Hi all. I have been reading some postings on the forum and it seems like there are some very knowledgeable bimmer owners here. For my next car I'm considering a bmw 325i. Since I'm on a budget I probably will have to get a CPO, but I don't want to get anything older than an '03. Does that sound unreasonable or ridiculous? My reasoning is the late model years probably have most known problems fixed up and I'll still have some warranty. Sorry so long... Here are my questions:
1. If you own both BMWs and Jap cars, how would you compare/rate their reliability, maintenance frequency, and maintenance costs? I'm hearing such horrific stories about how much higher the maintenance costs are for BMWs vs. say a Honda/Toyota.
2. Do most of you bring your car to the dealership (after warranty expires) or your own bmw specialist/mechanic to have things fixed? Does it really make a difference in savings?
3. Have you ever bought a CPO BMW E46? If so, what's your opinion of their warranty and service? Are the CPOs truly "trouble-free" as advertised since they're supposedly inspected inside/out by professionals?
4. Where does the stock of CPOs usually come from? I understand many originate from expired leases. What about those who turn in their cars before the lease expires? Should I be wary of that? Does that mean something may be wrong with the car that's why they returned it before the lease expired? I'm concerned about the previous owner and how he/she treated the car. Also worried that even some new cars have the common problems like control arm bushing/slipping transmission/regulators, etc.
5. If you have the navigation system in your bmw, is it easy to use? Worthwhile to get? My problems is I often get disoriented so I think the nav might help?
6. If I end up getting a new 2004, should I wait till end of year for any markdowns or incentives? Not sure if these exist for bmws. I'd prefer to get a new car since I can get the color/options I want, but it is most likely out of my budget. With a CPO I may be able to get a better deal with some of the depreciation out of the way. Then again...concerns about mechanics...
I appreciate any comments/suggestions. Thanks.