Normal maintenance on a BMW is not normal for a Honda or Toyota. These vehicles will drive to at least 200,000 on original equipment.
My Toyota mechanic has a Toyota mini van used as an airport shuttle with 400,000 on the original engine and gearbox, and it's going strong.
My Lexus RX has 210,000... All original equipment... Not a squeak or rattle.
Would I rather have a BMW? Yes!! But I have kids and other expenses! In my dreams... :(
If any BMW owner can show me a receipt for $300 to replace cooling system components on a 5 series, I bet the world will beat a path to your door.
The usual Badge-Rationalization from Bimmer-Boyz is always one of these three things:
1. You got a bad example... must be a lot of those I guess.
2. You didn't maintain it so your expectations are unrealistic. Most of the front suspension bushings at 80K? Really?
3. It's a high performance car, so more maintenance. Again, you pay more but you get less? Really?
I love BMW's, but if you think they come from mystical "Land-O-Bavarian-Schumacher" factory... you are going to be disappointed.
They're great cars under warranty; after that, it's spin of the roulette wheel with what you're going to deal with.
I'm a car guy myself and believe you me, I've thought about these cars and yes I've driven a friend's 328. But all of the data on these cars shows them to be money pits when trouble hits!
I have had it with sports sedans. I have an SUV for bad weather and a new Corvette for nice days. They are great and don't live in the shop. The money I was dumping out on repairs allowed me to upgrade. I would possibly go with an Audi with AWE Tuning and a Stage 1 kit if the desire to go back to a sedan ever returns.
$300 is only labour on any car - even a Japanese Daihatsu 3-cylinder car - to get to the odd components, which could only cost a small amount.
Parts cost is heavily biased on where (which country) you are in. Writing in from New Zealand - we haven't got many American cars here, but even owning a Japanese car can make your eyes water if you can't buy parts from a wrecking yard. Without converting currency, how's $850 + GST (15%) for the fuel pump of a Mitsubishi Galant, vs. $600 for an Audi 3.0? Or a $250 coil (one piece!) for a Mazda 323 vs. $75 for a BMW 3-series?
Sure, a Japanese car will break down less often - but once the car hits 10 years old, every car breaks down. And Suzuki or Mercedes, it's not going to be cheap even for a sensor.
The North American market also has the disadvantage of having only the top-shelf (therefore more complicated) versions of these cars; the rest of the world may seem foolish in buying a 318i or an Audi A3 1.6 or the like, but these simpler, less powerful engines are pretty dependable, and with no complications like electric memory seating or having normal non-climate control air con, easier and cheaper to maintain.
You buy the car that suits the market - if parts/repair are extortionate for a certain type of vehicle, go for what is mainstream. But certainly, though no Toyota, BMW is mainstream in many parts of the world, and it can't have become that if it were a bad car. And the perception of prestige is relative - anything common enough is not that much of a status symbol. Especially in places where Mercedes or Audis can run around with hubcaps.
Totally agree with the New Zealander^. People who call out names like Bimmer heads and things like that are only rationalizing the fact that they don't understand why someone who was NOT after status would buy one in the first place. There are "status conscious" groups in every car class. Including those who decide to avoid for those specific reasons. In that case you are just as status symbol conscious as a person who buys for the badge.
Why would you buy one for status symbol reasons anyway?? In Poland BMW's are considered econo cars!! Perception is reality.
To the other comment above, "pay more and get less?" See this is what I'm talking about. The only bad reviews here seem to be folks wanting normal cars yet reviewing BMW's. The "more" would be the entertaining, never boring driving feel, extra safety of superior braking and handling, and the advancement in overall safety technology and chassis advantage. BMW were the first to place a computer on board a vehicle, which ALL cars use today! They were also the first to mount side head curtain airbags in a vehicle... the e39 5 series actually.
While lemons do exist, that's not likely what's happening here. It's because you forgot that BMW's are sports cars and are all about balance. In racing they are mediocre everywhere, making them superior overall. Couple this with the fact that they are meant to be everyday drivers on the street, and you cannot compare it with a front wheel drive Camry, which lacks almost everything else! Maybe the fact that these cars are wolves in sheep's clothing is the reason for negative reviews. If your Porsche needed front suspension bushings every 80k, you wouldn't be complaining because after all, it's a high end sports car and it's not like it has 4 doors or something...
Ever been around a race car? They are the best performing cars in the world, but the service intervals would be horrendous if you were to drive them on a daily basis. So yes, 80k for various front bushings is common and not bad considering the sophisticated nature of the suspension geometry.
You think $300 for a cooling system replacement is hard to believe? Why?? Because you have not done it before? I have done many and you don't have to look hard to see that a new radiator is only $160 sourced from almost anywhere, thermostat is $15 bucks! Where are you looking for parts, the dealership? Who actually cares and knows about what they are driving, and then goes looking for major parts at a dealership or compares it to a vanilla Camry?
No one is going to be lining up at my door for those prices, because people who actually buy and keep these cars often will find this info on their own. If all you want is a reliable Camry, then you are not only missing the point, you are comparing apples and oranges. I'm speaking from personal experience of course. Like the reviewer with the Corvette said, if you are fed up with a sports sedan and the wear and tear it endures, then you should buy a regular ol' Camraccord and have a second "sports" car for the fun stuff. Good day.
People will pay for image or status. Service, durability, and MPG may be of lesser importance than being seen. You may want a 60.00 shirt with a horse or reptile on it, or a handbag that costs more than the dollars currently contained in it.
I started finally learning, after 25 years plus of car shows, that people are not really there to see me; it's my cars. You may get the attention, but it's about the car still.
You are right about driving a Honda or Camry. The sports sedan Acuras, which I owned as well, cost more to service. HID lights, wider speed rated tires vs a regular model. I now drive a new plain crossover 99 percent of the time. It's not going to draw much attention. In fact I prefer it when going through radar traps etc as I am more likely to get a ticket in a car I drive daily. I went back to school; 8 years more at night. A car badge may seem to add credibility, but does it really? I like to be proud of myself vs what's in the parking lot. I also like driving performance cars for the real fun; not what strangers think. But status sells and is a big draw. People often drive themselves deep in dept, and have high credit card balances and car loan debts to achieve it. Kind of sad.
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