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Dec 03, 2011 (10:44 am)
I'm looking to purchase an inexpensive, older convertible (ideally a 2 seater) that I can keep for years to come as a second car. I'd like it to be reliable, fun to drive, won't plummet in value, and a car that, if something breaks, there's information out there to teach me how to fix it. I'm pretty young, and I don't know a whole lot about cars (although I am pretty handy), but if I learn on the way that's great. I don't want it to start out as a project car, but if over the years it gives me some projects, I'm okay with that. I'm thinking about an older BMW Z3. According to edmunds prices a 96 would should come in at about 4-5k. I'd also consider the Honda S2000, although the entry price seems to be about double what I could get a Z3 for (although it would be a newer car). I thought about the MR2 Spyder but heard that it has an unpleasant exhaust note, the Audi TT, but given Audi's reliability that thought concerns me, and the Miata really doesn't do anything for me visually. Are there any other cars I should seriously consider? Would appreciate thoughts from some that have gone before me. Thanks all!
#1361 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [hambonecampana]
Dec 03, 2011 (11:54 am)
Well, since you shot down the miata, the z3 is your car. Unless you want to spend the dough on the Honda, the bimmer is the only other reliable and easy to work on model. Stick with the 6 cylinder, IMHO.
#1362 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [qbrozen]
Dec 06, 2011 (6:19 am)
Totally agreed-- the early year 4 cylinder Z3s were terrible. Compare the inline six to the S2000s and see what you find out. I doubt the gap is as wide as you think, and the S2000 is a much faster, more sporty car than any except the M Z3 which I doubt is on the table.
#1363 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [colin_l]
Dec 11, 2011 (2:21 pm)
You absolutely want the S2000. The resale value on BMWs is poor because they are pretty sad things used, especially the original Z3s. The Boxster also has similar engine and repair cost issues. Both drive great, but they aren't simple or basic cars. ie - they are a 2-seater convertibles and not really a light and agile roadster.
Plus, the reason S2000s don't depreciate is because they really were instant classics.
#1364 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [plekto]
Dec 11, 2011 (6:15 pm)
Well, if we are comparing old ones, it doesn't amount to a whole hell of a lot. And s2ks certainly do depreciate.
2000 z3 2.5. Original msrp 31,300. Current trade-in value with 100k miles is $4900. 15.66%
2000 s2000. Original msrp 32,000. Current trade-in value with 100k miles is $5800. 18.13%
That seems to hold pretty steady through the years. An '04 s2k, for instance, is worth a grand more than an '04 z4 2.5. Both were right around $33k new.
#1365 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [qbrozen]
Dec 11, 2011 (11:03 pm)
But you'll note that almost all of the lower-priced Z3s are automatics. The repair costs will also crush your wallet. And to add insult to injury, I've seen old Buicks with better interiors than a typical 10 year old BMW. They seriously don't age well. Mind you, Mercedes are also similar, so it's not specific to BMW. The S2000 is so simple that there's nothing to really break. And the engine is pretty close to bulletproof.
#1366 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [plekto]
Dec 12, 2011 (6:34 am)
I don't know why you think the repair costs are any more than a Honda. I've had both and find no difference. Of course, I don't go to the dealer. Anybody who does go to the dealer has no right to complain about the cost.
As far as "typical interior," well, I guess the one I have is completely atypical. The 30-year-old bimmer we had had bad seats, but that is typical of any convertible with black leather. They were actually still in better shape than my 30-year-old Italian leather (Alfa). I have no interest in any buick of the past 30 years, so I have no idea what those tend to look like.
Don't know if I would call the S2k simple. Anything with a redline that high is actually fairly complex. Oil burning issues aren't terribly uncommon with the early cars. They are both fine cars. I would say their reliability is virtually even. You also stand a better chance finding a z3 that wasn't raced. The s2k is better looking, though.
#1367 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [qbrozen]
Dec 12, 2011 (1:35 pm)
I agree with the majority of your posts, but good grief. BMW maintenance and repair costs suck compared to a Honda. I've had a few of both. For starters, my BMWs seem to trash their brake pads and rotors every 30K miles. On my Hondas and Acuras, I tend to average about 100K on a set of pads. I've never driven one long enough to wear out the rotors. BMWs are horrible on consumables, from brake light bulbs to tires to just about anything as compared to a Honda. Plus, BMWs require more frequent and usually annoying repairs.
Plus, I can reset the darn maintenance light on a Honda without a special tool.
#1368 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [qbrozen]
Dec 12, 2011 (1:38 pm)
As for the interiors, specifically in a 3 series, the E30s are really durable, the E46s are somewhat durable, and the E36s have crap interiors.
I base this on my personal experience, looking at tons of used cars, reading Bimmer, reading BMW specific forums, etc.
#1369 of 1392 Re: What to buy? [lemmer]
Dec 17, 2011 (11:08 am)
And the E36 is the platform that the Z3s were based upon, especially when it came to electrical and interior construction. They really do tend to be worn-out and full of problems as they age. And what a miserable piece of Tupperware the interior is. The Z4, that's a whole other animal, though. But even then, it's really expensive to own one. I would have suggested a Mercedes SLK as well, but they are incredibly expensive to fix. $2000+ clutch jobs and so on.
A 30 year old BMW or Mercedes? They were still making them with a lot of quality, especially for the upper-level models. So they really can't be compared to the newer models.
A S2000 is as simple and straight forward as a Miata. But it drives and looks a whole lot better. Nobody cares about a Z3 but you will get some looks with a S2000.