New or Used?: Kiss My Yuppie Ass Edition
Hi Sajeev and Steve,
I’ve always enjoyed this column, and several years ago I took a piece of the advice you provided: I bought a used Ford Taurus for a teen driver.
Anyway, I’m curious for your thoughts on what we should drive now. My wife and I have long commutes as well as 3 children. It’ll be a year before the oldest can sit up front and, at that point, the youngest can go from a massive car seat to a booster.
I log about 18,000 miles per year in an E39 M5. I have little time for it to be down, though I can borrow a relative’s extra car in a pinch. As expected, the car costs a few thousand to maintain per year, plus fuel is about $3,000 per year at today’s prices.
- Keep my car and lease a Mazda6 or Accord?
- Keep my car and take advantage of terrible resale and 0.9% financing on a used Leaf?
- Sell my car and buy something sporty yet semi practical?
My current car is awesome, but even the Mazda would just about pay for itself in fuel savings, to say nothing about reduced running cost. Insurance is another story as I married the female Captain Crunch. If I were to sell, I have no idea what manual transmission car out there would hold a candle to the entertainment value and fit and finish of the M without being a depreciation monster. I don’t think my kids would fit in an Infiniti G37.
Footnote: My wife’s car is an Odyssey, it logs about 21,000 miles per year, and all of the family trips are taken in it.
You have a solution in search of a problem. Enthusiasts often fall into this weird mindset where simple math starts failing them and the fear of owning an older fun car engulfs their usual common sense.
What I want you to do is take a breath and repeat after me.
“I promise to give my M5 the best parts and fluids possible and not nickelshit my way into trouble. I also promise to get this dream car maintained at an independent detail shop to the letter, detail it so that it looks like a million bucks, and avoid the new car dealer’s $100+ hourly labor costs. ”
When you lease a car, any car, you’re lighting a fire to more than just the down payment. Taxes, registration, insurance, and all the other hidden bogus fees the dealer tries to levy on you get sandwiched into a healthy 20- to 40-percent premium depending on the vehicle.
Your wife’s Odyssey can already handle the progeny. I would strongly encourage you to either sell the M5 outright and buy something new, or keep it and invest in that fun car for the long haul.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but you’re totally screwed and Lang’s got your number. The sheer volume of perfection present in the E39 M5 is impossible to duplicate, though a row-your-own Mazda6 is a decent alternative for the 2015 model year. Sure, it drives the wrong wheels and lacks that V8 punch, but it’s kinda E39 in spirit!
Money is overrated. You only have one life to live, though the Hindu in me says otherwise. Buy another vehicle and use the M5 sparingly. It might even qualify for special interest/classic car insurance to boot! I suggest driving the polar opposite of your ride for maximum diversification. This will make you miss driving the M5 and keep you from neglecting and selling it in the future.
So get a Nissan Leaf and carry on!
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"nickelshit" is my new favourite word....thanks Steve!