By on May 4, 2017

BMW M5 E39 - Image: M5_E39_Terabass

The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

Yours too.

But the BMW of today is not the BMW that designed the 394-horsepower M5 nearly two decades ago. BMW now produces nearly half of its sales from utility vehicles and sells only a handful of sports cars each month. Setting aside classic sedan styling, the BMW of today will sell you ungainly X4s and X6s, plus bulbous hatchback versions of the 5 Series and 3 Series. Moreover, BMW’s core models — the 3 Series/4 Series — are distinctly less popular in the United States than they were a decade ago, when the market was smaller and the 3 Series lineup wasn’t as broad.

BMW is incentivizing its products heavily in early 2017 just to keep sales roughly where they were a year ago, a year in which BMW’s U.S. volume fell 9 percent compared with the 2015 peak.

Something’s not quite right. So do you, lover of the 1999 M5 and the BMW 2002 tii and the BMW 507 and the BMW Z8, still want a BMW?

Let’s not act as though BMW USA’s recent downturn suggests a total dearth of demand. True, BMW set U.S. sales records in 2015 and is off that pace by 11 percent through the first four months of 2017. But BMW is still on track to sell over 300,000 vehicles in the United States this year, a big leap from the average 248,000 annual sales BMW managed between 2002 and 2012.

2011 BMW 535i GT - Image: BMW

BMW is still figuring out how to get the product balance right, as more utility vehicle production is required to meet demand for a five-strong group of crossovers that have pushed sales up 16 percent in early 2017 even as BMW’s car sales fell 13 percent.

Combined, the X1, X3, and X5 have grown their volume by more than 7,000 units in early 2017 — whether you want one or not, there are many who do. But the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 Series cars combined lost nearly 8,000 sales so far this year.

On a mission to mainstreamify its cars, BMW evidently lost some of its luster. The Ultimate Driving Machine tagline is no longer quite as believable. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now the dominant luxury car nameplate, and C-Class sales are growing.

Of course, there are individual BMW variants that still hold great appeal to your car-loving soul. But does the blue and white roundel still carry the same weight as it did 5 or 10 or 20 years ago? Does the sound of a BMW inline-six still cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up? Do you find yourself wishing you’d spent a little extra on a CPO 335i than you did on your Accord Touring?

Do you still want a BMW?

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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233 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Still Want A BMW?...”


  • avatar
    Ermel

    Never did, still don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      same. BMW fanboys are marginally less annoying than Tesla fanboys.

    • 0 avatar
      zoomzoomfan

      Same. Potential reliability woes always scared me away from any BMW that was in my price range.

      • 0 avatar
        Gardiner Westbound

        Ditto.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        BMW – Breaking wallets one owner at a time.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          “QOTD: Do You Still Want A BMW?”

          ANS: No…um…perhaps more accurately: NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

          And I have had two, a 2006 E90 3-series and 2007 Z4 3.0 s i. (See Avatar.)

          Thought I wanted the former as a retirement gift to myself, so that finally, I would have a real sports sedan of driving fame and good quality. It was/had neither. Even a Honda Civic could beat it to the next red light, and its electric steering failed. Sold it to my son….cheap. It is a pig.

          I got the Z4 Roadster because the 3-series was such a disappointment, — and I thought that finally a real sports car would do the trick. But it wasn’t a real sports car: 215 HP is a joke, and the interior was largely hard plastic. The Z4 “lives” in a no-mans land of being neither a real sports car (Miata), nor a powerful sports muscle car (Corvette). It is a weak touring car with an open top. It is a pig.

          So, my experience is that modern BMW’s suffer from the trifold “Over” syndrome: Over-engineered, Over-complex, Over-priced. And, since they often push state-of-the-art technology without proper testing, UNDER-reliable…

          Hence, Dante, I can added of couple more truisms to the BMW acronym:
          BMW = Bring My Wallet
          BMW = Big Money Waste

          =============================

    • 0 avatar
      Keith Mercer

      @Ermel +1

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Can’t wait for the front wheel drive bmw, its gunna sell like hotcakes to the massess

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Once upon a time in 2003, after riding in a colleague’s Bimmer, I thought owning one and driving one would be pretty cool.

    Then my eye went bad and I pretty much had to learn to drive again, and later after learning about the killer maintenance costs from a friend who also owned one, and no longer being able to safely drive more aggressively, that killed that urge!

    I’m a cruiser at heart, anyway, and my current ride suits me to a tee. Also, I can’t afford to own one! If I had the resources, I’d go the M-B route.

    Long story short, my answer is an emphatic no.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

    Yours too.”

    On a side note, I’d take the E39 528/530i instead of the M5. The six-cylinder models had much better steering than the V8 models, and you could upgrade just about every other bit to M5 levels.

    But yeah, I see your point, but what was BMW going to do? Near-luxury sporty cars were dying out and BMW was going to get Saab’ed if they didn’t step up their luxury game. Had they kept cranking out E39s and E46s, they’d probably be on the ropes, sitting where Acura or Volvo are now.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Look, you may be right. But it seems to me that several of the luxury brands have fallen victim to their marketing departments, and they’ve stopped pursuing the thing that made them desirable brands in the first place.

      Lexus decided to become sporty. BMW decided to become luxurious. Acura and Infiniti stopped making good products, and also decided to confuse everyone by changing their naming systems. Mercedes had a moment where it made utterly terrible cars, but it seems to be trying very hard to get back to its roots, and I think it’s no coincidence that Mercedes’ sales numbers are up.

      It seems that many sales over the past decade have been made on the strength of what these companies used to make, rather than what they make now, and this may finally be catching up with them.

    • 0 avatar
      caltemus

      In what way is Volvo on the ropes? They’ve just come out with a great new lineup, and appear to have more products for in-demand segments in the pipeline. I might understand Acura, but even they have a compact crossover coming that should sell as many as they can build.

  • avatar
    wiseweasel

    I think the issue is that there are very few BMW’s that have actually improved over the years. While many nameplates get better each new release, BMW seems to figure out ways to make them less exciting, and more mainstream. Which puts them squarely in the cross-hairs of every other brand out there. BMW’s are not perfect, and it used to be you would get rewarded for putting up with their annoyances with an extremely well engineered performance machine. Now you get a decently engineered vehicle, with a lot to go wrong and quality that doesn’t align with their prices or maintenance costs.

    I have a pre-lci e90 that I love and continue to use as my daily driver. But there are only 3 current BMWs I would even consider anymore. An M2, M6, and X5. None of which are good values, and they all have great reasons to shop elsewhere. But there is still something about them that sets them apart from the crowd. The rest all have better options on the road. (IMO)

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      This comment nails it.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Completely agree with first paragraph, this nails it. By appealing to the masses to grow market share, you end up with, “a decently engineered vehicle, with a lot to go wrong and quality that doesn’t align with their prices or maintenance costs.”

      If I was looking at the A4, 3-series, or C-series today, the Mercedes would be in my driveway.

      17 years ago asked the same question, the 3-series would be in my driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      S197GT

      well said. sums it up.

      we have a 2006 bmw 330i with 180k miles (bought with 30k). believe it or not, and i’ve said this many times on here, it has been a great vehicle for us with low maintenance costs. now, i do DIY whenever i can.

      however, i do get oil changes at the dealer so i can get a new 3-series loaner car. i have been underwhelmed by the driving experience. no improvement in the interior quality, worse steering feel, soft standard suspension, outrageous prices. yeah, they are wicked fast, but ours was fast enough. they are also roomier, which wasn’t a complaint in the first place for us.

      have no desire to buy any current bmw car except maybe some version of the 2-series but… the price… i’d just soon upgrade my mustang to a newer one. looking at audi a4s which are much more reasonably priced (and optioned; the typical off-lease 3-series is lacking in so many options) in the used market and the interior actually looks and feels premium.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    No. The 3-series hasn’t offered anything special since about 2005, and the dealer experience (especially the service experience) is too hard to swallow for a mild-mannered late-40’s codger like myself. Also no personal interest in any vehicle that starts with an “X”.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Maybe it was just where I grew up, but the whole status thing (including what I’ll call the “dick factor”) with BMWs turned me off to them to the point where I’ve never wanted to own one even when I knew I would really like driving one. And now even the great driving element seems to have gone away. So I can safely say I don’t know what my next car will be, but I know what it won’t be.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      That’s an interesting point, doublechili – I have the same feeling about Porsche, though I have been a BMW owner/driver for decades now. I could never bring myself to buying a Porsche because of the impression (correct or not) that all of the Porsche drivers are a$$holes. I guess it’s all relative.

      To answer the QOTD directly, I have to say “No, except for base models with manual transmissions.” They still exist, but are far apart and as rare as hen’s teeth. Full disclosure: I daily drive what I consider to be the last great BMW: a 2011 (LCI) E90 M3 6MT. This was the last of the NA V8’s. The last of the hydraulic steering cars. The last of the BMWs with anything that felt analog and direct. It will take a lot to drag me out of this car. The new M3/M4? Nope. Considerably faster, but who cares? Anyone can go faster now. They feel disconnected, and BMW is right when they say that is what the buyer wants. I’m an outlier, not the main buyer of these cars anymore. After so many years of buying and enjoying the incredible driving experience of BMWs, I’m sad to see them chase the mass market and have to scrap it out with companies that do it so well.

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        Your reasonable post makes me realize that at least there’s one decent BMW owner! Just kidding about the “only one” part – I always realized that it was a certain % only and not everyone, but for me that tainted it. I should qualify my original answer to say that while I don’t see myself buying a new BMW, someday is it possible that I’d find one of the great old ones and buy it? Possible.

      • 0 avatar
        n_tesla

        “Anyone can go faster” So true, even the KIA minivan I recently rented. Speed is like the alcohol content of wine, it’s part of the experience…not all of it. My last BMW was an E46 with the Sport Package. Ran it to 180k before giving it to my daughter. Now BMW wants to target my daughter with a minivan disguised as an SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        I also have a E90 but mine is a ’09 335d. I think the 09-11 335d’s were the best road trip cars BMW ever made. They are not really suitable for low speed short trips due to CBU but I dont know of another car at any price that can run 0-60 in a little over 5 sec, 1/4 mile in under 13, have 425 lb ft and nearly 300 hp all in at 1700 rpm, and get 30 mpg @ 100. Since I use mine exclusively for long distance high speed trips Ive had no carbon issues, and the only repairs Ive done recently was to replace the crankshaft pulley/damper a year ago as a preventative maintenance item and replaced the glow plug control module this week at 97,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    You’ll never get rich selling the same thing as everyone else. As quality between brands equalizes, it’s difficult to justify spending $65k for a BMW SAV (puke) when you can get essentially the same car for $35k from the Koreans.

    What does BMW offer with their crossovers that other brands don’t? It used to be driving experience – there’s a real distinction between driving a RWD sedan versus a FWD/FWD-based sedan.

    As for the cars… the price is a killer. When the choice is between a 320 i (msrp $44k) or a Chevy SS I know where I’m going to spend my money. Well, for a few more months anyway.

    https://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/693116035/overview/

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      On paper – yes, other brands have the same features list as a given BMW. I feel like Hyundai/Kia fill the spec sheet at the expense of refinement – materials, function, design. If specs per dollar are your thing, go right ahead.

      One of the reasons I would get a BMW is because all these features are usually very well thought-out. The other reason I would consider BMW is the car is enjoyable to use and always does exactly what you ask. No hesitation, no BS, just smooth and predictable. Point is, there are plenty of subjective reasons that aren’t apparent by looking at a spec sheet.

      The 320i can touch $44k with all the options checked. If you want the Chevy, it’s hard to believe you would have ever considered a 320i in the first place, as they are two very different cars. Very few are cross-shopping an entry-level 180hp compact luxury sedan with a large V8 Chevy sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        I ask that my car permit me to replace the battery without dealership intervention or special communications tools and software.

        • 0 avatar
          Publius

          Had an ’08 E61. Car dies, friendly AAA guy comes out and jump starts it. Says my battery tested okay, but it is getting old. Told him I’d buy one of his batteries. He said, um, you probably don’t want to do that. Explained the whole battery/reprogramming thing to me. Called my local dealer. $950. To. Replace. A. Battery. AYFKM?!? That is unconscionable. Sold that car soon after.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “Very few are cross-shopping an entry-level 180hp compact luxury sedan with a large V8 Chevy sedan.”

        When they’re close to the same price, I don’t see why not. No, they aren’t direct rivals, but they’re both cars you buy because you can’t stomach a Camry or Optima, because you love to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Jason801

        Refinement. Well thought out. And introducing iDrive.

        BMW

        (music)

        • 0 avatar
          brawnychicken333

          I have a BMW and iDrive. I find it very very easy to use. Much better than touch screens. Mine is a 2015 and I gather the early versions were pretty rough-but right now it works well.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            iDrive is, at this point, one of the best infotainment systems on the market. The earliest M-ASK version (2002-2008 7-Series; 2003-2012 Rolls-Royce Phantom) were dreadful, as was the CCC version, which looked like M-ASK and was in most of the lineup until 2009 / 2010.

            Things got a lot better with iDrive CIC (introduced in the 2009 7-Series and 2009 3-Series), iDrive NBT (2013 – 2014 for most products), and the new iDrive 6 (2016 7-Series, 2017 5-Series)…

    • 0 avatar
      Alfisti

      I am not going to defend BMW as a whole, they do a lot wrong and servicing is criminally priced.

      We needed a family vehicle that also had enough brand cache to enable my wife to fit in at the courthouse and other places lawyers congregate. We settled on a CPO X3, with 34,000KM it came it about the same price as a fully loaded Hyundai Sante Fe, the big one not the sport.

      X3 went in for recall work and I drove the Sante Fe for a few days. This thing was loaded to the gills, but it felt and behaved cheap. Very cheap. It smelt like cheap plastic (think chinese luggage store smell), engine was coarse, thirsty and underpowered, leather was closer to vinyl, everything looked and felt chincy. Handling was a million miles from the BMW.

      There was no comparison to the X3, not even close.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      This is very true. BMW built its brand as a niche driver’s car. Non-enthusiasts bought into the prestige that created. Gradually, BMW decided they didn’t need the enthusiasts anymore.

      That strategy worked for a time. My guess is it won’t work forever and, by then, it will be too late to turn back.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    At this point the only real attraction of them for enthusiasts is the rear wheel drive. but then you figure in the astronomical maintenance and nobody really wants to own one outside of a lease.

    I still wouldn’t turn down a nice e21 or e30. I figure those are basic enough that they should be easier and cheaper to own.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      The E30 was simpler, but the newest ones are 24 years old. Most are 26-28 years old. There will be headaches and nagging issues. Worth it? Only you can decide.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        An e30 is the last BMW I had any desire to own.

        And they’re damned near bulletproof, with the market littered with 200k+ examples in (at least cosmetically) good shape. Find a well-kept one under 100k miles, and I’d be happy to keep it indefinitely.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I’ve never found myself thinking “I want a BMW”.

    I’d drive an Isetta for laughs, but otherwise I don’t see the appeal.

  • avatar
    ejwu

    I used to own an E46 M3. Now I drive a Honda and don’t particularly want a BMW. They are still really nice to drive but I just think Japanese car makers have caught up a lot.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    “Do you find yourself wishing you’d spent a little extra on a CPO 335i than you did on your Accord Touring?”

    Nope. In fact, this week I bought a new car – a Ford Focus ST – after driving some CPO 3 series BMWs. They were rather boring, nice, but still boring. Couldn’t find one with manual anywhere. I wanted a car that is fun to drive, not a car that has morphed into a German Buick. Nowhere near as engaging as my long-ago 535i.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.”

    good for you.

    “Yours too.”

    this stupid crap is irritating enough on Jalopnik, we don’t need it here. I don’t need to be told what I should like.

  • avatar
    dima

    Leaving in the Land of BMW’s, these are the last cars on my shopping list. They do however handle Autobahn well, but so is my Japanese car.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Apart from their merits as cars, which may or may not be as great as in the days of yore, to me BMW’s have always been the brand I most associate with douchebags, posers, and pointlessly-aggressive drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      For me, that’s Dodge drivers, especially Dodge Charger/Challenger/Durango.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Hey, I’ll have you know when I was cutting and weaving through traffic in my 5-series, it had a very important point–I wanted to go faster than everybody else. It was also fun.
      Since I’ve sold the thing I don’t do that anymore, mainly because my new ride is electric lime green with a vanity plate. The BMW was about anonymous as a Camry and nobody was surprised that a black BMW was being driven poorly.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Yesterday driving on the freeway,while approaching a 2>1 lane merge, I was genuinely astonished to see the M3 rapidly closing on my right simply fall into place as the next zipper tooth, rather than jam himself are far forward as possible and force himself in front of me. Apparently there’s at least one BMW driver out there who does not perceive the earth as in orbit around himself.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        That’s because those drivers now own B8 S4s /supercharged A6s. Kidding aside,I’m not interested in any Bimmers.
        I’ve owned e36M and E46 zhp-which I thought would be the last car I’d ever need, especially after I added a supercharger kit. But the little niggly , non drivetrain issues put me in a G37S and never looked back until I needed to go clutchless for my 60mile roundtrip commute.
        Fix the 3 series and I may change my mind

  • avatar
    narcoossee

    BMW is the new Buick

  • avatar
    stevejac

    Wow–am I the only guy who still wants a BMW? I’m currently in a ’16 328i. I still love how it drives. It’s true that my first BMW was an ’08, so I don’t know the old days.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      you are not, stevejac. i bought my first bmw two months ago – a basic yet sort of gorgeous 2011 328xi. i could have done turbos but didn’t, and i wanted to do manual, but couldn’t. i came from a couldn’t-load-it-more 2006 audi a4 with v6. it was an awesome car that treated me right, but i wouldn’t call it special. the first turn at speed… i knew i have made the right call.

      bmw was a niche manufacturer that could either be a sports car company or go mainstream but not both. however, this article does not attempt to contextualize the change, it just ask us to complain. and there’s lots to complain. but now that my father in law wants my deep sea blue car with oyster leather, i might be on the market again. i absolutely want another bmw… it just takes a lot more research these days to get the right one. so what if everyone has one? so what if people think i’m a douchebag? so what if it costs to maintain?

  • avatar
    Driver8

    I’d take an M1 to garage and wipe with a diaper, or perhaps an e30 to beat on. Otherwise, no.

  • avatar

    No. In 2003 business was going well and I fulfilled a lifetime goal of going to the dealer, ordering my car my way, and waiting for it to fall off the truck. 13 years and 300k miles later, the car, which was everything I wanted it to be and thought it would be, is worn out. Now, it is the ur-e46 with manual and sport. The NA straight six-pure silk. Tough 5 speed. This car took everything from city to highway in stride. Perfect sport seats. Indeed, if you didn’t notice the 4 doors, it drove like sportscar. Possibly the best overall car ever.

    Now you’d think my next move would be to the dealer to buy its replacement, but not so fast. I recently drove a 5 series, current and last generation. Nice, but not tight. I drove a current 328i/Sport and a 428i Sport. The 4 cylinder isn’t equal to the 6. The steering has been destroyed-how BMW blew this one is beyond me. I’ve also driven the M240, which at least is close for steering, and the blown six has nice power, but it stood out as the only car close to the e46 for driving feel. You shouldn’t have to get a Track Pack car to get what was in the mass market car before…

    I’m probably keeping the Caddy CTS for DD use, and getting a toy instead…possibly an older vette, a late C5 or early C6. BMW is nice…the sport seat is still the best one IMHO…but driving the current 3 Sport back to back with my e46 sport…not the same car.

    My first experience was a friend who had the yuppie 320i. Not fast but the handling at the time was a world apart. Mom got an e30 and my brother and I fought to borrow it-325is, so quick (esp for the era) too. We loved BMW, flaws and all-we also had good dealers, so maybe this part was lucky. Now that they make fancy German Acuras…..

    I haz a sad.

  • avatar
    arach

    I love(d) BMWs!

    No question, the BMW was the BEST DRIVING CAR I’VE EVER OWNED.

    But theres 2 reasons why I hate them:
    1. They suck. The dealerships suck. They charge you almost $1000 for a battery replacement. They are designed to suck you dry. They fail too frequently. Their repair costs approach that of a Maserati or Ferrari but without 99% of the allure. Its seriously CHEAPER TO MAINTAIN MY FERRARI than it was to maintain my BMW, and it wasn’t even a special BMW… Just a fully loaded e90 M sport (OK its called M sport in every country but the US, in US it was just the sport performance package)
    2. Their Drivers Suck. All the cool BMW drivers I know own OLD BMWs. If some guy you just met shows up in a white 328i X drive, he’s going to suck, I guarantee it. Sure I know a cool guy with an i8, but its an i8. 95% of the BMW drivers are driving lease-special 3 series, or *maybe* the occasional lease-special 5 series, and they all suck. I normally like to ask them if they still have their factory carburetors on it, to which they normally they say they have people that take care of their car, despite the fact I know they live in a budget apartment and are in debt up the wazoo.

    So we need a different term for the two type of BMW drivers. The problem is, the artificielite are overtaking the BMW, while the other “old” world BMW drives are switching to Mercedes, and the enthusiasts are moving to Porsche. Thats what I see from my world.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Would anyone pull the trigger on this one?
    https://newjersey.craigslist.org/cto/6115092264.html

  • avatar
    65corvair

    No. They are no longer a drivers car, but a status symbol and an overstuffed luxury car. Also for the price they should be reliable and durable.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    The only one that appealed to me is the 636CSi,and that was 30 years ago.

    The only current one that appeals to me is the i8, but that’s way too much money, plus it apparently isn’t recommended for track duty.

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    IMO, the last truly great BMWs were the E39, E38, and E46 generations before they became Bangle-fied. Now they are a commodity and really nothing special.

    BMW recently brought their hybrid lineup to the company I work for. I test drove a new 3-series. While it was nice, it wasn’t special. Competent but not much better than an average car really. They don’t seem to know who they are anymore.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    BMW receives a great deal of ink and publicity. Is one of the most profitable marques in the USA.

    Meanwhile there is a ‘deathwatch’ regarding minivans.

    Yet according to your figures BMW is hoping to crack the 300k sales mark this year, while the lame duck Dodge Grand Caravan sold nearly 130,000 units in the USA last year and over 50k in Canada.

    What does that say about the priorities of ‘petro/gear heads’ versus the actual market. And yes I do realize that many Caravans are fleet sales. But nevertheless that still means that they are on the road and eventually into the consumer market.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Yes. I want an e46 and I owned 3 BMWs:

    E30 that blew a head gasket around 170k, partly because I did not know how to take off the car, cooling issues and um…Donuts.

    E34 Owned for 5 years, pretty reliable I just did regular maintenance. Blew engine around 170k because a bolt got loose 20k after I changed the timing belt myself.

    E39 Same thing blew the engine at 170k miles because of poor cooling (hose rooted out). This one hurt because I spent a lot of money getting the suspension up to par. BMWs need a good deal of maintenance.

    Current Mazda and Honda at 151k and 134k. I’ll see how they do at 170k. Honda has only had 2 sensors replaced in 14 years :) Everything else has been solid.
    Mazda has new suspension and thermostat. Everything else has been good.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    I definitely used to, and went out looking for a good E46 or E60, but the torch has been passed.

    Cadillac now is what BMW used to be. The reputation just hasn’t caught up to the hardware yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Cadillac now is what BMW used to be.”

      That’s a very nice complement. I wonder if it’s true? I’d like it to be.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll let my wife answer this one “No one expects a middle aged woman in a Cadillac to shut them down”….

        I’ve had a lot of runs with performance cars in the area….which is funny as most second gen CTS are the lux versions, with sacked rear shocks….so the the fast car guy is usually surprised. FE3 FTW.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I didn’t want one in the first place. The prick factor was too strong for me to see the actual qualities of the car through even back when they drove special.

    Now they don’t do that either.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’m an ex-BMW 2004 325i owner (manual, ‘natch!) and I’m currently a Mini driver.

    It’s the repair costs and the dealership experience that is driving me away. If you drive an older BMW, the dealer treats you like trash, and even with my newer Mini, the costs to repair are outrageous.

    I will say my 325i was fairly reliable – no major issues and it never left me stranded. It was a tight handling car and I prefer RWD if I can get it. No Honda Accord that I’ve owned ever felt as nice as the BMW to drive, and the I6 was so smooth and had such linear power delivery, it felt like you could spin up the RPMs to infinity.

    My Clubman handles about the same as the 325i, has a bit more power, but the turbo can feel a bit non-linear. Plus the engine falls on it’s face after 5K, feeling as if it running out of steam.

    I’m looking at Infiniti or Lexus or a Toyota SUV/truck for my next purchase. I could do a BMW 230i but need more room.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    I am selling my E46 soon. No time to keep up with it and no place to put it. I fear that in 10-15 years I will regret this decision.

  • avatar
    orick

    In the market for a new car. Went test-driving a bunch. I honestly got more joy out of the Golf GTI than any BMW 3.

    I Find the BMW to be boring on the outside and bland on inside. The showroom demo car also has a stuck fan button I had to pry out with a fingernail to get it working properly.

    The interesting question is who is the new BMW? Who is the new ultimate driving machine? Porche?

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      Cadillac. Check out the ATS/CTS

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So, “store brand” BMW is preferable?

        • 0 avatar
          chaparral

          Yes. GM Vehicle Dynamics out in Milford MI was given a big budget to get those cars right. Meanwhile back in Warren MI these cars were used to prove out manufacturing technologies to get better fuel economy out of the pickups. They had the design freedom to use lots of high-pressure aluminum die castings in the chassis, lots of high-strength steel and tubular sections in the bodies, and lots of Corvette parts/tech to get a 200-400# weight advantage over the German cars.

          If they’re store-brand cars, it’s the Meijer store brand, a big step up from Kroger or Wal-Mart.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Interesting facts, thanks for sharing.

            Shame despite the engineering groups working so hard, the models are equipped with bad infotainment, poor styling, and in some cases problematic drive-trains (I will not even mention the gauges lest I summon Deadweight ;D).

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Driving machines don’t need infotainment.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        plus 1.I was able to test a base non-mag ride ATS 6spd. Pretty good shifter, excellent balance and turn-in , even on AS tires.I could probably get used to CUE. If I were in the market for sports sedan, a CPO ATS would be the ticket.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Are BMWs even effective status symbols anymore now that dealers can finance anybody who can fog a mirror and isn’t currently on the lam?

    When I see somebody in a BMW I tend to think “this guy’s going to be in debt forever” rather than “this guy is successful and discerning”.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      I don’t even think “this guy”. Most bimmers I see these days are piloted by aging female realtors and such, usually in the left lane of the highway at (speed limit minus 10 mph). The Buick comments are dead on. Haven’t been interested on anything from BMW in 20+ years.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d like an M760i or Alpina B7, but I can’t afford one so that’s just whimsy.

    I think I’d go for a M240i convertible, it is a good $10K less than the C43 or S5 cab, comes with the I6, has the cloth top, and no one else makes a convertible these days.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I still want one. A new one? No, absolutely not. Anything from the 80s to early 2000s, sure. Back when they made a car for the driver, not the passenger.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Nope.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I’ve considered an M2. Then I remember that $50k buys an awful lot of Mustang, Camaro, or Chevy SS. And that I’d rather not deal with the brand image and stereotypes. That I like to work on my own cars, with parts available outside of dealers. The rest of the lineup is just uninteresting to me. Magazines test M4s at $85k or X6s for even more and I just shake my head.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This was meant to be a reply to LeMansteve:

    You make good points for sure. I think sometimes we all get caught up thinking about things like enthusiasts instead of typical car buyers. I’d guess a typical car buyer who is looking at Bimmers is going to be ok with spending the extra cash for the status/badge. Despite being able to either get more for their money or similar for less.

    The 320 vs. SS was just an example of what I think about BMW pricing. A 320 for $30k becomes more interesting as it starts to dip into Camry money. But by the time you get to the asking price, I’ve long since moved on to better cars.

    My dad loves his 3 Series-es and my wife is pretty happy with her Z4. But, man, the interior plastics in the Z4 are truly awful. It’s a 2006 but the way the rear part of the cockpit creaks and cracks and the way it feels so incredibly cheap, it would get assaulted by the press/enthusiasts if it were in a GM or Nissan.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Used to. I’d much rather have a Mercedes or Caddy these days.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    I want a Singer equivalent to make me a brand new E46 M3 Touring with modern, “ruggedized” electronic components and systems, re-engineered structural weak points in the unibody, an improved overall fit & finish, an interior filled with materials you can’t afford, and extensive weight reduction wherever it can be hidden.

    Otherwise no, unless they make a new clown shoe.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Do I want a BMW? Yes, most definitely. But it wouldn’t be one of the new ones. I would love to buy my E 46 Zhp again though. Or an E39. Or I’d settle for an E90. But the new ones do not do it for me at all. Learn how to make a car with a sonorous straight six or V8, 4 doors, fantastic balanced rwd chassis, brilliant steering, a delicious manual, and that isn’t too fast to use on the street. You know, what made BMW, BMW. 240i and M2 come close, but two-door body style needs a 4 door to join, the fake engine noise needs to die, and the steering needs to be fixed. That’s also only one car in them otherwise uninspiring brand. That’s like Chevrolet trying to be brilliant solely because of the Camaro and the Corvette.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Bmw’s focus is making luxury cars filled with tech. At least that’s what their focus has been since 2010. Problem is that other carmakers are better at that.

    I recently drove a 550i and thought it wasn’t nearly as tight and controlled as a base GS350. It was quicker, and made a nice muted v8 sound, but I preferred the GS. It drove the way BMW cars used to drive. Same with the Chevy SS.

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    I’ve never wanted one. Like many I associate BMW drivers with lawyers and other general douchebags. In the interest of due diligence my wife and I did briefly check them out last year when we both bought new cars but they were the first brand stricken from the list. In the end I went with a C-Class while she picked a Macan and we’ve both been very happy with them. Neither of them are leases so I guess we’re playing with German fire but we shall see …

  • avatar
    SkiDad

    I used to own a 2002 325i. Would I own another BMW? Not likely.

    Sure the I6 engine was sweet and made all the right sounds, and it handled like a dream, but those virtues don’t apply any more. You get a turbo I4 and some video game steering system.

    So the virtues are gone, and you’re left with all the drawbacks. Over-engineered systems that are too fragile. Under-engineered systems that break constantly. Seriously BMW, you can design wonderful engines but you can’t design a window regulator that will last the life of the car? Or how about the rubber intake tract tubing that is guaranteed to degrade and fail? Or an oil separator system that is prone to clogging and yet buried so deep in the bowels of the engine as to be nearly unserviceable? Or body parts that just *fall off* one day. Thank goodness I know how to turn my own wrenches or it would have cost me a fortune.

    Leasing a BMW might be ok, but owning one is for suckers.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I used to lust over MB and BMW and Porsche cars, and I still like 70s through early 90s models. My interest in BMWs ends with the E28. I don’t fit too well in E30s and E36s and my E32 735iL was a money pit. Old square 5-series cars are my sweet spot…gimme a non-rusty E12 530i or E28 535i, dark gray with red leather or silver with black leather, and I’d be content.

    I have owned 4 E28s and enjoyed all of them very much. The Germans have tried to keep up with Japanese-style electronics, and have created maintenance nightmares. There’s a reason we have Asian home electronics, not Grundig and other German brands…the Asians just do it better.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m one of the few people who really likes the look of that 3-series GT.

    One BMW I want: the i8.

    But I’ll never own a BMW. I don’t hate the cars or their drivers; it’s the money pit reputation that scares me off.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Nope, I’d rather have a Mercedes any day. They have a product for every need these days.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Mercedes is far worse than BMW these days IMO. Almost everything under, what, $70k has the horrific 4cyl turbo, NOT an engine I want in a luxury car (it’s barely acceptable in a car designed for sportiness, it’s unacceptable (NVH) in a luxury car). Plus the option prices are just absurd, and I can’t tell E from C any more. I used to be a big Mercedes fan, but aside from the S-Class and AMG GT I don’t like anything they sell these days. They’ve even ruined the SL!

      • 0 avatar
        RobbieAZ

        Not true. There are several models well under $70k that come with the biturbo V6. I have that engine in mine and it kicks ass.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          Are they still under $70k with all the stuff that you expect a ‘luxury’ car to have? Frankly, what I think is the most offensive is the markup between E300 and E43, especially when you consider the markup from 528i to 535i or A6 2.0T to A6 3.0T.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        I don’t like the 4-cylinder either. But BMW does it too these days. I prefer Mercedes styling and interiors as well – never been too impressed with a BMW interior.

        And in terms of overall longevity and build quality, I think Mercedes is winning these days (obviously this was not the case a few years ago).

        The styling is what decides it for me at the end of the day – aside from the Z4 (still make that?), 4-Series, and 6-Series, I hate the rest of their lineup. I don’t like any of their SUVs.

        I’m partial to Audi of course, but IMO they’re a little bit below where BMW and MB stand, so I’ve left them out of the comparison. Audi styling outside the A7 is lackluster today as well.

        • 0 avatar

          The MB interiors are leagues better then the Bimmers. I too would prefer more then 6 cylinders but BMW is on the way to the same issue.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Corey, this would be an interesting article for TTAC. Which lux automaker makes the least loathsome base 4 cylinder engine in a lux car?

          Volvo, Audi, BMW, Merc, Porsche, Acura, Cadillac?

          Seems to me none are great, but my guess would be Porsche and Volvo topping the list, followed by Acura.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            An interesting idea, but stuff like that is hard to quantify. And I don’t think there’s a single person among the TTAC staff who’s experienced all of those.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          Corey, I agree with you on Audi styling at the moment: a bit too conservative. The new A4 is handsome, but rather banal. The new C-Class is much more distinctive yet stylish.

          That said, the new A8 due out this summer will debut Audi’s new design language introduced with the Prologue concept. Far more interesting direction and I’m looking forward to how they bring that down to the rest of the lineup.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Yes. I’d love a 440i, M240i, M2, or M3*. Unfortunately, they’re all (except the M3) about $10-15k more than I want to spend (M3 is $20-25k more) they way I would want them, and they depreciate pretty spectacularly. And I don’t like buying used. So if my budget grows a lot in the next few years I’d consider one, but otherwise, probably won’t.

    *I’m weird, I like the coupe better in the base car (4-series over 3) but the M3 sedan more than the M4. Can’t explain it.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    No. Not a new one.

    I like some BMWs of years past. They just aren’t worth the trouble any more.

    I have no desire to take my running/driving car to a dealer for an oil change and have them tell me it needs a $9,000 transmission replacement with 60k on the odometer. If that happened to a Fusion or Camry, there would be riots in the streets, but when its BMW, its fine. You pay more to buy it, pay more to keep it going, and for what? Is it better? At one time, yes. Back when Civics came with 13″ wheels.

    If I wanted a problem-riddled car that IS actually a hoot to drive, I’ll be credited as Giulia L. Drivefast.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Back when Civics came with 13″ wheels”

      Hey now. I liked our 93 Civic with 13″ wheels. Nimble, with actual steering feel. You could do worse than put that chassis and steering in a sports sedan today. Now the 1.5L engine, *that* was a kill joy even 10 years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Likewise. Our ’90 Wagon on 175/70R13s with generic crap tires that my dad occasionally bought (once they wouldn’t pass inspection) was much more fun and communicative than any number of newer EPS-equipped vehicles. Still miss that car. The 5spd Fit that replaced it has “video game” steering, is more tippy feeling, and doesn’t have that same crazy low cowl visibility that made you feel like you were hurtling down the road without anything around you at all.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        That’s what the B16 (or ZC) was for.

  • avatar
    DanyloS

    Yes and No…

    Find me another manufacturer who makes an “athletic” 6-cylinder 4-door sedan in a stick shift with a folding rear seat. (and preferably simple clean red lit gauge cluster, I’ll even take front wheel drive at this point)

    I really would prefer to never own either a 4-cyl or turbo 4-cyl ever again.

    As far as I can tell nobody else does.

    Besides BMW’s steep entry price and unreal maintenance costs it makes no sense as a buy and hold car. Probably nice lease fodder, if you’re willing to step up the payment may as well go wild with colors and options and stick a dealer w/ resale.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Besides BMW’s steep entry price and unreal maintenance costs it makes no sense as a buy and hold car. Probably nice lease fodder, if you’re willing to step up the payment may as well go wild with colors and options and stick a dealer w/ resale.”

      Part of me wishes I didn’t have a lease hang-up like I do, but I hate having 2 car payments (wife’s gotta drive something nice too) and the feeling like I’m signing up to pay $500/mo indefinitely. The fact that I own my TSX outright and it’s worth somewhere north of $10k on the open market makes the fact that it’s FWD and woefully underpowered not quite as bad.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I thought Honda made an Accord V6 with a stick, no?

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I will easily defend what BMW once was, but not what they are today.

    I’ve owned multiple BMWs in the past 10 years, to include a couple M cars. I’ve owned BMW convertibles and SUVs. They were all great cars and I never went through the maintenance issues that people associate with them. I always had great experiences long term with the ones I owned. I am an enthusiast, and BMWs always worked for me and for that same reason, never had much interest in Mercedes.

    They just aren’t for enthusiasts any more. M cars took the route of AMG and although I have slight interest in the M2, it no longer excites me. No BMWs excite me anymore. I like them, but don’t love them. When I wanted a new car, I went with Porsche and ruled out BMWs.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    What would be more fun to drive: A ’91 Mazda Miata MX5 or a ’17 MX5 “Miata”?

    Cars today (all of them) are more sanitized and boring versions of their decade old equivalents.

    I think the real question is if there’s anything offered today that could even be considered a modern equivalent to an old 3 series. I don’t think so and I think it’s because consumer tastes have changed.

    Back in the 90’s, I could still find a few odd streets around my city where driving a sporty car would be fun. That’s not the case anymore with current traffic congestion and wayward motorists on their phones everywhere. Can’t fault BMW for creating this situation.

    Suddenly, driving a big, floaty, modern vehicle begins to make sense. It’s sad, but the BMW of the 90’s wouldn’t last in today’s world.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    If I wasn’t on the hook for maintenance/repairs, I’d love to have an E38 7 series (SWB, sport pacakge with M-parallel wheels) E39, and post-restyle E53 X5 4.8is. Just plain awesome looking (and purportedly driving) vehicles.

    The new stuff? My brother just diagnosed a newish E70 X5 diesel for the owner who was looking to sell it with 50k on the clock, but CEL was on. Issue was the DEF tank level sensor. Only sold as a $1700 assembly by BMW. Aftermarket Repair kits cost on the order of $500 plus at least as much labor. Owner decided to just keep the level topped up past 2/3 way and the light went away. All that for something less “special” than the older cars.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Second on the E38. Used to know someone with one, woman in her 50s, black on black and looked brand new. Would love to have money to blow and track her down to make an offer she couldn’t refuse.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        There’s some scary-cheap ragged out examples on CL, and much nicer LOOKING ones in the $8-9k range that seem to be better kept and with some semblance of service history. For a commited DIYer, my understanding is that they’re not horrendous to repair or maintain, nothing too elaborate or complex about that 4.4L V8/RWD/auto combination. But quality suspension parts (there’s a lot of them) are pricey, and underhood BMW plastic pieces get notoriously brittle and failure prone. So even accessing something unrelated, you might break a few other pieces. The usual cooling system ‘rebuilds,’ etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        “track her down to make an offer she couldn’t refuse.”

        We still talking about the Bimmer?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Issue was the DEF tank level sensor. Only sold as a $1700 assembly by BMW. Aftermarket Repair kits cost on the order of $500 plus at least as much labor.”

      This is exactly what is wrong with nearly all new BMW’s and a lot of other new cars. The cost to maintain them is well beyond what most would reasonably expect.

  • avatar
    brawnychicken333

    This is the ultimate “get off my lawn” post and comment thread.

    Chill out. Don’t want a BMW? Don’t buy one.

    Don’t like status symbols? Oh really? Chances are you’re not buying all your clothes at Wal-Mart. You just choose different status symbols is all.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      If you think BMW is only a status symbol, then it sounds like you’re the perfect customer for what they make now. If you’re someone who appreciates a well-tuned car for the everyday driving joy it offers, then what’s become of them should make you a little bit sad. But understand that the *reason* BMW is a status symbol at all is because of what they used to be. They’re going to have to figure out how to be the best at something if they plan to still have status in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      It’s a question, thus it’s not a get off my lawn.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The change was stark and swift. I had the chance to drive an E60 535i Sport and F30 328i back to back… the 535i was godly; orgasmic; everything I imagined and wanted BMW to be, even with an automatic. The 328i handled worse than an Accord LX rental I had not long before, and didn’t seem much nicer inside either. My money would go to Hyundai/Kia for their Stinger GT or G80, or Lexus for one of the last GSs. BMW fell off

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Waiting for the “do you still want a Mercedes” and “do you still want a Porsche” pieces, with the same kinds of comments from the same commenters, sagely observing that they don’t make ’em like they used to, and reciting the internetz common “wisdom” about those brands.

    Why, yes – I’d love a new M2. I will try not to hold the fact that it’s as fast as a Mustang GT or Camaro SS (and faster than a 90s BMW…) against it.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Hey, great. Tell me why you’d choose the M2 over an RS-F or Boxter or C63 Coupe. Those are also fast. Does the M2 do anything differently?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The M2 isn’t as expensive as the C63 or RC-F (the cheapest new M2 on Autotrader is $55K, compared with $70K for the other two). Even if you Ace of Base special order them the BMW costs the least. The BMW is also still available with a manual transmission.

        Against the Boxster, it has a rear seat that’s at least across-town useable, and it is likely to cost less.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I also like the M2 though I’m not sure if it’s faster than a Camaro SS. If I recall correctly, the SS out performed the M4 in almost every category, and to top it off, it wasn’t even a 1LE.

      But that’s only one measure of why I like cars. More important, at least to me, is how the car feels and how it makes you feel. The current Mustang drives big. The Camaro is satisfying but I’m not a fan of the F-4 esque cockpit feel.

  • avatar
    crazymonkey

    M2 is the only BMW I’d consider. Even so, I’d rather have a Camaro SS.

  • avatar
    John R

    Meh. Don’t get me wrong, BMW had some hits – the E46 M3, the E39 M5 so on and so forth.

    Aside from not staying ahead of SUV demand they goofed up in not seeing the rest of the industry catch up. They used to rest on their driving dynamic bona fides, but now discerning drivers are starting to discover that there are more options; high value, less expensive and more reliable options. Cars that can do 85-95% (sometimes better that) of what the 3 and 5 can do for 2/3 the costs.

    The ichiban late-stage example of this being the M3 GTS. Let’s charge 911 GT3 money for a car that’s slower around a circuit than $60k Mustang GT350R or $100k GT-R and would forever be pestered by a 1LE equipped Camaro SS.

    Also, to me at least, calling yourselves “The Ultimate Driving Machine” has always been a bit pretentious. Especially when Porsche and Ferrari exist. They better pray that Honda/Acura never find the courage to make a rear-driven Accord with a manual.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My love for the marque runs deep and has been well-documented here. It started back in 1975 when a kindly landlord took an impressionable 5 year-old for his first ride in a BMW. Maybe the magic was partly due to the love I had for that man, but I was hooked. My first BMW was a 1974 2002 bought in 1993. Then a euro-spec 1985 318i and finally on to a 1993 325is. They were all glorious. They transformed my drive each and every time I got behind the wheel. Balanced and a true joy to drive, I couldn’t see wanting to ever drive any other vehicle. Now that I am a bit older, I decided to go back and take a look at a 3 Series. The lot was chock full of 328s, every last one an automatic. When I asked about a base 320i with a manual I nearly got laughed off the lot. So we took the 328 out and I was completely let down. The Blau mit Weiss that flows through me ran cold. Sure, it was quick enough…but acceleration isn’t everything for me. There are any number of other cars that can provide the same driving experience. Not sure if i were in the market for a new sedan what I would get. Maybe a Mazda6 with manual? I know the GTI isn’t a “sedan” but that would be in contention.
    I still long for a nicely restored 2002…wish I had held on to mine.

  • avatar
    TheDoctorIsOut

    No. I’ve owned an E46 with sport package and loved it (except those repair bills) but I bought it knowing it was less hardcore than the generation that just preceded it and successive generations have diluted the appeal even more as they tried to broaden its market. One of the radio ads run by an area BMW dealer a few years ago unintentionally described the problem best when they made the pitch that they could put a new 3 Series in your garage for the same monthly payment as an Accord or Camry – when you make a luxury a commodity, what’s the appeal?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    A 228i manual looks like it has potential and the turbo inline six of the 340i sounds appealing as well. The M line is too far out of my comfortable price bracket so I have nothing to say about those.

    I grew up on Toyotas and viewed the BMW 3 and 5 series as aspirational vehicles. Not sure I do anymore. The Toyota indoctrination led to my expectation that vehicles be reliable over the longer term and if they’re not, they’d better be exceptional to drive. The 528 seems to have completely lost that narrative. I tried a current generation 328 and while tighter than something like an Accord, it wasn’t as fun as a GTI. Wasn’t that nice inside either. After 3 years of depreciation it is an interesting alternative to a midsize sedan but I’d never consider spending for a new one. With the current Lexus IS350 and GS350 as good as they apparently are, I don’t personally see a compelling reason to opt for a BMW.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    A clean 335d would be nice.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Who else is going to sell me a powerful RWD sedan? Dodge? Lexus?

  • avatar
    silentsod

    I would not own one; however, I would lease one for 36 months which happens to be the warranty duration.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I had 1973 2002 once. Loved it even though it was an $800 beater. Loved my friend’s 2000 525. Enjoyed my mom’s 2004 325 but once I tried to sell it in 2015 with 60K miles, couldn’t get even $6.5K for it. That’s weak. Drove mom’s new 320 and the blinker repeater on the mirror can be visible by the driver – distracting. That’s a major fail worthy of a Yugo design. Today the C class is definitely a better car than a 3 series.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    I would love to know why the brand attracts a certain type of personality. I’m not the only one that has noticed the stereotype tends to be true.

    I’ve just always thought the brand was highly overrated by the car magazines over the years, but I did like some of their offerings in the 80’s and 90s.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    The car in the photo is great– poise, balance, relative stealth, but has cost me a ton to maintain. Nobody makes anything like it any longer. Part of that is surely BMW’s fault for following the money, but increasing regulation would make it difficult for anybody to make those cars any more. NA motors of moderate to large displacement are dying. Pretty front ends have been destroyed by pedestrian safety standards (or Bangle and co, I guess both).

    Right now I’m leasing an F80 M3, primarily because it was a great deal and I’m keeping 24,000 miles off the E39 by doing it. The car is the same size, but the balance the E39 offered is gone– this is too much power for this chassis. Also I feel like kind of a douche driving it, with it’s overstyled bumpers and ‘look at me’ exhaust.

  • avatar
    always a Coventrian

    My Wife wanted a Convertible, so one Saturday morning last year we went down to our BMW Dealer with Her ’13 135is to test drive a Z4.

    She loves Her F-Type.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    Of course “they don’t make them like they used to” however, BMW’s still have a true spot in my heart. There are models I’d happily ignore (BMW X1 with its cheap poor man’s interior) and any modern GT hatchback, and anything electric however, even in the base trim, you’d be surprised on the ride quality. I’ve ridden in around 30 base model loaners and, the only one me and my father could not stand was a first gen X1.

    BMW ownership reminds me of the Italian Sports-car experience. They require tons of attention like that high maintenance GF requesting expensive gifts[parts] and tons of attention. However, by putting up with her nasty moments, Idolizing her, and even going as far to saving her for the most special days, it’ll be a good car.

  • avatar
    hifi

    So, we’re going to show a picture of the e39 as being the pinnacle of what BMW ought to be, and then a picture of the 5 Series GT as BMW becoming too “mass” ? Please. The e39 was a blip in BMW’s history, and is no more the essence of BMW than the BMW Isetta was or current 5 Series GT is. This is the company that builds the phenomenal i8 and i3 and has built an entire dedicated facility to manufacture them as well as produce lightweight materials for their mainstream vehicles. Drive a Nissan, Ford, Toyota or Honda, and you’ll immediately realize that the BMW is a car built with more engineering and performance expertise in it’s DNA. Even the FWD-based X1 is a sports car compared to anything else in the category because they “get” it. I look forward to BMW building their mainstream cars, along with their oddball cars like the (terrible) 5 series GT because that means that they will also produce their i-cars, the Z8 and other cars that don’t necessarily add to the bottom line of a P&L. To say that BMW has lost its way and is too focused on the mass market, is a poorly researched and poorly reasoned perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Drive a Nissan, Ford, Toyota or Honda, and you’ll immediately realize that the BMW is a car built with more engineering and performance expertise in it’s DNA.”

      Sorry, this is just bull$h!t. There is much less “performance DNA” in a wallowing, moaning, feel-free lease-special 330i than there is in a Mustang GT.

      • 0 avatar
        BrunoT

        Huge difference in BMWs from regular to sport suspensions. There always has been. I owned two 540i’s with sport suspensions and they drove like they were on rails. Test drove a really nice 540i w/o it and it might as well have been an Accord.

        As late as 2013 the suspensions were still good. Can’t speak after that.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Even the FWD-based X1 is a sports car compared to anything else in the category because they “get” it. ”

      I test drove an X1 x35 and a Crosstour V6 AWD literally back to back (dealers were across the street from each other).

      In an “as spirited as you can get with the dealership guy sitting next to you” test drive, I noticed nothing sportier about the X1, really.

      Since I am not a race-car driver, well…

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Damn you. “The phenomenal i3”. Now I gotta clean my monitor.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        He must have attended one of those scare-rallies:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/04/bmw-acknowledges-ultimate-driving-machine-no-longer-holds-rally-scare-employees/

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    I don’t know if BMW really got worse, or they just didn’t get better as fast as everyone else did.

    My obsession years ago was an e39 540i. As luck would have it, the local racetrack lets you rent theirs for running laps.

    I still wish I had jumped at an e90 335d a couple of years ago. Now there are few for sale that aren’t already at high mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Four years ago I bought a CPO 335d with just 34,000 miles for 28K. It is the most amazing long distance road trip car Ive ever owned. As long as you run them long and hard they are pretty much trouble free. If you use one for short slow trips carbon buildup will occur so we use ours for the road. Today it has 97,000 miles on it and it is just as fun as the day I bought it.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Marketing cars on the basis of your car saying to others: “Look how smart and successful I am.” can only work for so long. Like until everyone realizes that only insecure individuals of limited ability and accomplishment need to make such a statement.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Every lease-special bottom-spec 320i they sell diminishes their cachet, as well.

      (I don’t care about cachet, but *their market* seems to.)

      • 0 avatar
        BrunoT

        A 320i with their sport package for it is a nice handling car. It’s solid, basic, and is more in line with BMWs of 20 years ago than the more powerful models. It’s also still as quick as they were then. If they were enjoyable to drive then, they still should be.

        Cachet is a bad reason to buy a car.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “A 320i with the sport package”

          I bet you could count all of those on dealer lots in the entire USA with one hand.

          Dealers don’t stock the sport suspension models because most of the customers think they ride too hard. For all practical purposes they’re special-order-only new and they will be basically impossible to find used.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Yep…special order is it. Local BMW dealer here wouldn’t touch a base 320i with manual with a 20 foot pole minus pre-ordering with a good-sized chunk of money down. My preferred ride doesn’t even exist here…white 320i with cloth interior, manual trans and sport suspension. Done. But it’ll never happen. Enthusiasts no longer pay the bills for BMW, so there goes that.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    The biggest issue for me is that BMW is pricing themselves outside of my range. I’d love to have me an X6, which is one sharp-looking car, but that thing starts well north of $100k! That’s how much Porsche asks for a 911S. I could settle for a more practical car like X3, but would it kill BMW to include a real low gear? The total ratio on that one is something like 1:13, last I checked. Indians somehow manage to put a decent transmission into Range Rover, why cannot Germans do it?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    My first BMW experience was my father’s tired, abused E28 525i. Despite its condition, that car taught me the “old BMW” fundamentals: fantastic steering and suspension tuning, light weight, and a great-sounding, free-revving inline six hooked to an easy-to-use manual gearbox. I drove E34s, E39s, and an E46 and they all had those elements present and accounted for.

    I see zero of that in modern BMWs, except maybe for a glimmer in the M240i and M2.

    The first warning sign was the ludicrously heavy, poorly packaged X5, which made that sweet inline six feel hopelessly overmatched, and which beat the pavement into submission with 285-series tires instead of dancing on it.

    The next and much worse warning sign was the E65 7-series, which seemed to foreshadow a fundamental shift in brand values from driver-centered cars to industry-leading technology. The E65 also turned out to be the beginning of the end for reliability on larger BMWs.

    Then we got the coup de grace with the F30 and its awful steering, which quickly propagated through the rest of the lineup.

    Today, if you ask me what BMW is, I’ll say it’s a luxury marque that has problems with interior refinement and reliability, but does pretty well with packaging in the smaller cars, and has a turbo four motor with uniquely good fuel economy. I haven’t felt the “WANT” for a BMW since the E90 335is and the E82 135is were discontinued.

  • avatar
    Junes

    Am I naive to wonder why so many folks are concerned with the image that their cars — or others’ cars — project about them? Not saying I am totally immune from those considerations in every aspect of my life, but jeez.

    If BMW produced an awesome driver’s car with great feel, balance, power, refinement, reliability, and a dealer/service experience that does not feel like a shakedown at each visit, I would buy one in a heartbeat. What do I care if “douchebags” drive them, too? Who’s to judge, anyway? The purported douchebag in the M3 just might be an enthusiast like you and me.

    Of recent BMW vintage, my pick would be a 1 Series M, btw.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Timely article, I was just talking to the seller of a 1995 540i 6 speed today. If everything looks good during the inspection then, yes, I will want this particular BMW. New ones, not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      BrunoT

      Be sure you like the shifter on the 6 speed manual of that era. I have a 540i sport with it and it was pretty notchy.

      • 0 avatar
        Cactuar

        Thanks for the comment. I haven’t driven a manual car in over 10 years, the test drive will be… interesting to say the least. What do you mean by notchy so I can pay attention to it?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Yes I still want one, except with an LSx conversion ONLY. 3-series only, maybe an M3, but I can deal with the douchebaggery thing. I just like the body lines and styling cues of BMWs ’cause most current cars have gone the way of hideously fugly. BMWs may get there too some day, but they’re always a decade or two behind the rest of the pack in terms of style.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I owned my special-ordered MT E46 wagon for 14yrs, had a E24M6 in parallel for half that time, and now ostensibly have a FWD 1 series hatch (read: Mini), but a new one going forward? No.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    I was always more of a Mercedes guy than a BMW guy, but I frankly can’t lust after either reasonably, since I don’t trust either one to last ten minutes past the warranty period without basically exploding.

    (Two and a half-ish years ago I test drove a GLK 250 and loved it apart from the chrome on the dash and cluster blinding me. I also test drove an X1 x35, and liked it too. [Same with the Allroad; they were all Plenty Good Enough In Themselves.]

    But neither one was compelling enough to actually buy, though for personal reasons related to the particular car need I had, not strictly brand issues.

    And despite owning a Volvo I’m still more sanguine about long-term maintenance than if I owned a German car.)

  • avatar
    jh26036

    I had to bring my 2001 M5 in for the airbag recall the other week. The lease special loaner 320i they gave me was shockingly bad. The interior material (including seats) felt chintzy, the base motor was anemic, and overall was a huge disappointment even if it had a Nissan badge on it. I can’t believe people pay $399 a month for these things.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Oh, they give you a loaner for that recall? Did you have anything else done? I’ve been meaning to make an appointment before the car kills me.

      • 0 avatar
        jh26036

        No other repairs. This is the first time I used the dealer for anything and likely the last. I just to go a local indy shop for maintenance.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          As do I (actually I had the dealer do an alignment once at my indy shop’s recommendation). There seem to be no shortage of good mechanics that used to work for a BMW dealer, its just a matter of finding one that’s trustworthy and understands that I want to maintain the car in stock form, not “chip it, bro”

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Not really. I can appreciate the concept of a small sharp handling car, but its not something I’m really interesting in. Now that they aren’t even doing that outside of the big money performance packages, in addition to abysmal relibility, I don’t see myself ever owning one.

  • avatar

    I have an E46 M3 which is a spectacular car.

    After the E46, they’re less than spectacular and the maintenance is substantially less user-friendly.

    I can’t imagine spending $45,000 on a 240i when you can spend $35,000 on a Mustang – which will match the performance of the $75,000 M3 (with double the reliability).

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    Growing up in the boondocks, BMWs were the kind of car seen only in advertisements, never in real life. Once I graduated college and moved to Silicon Valley, though, the things were everywhere. Unfortunately they were also the official car of the obnoxious, aggressive driver. As a result I came to associate the cars with crappy behaviour.

    When shopping for a car a few months back, I looked at Audi & Mercedes offerings (among others; I ended up with an Audi) but never seriously considered BMW. Part of that had to do with the lacklustre interiors and how the cars have lost some of their edge, but much of it still stems from my mental picture of BMW drivers.

  • avatar
    jasonw

    Used my first big-boy job money to buy a used 2002 325i Wagon (which I’m still fond of today). It was well maintained by the previous owners and I continued the same by buying original parts and going to dealership for maintenance and repairs. However, these repairs and parts were slowly adding up. There were constant recommendations to change sensors, gaskets, etc. I get the importance of maintenance but the costs + labor were ridiculous for a 15 year old car with so/so resale value.

    I eventually stopped by an Acura dealership one day and fell in love with a ILX A-Spec. Yeah, I’m sure people are gonna shit on me for buying a “fancy Civic”, but it has similar power and body size, with modern tech features. Only thing lacking is 50/50 weight distribution, a sweet sounding inline 6, and BMW prestige. But hey, can’t complain about averaging 32 mpg in traffic, lower maintenance costs, and Honda reliability.

    Would I buy a new BMW? Simple answer is no. The best BMWs were from 70’s – early 2000’s. I was provided a 2016 328i for the Takata airbag recall and it wasn’t the same car. It felt bloated and soft, given it had a powerful turbo 4. Not to mention these new ones are maintenance nightmares. I have a friend who’s had over $15k work on a E92 335i, and the car is barely 5 years old and under 50k miles. She’s extremely thankful she paid for the extended warranty and maintenance package, on top of her OTD price of $60k.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I’ve owned a 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight since 2001.

    I bought it for the driving experience(and it was stylish).

    It’s a great analog car. It replaced a 1987 528e.

    The two cars had remarkably similar feel – you could tell they were made by the same company and had similar designs. Great feeling, great handling, great braking, good fuel economy, relatively simple and elegant.

    Not sure the new ones would fit this description.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    My wife daily drives a 2010 135i convertible. She is fairly brand loyal in most of her life purchases, as long as she feels that she is being treated well as a customer when she has issues.

    Pleasant enough daily driver after ditching the OEM run flats. From a comfort and options standpoint, it was about the same money for less of those things vs. her previous BMW, a 2003 325i.

    But the trade off is that it’s way more powerful, and she wanted a convertible. The kids still fit in the backseat, so its great to day trip somewhere in it on a nice day.

    I recently did a pre-emptive water pump and fuel pump replacement at 90k miles after reading up on what would happen if they failed while driving (possible overheating, cracked heads, and engine replacement), but other than that, its been fine and has given me no surprise issues other than a dead battery in the fall. And that was the original battery, so that seems about right.

    However, recent loaners for routine service haven’t impressed me, other than the 228, which seems the closest in character and size to her old 3. If they made a 4-door 2 Series, I think it would be her next daily driver. (The convertible is getting up there in miles, and we are thinking it should probably be retired to the weekend fun car soon, as our kids get bigger). As its stands, she doesn’t like the current 3 or 4, or the current X1. She thought maybe a 1st gen X1? (she’s a cyclist and that would be the most ‘practical’ option.) I dunno.

    So, sure, she’d LOOK at a BMW first, but I’m not getting the sense that its critical here. She also likes the Lexus IS. We’ll see.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    One thing I find interesting is how evolutionary BMW’s designs have gotten recently. The new 2016 7-Series and 2017 5-Series look remarkably like their predecessors…

  • avatar
    n_tesla

    Not any more. I owned 2 of the more desirable big motor 3 and 5 Series for 10 years combined. But times change and I’m excited by electrified cars now. The 330e looks dull and needs more EV range. How about a sedan with a little of the i8 “wow”.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Are they bringing back the E30? In all seriousness the E39 M5 is the high water mark as far as Im concerned as well. I want one but I think my next terrible idea project is going to be a 928. So much 80s…

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    “The BMW M5, generation E39 from 1999-2003, continues to stand as one of my top five favorite cars of all time.

    Yours too.”

    The styling was fantastic. The specs were mouthwatering. Money was everywhere. Reality is they were frangible ephemera. No passion for a new car ever burned so brightly and so briefly. Soon, BMW styling would be as bad as their engineering and quality, but the E39 M5 was a car you could have strand you on your way to work and then find yourself coveting someone else’s through your taxi’s window while stuck in traffic.

    And no, I don’t want a BMW any longer. I was once a true believer, and Germany was once partitioned too.

  • avatar
    skotastic

    Nope.

    I’ve never bought a new BMW, but the corporation has a made good money off of me over the years through parts and parts.

    I’ve owned 1 e3 (Bavaria) 2 x e12, 1 x e21, 1 x e30, 1 x e28, 2 x e36, 1 x e46, 1 x e34 (ALPINA B10 3.5) and I think I’m forgetting a few.

    Outside of an e85 coupe or maybe an e87 or e90 M3, there is nothing since that looks fun or interesting to drive or own.

    We ending up buying a CPO Tiguan for the wife (with warranty!) as the BMW x3 really had nothing on it, and we didn’t want goofy Asian or Ford styling or ultra-luxury with 12 ways to heat and cool your butt.

    Perhaps more importantly, I’ve just stopped paying attention to newer BMWs since the 3 series/2 series/4 series and alphabet soup explosion.

    There is simply no reason to buy a BMW today – others offer more luxury/prestige, or better reliability, or better performance, or better looks, or a combo of two or more of these.

    Sorry.

    btw – my favorites to own were the e12s and e3.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I agree with most of the comments here. My BMW “lust” has subsided dramatically over the past ten years.

    At one point, the M3/M4 would be my “dream gotta have it” car. Now? Probably the AMG C63 S.

    At one point, the 3-series with M-Sport would be my “gonna get it” car. Now? Love my GTI. An A4 would be great, but the newer C-Class looks great, too.

    Porsche and Audi have successfully co-opted BMW in both sports and premium models. Mercedes has finally rediscovered who they are and is building very handsome, elegant, touring cars – and a few monsters in AMG. BMW is at real risk of being caught in the middle and getting “Cadillac’d” or “Acura’d”.

    I did have a 2-series convertible as a rental (Thanks, SiXT) for two weeks in California last year and loved it. Great engine, great steering feel, nice suspension setup. If I wanted a fun runaround, I would pick one of those up in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    3XC

    Badly wanted a BMW. Bought the E46 of my dreams in 2005. The slapdash build quality turned me off of the brand forever. It was a badly built car. Less reliable than the 90s/early 00s GM products I had previously owned.

    There is no user error or “failure to maintain” windows falling off their tracks, turn signal lenses falling off at highway speed, or hardware like bolts and mounts failing. Those aren’t wear items. That’s just poor quality.

  • avatar
    beken

    12 years ago, I would never have considered buying a BMW. I heard all the jealous comments about BMW drivers being douchebags etc… But my Buick was literally falling apart from the day I took delivery of it and costing me big money to just keep it running.

    I had bought a MINI as my commuter car and the dealer treated me so well, I had second thoughts about owning a BMW. This kind of treatment is what I had been missing and why I should own a BMW. The local BMW dealer got me a great deal on a CPO E60. Not a perfect car, the CD player doesn’t work anymore, repairs have been comparatively expensive, but nowhere near what I was paying to keep the Buick running. The car handled great, and that straight 6 motor built power oh so smoothly.

    Would I get another BMW? Yah…if I can get a configuration that meets what I want (no trucks) and I can cost justify the rather large sum of money these cars command. But I will also cross shop against other cars. Current 2017 models? No. I don’t see one I want. My E60 is still running fine so I’ll hang onto it. But always keeping my eyes out for my next car.

  • avatar
    SteveMar

    Wow! So much hate for BMW here. It’s really kind of nuts. It’s just a car company. It makes cars – some have been great and some less successful. Is it better or worse than other brands? Come on! The judgment here really gives car blogging a bad name.

    In my case. I grew up in the era where bmw was the ultimate driving machine. I could never afford one and really wanted one at some point in life. I finally did this winter and bought a COB 228i xdrive. Folks, it’s a great car. The best car I’ve ever driven. It’s not an M series but I could neither afford nor regularly drive one. But name a single coupe that offers the same balance and power and refinement. It’s not perfect. It’s a car. But it’s way better than most others I’ve ever driven.

    Now maybe I’m not sufficiently a car dude, but it gets easy to look down your nose at folks who finally buy want they get in a bmw today. If you want an Accord, buy one. If you want a Porsche, get one. Leave the haters to themselves.

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    I once knew a hot young woman who was saving for a bimmer w/
    her secretary job. she just had to have one. Don’t know if she ever got
    one. hopefully she got one long ago. Why she thought she needed to enhance HER image was completely beyond me.

    I used to pine over the Bavaria ($5000 brand new). thanks for reminding me Skotastic.

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    I wonder about all the BMW hate too. I have a 335d that we use exclusively for long distance runs. Used for that purpose it is the best car Ive ever owned and at 97K hasn’t had any issues. BMW under rates them at 425 lb ft and 265 hp all in at 1700 buy dyno runs typically record more like 500/300 and I have to tell you guys…its addictive. If you use one for slow short trips carbon buildup will occur which is why we have a ’16 Golf Sportwagen SE tsi for the daily driver, short trip, errand runner.

  • avatar
    snakebit

    Likewise, no X Series BMW’s for me, no CPO 1 or 2 Series, no $50K new 4 Series. If I do swap my 3-Series coupe for a newer BMW, it will probably be a CPO late 3-Series coupe. And, yes, even when you turn to DIY repairs, just the cost of BMW or Bavarian Auto replacement parts cost way too much.

  • avatar
    fendertweed

    I’ve gone to my trusted local independent shop specializing in Porsche, BMW, Audi, M-B, etc., for the past 25 years.

    They stopped recommending BMWs to their customers as either new or used cars about 10 or so years ago. They’ve seen noticeable cheapening of build quality including, for example, cheap interior panels whose fasteners get brittle and break off after just a few years. It’s to the point where they advise customers of this in advance and alert them that it’s possible certain parts that used to be more robust, may break during service, and that replacement may be required.

    This isn’t a case of gorillas tearing apart vehicles to work on them, they are about the most careful shop I’ve ever seen but they’re tired of things like interior panel clips breaking off and leaving gaps, etc.

    My carpool partner/friend and his wife both bought brand new cars in 2003. His 2004 Audi A4 still feels tight and rides great after 130k miles and 12+ years. His wife’s 2004 BMW (325?) with less than 80k miles feels harsh, rough, noisy, with lots of tired plastic. That comparison alone would convince me to pass BMW by.

    So no … no still want BMW here (haven’t for quite some time)

  • avatar

    I’m on my third consecutive BMW and I certainly still want one but I’d have to agree that in general they are not as desirable as they once were.

    IMO the best way to buy a BMW is to get one that’s three or four years old
    and doesn’t have crazy miles on it and either do your own work or go to an independent shop. That’s the route I have taken and I have so far found that Bimmers are (or were) built to last and do not cost too much to maintain.

    They will never be as cheap to run as a Toyota or a Chevy but they’re much more satisfying to drive or own.

    My cars are a 2001 330ci convertible (E46) and a 2003 530iA (E39-my second). These BMW from the turn of the century decade were possibly the last analog BMWs and I’m happy to have them but when the time comes
    I would certainly consider a Two-series convertible.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      Well said and I follow the same path. In 2013 paid 28K for a 335d that was four years old with 34,000 miles. Ive since put another 65,000 very enjoyable miles on it with no issues.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I think the best commentary on the current state of BMW affairs is that Jack Baruth’s eclectic garage doesn’t have one.

  • avatar
    analoggrotto

    All through high school I drew BMW valve cover patterns on everything: math tests, English essays, binders, desks, friend’s yearbooks, my jeans… every damn where.

    I thought for sure I would end up in an E39 M5 with a dozen bavarian creme filled doughnuts from Dunkin hidden in the dashboard (no law enforcement aspirations).

    Fast forward to my early adult life where things didn’t quite work out and that E39 M5 seemed to re-manifest itself in the E90 M3 V8 and I ended up going home with an Elise after complaining endlessly over the sedateness of the 328i.

  • avatar
    mike1985

    Not anymore. I’ve had 4 BMWs and my E46 was the best car I’ve ever owned, but since then, BMW has become too mass marketed. The cars now are generic and uninspiring. What maybe worse is the type of drivers that lease the lower end BMWs. BMW used to be a driver’s car…not so much anymore. The brand has went soft and lost it’s luster. There are now too many models and bland styling. I switched to Infiniti because Infiniti reminds me of how BMWs used to be even though the brand isn’t as “prestigious”, but I’m not sure how prestigious BMWs are as of late. Things started to downturn after the gorgeous E38 was replaced with the Bangle butt ugly disaster E65. BMWs haven’t been the same since and now are just another variation of any other cookie cutter luxury vehicle. Nothing special.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I owned one BMW, a ’99 528 which I bought in 2005 with 60K miles on it. Within 6 months I had spent close to $3K on repairs. I knew that was kind of the bargain with BMWs, fun to drive but maddeningly unreliable and expensive to repair. But I didn’t think it would be THAT bad. So that was my first and last BMW.

    And what made it worse wasn’t so much the money (although that was pretty bad). It was the constant stream of things breaking. Had it been one $3K major item, meh it happens, whatever. But it was $300 here, $500 there, $450 somewhere else. It was the annoyance factor more than the money factor.

  • avatar
    LazyJK

    I used to own a fully original (even with the original tool kit in the boot!), unmolested, 1991 Alpine White/gray E36 320i sedan. Since the shocks were shot, I put a Bilstein/Eibach suspension kit on it – it looked fantastic on original 15 inch BBS-style wheels with fat baloon-like tires – handled very good, too. I was slowly restoring the car, piece by piece, but alas – in the end the costs were too high and I had to sell it.
    That BMW, I still want. The new ones… not so much. OK, maybe an Alpina (one can dream…).

  • avatar
    Chan

    Never aspired to any model BMW.

    I have always had my mind set on one car for each purpose–a plain (or luxurious, if financially feasible) car for commuting, a more pure sports car for leisure.

    BMW has never really made cars dedicated to either of those categories. That said, I get what they are selling–premium cars that, in base model form, offer at least a hint of sportiness. It’s what the moderately affluent masses want.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I owned a 1969 2002 and a 1972 2002tii long before the term “yuppie” had ever been coined. I still haven’t owned a car that was so well suited to owner maintenance. They were fun, economical, and for the era quite reliable. They got me through the Malaise era quite nicely, along with a few other interesting cars. I once aspired to own an E30. Friends’ troublesome ownership issues with them warned me away, though, and I don’t regret the couple of decades of Acuras and Hondas that followed. Cars have always been subordinate to motorcycles in this household for performance and twisty-road enjoyment.

  • avatar

    I’ve had four BMWs since 2010 ( e70 X5d, 2x e89 Z4is and a 2014 i3) but I recently replaced my latest BMW with a Tahoe.

    As the end of my latest lease approached I realized that BMWs offerings no longer appealed. I think that it is a combination of my taste changing and BMW changing its focus.

    Last Thanksgiving I rented a Yukon and drove it from New England to Georgia. I was amazed by how good it was. I hadn’t owned a GM product since selling a 2003 model, but the improvement was striking.

    BMW, meanwhile, seems to be decontenting at an early-90’s-Toyota rate.

  • avatar
    WrittenDescription

    I haven’t wanted a BMW since our 2007 X5 required $6,800 in repairs (four separate breakdowns) within 18 months of coming off warranty. I began then to think that I was the sucker for buying rather than leasing a BMW.


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