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      01-08-2008, 03:19 PM   #1
nmulax
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Question best car under $30K?

I've been mulling this over for the past week; and for the most part, I think I've made my decision. But come'n guys, 37 views and 1 response. You can do better then that. I left the original post below the line; so if you have any comments regarding it, I'd still like to hear them.

I'm listening to the voice of reason.
Figure financial security outweighs a sweet car... the sweet car will come eventually.

So my new mission is to find the best coupe under $30k. Yeah, I'd prefer a coupe, and obviously coming from the E90, I'd like something that's a driver's car and has a high-quality fit/finish.
Right now, the cars on my short list are the VW GTI, Mini Cooper S, and Mazda RX-8. Plan to go test drive each this weekend. Any opinions on these cars, or suggestions for others to check out?



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So I'm trying to decide which car to get; and weighing the financial impact each choice would have.

Found a beautiful brand new 2007 M coupe for a good price. It's everything I want in a car. 2 door coupe, RWD, great lines, powerful, unique (for a general production car), and Bavarian.
Only downside is the price. Well, that and the fact that when bartending on Friday and Saturday nights, I'd probably park a block or two away and walk or cab it to work. I feel uncomfortable already if a customer sees me pull up to work in a 3er. But yeah, the price would be about $75 a month more then I'm paying for my E90. Not a huge increase, just that as it is now, I put about 15-20% of my income into savings each month; minus the occasional unexpected expense. So could I pay for it?.. Yes. But if my financial situation changes for the negative, then so would my ability to pay for the car.

The other option, would be to listen to the little voice in my head telling me to be practical.
So I'm debating getting a VW GTI or maybe a Mini Cooper (though if I add the JCW package it's nearing $40k). That way I get a 2 door pocket rocket for about $30k. Sure it's not FWD, or a BMW, but it gets me around and cost less to operate/maintain then the BMW.
This way, I could put an extra 15-20% aside and into my savings. This money would be a nice base for either a condo purchase, a downpayment on a new car in a few years (keeping the hatchback as my daily driver), or just fun money for vacations, getting back into snowboarding, a new tv and xbox360, etc.

A big reasoning for these thoughts, is that my father's health isn't great.
I figure this would give me the option of bailing on work, and still paying my bills, so I could spend time with him if his health takes a turn for the worse. The last thing I want is to regret not spending time with him; something I can never get back. Then again, he could be around for another 20 years... you never know.
I mentioned this to him; and his response is. "If I die, the life insurance will go to you, and you won't need your savings anyway. Why would you want to spend money driving something that's not the car you want?" Not the answer I was looking for.

I know there's no right or wrong answer, and either way, I realize I'd be fortunate to drive whichever car I do. Many of my peers would love the ability to even consider this choice.
I guess I'm just looking to see what everyone else has to say. Do you follow your passion or your logic?

- Adam
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      01-08-2008, 05:56 PM   #2
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VW is good but z4 is just amazing!

Don't flame me bro but, why not a 335i???
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      01-08-2008, 06:18 PM   #3
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Cause the E92 335i is $15k more then the VW or Mini.

The Z4 M Coupe I'm looking at is $44k since it's one of the last '07s out there. A 335i is going to be in the mid $40s. For the same price, I'd choose the M all the way.
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      01-09-2008, 03:14 AM   #4
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A VW GTI or Mini is not a coupe. they are "hot hatches". In Australia for under $30,000 you really could not get much, but in Lovely America you can obviously get a lot more car for the money. Without being biased I can recommend (as I own one) a new Mazda MX5 coupe/roadster. It is a coupe when you want or a convertible when you want. Other good choices would be a used 350z, 330ci,
350slk,Alfa gt, Corvette, Boxster. So many choices. Sorry Boxster is not a coupe, but!
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      01-09-2008, 06:46 PM   #5
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MazdaSpeed 3. I love it!
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      01-09-2008, 08:30 PM   #6
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I say keep as much cash in savings as possible and pounce on cheap real estate once the property market bottoms out.

and i'd go for the GTI
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      01-09-2008, 08:50 PM   #7
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if you cant afford that M go for the mazdaspeed3 that was suggested. i have never driven one but all the reviews are great and place it ahead of the mini and the vw.
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      01-09-2008, 08:58 PM   #8
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you could argue gti, mini, or ??? I love my gti and this is coming from an m3, a mercedes and a 328. If you get one you should buy it because they don't lease well.
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      01-09-2008, 09:41 PM   #9
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The Mazdaspeed3 easily fits your description. Well, all except for that coupe bit. If you can get past the hatchback design (which actually looks really good imo) then you should give it a try. The RX-8 is a great car, and with a facelift due in the near future prices should drop. The VW GTI is a great car as well. I hear a chip will give you serious gains.

They're all worth a drive. In the end it's up to you to go try 'em out...glad to see that you're going to do that soon.

Of course on this forum you're going to get suggestions of a 330Ci, but I think the only e46 worth getting for that money is a ZHP post-facelift model. Hard to find.

Good luck hunting.
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      01-09-2008, 10:08 PM   #10
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if you are thinking small hatchbacks, why not the Audi A3? good looks, awesome DSG, nice engine, Audi interior, i like it, its just too small for me lol
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      01-09-2008, 10:34 PM   #11
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I heard that it wasn't all that good.^^^

Love the looks, and the interior is pretty good (not up to Audi standards imo, but that's a pretty high bar), but I heard that it didn't drive all that well, and that the quality was subpar.
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      01-09-2008, 10:36 PM   #12
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Save up at least 6 months of expenses FIRST. This will cover the situation with your father or any other unexpected turn of events. Keep your '06 330i and pay it off early. Then save for the car you really want, use the 330i as daily driver.
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      01-09-2008, 10:58 PM   #13
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Mazdaspeed 3 or GTI or wait for the new TSX
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      01-09-2008, 11:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog 6 View Post
Save up at least 6 months of expenses FIRST. This will cover the situation with your father or any other unexpected turn of events. Keep your '06 330i and pay it off early. Then save for the car you really want, use the 330i as daily driver.
If you have the patience, that'd be a good idea.
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      01-09-2008, 11:08 PM   #15
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I know you said coupe, but you should really consider the Subaru Legacy GT.
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      01-10-2008, 01:18 AM   #16
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The Speed3 and A3 are two more to check out this weekend - looks like I have a busy day Saturday. Even the Scooby merits a look.
I just hate making these kinds of decisions... always worried I'll make the wrong one and regret it later.

On the way home from work today instead of debating "what car do I want", I was thinking "what don't I like about my car?" Everyone thinks I'm crazy for this, but I know you guys can understand; after owning a BMW, everything else (in my budget) feels so disconnected from the road.

Really, my two issues with the E90 are the fact that it's a sedan (I prefer two doors), and the 45k mileage. In reality, the mileage is high, but not insane for a two year old car. And since I bought it new, I know how it's been driven, service history, etc.
The reason for dumping it would be to cut my expenses, and invest more into savings.
Not sure if this is an option (don't see why it wouldn't be) but I was thinking I could refinance for what I owe - plus the money I need for the extended warranty/maintenance. That way I could stay in a BMW, a car that I'm confident in it's ability to last, and I could lower my monthly payments.


The other thing I began thinking about would be to get an E36 M3s.
The lower mileage ones - under 75k, seem to be around $20k. It's already taken it's biggest depreciation; and even if I drop $5k into it for repairs, it's still cheaper then any of the new cars. In theory, I should pay it off faster then it depreciates further.

My concern is what's the upkeep like on them once they hit the six-digit level? Also, are there any specific years to stay away from? Basically, is it a smart move to get a 75k mile car as a daily driver? I need something that'll provide 3 or so years of fun/reliable transportation.
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      01-10-2008, 04:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmulax View Post
The Speed3 and A3 are two more to check out this weekend - looks like I have a busy day Saturday. Even the Scooby merits a look.
I just hate making these kinds of decisions... always worried I'll make the wrong one and regret it later.

On the way home from work today instead of debating "what car do I want", I was thinking "what don't I like about my car?" Everyone thinks I'm crazy for this, but I know you guys can understand; after owning a BMW, everything else (in my budget) feels so disconnected from the road.

Really, my two issues with the E90 are the fact that it's a sedan (I prefer two doors), and the 45k mileage. In reality, the mileage is high, but not insane for a two year old car. And since I bought it new, I know how it's been driven, service history, etc.
The reason for dumping it would be to cut my expenses, and invest more into savings.
Not sure if this is an option (don't see why it wouldn't be) but I was thinking I could refinance for what I owe - plus the money I need for the extended warranty/maintenance. That way I could stay in a BMW, a car that I'm confident in it's ability to last, and I could lower my monthly payments.


The other thing I began thinking about would be to get an E36 M3s.
The lower mileage ones - under 75k, seem to be around $20k. It's already taken it's biggest depreciation; and even if I drop $5k into it for repairs, it's still cheaper then any of the new cars. In theory, I should pay it off faster then it depreciates further.

My concern is what's the upkeep like on them once they hit the six-digit level? Also, are there any specific years to stay away from? Basically, is it a smart move to get a 75k mile car as a daily driver? I need something that'll provide 3 or so years of fun/reliable transportation.
Ok, THIS WILL BE LONG.

As someone who owns both an E92 and E36 M3, ive done a good amount of research, so ill let you know what i know, in regards to the E36.


You can get a real nice E36 M3 for much less than 20k. Also, dont focus on mileage. A higher mileage E36 that has been taken care of is much more desirable than one with 50,000 miles and hasnt been taken care of.

The main areas with these cars are cooling systems, rear trailing arm bushings, and shock mounts. Of course to go along with typical BMW electronic gremlins. Also, the interiors have been known to have a few annoying rattles.

Basically these cars are solid well into the 200k mile areas. Hell a guy on bimmerforums has a 600k mile E36. The engines on these cars will go forever, assuming you maintain it and keep your eye on the problems mentioned.

This is a good link, basically says what i have already mentioned, but in better detail

http://edgemotorworks.com/index.php?...d=24&Itemid=55


BTW, this is my vote. I love my E92, but its my E36 i take out on those nice perfect driving days

Also, the aftermarket for these cars is outstanding.

There arent any specific years to stay away from. Basically, it comes down to this.

The 1995 have the 3.0L engine with OBD1, which is easier to tune, and i believe is the choice of most hardcore tuners, racers, etc.

1996+ have the 3.2L, with OBDII, slightly more ft-lbs tourqe and better midrange, where the 3.0 is better uptop. Engine is slightly more difficult to get power out of, and cuts off power above 5500rpm, thanks to the intake manifold.

Im partial to 1998.5-1999 as they got the newer much nicer 3 spoke steering wheel, sub frame reinforcements, and rear headrests.

Well there ya go. Hope that helps.
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      01-10-2008, 06:44 AM   #18
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i think on the list the car that would feel most like a BMW might be the A3, its a little expensive tho. next would be the GTI, its a little cheaper but stil a good car.

Plus theres a little bit of modding you could do to the A3 if you get the 2.0T
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      01-10-2008, 06:51 AM   #19
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A3 all day long...

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      01-10-2008, 11:22 AM   #20
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I vote 350z...but then again i have a soft spot for them.

great looks good power awesome handling... lots of standard features....what else could you want
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      01-10-2008, 11:28 AM   #21
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evo RS!
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