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Mop

Help with wagon recommendations (first BMW)

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Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade from my current 1999 Caldina GT (NA, VVTI beams - not turbo), I've done close to 200k in this car over the last 8 years or so and it's nearing 400kms now. Still runs pretty well but a lot of the mounts and bushings etc. are end of life. I'm looking to keep it around for a bit longer for dirty stuff like picking up plants, running the dog down to the park etc. if it passes it's upcoming warrant.

Budget is 10 - 15k all in, unless stretching this a little further makes a huge difference. Happier at 10k if I can swing it. I've looked around for a week or so now and whilst I've always avoided euros for (perceived) reliability and parts cost reasons I'm just not seeing anything else in a station wagon with lowish kms in this price range that excites me, except perhaps a GT legacy etc. 

Looking for a wagon, reasonable power (my Caldina is way too sluggish) and ride quality. Would probably fit an aftermarket stereo myself. Towbar would be a bonus, but only used for the odd trip to pick up a few building materials for diy, or to hire a trailer to go to the dump etc.

I'm new to BMW and still getting my head around the model numbers etc. Searching some threads on here it seems like the 6 cylinder engines have a better rep for reliability generally? It appears tidy mid to late 2000s 530i msport spec wagons (e61 I think?) would be up my alley and can be had for 9-15k depending on kms - are these well regarded? 

Not afraid to do some maintenance myself, I did my Caldina's major cambelt service some years ago, radiator, hanger bearings etc. and have recently dropped the subframe on my wife's R53 Mini Cooper S to replace the clutch , various seals, control arm bushings and ball joints etc. - this was a pretty big job for me. If theres a reasonable manual or youtube video and a lift isn't needed I can generally handle it, albeit rolling around under the car in my driveway.

Appreciate any advice you can offer - what would you look for in this price bracket?

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Definitely 6 pot, N52B30 is a peach - E91 330s E61 530s are the wagons. You'll get a nice one with that budget, and have spare for a stereo. I wouldnt consider a 530 sporty or fast, its a big car with an average sized engine, 330 is pretty fun to hustle though. If you want to go fast E91 335 with the N54 engine, but you'll be spending more in maintenance. 

 

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High kms on that tm link, I hadn’t thought about diesel options though.

I assumed a 3 series was more compact than my old caldina, whereas a 5 would be similarish?

Seems to be a few 530i cars on the market at the moment, is BM Workshop still the go to for a PPI in Auckland? I spent a heap with them recently on parts needed in a hurry when my wife’s clutch failed. It’s been a while since we purchased a car but I’m assuming even with CGA through a dealer that a decent PPI would be advisable?

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http://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/bmw/320d/listing/3117655158

This would be my choice in that budget range. Check the oil service history - long life service (2 yr interval) kills the timing chain on these. Slightly higher and you'll be into cheap F31 320d's - same engine in a slightly bigger car (the E91 will be the same size as your Caldina) with a better (ZF 8 speed) gearbox than the 6 speed auto in the E91

http://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/bmw/320d/listing/3108322109

 

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E61 5 series is bigger than the Caldina.  E91 3 series about the same size.

There's little wrong with a turbo Legacy, handsome if not beautiful, good handling, powerful, relatively reliable.  I realize this one is higher KM on it, but it does say it's had it's cambelt and water pump done.

https://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/subaru/legacy/listing/3119132308?bof=2UuwBZ49

Even the 3.6R Outback is worth a look if you want ground clearance and even better reliability.

Add some nice wheels and away you go:

Aftermarket Rims for the 2010 Legacy V1 (CLOSED) - Page 142 - Subaru Legacy  Forums

 

 

Otherwise a cheaper 530i and put some money away for maintenance.

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2 hours ago, balancerider said:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/bmw/320d/listing/3117655158

This would be my choice in that budget range. Check the oil service history - long life service (2 yr interval) kills the timing chain on these. Slightly higher and you'll be into cheap F31 320d's - same engine in a slightly bigger car (the E91 will be the same size as your Caldina) with a better (ZF 8 speed) gearbox than the 6 speed auto in the E91

http://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/bmw/320d/listing/3108322109

 

Sounds like I should look into these diesels. More reliable than the n52 engine?

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1 hour ago, GorGasm said:

E61 5 series is bigger than the Caldina.  E91 3 series about the same size.

There's little wrong with a turbo Legacy, handsome if not beautiful, good handling, powerful, relatively reliable.  I realize this one is higher KM on it, but it does say it's had it's cambelt and water pump done.

https://www.trademe.co.nz/a/motors/cars/subaru/legacy/listing/3119132308?bof=2UuwBZ49

Even the 3.6R Outback is worth a look if you want ground clearance and even better reliability.

Add some nice wheels and away you go:

Aftermarket Rims for the 2010 Legacy V1 (CLOSED) - Page 142 - Subaru Legacy  Forums

 

 

Otherwise a cheaper 530i and put some money away for maintenance.

Subaru is the other way to go but there doesn’t seem to be much in a gt with lowish kms in my price bracket.

If I go 530i I’ll definitely put some parts money aside, learned that the hard way with the mini

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9 minutes ago, Mop said:

Sounds like I should look into these diesels. More reliable than the n52 engine?

I'd say yes provided the service history is decent. Drive nicely too.

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Worth it for the blue velour seat covers alone! No cruise control on that one @qube but it's a fairly easy retrofit. On Michelins all round which suggests it's been looked after.

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9 minutes ago, duluth said:

You were considering selling your E61 530i no?

It has sold last weekend

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Get an E91 325i Msport - you will have plenty of quality ones to choose from at your price point. Enough power too at 160kw and BMW is all about the 6cyls.

The LCI / Facelift (2009 onwards) look even better but come with a 3.0 engine which isn't quite as reliable.

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I know colour shouldn’t be a deciding factor but why is nearly everything available at the moment white or grey/silver? I think the darker colours, dark blue and black etc. look way nicer, might have to hold out for the right one.

Looking to go drive a couple at the weekend to get an idea, might start with these and see how I go:

https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/bmw/auction-3005600026.htm

https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/bmw/auction-3005435097.htm

https://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/bmw/auction-3117655158.htm

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We were in a similar position and went with a jap import E91 LCI N52 325i. Had the CIC converted to English (by the dealer), fixed up the usual oil leaks, 18" BBS LMs and fitted a electrically operated westfalia towbar. Has been a good runner ever since, going on 4 years and 40,000kms later. The LCI looks like a totally different car than the pre facelift. Only complaints would be the msport suspension being super crash even without run-flats (no spare tyre) and the cabin seems quite claustrophobic. 

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2 hours ago, Sammo said:

The LCI / Facelift (2009 onwards) look even better but come with a 3.0 engine which isn't quite as reliable.

This - would steer clear of anything N53 powered. Coils / plugs / NOX sensors all consumables...

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Ended up picking up the dark blue 2005 530i msport wagon I linked. Drove a 325i as well which was a bit sportier but felt a tad small for me. Not many low km diesels around at the moment in my budget, excluding gray/silver/white (fussy I know).

It seems in great nick and drives well, it’s back at the dealer today sorting a spare key and checking out a couple of codes (purge control valve or maybe petrol cap by the look of it).

Looking for a spare wheel kit now and investigating options for Bluetooth integration, might put one of the replacement screens in that retains idrive.

Will no doubt have a few threads in other areas of the forum in due course. Thanks for the assistance.

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