So I have a beautiful Topaz Blue 2001 BMW 325Ci with the sport package and Steptronic automatic. It has 226,000 miles but the tranny was rebuilt 19,000 miles earlier (warranty is good for 24,000), the shocks were updated with Koni FSD’s (installed myself) and some fresh Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires were added over the summer soon after the shocks. I spent well over $4000 on the car in the last nine months alone.
I hit a deer, crumpling the hood, right front headlight, radiator core support, radiator, etc, above the bumper. Insurance totaled it, so to repair I would have to give back $900 salvage value of the $5100 due me (post-deductible with some taken off for the high mileage) and repair the car with the $4200 remaining. Body shop says it can be done for $4000 with everything except the front bumper, which is intact save for 12 years of stone chips.
In the New York metro area (I live on Long Island), $5100 or slightly more will get you a nice 330Ci sport of equivalent vintage, an E39 530/540i M package or even a 740i sport with nearly 100k less mileage. Even a 2004 Jaguar XJ8 that needs a new nav/stereo/HVAC unit goes for $5500, and the unit can be had for $350 on eBay. Only problem is I don’t trust automatic transmissions after getting burned for $3000 on the last one, even though it held up for 207k. And even then, only reverse gear went out. Still required a rebuild, but could be driven to the shop.
So do I walk away from the car I know or roll the dice on something else?
The question is: do you actually like this 3-series?
Or perhaps…do you like it more than the alternatives mentioned?
Your 3-series sounds easily repairable, and this platform is cheaper/easier to keep running compared to the E39, E38 and the Jaguar too. I mean, none of these machines are an Accord…but you already knew that. And don’t care about keeping a fully depreciated, executive European machine up and running. So what should you do?
Not an easy question, mostly because of mileage. I normally suggest to stick with the problems you know, as all of your choices are a huge financial gamble. But again, those 226,000 miles. But still, E38 BMW? Come on, I love the E38 in theory, but you don’t hate your wallet/mobility that much…do you?
Enjoy a few more years with Topaz Blue, see if anything else attracts your attention next time fate puts you in a complicated position.
Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.