Saturday, December 20, 2008

5 years!

Today marks 5 years that I've owned my 2001 BMW 325Ci. There was a Chevy dealer that I drove past every morning on my way to work which had it on their used lot. This particular Chevy dealer mainly sold SUV's and Corvette's but had a used lot that was always packed with quality european autos that they would get from the other dealers in the vast Autonation Empire. It was a rainy winter day in Los Gatos, California when I decided to stop by there to check it out, not totally intending to buy it that day, and definitely not intending to spend then ext 4 hours haggling with a low life general manager. The lease was about to come up on my previous car a Volvo S40, and I had been looking at various cars to replace it.

Volvo S60R, awesome car, and I had found one with a 6 speed manual... Smythe Volvo had a deal going on a red one with saddle leather, but at $40,000, it was quite a bit more than I wanted to spend.

Infiniti G35, awesome car, and 6 speed manuals weren't hard to find (they were usually hidden in the back lot) but it had just come out and there weren't any used ones out there, not to mention it was still more than I wanted to spend. Cool thing about a G35 are the rear seats that recline. Not to mention, Nissan is to V6's as BMW is to Inline 6's.

Mercedes Benz C230 Sport Sedan, another really nice car, but I had only found one with a manual (in red no less) a few months before I was actually ready to buy. One thing that has always bothered me about this car is that the parking brake is a pedal just like in an old Dodge pickup, and for a car with a manual transmission,having a hand brake for starting on a hill is a necessity. My best friend and his wife have the newer version with a V6 in it, which runs way smoother than the old supercharged 4 banger.

Acura TSX, these had just come out... What a great little car (in spite of being a damned front wheel drive), and that Honda 6 speed, what a great transmission... However, dealers were getting way over sticker for them at the time. Screw that.

Toyota Solara.... This is a car that really surprised me, but the fact that it was a front driver and that a manual transmission wasn't even available with the V6 killed it for me.

Subaru WRX... I've never been so bored with a car in my life. Sure, it was fast, sure it had a manual. But it was boring and the interior was crappier than my Dutch Volvo.

Dodge Neon SRT-4... Fast! But still a damned Neon.

Lexus IS300... Not bad, but nobody had any with a manual. One thing that I've always liked about the first generation car is that it had an inline 6 instead of a V6.... But then you have to look at those damned Altezza tail lights. No thanks.

Which brought me back around to BMW. Which is what I really wanted all along. As a new car, a BMW (or any luxury marque for that matter) is a terrible buy. But as a used car, they make way more sense, especially when it's not sitting on a BMW lot. Stevens Creek BMW and Allison BMW had cars like mine on their lots, but they wanted $6000 to $8000 more than what Anderson Chevrolet wanted. Plus, most of the Certified Pre Owned cars they had on their lots had automatics in them.

My Red 325Ci had only 26,940 miles on it. It had been sold new in New York State 2 years earlier, and somehow wound up in California. It was almost the way that I would have ordered it.

Sport Package (sport seats and Type 44 17" wheels, all 2001 and newer coupes have sport suspension standard)
Moon Roof
Dual Power Seats
Leather (instead of Leatherette)
No Premium package which is good because then it doesn't have that damned fake wood.

However, it doesn't have heated seats. That wasn't a deal breaker back when the coldest morning that I had to deal with was 30 degrees, but now, I would never buy another car with unheated leather.

Black leather looks great, but man it's hot in the summer. Had it been mine to order this car again, it would still be Bright Red, but it would have either saddle tan leather or gray leather.

Now, back to that day 5 years ago. The salesman was a good guy, definitely not a car guy, and definitely not a car business kind of guy. He immediately passed me off to one of those low life cheap suit wearing general managers that makes you wait around while he makes a decision on whether or not to give a deal. Typical American car dealership Bullshit, but since I was getting a such a good deal on the car, it made it to put up with their antics. Even the finance guy was sleezy, he tried selling me one of those extended warranties for something like $4000 extra, unbeknownst to me at the time, the car had already been CPO'd by BMW and had a warranty to 100,000 miles, so I was extra glad that I didn't fall for his sales pitch.

When I finally did leave the dealership that night, I had to go home and pack for a trip to Wyoming for Christmas. So, my Christmas Present had to sit for a week, which drove me nuts.

So here it is, the night that I drove it away from the stealership.

And here it is today, sitting outside of my house here in Cody... Unfortunately the garage I used rent down the street got sold out from under me (damn you Hill Real Estate!).

It now has 112,000 miles on it, and it still runs as great as it did when I got it. Sure, I've given it plenty of maintenance (way more than what the bean counters in Munich deem necessary in this age of "lifetime fluids"), I mean it's a BMW not a maintenance free appliance from Toyota or Honda.

Some may think that I'm nuts for driving around in the winter in a BMW, and I'll just let you go on thinking that your front wheel drive POS Oldsmobuick is better for the winter. The secret is to use dedicated modern non-studded snow tires... I run my snow tires on a set of BMW Type 43 16" wheels, which are the wheels that this car would have had from the factory had it not been born with the Sport Package.

So here's to 5 years of the Ultimate Driving Machine, and the next 5 years, in which it will get Bilstein shocks and struts, Turner Motorsport sway bars, and undoubtedly a new clutch!


At 2:49 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger Sunny said...

UHM...gotta tell you buddy...AUDI is where its out. My parents just bought a brand new A4 and now I am sold and am going to buy one for myself!!

At 2:53 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger Sunny said...


At 4:17 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger a572mike said...

Sunny, I wouldn't have one of those glorified VW's if it were shoved up my ass sideways and would fit comfortably.

At 4:19 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger Sunny said...

then you have obviously never driven one!! but I will let my dad know how you feel about his glorified VW!! do you actually think my dad would buy a car that wasn't top shelf?? i would take that audi over your bmw any day...any way!! 2 more months and i will have one!!

At 5:06 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger a572mike said...

Yes, I have driven Audi's before, which is why I have a BMW. I will admit that I haven't driven a late model A4, but given the chance, I'd definitely take it for a spin. Say hey to your Dad for me.

At 5:12 PM, December 23, 2008, Blogger Sunny said...

I drove a BMW of and on for last 2 years, as my ex has a 335i that he never drove! I of course drive one of those Honda's you gave such a scathing review!! There is no comparison to a late model A4 and a new one!!

I will take my Honda over a high maintenance BMW as well!! lol


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