Recommend a BMW for my wife

So after 3 years, my wife has abandoned her Mini Cooper. It was fun for a while, but this last year has been one problem after another, and the most recent issue (over the last couple months) was the death blow–after numerous trips to the garage (always a certified Mini-dealership) trying to isolate some recurring problems, it turns out that the main computer in the car is fried…and that there may be even more issues with the car stemming from this failure (as well as their failure to notice it much sooner, as we’d expect). This’ll cost us well into the thousands. So, adios Mini!

Now that the car’s toast, we need a new one. The problem is that if we do a trade-in with the BMW/Mini dealership, we’ll get a much better deal than if we were to do it anywhere else. She has taken glances at their lot before, but never seriously, and after taking a longer look at their cars, she’s still not sure.

Part of her really misses her (now my) '93 Honda Civic hatchback. She’s been eyeing a Yaris and has a strong attachment to the hatchback-type models. She’d get a hybrid if she didn’t think they were all so ugly, so she’s really not sure what to do.

So, are there any BMWs out there that are more along a hatchback line of thinking/living? I’m not really sure if that question makes sense (I know zilchola about cars), but if she could find a BMW that will better suit her particular interest, than it’ll be easier for us in the long run with the trade-in. I guess it doesn’t have to be a hatchback per se, as long as it has a feel/functionality that leans more toward Practical than Posh.


The only BMW I’d buy (aside from a MINI or an Isetta) is a 2002. But then, I’m funny that way.

Well the BMW 3 series are wonderful cars - in the same respect as a Mercedes Kompressor. It comes down to how your wife drives, and her attachment to her vehicle. I’d assume if she simply wanted a hatchback she’d go out and spend 26k on a hatchback civic hybrid or somesuch Honda. However, she drove a mini, she likes being out of the fray if you will, meaning she likes to be in what she drive for aesthetic and other personal reasons.

Check out the 3 series BMR and if she likes them, or check out the Mercedes Coupe - my wife loves her 05’ coupe CLK.

Any particular model? Buying a used car is fine in my book, as long as it’s in good shape…

BMW 2002.


I loved my 3 series wagon - the least posh and most practical of the entire BMW line up.

IME the back end doesn’t track well at speeds over 100 mph. Other than that it’s a fine vehicle.

You can pick up used 7 series with low miles (sub 100) for a song! Just stay away from the 12 cylinder ones. Power everything, leather, premium sound (ha ha!), space for 5, trunk that will hold 6 dead hookers, autobahn speed, North Ring handling.

On second thought, if you don’t wanna work on them, slum and get a Honda.

Example: Me an a long-time buddy have the same car. We both had similar problems. He took his to a mechanic and spent $2200+. I got parts on-line and spent 5 hours and $200. Plus, it was a joy to work on! Such craftsmanship! I was honored to participate in the experiance!

Anybody that won’t work on thier own car should buy a Honda.

I agree with Gato. The parts for BMW’s are exorbitant. I had the fuel pump replaced in my BIL’s 1988 BMW 3 years ago for 2 grand. :eek: Personally, I’d sell the present car on something like and find a nice Honda or Toyota. BMW’s are great cars but when they start needing repairs, it can get in your pocketbook right quick like, if you don’t have the means to do your own work.

I could be biased, seeing as how I own 4 Hondas and a Toyota. YMMV.

Sounds like what the OP’s wife wants is the BMW 1-series, their first hatchback model. Unfortunately, BMW don’t sell it in North America. I’m not sure why, because it’s very successful over here.

The same reason you don’t see Mercedes A-class cars in the US; because BMW has positioned itself as a “premium” brand in the United States and doesn’t want to tarnish that image by importing economy cars. (Europeans find it amusing that Mercedes and BMWs are so revered over here; on the Continent, they’re considered a good car, but most of them you see are the sub-compact, not the big 5- and 7-series). And it’s probably not worth homogenizing them to US regulations just to compete with the already established and successful Civic and other Japanese compacts. That’s brand management for you. (Don’t get me started on that topic; brand management is one of the most idiotic things to come out of “business theory” in the last 100 years.)

Regarding a BMW, I concur with Gatopescado and NinetyWt: they don’t nickel and dime you to death, they Grant and Franklin you into an early grave, particularly on labor costs. And if you get an M-car, kiss away your retirement fund; parts on those suckers are 3-4 times the cost of parts for a comperable non-M chassis. Wonderful handling cars (at least on dry pavement) but the price of maintaining them is in the stupid money range. Also, don’t focus on the trade-in; sure, they’ll give you a better deal, and then take it back out on the price of the car. They’re not going to take a loss on it just to sell to you.

I’d recommend the Honda, or if your wife wants something that can shove a bit and cling to the pavement like a kitten on a curtain, you might check out the all-wheel drive Subaru WRX. (Subaru just revamped the WRX so that it doesn’t look nearly as googly-eyed as the previous generation, and the hatchback looks much better than the sedan, IMHO.) The Mazda MazdaSpeed 3 is another option, albeit FWD only. Both are reliable, good handling hatchbacks with a reasonable amount of space, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to maintain.


That’s a good point. But BMW and Mercedes are up-market brands here too. The 1-Series and A-Class are astonishingly expensive for cars that serve the same purpose as, to arguably no better effect than, the Ford Focus or Opel/Vauxhall (GM) Astra. They’re not even especially reliable. But the brands are so strong that people happily pay the money.

Try something like this, I know 152 horses doesn’t seem like all that much but in this format its plenty.