want hybrid or diesel. I have a 4yo son, so booster/car seat in back is essential and I prefer interior that isn't cloth. Important features for me are: Rear view cam/park assist moonroof/sunroof Satellite Radio Memory Seat positions/heated Navigation or iphone connect Bluetooth top notch safety air vents in back seat Automatic transmission Drove a 2013 infiniti G37 RWD. Liked it but didn't like the price of this specific one because I didn't care for the color and the gas mileage.
Drove a 2010 Acura RDX AWD I wasn't impressed at visibility, it was too old, and not sure I like AWD.
Drove a 2014 BMW X1 and I didn't find the ride to be very good. Have been looking at 2011 Infiniti G25, 2012 Infiniti G37 RWD, 2011 BMW 328i RWD, 2014 BMW 320i but it is AWD and not sure I like that its slower, Mercedes C class 2012/2013 models, 2012 Lexus IS 250 I work from home, but want something reliable to take my son on trips a few hundred miles away, occasionally. I love luxury vehicles, definitely want something used, love the BMW driving experience but definitely need something reliable. I am a single mother and my father does most of my repairs and maintainance, but as he ages so does his back! I have a son, but by the time hes old enough to have sport equiptment etc., I will be looking for an other vehicle! He is 4. I do not like American cars and I do not want Honda, toyota, or Nissan. Those 3 brand labels I associate with my now ex husband and his affair because they are in the auto industry. Please avoid them. Thank you!

Priorities: Reliability & durability / Safety & braking / Handling

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 70000
Maximum age: 7 years

Maximum price: US $ 15000

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Response from LectroFuel

8:36 pm July 30, 2018

Did you know that Infiniti is made by Nissan? Also, Lexus is made by Toyota and Acura is made by Honda. Their cars are very related to each other. Old Lexuses, Infinitis, and Acuras are the most reliable luxury cars and they were quite nice to drive, but I'll find some other cars. I would avoid BMW because even though your dad does your maintenance and you had a good experience with your BMW, most of them become money pits after 70k miles. That is why their values plummet when they role off the dealer lot. Mercedes is the same way, but they are slightly less expensive to maintain, which isn't saying much.

I don't know if the Toyota, Honda, and Nissan badges bother you or if it is the brand. If it is the brand, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti are out as options since they are owned by the companies you don't like. If you are fine with them, the Lexus IS is reliable and offers a sportier driving experience. The ES350 gives you more luxury and quietness, but it is not sporty like a BMW. The GS is more expensive and I don't think you should consider one because they are more expensive and overkill for your needs. The Infiniti G25 and Q40 can be found for DIRT CHEAP. They are also nice, reliable cars that nobody talks about anymore. I think the Infinitis are some of the best used car deals today. Infiniti has really gone downhill since they made this car. The Acura TL should also be considered. It offers more space and a nice powertrain. It has been pretty reliable. If the TL is too expensive, look at the TSX. Less expensive and is basically an upscale Accord.

For the brands you haven't knocked off, you need to look at the Kia Cadenza and Hyundai Genesis. The Genesis is really nice and is available with 3 different engines. Both of them can be found for cheap because they don't have a prestigious badge. If you buy them CPO, you'll get the remainder of the 100k mile/10 year powertrain warranty. They are underrated luxury cars.

Some premium feeling mainstream cars include the 2014-2017 Mazda6, 2015-2018 Hyundai Sonata, and 2014-2018 Kia Optima. The Mazda has a lot of road noise, but a nice interior with many available options. The Kia is probably the best though.

There are several people here that only recommend American cars, so be ready I guess.

I can find some good cars in your area if you could provide your zip code.


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Kia Cadenza
Hyundai Genesis
Kia Optima

Response from NormT

9:48 pm July 30, 2018

I'd stick with a luxury sub compact SUV. The used turbo-4 will be in the $20's and offer flexible cargo area compared to a sedan. But if you must have a sedan they in low demand. I'd drive a ATS 2.0T or the 3.6l V6 the driving experience makes the car feel like it was chiseled from ingot, it is so solid and buttoned down.


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Cadillac ATS

Response from AcuraT

9:51 pm July 30, 2018

Infinitis are good deals now because their reliablity has declined since they started sharing parts with Renault.

2011 Infiniti G25 - According to Consumer Reports, the last good year of reliablity. There is no real weaknesses in this car except for in car electronics which is slightly below average in reliablity. However overall this car is much above average for a luxury car.
2012 Infiniti G37 - Overall reliablity falls to average for this year. Not a complete disaster, but less reliable than the 2011 model year. Owners report issues with the power electronics, squeaks and rattles, and brake concerns. Still not terrible, but not great either.

Lexus IS 2012 250 - way above average in reliablity. Some complain about a very cramped rear seat but if that does not bother you, it is one of the best driving cars Lexus has. Lexus is more of a luxury brand without performance, but the exceptions in handling are the IS and GS (but as Lectrofuel stated, it is a lot more car and a lot more expensive).

Acura TL - Major transmission problems in 2010, 2011, and 2012 according to Consumer Reports and minor problems (like rough shifting) in 2009. For 2013 and 2014 you are better off if you can afford it.

BMW is just plain expensive these days if you keep them a long time. They don't hold up anymore. Neither does Mercedes. Audi is better than either of those brands, but that is not saying a lot as it ranges from average to above average in reliablity depending on the car and year selected.

I would avoid Cadillac and Lincoln even though Cadillac has some of the best handling and performance on the market right now. The electronics problems would drive you crazy.

If you like the older interior of the Hyundai Genesis take a look at it - it is quite durable certain model years - like 2013 and 2014 where the issues are limited to in car electronics and paint and trim concerns. Before and after that time frame unfortunately the cars are beset with transmission problems so I would stick with those two years.

Personally, if reliablty is your key factor you are better off with the Lexus.


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Response from LectroFuel

1:13 am August 1, 2018

Response from tarnold27

1:46 pm August 1, 2018

I am so appreciative of your responses.

To answer some things: I have no issue with Nissan, Toyota and Honda as brands... they are triggers for me in relation to my ex husbands affair and divorce. They met at Honda. He was the finance manager. Then he went to Toyota. And she went to Nissan. I just don't want to see those logos every day. Silly and emotional, maybe, but best for my mental health. :)

I can and will spend more than the 15K I listed as Max, if I love something enough. I just try not to spend a lot on something I don't get to enjoy as much as I would like. My driving is mainly local and I work from home.

I like smaller cars, so the genesis doesn't work for me. If I'm going to go bigger I rather go taller into a cross over.

I am in the Wake Forest/Raleigh area so a zip would be 27613 for searches. No salvage or frame damage please!

There is a 2012 Lexus IS 250 RWD with 60K mi I was looking at but the back seat seems a bit smaller than my 328i. I don't want my son to be more cramped as he grows and his recaro seat isn't one of the smaller ones. He'll be in that for a few more years. Also not impressed with the performance and despite being a mom, when I do drive I like to enjoy it!

I am such a creature of comfort so I keep leaning toward bmw knowing that it isn't the best choice. Trying to get over this mind set!

The G25 has been a vehicle I am struggling locating nearby without over 100K miles. But definitely interested.


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Lexus IS
Infiniti G

Response from LectroFuel

7:26 pm August 1, 2018

I won't suggest a salvage title car. I don't even buy cars if they were in an accident. You'll have to live with a smaller backseat in the compact luxury cars unless you go one size bigger. Compact luxury SUVs are also cramped in the backseat.I don't think you would like the 2.5 V6 in the IS250 if you want power. I have driven one and it felt underpowered and sluggish. It only has 204 hp. The one with 60k miles you checked out was in two accidents. Frontal, rear, and sideswipe collisions.

The IS350 is much better and has over 300 hp. Here is a good one.Even though it is at 101k miles, it will last to 200k at least. That is probably the best part about buying a Lexus; you don't have to worry about repairs and they last forever. If you want are willing to spend some more, here is one with 80k miles.

For the Acura TL, it is a bigger car than the IS350 and BMW, but it has slightly bigger backseat. The seats are comfortable and it has been very reliable. Here is a low mileage example with the Tech package.It is also over budget, but is a much better deal than the other ones that have twice the mileage and are only $2k less. Here is a cheaper one.

The G37 RWD you drove was stolen I think. It says on the CarFax it was recovered from theft. The color was black and it had 84k miles. Try to look at the CarFax because there are some really bad ones out there. You also don't want something like this Ford Fiesta that had its transmission replaced 5 times within two years and 36k miles. That might be the worst car I've ever seen and it is 11 miles from you, not that you are in the market for a subcompact, but it could happen to any car. Here is a good G37 RWD Sport trim.Poor gas mileage is something you have to live with if you want a fast car that is gas powered.

The Acura RDX you drove was from the first generation. The 2nd gen is much better. Here is a 2013 RDX with the Tech package for a really good price.I don't know the CarFax so you should get it if you decide on this car. The other thing is that it is FWD, better than RWD for snow and rain. I think it is worth a test drive, as are all of these cars.

If you can afford the repairs of the BMW or Mercedes you want, go with that. I just don't know if is smart because your budget is $15k. You'll need to save some money for the future repairs, so maybe decrease the budget of a BMW to $12k. At that point, the car probably isn't in great condition.

Here is a link to a chart of the average cost of repairs over 10 years by brand. BMW is by far the worst out of every brand. If you are a creature of comfort, the RDX would be the best for you because it is comfortable. BMWs, Infinitis, and the Lexus IS are more geared for sporty handling so they are not the most comfortable cars and are more rough riding.


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Response from tarnold27

9:40 pm August 1, 2018

Wow, Thanks!

The G37 I drove has since been sold but I did see the one that was stolen. Haha

i was looking at back seat seat leg room comparisons of 2012 IS 250, G37 and 328i. Shockingly the BMW had the most room by comparison. I was looking at the IS 350 just today!

I will look into these cars right now! Thank you again so much.


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Response from tarnold27

3:37 pm August 2, 2018

So another question. It always alarms me when I see an open recall. Especially if it says no remedy is available yet. Am I being silly with that?

Also, I like the interior of the IS 350 with 100K mi better, however, the carfax says it has been damaged, yet not in an accident. Is this cause for alarm? I attached the carfax below. I appreciate your help, a lot!

carfax link


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Response from Sea-Dan

8:04 pm August 2, 2018

Tarnald27: By indicating you prefer RWD you are significantly & unfortuantely limiting your options. I'm curious why you prefer RWD?

Since you appear to like German with cars, I see that no one has mentioned Audi - probably because they are not RWD. Audi's definitely have the Teutonicfeel you like and in general are pretty much neck to neck with BMW in performance with the notable exception that they are more reliable.

I urge you to consider a late model A4 (B8 model from 2008 thru 2016). Most A4s sold are the quattro (AWD) version. However, if since if you can find a FWD version, they are substancially undervalued (lower cost) and used FWD models can often be bought at bargin price. Since you live fairly far south they may be more plentiful then in the PNW where I live.

Since you said you "like smaller cars" also consider the 3rd generation (type 8V - 2012 to current) A3. This is a sweet little car is a has a newer chassis (latest Audi/VW MBQ platform) & more safety features than the B8 A4. Is often sold as FWD model. Thinks of the A3 as a VW Golf on Audi Deluxe Steroids. I've driven several A3s and not only are they are very comfortable, nimble handlers, but they are capable of 25 mpg in the city & 35+ on the highway - if you can control your urge to go for the turbo surge. FYI, I currently drive a 2017 VW Golf Wolfsburg which is a great car, but the A3 is a step above.

Here is an interesting quote from US News: "Based on the data that drives U.S. News Best Cars scoring and ranking, the completely redesigned2017 Audi A4is our No. 1 rankedluxury small car. It achieves an incredible overall score of 9.2 out of 10 and the critics love it. Critics awarded it an exceptional rating of 9.5. The2017 Audi A3is ranked No. 12 in ourluxury small carcategory. Although the A4 ranks better overall, the A3 is similarly equipped and provides exceptional bang for your buck. The A3 offers athletic engine options, an impressive blend of exhilarating driving characteristics, and a smooth ride. It is one of the best values in the class.
Click through to see how these two Audi small car offerings match up and learn if the A3 or the A4 is the best fit for you."

Granted the above report is on 2017 models but gives a good perspective on the A4 vs A3
Regarding reliablity according to the chart supplied by Lectrofuel the Audi is only the 5th most costly car to own whereas BMW is numbro Uno! Also bear in mind that particular chart is goes back 10 years and will include a number of high performance Audis.Between my family & friends I know about 6 Audis (2 A4s & 4 Q5s from 2004 to 2017). While none of them were owned for more than 5 years they have not had any significant mechanical issues. Last but not least, by all accounts Audi's reputation for reliablity has been rising over the past 5 years. Still it is a German car & is likely to have more issues after 60,000 miles than most Japanese or Korean cars.

One more FWD to consider is a late model Kia Optima. They are pretty nicely equipped, highly rated, and extremely reliable - with a Certified Preowned model you can get a 10yr, 100,000 warranty for piece of mind. The Kia's haven't quite got the Germanic feel but are very good, reliable automobiles that are great value.


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Audi A4 / S4 / RS4
Audi A3 / S3 / RS3
Kia Optima

Response from LectroFuel

8:26 pm August 2, 2018

I was checking on CarGurus and they didn't have a CarFax, but Autotrader has one for that car so I didn't see it. I'm not that sure on the IS350 with 100k miles now, since it has damage reported twice. It will probably be just fine, but get a pre purchase inspection on the car you plan to buy even if it wasn't in an accident. Maybe ask your dad if he can do it.

For the recalls, I wouldn't worry about it. It looks like the recall was created in late June so they will probably come out with a remedy soon. I haven't heard of an automaker not having a remedy to a recall for anything over a 6 months or so, except with GM's ignition switches, but that was more of a crime. Even if they didn't come out with a remedy soon, I wouldn't worry about it unless there have been many example of the safety hazard presenting itself in real life. Lexus didn't say if there have been any fires because of the fuel dampers, but I haven't heard of any. If I was buying this car, I wouldn't worry about that.

Here is another IS350, but this one is AWD. Not sure if that is a deal breaker, but like I said, it is a little safer to have AWD if it snows or rains a lot. Lower mileage, but higher price. AWD also makes it more expensive. The interior looks like it is in even better condition than the 100k mile one. No damage or accidents. Might be a safer bet.

Also, Consumer Reports explains how easy it is to put a car seat in the backseat with the LATCH anchors and such with different cars.

Infiniti G - "It may be tough to secure any type of child seat in the center rear. The left and right positions are easier to manage, but the lower LATCH attachments are difficult to access and the head restraints may prevent a tall Forward facing child seat from lying flat against the seatback. The parcel shelf has three top-tether anchors."

Lexus IS - "Narrow belt spacing and a seat hump in the rear center seat make it difficult to get a secure fit for child restraints . Safety seats should prove secure when installed in the outboard rear positions. LATCH anchors are provided in the outboard seat positions as well. These are recessed in pockets beneath the flaps in the seat cushion, but they are small and the anchors are close to surrounding material, which can make access awkward."

BMW 328i - "Belt anchors, located forward of the seat bight, can make some child seat installations difficult. The long belt stalk in the rear center position can also interfere with some installations. LATCH anchors are available in the rear outboard seating positions behind plastic covers and are easy to access. There are three top-tether anchors available on the rear parcel shelf under plastic covers."


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Response from LectroFuel

9:03 pm August 2, 2018

Danlisahall was right, Audi is the most reliable German luxury brand. When it does break, it will cost about the same as a BMW or Mercedes to fix, but the repair frequency is less often. If you can live with FWD, the VW Golf would be great, too. I feel like it has a feel of a premium car, but without the price of one. Has that Germanic solid feel as Dan said. The Audi A3 will probably have a smaller backseat than anything mentioned so far since it is a size below the A4 and BMW 3 series. Still won't be as reliable as a Lexus, but may fit the bill.


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Response from tarnold27

1:29 am August 3, 2018

I get so confused with reliability ratings. Some say Audi is the worst out of the German cars others say the best. So I've avoided them, but not for any real reason other than I like my current bmw.

My first car was a 2006 Scion tC I bought new in September 2005. Amazing car. Over 240K miles before my ex husband hit a deer. No major issues. It was FWD. not opposed to other drive trains just prefer RWD. I haven't owned an awd vehicle, nor do I have the need for one via the weather so I just avoided them if I could in my search.

I noticed the BMW 3-Series backseat legroom is definitely better than Mercedes c class and Lexus IS models. A friend sent me a link to a 2011 bmw 328i rwd with 66K Miles and no accidents or damage. Let me know your thoughts.

Bmw 328i


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Response from mkaresh

10:02 am August 3, 2018

Look for two things to understand why reliability ratings can differ:

1. The way reliability was measured / the questions that were asked

2. The age of the cars covered by the rating--at the time it was measured

Consumer Reports asks a more subjective question than others do: "Did the car have any problems that YOU considered serious?" If people like a car for reasons other than reliability, they tend to underreport problems on CR's survey. This has helped Tesla a lot. It might also help Audi.

What can really help Audi, though, is the second. CR bases their brand scores and reliability predictions on the three most recent model years, and their survey is in April, when the most recent model year is at most half a year old and the third-oldest is at most 2.5 years old. Audis have become fairly reliable for their first 2.5 years, even for their first four. Once you're beyond four years (original warranty) and especially when you're beyond six (CPO warranty), though, Audis and German cars in general can still become nightmares.

This second factor has also helped Subaru's reputation. They tend to be much more reliable before the 100,000-mile mark than after it.


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Response from LectroFuel

1:15 pm August 3, 2018

That BMW is still more than likely going to be a money pit at its current mileage. The first owner didn't enter anything into CarFax in terms of regular maintenance like oil changes or air filters. It doesn't 100% guarantee that they didn't do anything because they maybe DIY'd it. It is still a warning. The second owner only logged one maintenance visit. From that visit, they replaced the drive belt tensioner, idler pulley, windshield washer pump, and drive belt. That visit according to Repair Pal was between $1,100 and $1,400 and it kind of shows how these German cars usually fall apart when the warranty expires. While it is a nice car, you'll probably have a lot of problems over the next 50k miles. Whether it is worth the headaches is up to you. My choice would be the Lexus IS350 since it is also very nice but also doesn't break down often, if ever. If I needed a bigger backseat, I'd go with a larger car like the Kia Cadenza or Hyundai Genesis (or Acura RDX?) although that is out of the question because you don't want a larger car.


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