By on October 26, 2015

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.

Should I:

  • 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.

Steve Says:

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.

Sajeev Says:

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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75 Comments on “New or Used?: Kiss My Yuppie Ass Edition...”


  • avatar
    colin42

    At 18000 miles a year, assuming 5 days a week you averaging 70 to 75 miles a day. Unless you have guaranteed access to a L2 charger for at least a few hours a day I don’t understand how a Leaf would work for you.

    • 0 avatar
      Highway27

      Yeah, I don’t see how a new Leaf is compatible with that kind of mileage, much less an off-lease 3-year-old Leaf that has 15% or more battery and range degradation.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Pull the ridiculous zero weekend miles assumption out of your calculation and try again.

      • 0 avatar
        colin42

        Zero mile weekend is a little simplistic but the writer does say.

        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.

        18000/year for 50 weeks/year is 360miles/week. For 7 days equally usage gives 51miles a day. If you assume at weekends the car is used 50% of weekday milage the it’s an average of 60 miles on weekdays. From the post it’s impossible to know what his variance on daily milage would be but even at an average 50 miles/day it is optimistic to achieve this year round on a 3+ year old battery without access to an L2 charger in the middle of the day.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          Fair to say a used leaf would be cutting it close. In the time since I submitted this question I’ve been learning about the batteries on these cars their reduced range a few years on. It’s also hot down here in FL in the summer, so presumably that has a negative impact on range as well.

          My days vary, but I drive a minimum of 30 miles per day, usually more like 50. I also have clients up to 5 counties away, but the existing car could do that job.

          • 0 avatar
            Ned Funnell

            If you get one, get a 2013+, since they have a more advanced battery chemistry (although 2015+ is best, but not yet depreciated) and a heat pump heater which will mean minimal impact to your range during the mild Florida winters. Make sure you get one with the 6.6kW on-board charger as well, instead of 3.3kW. Check your area for charging locations near you on plugshare.com, there might be some DC fast chargers near you, which would make a DC charge port option worthwhile.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    The amount of people publicly professing their interest in the Leaf is downright embarrassing. If its too good to be true, the kind warning from Admiral Ackbar comes to mind, “Its a trap.”

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Find a gently used F10 535 Manual, costs less to feed than the M5, is still fun to drive, and is a nice compromise

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I thought we were going to use make, model and year names and not chassis number s when referring to cars here. Some of us don’t have any interest in decoding BMW taxonomy.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      The E39 was the 5 series from 1995-2003. The E39 M5 was introduced in 1998.

      I only know that because I’m a BMW guy. I’m with you. When someone says a Mercedes W124, Miata NB, Jeep TJ or Ford “Fox body”, I am lost.

    • 0 avatar
      motoridersd

      Hmm, my RSS feed popped up with the photo of the E39 M5 (1995-2003 5 series), which would help. Better than the embedded video that I’m seeing on the full site.

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/M5_E39_Terabass-2.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      As the owner of an e60 and a w220, I object to this. Learning the taxonomy of various cars is half the fun. Chassis codes, engine codes, you learn all sorts of fun things this way. What’s an EJ engine, what cars used the D3 platform, what’s a fox, a panther, who is rockin’ a k engine, anybody ever ride in a b-body wagon, maybe that BMW has an M62 or was it an N62, who knows?!

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      It’s not difficult to Google it if you don’t know. It’s way easier to say Mercedes 210, then 96-02 E-Class sedan and 96-03 wagon.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    How many miles on the M5 now? With the upkeep and fuel cost I would get out now and move into something that will not kill you. Would a R volvo work ? or a different M as in Infinity work in space in the back seat.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      109K. I feel like at this point I’ve put 50K on the car myself, and maybe that reduces the edge than a used Infiniti or Volvo would have in terms of maintenance given the unknowns those cars would bring to the table. I’d imagine a used Infiniti M is a good value used, but I’d never go for an automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Wait, what, “hey, I want less upkeep and fuel cost” now means “R Volvo”?

      I mean, love those things, but the R cars seem to be pretty … fragile, in comparison to the non-R ones.

      And not exactly fuel-sipping.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Is an E36 M5 really any larger in back than a g37? The infiniti won’t save you much in gas, but should be reliable and a gently used G37 would be more enjoyable than a 4-cylinder Mazda family sedan. Q50 is automatic only.

    • 0 avatar
      kerilrus

      I think G37 with a sport package and big akebono brakes is a great compromise. It was fun carving the hilly back roads around south eastern PA on a great fall afternoon. Not quite the fit and finish off the BMW though. The non sport is pretty much a different car though and I hated it when I had a loaner. The back doors open up at almost 90 degree angle to so it’s easy access. Good luck finding a 6-speed manual sedan though. But good things come to those who search and patiently wait… Did I mention that it’s fairly bulletproof too?

      • 0 avatar
        GiddyHitch

        The G37/Q50 is a pretty good car for someone who wants a bit of grunt, handling, and reliability, but it comes up short in dynamics and especially ‘specialness’ to a golden era (E38/E39/E46) BMW. Doubly so for an E39 M5, which is on a lot of short lists for greatest practical car of all time.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I don’t think the BMW is larger, but I’m pretty sure it’s wider. That’s a big sticking point when kids are 3 across with one of them in a car seat.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    They don’t make Yuppies like they used to. In my day that meant DINKs.

    *Those* Yuppies could just.. hey, whatevs… buy sh*t. No quandaries.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Does he want a fun car or a economical commuter? If you’re trying to get both, you don’t have a lot of choices. Miata is probably the best solution. What about a turbo 4 Mustang? How about a used TSX manual? I’m running out of ideas.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I loved my manual TL (owned for 9 years), but nobody makes anything like it any more (midsized, V6, 5 seatbelts, stick) as far as I can tell. The commute includes my kids, so the 5 seats thing is non-negotiable.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am going to assume that you liv in a home and not an apartment and have room for a third car, which is your answer.

    You have the fun car, the family hauler, now you need a commuter. Second hand Camrys fresh from the Avis can be had for very reasonable dollars. Or if you are feeling frisky, and you look, you can ussually make a great buy on a second hand Accord four door with a MT.

    Save the expense of a new car something you really want, like a new M5 or something along those lines. Take advantage of the fine service the rental car companies provide to Merica, which is a fresh supply of late model commuter cars that get good mpg, have been maintained properly and can be had for a substantial discount.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Where do such finely maintained rental car devices exist? My experience has been the opposite. Then again, I have not rented from Nirvana Rent A Car, so perhaps that’s the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I was speaking more of whe the cars hit the auction. They are cleaned by the dealer and gone over. From a retail perspective, finding cars with 40k or less on the odo is a tall order. Getting better as leasing has made a come back starting in 11′ so off lease cars are showing up now.

        As for the rental counter, I rent from national every week. I can think of one time that I had a car that was not clean and in perfect working order. I will say the nice feature of national is I can pick the one I want, so if I open the door and it smells like an ashtray, I move on.

        I have never rented from Avis or any of the super budget joints.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          In the last fifteen years, I have rented a car a grand total of twice; once from Enterprise and once from Hertz. They were both brand-new clean though I have to qualify that with both having well under 10,000 miles on them. The Hertz Ford Focus had less than 2,000 when I picked it up. Guess I was just lucky.

          On the other hand, my Fiat 500 was an Avis and to be quite blunt was also in brand-new condition with the exception of the rear-window defogger, which had been delaminated by a piece of tape–probably when the Georgia temporary registration tag was pulled off. I picked it up with just over 5,000 miles on it and simply cannot complain about its condition. I won’t argue that some remote rental offices may have a problem, but these well-known brands do have an image to preserve and treatment such as has been described above is costly for them in more ways than one.

          Again I say, if you want to get a decent second-hand car for a relatively decent price at least consider looking at Carmax. If they don’t have what you want locally, they may be able to ship it in from another location. I’ve been very pleased by my purchase, despite all the negative arguments about Carmax itself, rental cars and Fiats in particular.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      My recent experience with Avis would not make me even slightly interested in buying any car from them.
      The “facility” was a single over-worked person who barely had time to check the exterior of the car for damage. They actually had no car for me to pick up, in spite of my confirmation number. When a car was returned, I got it, without any cleaning, no checking of fluids or tire pressure or even how much gas was in the tank. When I turned the car in at my destination, the attendant just took my keys and asked how much gas was in it, and did not bother to check for damage.
      I wouldn’t be very interested in renting from them in the future, either.
      Assuming a car rental company “maintains” their fleet is just that, an assumption. My previous rental car, from Enterprise, had the tire pressure light on. They couldn’t tell me which tire it was, since they had no gauge on site. If the tire were flat, too bad, because they had no way to air it up, either. I would doubt there was a quart of oil or windshield washer fluid anywhere around if it were needed.
      On a related subject, the last Uhaul truck I rented had a completely dead battery. When I returned it, they left it running and sent the next customer down the road, knowing that as soon as they shut it off they would be stranded.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    Consider keeping the M5 as clean ones are getting rarer and rarer by the day. I have no evidence to support this, but I have a hunch depreciation is minimal, and you may recognize some upside if you hold onto it for a while.

    For day to day use, find something on a special. VW’s crazy lease deals at the moment come to mind. Get a stick and the 1.8T in the Passat, Jetta, or Golf and use that for the daily grind without being too horrible to drive or sit in. Or pick up some car hit with severe depreciation, like a Taurus, MKS, MKZ. Or something that won’t depreciate, like an Accord Sport (near and dear to my heart).

    One option I’m evaluating is the used Acura RLX Sport Hybrid. Selling for $65k new, these things can be had a year or two old with <30k miles for $35k or so. The only wheel-borne Krell audio system, all the toys, and ultra high quality combined with a decent amount of go and acceptable handling via the not-quite-double wishbone suspension.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    How many miles are on the M5 currently? At 20k miles a year, keeping it just another 5 years adds 100k miles to it. Without knowing that information, I can’t tell if you are in the sweet spot where that e39 will be worth some money or if you’ve already crested that point and may as well drive it into the ground.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    You drive an E39 made between 1995 and 2003. Check.
    You bought a Taurus but do not specify the MY (I assume DN101 Taurus as opposed to D3). Check.
    You then add the Taurus which needs to act as a secondary car for when your twelve to twenty five year old E39 is down . Check.

    Here’s where you screwed up. The secondary car in the primary/secondary strategy needs to be rock solid to start and drive every day. So ideally not a random DN101 from Craigslist and IF SO you must go over all of the weak points beforehand. You also didn’t consider the teen driver may damage or wreck your secondary car. What happens when junior pegs a tree or clips a guardrail just enough that its not totaled and the DN101 goes into the body shop and the E39 has a hiccup? Here is what you do: You dump the DN101 Taurus and use the proceeds as a down payment on a new Subbie or Toyota Camry lease or buy bc the resale is insane. Junior gets to learn about payment plans, wifey is happy you don’t steal her ride, and parents are happy junior should not die in an accident (unless this is a D3 Taurus in which case your are a better parent but still do the same).

    • 0 avatar
      Jesse

      Here’s where you screwed up in your assumptions about his situation: he does not own the Taurus. It was presumably someone outside his family who bought it, and he was just providing advice.

      “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.”

      If his state has laws like Massachusetts, the kid has to be 11 to sit up front. That makes his oldest child about 10. Therefore, the Taurus was likely not for his household.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      It’s not my kid, just somebody we were helping out who is over 18 and on their own now, never factored into my insurance.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        It was just an excuse to advise you to dump a Taurus for a Camry when he knew nothing about the Taurus. Cruising for brownie points from the American car haters that make up a very vocal portion of the (not always) B&B.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I would modify the argument first to a NEW Leaf, rather than used. We’ve already seen where one can be purchased off the showroom floor for less than $10K.

    However, your annual mileage seems to push the Leaf’s capabilities beyond where you may be comfortable. For a combination of both size (able to carry seven passengers (especially when they are children) and long commuting range I would recommend the Tesla Model S. You can purchase a 200-mile version ‘used’ for about 30% off of new price and some of the 250-mile versions still fall to a ‘moderate’ price, especially since you’re driving what you are now. With no fuel costs beyond your electric rate, you would save 75% on the cost of gasoline per mile driven and have enough range to meet almost any daily driving need, even if your commute is 60-75 miles one-way. Tesla’s service is also exemplary, though I don’t know if that would hold true for a used model unless purchased directly from Tesla.

    On the other hand, if you’re looking for something economical and fun to drive as a commuter and it’s to be almost exclusively a personal car, I would highly recommend a Fiat 500. Brand new their cost is extremely low–well under $20K–while they’re an absolute blast to drive either as a row-your-own or 6-speed automatic. If you’re lucky, you can go to Carmax and find a low-mileage model for even less that still has most of its factory warranty available. I got lucky and found one with just over 5,000 miles on it for $12K and haven’t had a moment’s trouble with it of any kind. It has become the house’s primary wheels as it only takes $20 or less to fill it up most of the time at today’s rates with 40mpg highway (about 30 mpg city and mixed.) But don’t think it’s slow. It may not be as fast as your M5, but it is extremely quick and agile due to its smaller size. And I’m not even mentioning the Turbo or Abarth models.

    Yes, there are other, very generic cars out there but you don’t sound like a generic type of person. You want something fun and distinctive, though it’s obvious you also want a certain kind of image that to me doesn’t make sense. Step outside of your ‘box’ and try something different. You might discover that you like it.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      We did the same, only it was an accord coupe MT. Paid 8k for a 77k 07′.

      I pound the miles on it and the wife uses it for errands in the weekend as she finds it quite sporty as compared to her suburban. Fill up runs $30 or less. I still have nightmares of the $100 fill up with the suburban….best to keep that pig in the garage and use sparingly for family trips etc.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      A Model S instead of a Leaf? Thats like telling someone looking at an F-RS to get a 911 or Corvette instead. Just because they are similar in some basic ways does not make them the same.

      If only there were another alternative. Something that had a backup gasoline engine to supplement the primary electric motor to stop any fears of running out of battery many miles from home. It would be great if this fictional car were usually heavily discounted yet loved by those who own one. Its really too bad that the car Im thinking of never existed and instead of a $30k Nissan, your only alternative is a $90k+ Tesla. Maybe they could call this fantasy car the Vhevy Colt.

      It would be even better if there were an MPV-like family vehicle that was a plug-in Hybrid from a company that directly competes with the makers of the Vhevy Colt. It would be nice to check out this vehicle as well as the Vhevy Colt to see which one fit his needs better and/or could be had for the best deal. I bet it would be great to have all the Energi he needs without spending as much as what a decent house goes for in some parts of Texas (or a whole neighborhood in parts of Detroit) just to get more range than a Leaf offers.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You are on a roll today – ROFL!

        Personally – I would say just buy a decent Volvo 940 to keep as a beater 3rd car. $3K will get a nice one, cheap to run, cheap to insure, the kids will fit just fine. Even has a built in booster seat in the middle of the back seat. You will hate driving it, but you will love owning it.

        That M5 isn’t cheap to run, but it is worth every single penny. And considering you will flush thousands down the toilet to lease anything remotely comparable, keeping it in top shape is not such a bad thing. The problem with these cars is when someone who can’t afford to make payments on it AND maintain it buys one used. Presumably this one is long paid for.

      • 0 avatar
        Car Ramrod

        I’d love a Vhevy Colt, but there is no middle seat in the back form my khird tid.

        If I’m gonna presumably put at least 3,000 miles annually on the M5, I’m not sure I can make the business case for a hybrid over an ordinary gas 4 cylinder car for the other 15,000 miles. And let’s face it, I can’t have two cars with no business case while wifey is across the garage getting into her minivan.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          Sure you can. Just sell it better.

          I roll 3 to 1, though Moma bear enjoys taking two of my designated three out on occasion. I will grant however, that my two DD’s cost less than her one though.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        JohnT, he didn’t say specifically what he wanted, only asked for suggestions. The Leaf was originally suggested by Sajeev and I upped it to a new one vs a used one based on another TTAC article showing they can be purchased on the cheap. However, by no means do I compare a Leaf to a Model S as anything similar other than they both are BEVs. With a Tesla, even used, capable of 200 miles or more from its batteries, it could easily handle his since-updated driving habits, offer him a reasonably large car even for carrying family AND save him thousands of dollars in gasoline dollars while giving him a car that offers performance and prestige perhaps superior to that of owning an M5 or Mercedes.

        On the other hand, I would compare the Fiat 500 to a Leaf, as their costs are approximately similar in many ways and it’s hard to argue with 40mpg highway or about $20 per tank of gas if you typically refuel at the ¼-tank mark or less. The performance is snappy and it makes a great little runabout so it’s a lot of fun to drive as well as being economical. You tend to get between 300-400 miles out of the tank, depending on how you drive it.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Since the OP doesn’t really specify a budget, how about a Chevrolet SS, now that they’re available with three pedals? It would only barely help the fuel economy issue, but it might cut down the downtime, and provide and acceptable substitute to the E39 M5.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    I with the solution in search of a problem view.

    He already has bigger problems…a wife who can’t drive, has a long commute and she’s piloting their three kids around.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Yes, this family needs to move house.

      Spend that money on a tax-advantaged mortgage. Upside is that everyone gets to sit down for dinner as a family, every night.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “a wife who can’t drive”

      Where’d you get that? I thought he said both he and his wife have long commutes. Presumably hers isn’t on foot or a bus since she has the Odyssey.

      • 0 avatar
        mikedt

        In the insurance section “my wife is captain crunch”

        with the huge number of miles this family puts on vehicles I’d say they need a couple cheap-ass/high mpg commuting vehicles. And a nice car for when they go somewhere as a family.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          I wish I’d seen the other responses to my question before enduring Urban Dictionary’s possible meanings for captain crunch…

          OK, lotsa minor smash-ups = captain crunch…*that* kind of can’t drive.
          Thanks

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        “Insurance is another story as I married the female Captain Crunch.”

        I know this is ‘Murica and everything, but some people just should not drive. Astounds me the number of people I hear saying his/her spouse gets in lots of accidents, but they see no conflict between that fact and the large number of miles the person is putting in. Particularly with kids riding along.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          The best way to describe her is that she’s not defensive enough. Stuff happens to her often enough that it seems like some of it would have to be avoidable, but I’m never in the car at the time so what do I know? Anyway, no vehicles have been totaled and no (front) airbags have deployed.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    I’m currently on Steve’s plan with my 2002 LS430. I can’t say whether it’s the best strategy for me or not because I’ve already put in $5500 in maintenance/repairs/wear items in the last 2 years. Only $1200 of it was for unexpected repairs, so it’s not like I’ve been broadsided by bad luck. I just happened to need new brakes/tires/battery/timing belt at around the same time. I haven’t even gotten around to all the small electrical stuff that I’ve let go rather than fix. The car’s worth maybe $7k tops with its mileage and condition.

    But I LOVE driving it, so I’ll give it a go for another 3-4 years and see how risk adverse I am. I’ve got a bunch of home renovations, kids braces, and trips planned, so the opportunity costs of buying another vehicle isn’t worth it to me. Plus I have the privilege of 2 other reliable cars, so it’s not like my life depends on the LS running.

    • 0 avatar
      grasscutter

      +1 to this. I have an ’03 LS 430 that needs to last at least 3 more years until youngest son gets out of college. It has 204K and has been rock sold reliable. It is not an M5 but its comfortable, safe, can hold all of the kids and has a huge trunk. I get 22-23 mpg on my commute and 27-28 mpg on the highway. It uses premium but then so does an M5. My neighbor has 6 kids and two LS’s and a Suburban. He buys them used after they have turned over 100K. As the older kids start driving he puts them in the big, safe LS to learn to drive.

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    First world problems. Nothing to see here folks.

  • avatar
    Behind The Times

    I faced a similar question earlier this year. I had a 2008 M5 that I ended up selling for a ’15 Lexus GS F-Sport.

    Factors that entered the decision were maintenance and repair cost of the M5 (10k in 2014), being out of warranty, dealer experience and quality, peace of mind, etc.

    The dealer experience was a big driving factor to me. I actually had a BMW sales guy swear at me once when I asked them to stop spamming me via text about sales they were having.

    The Lexus is rock solid so far but not nearly as fun to drive. I really miss the M5’s motor and I personally liked its styling. I’m not huge on the Lexus grille but I can live with it, the trade off is a fantastic interior and (in my opinion) tight handling and a nice nimbleness. After about a year in the Lexus I can say I’m reasonably happy with my decision, but in hindsight, I maybe should have waited another 12-18 months and seriously considered the GS-F when it came out.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Good to hear from somebody who’s been there. Was your M5 an SMG? For me, the hardest part would be letting go of the manual. I would drive the Lexus, or even a Q50 or TLX if not for that omission.

      • 0 avatar
        Behind The Times

        It was the SMG. I got the “red ring of death” warning last year. Had to get clutch and flywheel replaced at a cost of about $6k CAD at an independent shop. That hurt. My first three cars, altogether, cost less than that.

        It was tough for a while because every tiny thing that was wrong with the Lexus, like a slight rattle from the passenger seat belt, a slight rattle from a headrest (which were both fixed easily and immediately by the dealer) made me question giving up the M5.

        My experience is that in the city, where I do 90% of my driving, it doesn’t matter whether I’m in the GS or the M5, from a driving perspective. Over five years of ownership I probably “maxed” the M5 five or six times. Any spirited driving I do in the city is about the same with both (obviously there would be a huge difference on a track) simply because the difference between 300hp and 500hp is immaterial when your speed limit is 60kmh.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Toyota Camry Hybrid SE. Done. Enjoy the savings of time and money.

    Keep driving the BMW if that is what is important to you. Nothing lesser is going to equal it.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I’d suggest an Accord V6 or Camry V6. Mazda 6 is fine too, or even a Fusion. But buy a lightly used one.

      I don’t understand how anyone can go from driving an iconic M5 to driving a Leaf without suicidal tendencies. That’s self torture.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    I went from an Accord to a ’13 Fusion 1.6 w/ a manual trans. It is downright miserly on fuel on the highway, and its been largely trouble free. 56k miles to date. Yeah, you’re not going to replicate the M fun factor, but I think a manual 6, Accord, or Fusion is a nice compromise since you have to fit 3 kids.

  • avatar
    Scotes

    So I am going to throw in my ¢2 with a little twist…

    At 109k miles I would be inclined to buy, or lease, a new 435i/428i Gran Coupe and sell the M5. No manual and yes it is an auto but it is almost the same size as an e39 – 1” less wheelbase and 4” less overall length – and it will get you pretty similar dynamics given its lower stance over the 3-series sedan. On the 435i, still not sure on the 428i, you can even add a true mechanical LSD which is one of the things that I feel really helps the DSC in BMWs. This has been my experience with it on test drives.

    Now if you are willing to shoulder the upkeep costs on the M5 – as at 109k you are pretty close to or at it getting pricey to do anything other than keeping it on life support – then by all means do so and figure out what you can afford and are willing to drive on the economical side of things.

    Now the twist… I am in this almost exact same dilemma… I have an M5 as well and with frequent city driving am getting the 11 or so mpg. Mine is a late production 03 with only 33k on the clock though – 24k of those are mine over the last 5 years as I have a pretty short commute. So I’ve looked at an A3 sedan and a VW GTI as a commuter car and they are fun but neither of those work once I put the family in them. The CamCord set of cars is not something I’m willing to do as I still want something fun to drive. The big issue is I’m not yet ready to part with the M5 as given its condition, once I do, I know I’ll never find one again in the same condition. As was noted earlier somewhere these are starting to increase in value with low miles – not dramatically by any stretch but looking through auto trader I could sell mine today easily for more than I paid for it five years ago.

    Yes, first world problems but at least it’s a fun one.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Interesting twist for sure. I like the look of the 6 gran coupe, but its waay to big and expensive for me. Ive never seen a 4 GC un person, but it looks good in pics. Could be a good angle. I have thought about a nearly new 335i… Actually a friend bought a 328i 6speed over the weekend and I am supposed to go drive it soon.

      Your situation is a unique one. Your car’s year and mileage will make it an easy sell to EAG, on the forums, or to whomever for good money. Its valuable, but plenty of stuff on these cars goes wrong due to age, not just mileage. Mine is already in expensive territory– in 3 years I’ve done valve seals, the fuel pump, HVAC blower, thermostat, MAFs,pulleys, and struts. Im sure vanos is not far away, and I may need a new alternator.

      I guess Im afraid of putting too much money into it if there’s a catastrophic failure, but at the same time its depreciated far less than the 2011 S4 that I also considered.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    So what is the problem here if your M5 cam do the job? You drive it more often and pay more for gas and maintenance? It should be cheaper than buying a new car right?

    If you only wanted to save money and keep the M5, what about getting a PriusV (the extreme), or a Mazda5 (the other extreme), or lease something that has room for 3 car seats till your oldest can sit up front?

    Leaf is too small, so is regular Prius, so are a lot of fuel efficient cars.

    Come to think of it again, Mazda5 is probably the best solution for you right now.

  • avatar
    Scotes

    For me, my dilemma is that while the M5 can do the job the more miles I put on it the sooner it will start to depreciate and cost more in maintenance and upkeep rather than hold its value and not be a complete money pit.

    There is also the fear that someone hits it and insurance pays out what book says it is worth and not what it is actually selling for. I can get a stated value policy on the car but not if used as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Keep the M5, you’ll take it from 109K to 210K. Any new car will have 100K in 5 years and go from $25K to $10K. Currently M5 is worth ~$15K in five years with 200K miles it will be ~$5K. So your saving ~$5K in depreciation. M5 will use 5,000 gallons of fuel, new car will use 2,500 gallons of fuel so your out ~$6,250 for fuel. Without maintenance your cost is ~$1,000 to drive the M5 over a new car. So maintenance is the wild card. Having taken several cars over 200K (never a BMW and does the M5 use Vanos?) I’ve found that while cost go up they don’t go up greatly (if it does have vanos do a DIY rebuild). I’d keep on trucking.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      The maintenance is probably $3k per year whereas the fuel is actually cheaper than that. I definitely push it when desired and still get 16mpg in mixed driving.

      There is Vanos in the M5..fingers crossed.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The right answer is to keep the BMW if you like it and supplement it with a mainstream midsize sedan of the flavor of your choosing. Worried about the fuel cost then a Camry or Fusion Hybrid are both good choices. If power is a bigger priority than fuel economy there are lots of V6 or turbo options out there. Prefer a 5sp or 6sp instead of a slush box there are a couple of good choices there too.

    If you want something more responsive to drive then just upgrade the tires on those midsize sedans. Stepping up from the Touring tires fitted on most of those cars to a ultra high performance or max performance tire will make a world of difference. Unfortunately many of those tires will cost you MPG vs the Low Rolling Resistance tires that are becoming more and more common as OE.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      This was suppose to be a comment to the above comments not to Scoutdude’s comment.

      The new car will have maintenance as well (oil/filter changes, brakes, tires, etc) its just the high mileage wear items that will be different (plus BMW’s higher costs). I assumed the new car get twice the FE (bit of a stretch) I also had a higher than average value today for M5. In almost any case keeping a car is cheaper than replacing it with new. At 100K miles you’re past the steepest partof the depreciation curve. Keep going but be ready to replace if a large mechanical failure comes along.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “The new car will have maintenance as well (oil/filter changes, brakes, tires, etc) its just the high mileage wear items that will be different (plus BMW’s higher costs).”
        — Unless the new car is a BEV at which oil changes are nonexistent, brakes can last for the life of the car due to regenerative braking and other operations-critical fluids effectively don’t exist. Tires may be your only valid point there and yes, those will likely be the same cost across platforms–but tires typically last for 45K to 60K miles now, giving you two to four years between replacements. And “large mechanical failures” in a BEV tend not to be so large. The battery, at least in a Tesla, is guaranteed for 8 years, unlimited mileage.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    “nickelshit” is my new favourite word….thanks Steve!

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