By on March 18, 2016

2012 BMW 328i, Exterior, 328i badge, Image: © 2012 Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Sam writes:

Hi Bark,

I have a multi-part question and I’m interested to get your insight.

Part one: To CPO or not. After decades of driving Fords, I’ve decided to treat myself with a sporty German car. A BMW 328i seems like just the ticket. I’m looking at a 2015 model year dealer loaner with 4,000 miles, and it’s available with $8,000 off the $53,000 sticker price. The warranty has been reset, so it’s effectively a full, new-car warranty. With no major changes between 2015 and 2016, this seems like a no-brainer.

Part two: To lease or not. A BMW with a turbo and automatic transmission gives me the willies. I like the idea of turning it back in after three years and washing my hands of any long-term maintenance issues (or having to unload it myself). BMW’s lease interest rate is 4.375 percent, which seems high. The residual factor is 59 percent of MSRP.

Part three: To pay up-front or not. I hate paying monthly for stuff. I’m inclined to just pay the entirety of the lease payments up front. BMW will cut the rate by a little in this case, to 4.125-percent on the residual amount. It still seems high relative to the 0-percent offers on domestic vehicles. Are there any gotchas to paying up front?

I’ve never leased before. I’ve always been a “pay cash” kind of guy. But the lease on the low-mileage CPO with no major changes seems like a slam-dunk over a new car similarly equipped. Am I missing something?


Hoo boy. Get ready for a barn burner.

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By on December 28, 2015


Earlier this week I wrote about how CarMax is heavily constrained by a market that has flip-flopped between six years worth of heavy car sales and about 18 months of resurgent truck and SUV demand. Long story short, CarMax’s acquisition costs for trucks, SUVs and crossovers has gone up considerably, and the supply of this inventory has cratered due to new car dealers keeping the bulk of this inventory for themselves.

Not everybody liked what I wrote. Case in point.

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By on December 10, 2015


There comes a point in our lives when we all fly off the handle. It can happen when we’re still young and ready to believe anything or when we’re old and the voice of those young’uns make us instinctively say nasty, insensitive thoughts.

Temporary insanity comes and goes with the seasons. With that I am about to recommend a car truckster minivan lame duck vehicle that has a surprisingly good fit for one type of buyer in particular: Those with large families who want a new car but don’t really give a shit about cars.

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By on January 16, 2014


“You can have any car you want. So long as it’s a Toyota or Honda.”

My parents had offered to split the costs of a new car with me back in 1994. That matching policy eventually included an awful lot of disclaimers and exclusions.

“No V8! No V6! No turbo! No stick! No convertible! No small car! No! Nein! Nyet!”

I eventually settled on a red Toyota Camry Coupe that served me well for 12 years and nearly 240k miles. It’s still on the road, which is funny because my brother, who had an equal bent on the Toyonda reliability supremacy, did something unusual recently.

He bought an Audi. Then he did something even stranger than that… he bought another.

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By on January 10, 2014



I just got a job that involves a fair amount of driving and I am looking to spend about 11-13k on a car that is fun to drive but at the same time practical and reliable.

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By on July 30, 2012

The Lord Needs No Restraint


Gentlemen, there’s some automotive/emotional baggage that I need a resolution for.

I’m finally in a position to replace a Celica with something that will possibly see an HPDE, and the occasional autocross. I have $9000 to spend. Although the Celi drove beautifully, it wasn’t a viscerally thrilling car and I’d like to learn the dynamics of a rwd platform.

(Read More…)

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