Are BMWs fairly reliable these days?

My beloved Nissan 370Z will turn 10 years old in February, and even though she only has 67,000 miles she’s starting to show her age in the form of some costly repairs (and the #$%^& “service engine soon” light came on yesterday; I just had her in a month ago!). I’m 95% sure I’m going to buy something new in December/January, and at the top of my list is a BMW M240i.

Historically, IIRC, BMWs have had some reliability issues. How are they today?

The guy at my shop told me to expect something comparable to my 370Z; i.e., “pretty good for a few years but then maintenance becomes expensive.” He said they aren’t “drive it forever” cars, but that if I’m OK with the idea of replacing it in 5-6 years it could be a good car for a while. Does that sound about right?

I’m not too worried about the cost of ownership; I’m used to ev-er-y-thing about my 370Z being expensive. I’m just hoping that I shouldn’t expect worse-than-average reliability (if I take care of it, of course).


That M240i looks like a lot of fun.

A couple of friends have recent BMWs and they haven’t been super reliable. Each has been to the dealer a couple of times for minor issues. As recent lessees, they get free loaners so its just a minor inconvenience but similar issues after the warranty period could be costly. Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend recent BMWs due to mediocre reliability (except for the X3) but if we all listened to Consumer Reports, we would all bore ourselves to death driving Toyota Camrys.

You can still buy the 370Z new and it should seem very familiar to you. But if you want a change, maybe consider a stripper Porsche Boxster or Cayman? Both cost to purchase and maintenance are likely to be a bit higher than the BMW but I think I’d prefer a Porsche.

I’m sure it’s just confirmation bias, but in my experience, its the other way around. The old ones run forever, the newer ones are problematic.

But that is because I only have the old ones. :smiley:

My sister-in-law has a BMW that is less than two years old and just had to have the transmission replaced. It was under warranty, but still…

Yeesh. This is kind of what I was afraid of. :frowning:

It is nearly impossible to find exactly what I want:
[li]Two doors[/li][li]Manual transmission (important!!!)[/li][li]Reasonable trunk space[/li][li]Less than $60K[/li][li]New[/li][/ul]
The M240i is really the only car that checks all of the boxes, plus it has decent horsepower (the same as my current car). In second place is a Mazda Miata, which I have trouble imagining as my only car because of the all-but-nonexistent trunk. I also wonder how it will feel to go from 332hp to just 181hp.


If I wanted another 370Z, would I have started this thread? :smiley:

Nope, I’m not a Porsche person. Plus, I want new; I’ve only had two new cars in the 32 years I’ve been driving (I bought my Z used in 2013 with only 16,000 miles on her).

As the owner of a 2019 Miata, I can tell you that while 181 hp doesn’t sound like a lot, in such a lightweight car it’s feels faster than you’d expect. Albeit when people ask me about it I always tell them “fast” is a relative term. Is it faster than most of the regular sedans and SUVs I encounter on the road? Yes, definitely. Is it fast compared to other sports cars? Probably not. I like to say it’s just fast enough to be fun, but not so fast that it’ll get me into trouble. But really the fun part is going around corners. Even just taking a left turn at an intersection faster than you would in a regular car puts a smile on my face during my commute.

But yeah, the trunk is tiny. For me it hasn’t been much of a problem yet, and if you don’t have a passenger the passenger’s seat is of course also available for carrying stuff.

Yeah, the Audi TT is automatic only now, as is the new Supra. Fine if you don’t like Porsches (though I do) but the Boxster and Cayman each start right about $60,000 so they technically qualify. New mid-engine Corvette (though it’s also automatic only)? They’ll be tough to get for $60,000 right now but if you hold off for a year or so…

Or spend half your budget on a Miata and 10% of your budget on a supercharger. 2400 lbs and 225 horsepower is pretty good performance, roughly in line with your 370Z. Save the rest of the money for maintenance and repairs. If you’re in Northern Virginia. PBC Automotive is the best shop for work like this.

Also, nice car WildaBeast!

Your requirements would also match a Toyota F86 or Subaru BRZ. Add a Stage 2 turbo kit and supporting bits for $10k and you still have money left plus a canyon carver that’ll eat almost anything short of a hypercar on the twistys.

It sounds like you may prefer an import, but I’ll note that a Ford Mustang checks at least four, if not all five, of those boxes. They still offer a stick, all of their engines are at least 300 HP, and if you go for a GT (which should still come in well under $60K), you’re at over 400 HP.

The only thing I can’t vouch for is trunk size, but I have a '12 Mustang (the previous generation), and it has a surprisingly roomy trunk. I can easily get two big suitcases into it, and still have room for smaller items.

Reading this makes me think I must be luckiest BMW owner alive. I’m on my third 3 series. Kept them until about 200,000 miles with no major work done. Never had either transmission or engine problems. Replaced the clutch on one at about 140,00 miles that included two teenagers learning to drive a stick shift. I plan to keep buying them.

Anecdotal data:

'09 BMW 135i - bought new, just traded a couple months ago. No major out-of-warranty expenses other than typical maintenance. It had an a/c refrigerant leak when I sold it; I imagine that would have been costly.

'10 BMW X3 35i - bought new, traded in earlier this year. about $1k in out-of-warranty repairs thanks to an oil leak at the filter pedestal that somehow killed the water pump.

Had three BMWs before that, two 3 series and a 5 series, but traded all those in when the warranty ran out, so no additional expenses there.

I seriously considered the M240i this summer; it was the leading and frankly only contender in the ‘fun car’ category for me. I loved that 135i, but just don’t drive much these days. Plus I have my Ducati for the real fun. So I moved on, but if I come across some sudden windfall, I might be back in the M240 game again.

Volkswagen Golf GTI or Golf R

they may not have the “cachet” or name-recognition of the BMW’s, but they are great little hot hatches, I’ve had great luck with my two Golfs (2007 MkV Rabbit, 2012 MkVI Golf TDI), no neither of mine were GTI, but the chassis has the same nimble, tossable feel, the utility of the hatchback is also a great thing, hatchbacks are immensely useful and practical.

It isn’t a 2 door, but I’ll 2nd MacTech’s nomination of the VW Golf R. It’s practical, makes 300hp, gets 32mpg highway if you can keep your foot out of it. My 2017 is the best car I’ve ever had. Thanks to all wheel drive, it will outrun your 370Z. If you want more hp, you get the ECU reflashed for $600, and then you have 350hp.

I own a 2006 Z4. Haven’t had a single problem with it!

Of course, I’ve only owned it for three weeks. :stuck_out_tongue:

Check out this list of The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Maintain. Can you guess which model takes the #1 spot? Yes, it’s BMW!!! Upon hearing the news, BMW owners replied, “Well, duh!”

I’m on my 3th BMW (328xi, 330xi, X3) and I’m thinking about getting the new Z4 (also, maybe the X7). I’ve never had a serious problem with any of them and I drove them hard. They’re fun, and they’ve got a great warranty if you’re worried about issues. Get the BMW.

May I suggest that the OP consider an EV for his next car. At least take a test drive just to see what they’re like.

OK, I can see half the board groaning “oh god, another Tesla fanboy!” Well, I’m not one of those. I don’t own a Tesla, nor do I own Tesla stock. But then I don’t own an ICEV either. My main reason for encouraging EV ownership is that it reduces the amount of pollution I have to breathe while bicycling.

You Go, Sunny!

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