BatmanMW

Going from WRX STI to BMW

35 posts in this topic

Hi guys,

A BMW hopeful here from Auckland. Currently own a 2001 WRX STI, very heavily modified and making 240kw atw. Problem is, lately I've been getting sick of it, it's always been about "that race car life" for me but i think I'm just growing out of it now. The exhaust rumble is beautiful but also way too loud for me now (I used to love it but I must be getting old now??) to enjoy any conversations or music in the car. I doubt I'll ever get anything that drives as well in my price range but I have other priorities now than just performance so I'm looking around and open to recommendations / suggestions.

 

Currently doing my research but very much looking for a 2007-2009 BMW 550i MSport. My budget is up to 20k max, of course my old car will have to sell first (and on the odd chance someone here wants to trade, I am open to offers! :) ) Is this the best place to ask for advice / recommendations or am I better to make a new topic elsewhere? I've been having a hard time googling for details on these gens, the new gen with turbo looks quite attractive but also out of my price range. I want to get something that is more or less the best one within my budget and criteria

 

My criteria in my next car are the following:

  • Stock vehicle, no after market loud exhausts etc.
  • Close to or not far from 100,000 km
  • Looks good (i quite like the style of the 5 series)
  • Relatively comfortable ride but not a spongy feeling, I love the responsiveness of my STI for example and how easily I can flick that thing.
  • Under $20k
  • Decent performance, I don't expect a BMW to be as fast as my old car for my price range but don't want to take too much of a dip down in performance.
  • Prefer things like early torque rather than all out top end performance which is primarily why I've been looking at the V8 BMWs. Having said that, not sure what their power curves are like as haven't had a good look at any dyno charts of stock NZ BMWs.

 

Any and all advice appreciated :)

edit : also this is quite ironic for a Subaru owner to ask but should I be worried about the reliability of these cars? What is the longevity like? is it quite expensive for the yearly/bi-yearl regular servicing? i beleive these models don't have timing belts to worry about but more thinking about engine leaks, transmission issues etc.. i'll probably invest in some kind of mechanical warranty if it's worthwhile in these.

 

My current car below)

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Edited by BatmanMW

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Hey Amrit and welcome to BimmerSport!

Bit of a old Subby fan myself but now a Bimmer guy :)

I think you should look at something like this: https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/bmw/auction-1439430561.htm 

  • modernised LCI variant (arrived in 2007 - you can tell by the gearshift)
  • optional 19"s
  • Alu interior trim is the nicest looking :)
  • Features Dynamic Drive - this is a big help with handling on these big cars @Olaf has driven and compared E60s with and without Dynamic Drive and there's a noticeable difference
  • Hifi Pro - very good sound system
  • Bluetooth phone interface
  • HUD - this rocks - love it in my M5
  • looks like it has aftermarket exhaust tips
  • Includes balance of a mech warranty

In terms of an E60 sedan but not an M5 this is about as good as it gets. When looking at the exact spec, put the rego into Carjam to get the VIN, and then put the last 7 characters into www.bimmer.work/ to get full detail. 

The 550i has 270KW which is a good stack of power so I don't think you'll be disappointed.

This one also looks great: https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/bmw/auction-1395272527.htm - very similar but in Akld and $2K less ..... but with std 18"s and wood trim. It's with a dealer so definitely take it for a test drive.

Costs/risk ...

  • Don't expect lower service costs, and in my experience (admittedly with older/higher kms BMWs than these) with age the plastics and rubbers deteriorate and can require costly repairs -  not so much parts as labour.
  • My advice is always get a warranty/mech breakdown insurance (Autosure/DPL is brilliant)- and keep some $$ in reserve. NEVER spend all of your budget on the vehicle.
  • The biggest things to be aware of is valve guide seals - and make sure your sunroof drains aren't clogged or you can soak your car interior (yes really).
  • Cars with detailed service history are strongly preferable 
  • always get an expert pre-purchase inspection done

There is a very useful guide to E60s attached. 

All the best with your shopping process!!! I think they're fantastic cars.

So You Just Bought an E60 (V3.0).pdf

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 You might prefer the 3 series. Handling will be closer to what you're used to. 
3 series lean closer towards sport while 5 series are more luxury. A 335i would definitely meet your 'early torque' requirement. Even a 135i if you want something small. 

I think you should expect higher service and repair costs than the Suburu. It helps to use an independent BMW specialist rather than a dealer, sometimes you can save by going to wreckers for used parts or buying stuff from international online stores rather than locally. 

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Welcome, Amrit.  Pete has pretty much summed it up, above.  My additional comments re e60 V8:

  • PPI esstential:  DO NOT BUY without a PPI from either a BMW Dealership or a known BMW Independent specialist.  Anyone else just will not know enough about these cars to make the $150-200 you spend worthwhile.
  • Acceleration:  the 550i will give you the punch in the back you're accustomed to in your WRX, it just does it in a different way... it subtly propels you to 100 in the range of 5.4 to 5.7 seconds; I think that falls into the "quick enough" category.  
  • Info:  If you can't find info on the web, you're just not googling hard enough!  There's a bunch of fans of the e60 in the USA.  There's a pdf from one of the forums that is frequently updated called "so you've bought an e60" (or similar), it gives you plenty of what you need to know about these cars.  (I see Pete has provided linkage).   DO Continue to ask here though; we're a welcoming community and all are happy to share knowlege and experience.
  • an e60 - particularly a V8 - will not reward you for scrimping on maintenance.  You're buying a $150-180k car at around 12cents in the dollar; there's a reason it was pricey, and a reason it's depreciated.  Bangernomics does not apply here!   Be prepared to open your wallet along with your heart, as the e60 V8 charms the pants off you and cries out for parts.
  • MBI recommended.  As Pete says, you should consider a comprehensive MBI from a reputable provider.  There's no dissent amongst our ranks that the Vero-backed policies are preferred.  You'll read about valve stem seals and the 550i.
  • 5er vs 3er:  As for the comment re preferring a 3-series, the 5 series is a far more sophisticated car; you'll be surprised about how capable the 'big' saloon is.  True 50:50 weight distribution in the e60.  And yes, I'm hugely impressed with the active anti-roll system Dynamic Drive.  You should try both a Motorsport and a standard (with DD) and then choose what your butt needs.   The 5er is remarkably capable in the bends.  Try them both (3er and 5er).
  • Transmission.  It's the 6-speed ZF trans, it's a BEAUTY.  What it isn't, is lifetime fill as per BMW advertised servicing.  at 100k kms you should spend the money, have the trans serviced by a specialist... this requires new pan/filter, new bolts (x21), mechatronics sleeve, and the correct ATF for this trans.  Do not f$%k around with the ZF6HP series, they'll bite you if ignored.  Do read up on this, it's pretty straightforward - ZF has recommended service periods.
  • Living with it - every time I drive it, it puts a smile on my face.  Great brakes, amazing drivetrain package, 50:50 weight distribution, more power than I need, and reasonable fuel economy on a trip.  The active steering is superb.    People bag the origninal iDrive; I drove a brand new Commodore SV6 for the last two days and although the latest Holden equivalent has continued to improve, it's still nearly impossible to use while driving, in contrast to iDrive.  There are a variety of interior finishes to choose from; take your pick.

In summary:  They're a comfortable, capable, spacious vehicle with excellent safety and a spacious boot.  I call mine an SS Commodore in a German suit.  They're not cheap to keep on the road, though they do reward.

You can hunt out my thread in the showroom that I generally update with maintenance.

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hey everyone thank you so much for being so welcoming and providing so much information. i'm definately a lot less scared to approach the bimmer market now and i'm coming much closer to decide on a car (90% decided i want e60 550i). about the options - i have a lot to learn, recently discovered bimmer.works site so i will check the options there when i find one.

 

also thanks for linking those TM suggestions. there is an amazing looking 540i in white with black leather, that's pretty much exactly what i want except i want its bigger brother the 550i.. https://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=1439618447

 

now i'm being a bit picky but i'm going to keep looking until i find the 'perfect' one in white/with black leather. also agreed with the point about getting a professional to check it, to be honest it would be my first auto car ever in my life so i would have no idea while test driving how to determine whether something is just normal or if it is indeed faulty.

 

it is interesting to read about that transmission, is this the standard 'auto' transmission (zf6) or do i have to look for one with a certain package to get it?

 

i do get the whole thing about falling in love with the car and embracing that it'll be pricey, my subaru is kind of like that in the way that i feel like i need to regularly modify it and in a way by going for a nice comfortable and powerful bmw i was hoping to curb that temptation (i most likely will, as i'd be too scared to modify bmw which would probably void any mechanical warranties i purchase). are there any common items in this regard that people do which void such mechanical warranties? for example i would quite religiously maintain it but certainly not via an official bmw dealer, i would likely change oil/filter myself or take to local mechanic at a relatively low cost.

 

this 550i really is a beautiful car and though i'm still very much in love with my current car, i'm falling more and more in love with getting one of these too! for now i'm just looking within auckland but if i don't find my ideal car within a couple months i may look out of town. it sounds like i may not escape the 'sports car money sink' phase but at least i'll be driving in comfort , and dare i say, in something that better suits my age :)

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I love how the OP comes on, says he really likes a 550, and others start recommending 3ers. :D

How soon before an e92 V8 M3 Coupe is recommended? B)

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Olaf said:

I love how the OP comes on, says he really likes a 550, and others start recommending 3ers. :D

How soon before an e92 V8 M3 Coupe is recommended? B)

 

 

haha people at work also recommended the 335i, i don't blame em cos looking at the specs, it does meet that description i put up. i researched it a bit and its a really nice sport car but i think im pretty set on going for the 550 for now just to see what all the fuss about v8s is about. on paper the 335 looks absolutely amazing though, the fact that it hits a very good peak torque at only 1300 rpm then holds it til about 5000, thats something i'll have to test drive at some point to figure out

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1 hour ago, BatmanMW said:

it is interesting to read about that transmission, is this the standard 'auto' transmission (zf6) or do i have to look for one with a certain package to get it?

nope, they all have the ZF 6HPxx trans.  the V8's have the 6HP26, the sixes have the 6HP19 (from memory).  

It's totally sublime the way it shifts.  They have a sports mode (aka tiptronic in other marques) - sharpens the shifts, holds gears longer, kicks down sooner etc, plus you can manual shift it.

 

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27 minutes ago, BatmanMW said:

...see what all the fuss about v8s is about.

Be warned, after your first V8, you won't go back :rolleyes:.

The E60 is a very well balanced and practical car, I'm sure when you find the right one for you, you will not be disappointed. And don't be put off by the opinion of others regarding the E60's looks (the Bangle thing), it looks pretty good when you're sitting in the drivers seat  :D

Oh - and welcome!

Edited by treone
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47 minutes ago, BatmanMW said:

haha people at work also recommended the 335i, i don't blame em cos looking at the specs, it does meet that description i put up. i researched it a bit and its a really nice sport car but i think im pretty set on going for the 550 for now just to see what all the fuss about v8s is about. on paper the 335 looks absolutely amazing though, the fact that it hits a very good peak torque at only 1300 rpm then holds it til about 5000, thats something i'll have to test drive at some point to figure out

I haven't driven a 335i - very much on my 'to-do' list ..... B)

I think now is an interesting and affordable time to own a V8 - everything (sensibly) is going less cylinders and turbos which is all good - just different.

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15 hours ago, BatmanMW said:

for example i would quite religiously maintain it but certainly not via an official bmw dealer, i would likely change oil/filter myself or take to local mechanic at a relatively low cost.

this will most definitely void any mechanical warranty. the condition is regular timed service intervals which is to be stamped by a verified shop. 

unfortunately, the cost of the mechanical warranty itself is not high but the costs to keep it valid is. 

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1 hour ago, qube said:

this will most definitely void any mechanical warranty. the condition is regular timed service intervals which is to be stamped by a verified shop. 

unfortunately, the cost of the mechanical warranty itself is not high but the costs to keep it valid is. 

You need to get an annual service done by a recognized warranty service agent - of which there are plenty, and the $$ covered by my MBIs WAY outstrip the service cost. 

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only if something goes wrong though..

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Hmm, I don't want to piss on your picnic but whilst everybody else is walking around with a BMW boner I'll tell you one thing:

- There's not a single BMW ever produced for the road that will give you the thrill of a worked STI. None, not even the 1M or the CSL.

Sure, many BMW's can still give you a thrill but up to 180 km/h they'll all feel much slower than your STI. It's a different story above 200km/h but that's rare territory.

I went from a trick TME Evo to an E36 M3 (way back when that was about as much BMW as you could get) and, even with acclaimed prowess of the M3 chassis, the Evo would run circles around it all day, every day. The difference, for two cars produced 24 months apart, especially considering one was half the price, is embarrassing. Until you hit 200km/h then the table is turned. Completely.

You're not going to get the same experience as your STI in any BMW, especially a modern one. They're simply too big and heavy. You will however get a completely different type of experience and once you're used to it you'll probably find it just as enticing. I still own the M3 for this reason. But I'd love another Evo to sit alongside it.

 

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1 hour ago, M3AN said:

Hmm, I don't want to piss on your picnic but whilst everybody else is walking around with a BMW boner I'll tell you one thing:

- There's not a single BMW ever produced for the road that will give you the thrill of a worked STI. None, not even the 1M or the CSL.

Sure, many BMW's can still give you a thrill but up to 180 km/h they'll all feel much slower than your STI. It's a different story above 200km/h but that's rare territory.

I went from a trick TME Evo to an E36 M3 (way back when that was about as much BMW as you could get) and, even with acclaimed prowess of the M3 chassis, the Evo would run circles around it all day, every day. The difference, for two cars produced 24 months apart, especially considering one was half the price, is embarrassing. Until you hit 200km/h then the table is turned. Completely.

You're not going to get the same experience as your STI in any BMW, especially a modern one. They're simply too big and heavy. You will however get a completely different type of experience and once you're used to it you'll probably find it just as enticing. I still own the M3 for this reason. But I'd love another Evo to sit alongside it.

 

true mate in an ideal world i'd probably have both , but not quite at that level yet financially. i fully expect that i will not be able to throw these cars around corners the way i do my STI but i don't yet know to what extent. i've added an alert on trademe so that i'll get email notification for any 550i that comes up from now within my budget. looking out for one in white with black leather interior. im finding myself on the fence a lot but i reckon when the right one comes along, i'll fetch it in a heart beat

 

3 hours ago, TermiPeteNZ said:

You need to get an annual service done by a recognized warranty service agent - of which there are plenty, and the $$ covered by my MBIs WAY outstrip the service cost. 

 

any ideas roughly how much i should budget for these please? car really is purely for fun for me as i take the bus to work (expensive city parking!) during the week. if the servicing prices are exhorbitant then might fail my feasibility (though somehow my car got to the stage it's at so my feasibility obviously is not very strict lol)

Edited by BatmanMW

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6 hours ago, BatmanMW said:

any ideas roughly how much i should budget for these please? car really is purely for fun for me as i take the bus to work (expensive city parking!) during the week. if the servicing prices are exhorbitant then might fail my feasibility (though somehow my car got to the stage it's at so my feasibility obviously is not very strict lol)

$2k5+ per year would be my guideline.  that covers an annual service (about a grand), tyres every couple of years, and some claims excesses on your MBI.  Pretty good for a car that was over $150k when new.  It's not a factory hotted-up japanese shopping trolley!

Sounds like your mileage isn't high if it's weekend fun only... be prepared to travel out of town more, though; it makes long-distance travel very accessable and enjoyable. 

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Take the turbo out of that STI, and what do you get...? (PS - I'd rather push my BMW, than drive in any Subaru) :P

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2 hours ago, Olaf said:

$2k5+ per year would be my guideline.  that covers an annual service (about a grand), tyres every couple of years, and some claims excesses on your MBI.  Pretty good for a car that was over $150k when new.  It's not a factory hotted-up japanese shopping trolley!

Sounds like your mileage isn't high if it's weekend fun only... be prepared to travel out of town more, though; it makes long-distance travel very accessable and enjoyable. 

The 'annual service' is typically only a few $100 and will get done same time as WoF etc. Excesses on MBIs are either $350 or $450. @Olaf's figure of $2500 is reasonable from a total servicing cost perspective.

Good luck with your hunt - agree a 550i in white on black will be nice :) I really enjoyed my 2 Subbys and very nearly bought a 3rd, but decided something a bit more refined was in order.

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11 hours ago, viskop said:

Take the turbo out of that STI, and what do you get...? (PS - I'd rather push my BMW, than drive in any Subaru) :P

heh these are not big displacement cars, the turbo is what brings them to life (which i'm sure same can be said about a fair few of BMWs fine inline 6 racing engines) and for anyone who loves a sporty ride there is a lot to appreciate about the boxer engine. didn't come here to bash subaru nor will i ever. my car has been a real thrill to own and i'm glad i could tick that off my checklist.

 

10 hours ago, TermiPeteNZ said:

The 'annual service' is typically only a few $100 and will get done same time as WoF etc. Excesses on MBIs are either $350 or $450. @Olaf's figure of $2500 is reasonable from a total servicing cost perspective.

Good luck with your hunt - agree a 550i in white on black will be nice :) I really enjoyed my 2 Subbys and very nearly bought a 3rd, but decided something a bit more refined was in order.

if i'm completely honest here i'm fairly put off by that annual total servicing cost figure given by @Olaf. i appreciate the honesty there, if that is the true cost of ownership then i may have to wait a few more years until i climb the ranks at work as the last thing i want to do is be 'one of those guys' who buys such a fine car then leaves it broken down in garage because couldn't afford to maintain or repair it. it does explain why they depreciate so quickly around that 100k mark.

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Have you actually driven one?Go aand drive a couple of 5s and maybe a 330 or 335 and see what you think.You wont always spend 2.5 k a year.Didbt the 2.5 k a year include tyres?You would be up for that withthe subie too

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28 minutes ago, kiwi535 said:

Have you actually driven one?Go aand drive a couple of 5s and maybe a 330 or 335 and see what you think.You wont always spend 2.5 k a year.Didbt the 2.5 k a year include tyres?You would be up for that withthe subie too

nah haven't gotten to drive yet. still looking around for the right one. if that includes tyres then that's a big releif, what else is that 2.5k/yr generally made up of? including the road trip here and there i drive about 5,000 km a year at most. think i only done about 2,000km this year. i would be quite gutted to drive that little and be spending too many hundreds (or even thousands) on basic maintenance.

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I'm pretty sure you're already spending more than $2k per year already on your Subaru.  If you're not, it's just another Subaru WRX waiting to hand-grenade at 180k kms, surely?

Is an estimate of $2k-2k5 concerning you because you don't currently have a clear understanding of what it costs to run a car year to year?  Tax department says around 73c per km this year; I don't have the current AA costs though on previous history they'll be higher (fuel, rego, insurance, maintenance, depreciation).  Yes, at 73c/km that's $7,300 a year based on 10,000 kms running, and most people say "what, how'd they get that?", 'cos they just pay rego, insurance and fuel without thinking about it, suck in their teeth when they get a repair bill, and never think about the cost of depreciation.  

I think you'll find the BMW isn't a lot different to a high performance Subaru needing servicing, diff oils etc, and what about that cabbelt service and sparkplug replacement?  They're costly on Subaru due to access issues.

Suggest you price the parts for an e60 550i:  Retail on Air filter, oil filter, 2x cabin filters, 8 litres of longlife synthetic oil, a couple of hours labour.  There's your annual service covered.  Now add rego and insurance.  Tyres are $1000-$1200 over two years (unless you've got staggered 19's).  Add a $350 excess for one unexpected repair covered under MBI.  $60 for an alignment, annually.  And then add a margin for a service item or two with a couple of hours labour; perhaps it's your suspension end links, or a couple of coils and a set of plugs; these are once-in-100kms items.   Might be the year you do the cooing system service, or the brake fluid replacement; each of these is every two years (it's smoother if they are staggered alternate years), they're not drastically expensive but they must be done.  

Seriously, if that seems expensive, just make "The Sony decision" and buy the appropriate Toyota.  That is, in the same way that buying a Sony product will generally get you a reasonable level of reliability and performance in any consumer electronics segment without needing to compare against anything else in the market, you're basically sorted with a Toyota.

As my mate says, in any given field: "if you play, you pay".  

Hope that helps.

 

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PS:  what's the point of waiting for "the right one" to dip your toe in the water?  Get your ass behind the wheel of a 550i, and a 550i motorsport.  If you like it, you can then do your sums, and find the perfect white one to buy.  And also drive an e90 330i.  I think the complexity and associated costs of a 335i will really scare you off.

Edited by Olaf
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28 minutes ago, Olaf said:

I'm pretty sure you're already spending more than $2k per year already on your Subaru.  If you're not, it's just another Subaru WRX waiting to hand-grenade at 180k kms, surely?

Is an estimate of $2k-2k5 concerning you because you don't currently have a clear understanding of what it costs to run a car year to year?  Tax department says around 73c per km this year; I don't have the current AA costs though on previous history they'll be higher (fuel, rego, insurance, maintenance, depreciation).  Yes, at 73c/km that's $7,300 a year based on 10,000 kms running, and most people say "what, how'd they get that?", 'cos they just pay rego, insurance and fuel without thinking about it, suck in their teeth when they get a repair bill, and never think about the cost of depreciation.  

I think you'll find the BMW isn't a lot different to a high performance Subaru needing servicing, diff oils etc, and what about that cabbelt service and sparkplug replacement?  They're costly on Subaru due to access issues.

Suggest you price the parts for an e60 550i:  Retail on Air filter, oil filter, 2x cabin filters, 8 litres of longlife synthetic oil, a couple of hours labour.  There's your annual service covered.  Now add rego and insurance.  Tyres are $1000-$1200 over two years (unless you've got staggered 19's).  Add a $350 excess for one unexpected repair covered under MBI.  $60 for an alignment, annually.  And then add a margin for a service item or two with a couple of hours labour; perhaps it's your suspension end links, or a couple of coils and a set of plugs; these are once-in-100kms items.   Might be the year you do the cooing system service, or the brake fluid replacement; each of these is every two years (it's smoother if they are staggered alternate years), they're not drastically expensive but they must be done.  

Seriously, if that seems expensive, just make "The Sony decision" and buy the appropriate Toyota.  That is, in the same way that buying a Sony product will generally get you a reasonable level of reliability and performance in any consumer electronics segment without needing to compare against anything else in the market, you're basically sorted with a Toyota.

As my mate says, in any given field: "if you play, you pay".  

Hope that helps.

 

ok thanks mate appreciate the advice and didn't mean for it to sound like i was insulting you or BMW by any means. This thread is about me getting my head around moving on to the BMW world from what I'm used to and also in part to investigate if it is actually feasible for me to do so. I was specifically inquiring about BMW (and more specific to e60 550i maint costs), not generic AA estimates, rego, insurance or anything else that applies as a blanket overhead to any/all motorvehicles - you are right when you bundle all that up it's not that big a deal! i was just scared because i thought you meant simple oil / filter changes and such will cost me $2.5k a year - this i did not expect, haha. 

 

This thread is not about Subarus but to clear any rumors or misunderstandings there, you'll be surprised at how low maintenance a Subie not owned by some boyracer kid can be. Unabused, this particular model I have cost bugger all on maintenance as has had all modifications done professionally and after market ecu installed to properly dyno tune it rather than download some generic flash tune off internet as most would do (though this unfortunately also applies for BMW as i see shops offering generic flash tunes on those in NZ too). They do get a bad rep because they're highly accessible so you get the young crowd that wind up the boost, perform significant upgrades without properly dyno tuning vehicle and later complain about how it blew up. Yes they do have cambelts unlike the N62 which has chainbelt but the cost is nothing worth writing home about, it's $1k (inc. parts and labor) every 80,000k's or 6 years, whichever comes first. Regular oil changes are about $250/yr at the local mechanic, even though i don't drive much i change mine 3-4x a year and just do it myself as when I do drive it, I drive it quite hard so i like that peace of mind. Sparks don't have to be changed that often when your vehicle is tuned properly and you are running the right fuel in it to suit that tune. When I do have to change it, i'll just do it myself, it's not annoying but not difficult :) . In all seriousness even if the poor motor blew up, i could get a brand new Ej207 motor to replace for $2.5k NZD figure at which point most owners decide to 'build' the motor so it's ready to push more power when it goes back in.

 

Having got the above out of the way, my reason for moving on is not financially driven in the purest sense, if it were i'd just sell car and not have one at all - barely need one for the little driving that i do. I just want to make sure that when i get one, i can treat her right and won't be constantly paranoid about something blowing up.

Edited by BatmanMW

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