Thanks for that. For those keeping tabs on the debate, I have to admit I haven’t ever driven a quality BMW so my opinion is very one-sided. And this post makes me want to try one out.
If you can identify the business end of a wrench, you should do your own repairs. The BMW is one of the most mechanic-friendly cars I’ve ever owned, only bested by my wife’s Nissan. Actually enjoyable to work on, although I rarely get the chance (on either!).
The cooling system is the weak point, from my experiance and others who own them, but they are really easy to work on. Once my original water pump went tits-up, I’ve replaced inferior cheapo units a few times. The plastic impellers just don’t cut it, but they have a life-time warranty, so I just swap em out every couple years. Learn to ignore the “Check Engine” light (always a stupid exhaust sensor) and enjoy the nicest car in the neighborhood! Nothing else seems to have any trouble. Approaching 200k at this time. Keep the rubber rotated and the vibration up front is virtually eliminated (assuming you are too lazy to change the bushing and suspension like I am).
Oil changes are effortless and the design leaves no mess on the floor, unless you are the sloppiest of mechanics.
Benz’s are nice and seem to be reliable. Never worked on one however. I don’t trust the electrics on a Jag and would not want to own one. Don’t know about the Audi, but would like to. I have neighbors with 2 of em (no problems) and a sister in law with a lemon. So there you have it from me.
But that Beemer is a kick in the pants to drive. Even that big bastard 740iL. Stable as a freight-train yet handles like a sports car. I prefer it to my 325i (but its kinda shitty!) in the mountains and it is hands-down better everywhere else. I would really like a 540. I figure it has the best of both worlds. But I’m biased…
Disclaimer: I own a BMW and love it.
I would stay away from the Audi because it is front wheel drive. I personally don’t like front wheel drive cars with anything above a modest amount of power. I expect an AWD Audi would cost more, but it would be worth looking for. I also don’t like MB because the ride is too soft. However, some folks prefer that type of ride. The BMW is going to have the most power out of that group, but If you want to get the full driving experience, I would recommend a manual transmission. However, if you must have an automatic, I think the V-8 Bimmer is the way to go.
As others have noted, all of these cars are going to be expensive to maintain. I think some folks think that a luxury car should not have a lot of maintenance cost, but the reality is the opposite. If you want something fun to drive and cheap to maintain, don’t go German or British. I owned a lemon of a Saab, so I would not recommend Swedish either.
Thanks for the advice, everyone. The maintenance horror stories are turning me off the German, and while I’m not a huge fan of Japanese cars, I’m really liking that Infinity G35. I think I’ll test drive one in the area and, if I like it, check Houston for better deals.
Well, the 2008 did get Consumer Reports’ best buy award, but that’s out of your price range. Again, Infinitis/Acuras/Saabs (the sorta-luxury car buffer zone between luxury cars and your regular cars) still aren’t cheap to fix.
What did you end up buying?