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1 car family, going from SUV to convertible - possible? (1 Viewer)

Jared_B

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My wife and I currently have a BMW X5 as our only vehicle. We have no kids, and we're still pretty young ourselves so kids are at least 5 years away.

We've recently been toying with the idea of getting a new M3 convertible, and trading in the X5. We figure most all the stuff we hauled in the X5 previously could be delivered. We're planning to build a new deck on our house, and delivery of all the materials is relatively inexpensive.

We also like to snowboard, but a good set of snow tires on the M3 should yield acceptable snow performance (with the little bit of snow we see around here).

So I guess I've thought through all the pros and cons, so what I'm looking for are opinions. Are there any cons that I missed, or that I should re-think? Anyone in the same situation? If so, what are you experiences?
 

Ryan Wright

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We downgraded from an SUV to a New Beetle last year.

Pros:
- Doubled our gas milage
- Can park anywhere
- Easier and more fun to drive
- Payments are $280 instead of $750

Cons:
- Can't take it off-road. Yes, we were a family that took our SUV off road often.
- The luggage space just sucks, big time.

Once you've had an SUV, it's really hard to go back. We could throw anything we wanted in the back of our truck and drive it anywhere. Now, we concern ourselves with snow (no 4x4) and terrain (no clearance, no 4x4) and have to pack extremely lightly when we go anywhere.

We do most of our driving around town, and the Beetle is a better fit. Not to mention the difference in price. I don't even notice the payment, whereas before, it hurt a little to write the check every month. Still, we're going to buy another SUV or extended cab pickup one of these days. We really miss the room, the clearance, and the 4 wheel drive.
 

Todd Hochard

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If that's the car you want, then I say, go for it!
Look at it this way- you normally don't need all the space that the SUV has. BUT, you are saddled with it (and the high weight, poor fuel economy, relatively poor handling/braking, even if the X5 is the best of the SUVs in this regard) 100% of the time. If your utilization of that space is pretty low most of the time, then what's the point?
The "Home Depot" thing isn't a big deal, either. I just shoved all the materials for a complete lawn irrigation system into my '95 Accord (including 550' of PVC pipe). I am a home improvement nut, and I've only really needed a truck a few times. Here at HD, they have the $20 truck rental thing right in the parking lot, if you need.
Finally, if you go drive that M3, and get into that 333hp, listen to that six whine, and still don't want it- well, you're an idiot.;)
Todd
P.S. Some would say I'm on record as an SUV hater. They might be right.;) But, that's overstating it a bit.
 

Jay H

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..You can always make a trailer hitch and get a used trailer to haul stuff. Or buy a beater truck.

I guess, if you're not patient enough to pay off the X5. If you do plan your home improvement upgrades carefully, you can get alot of stuff bought in one big truck and save money on shipping costs that way too.

Jay
 

Bob-N

Supporting Actor
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Yes, it's possible but I wouldn't do it. You're going to have big problems with luggage space. With you mentioning that you like to snowboard, where are you going to put the gear and snowboards? No roof with the convertable and the 3 series is not intended to be used with a trailer.
In the event that you do get heavy snow, even with a set of snow tires, it's no substitute for 4 wheel drive w/snow tires.
What's wrong with the X5? You should move up to the new 4.6is.:emoji_thumbsup:
 

Scott Merryfield

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Even though we do not have children, as a home owner I prefer to have a vehicle that I can place large items in when needed. Consequently, one of our vehicles is currently a Mercury Villager minivan. It's less expensive than an SUV, more economical and more comfortable to drive (for us). It has the cargo space we require for items I sometimes pickup myself.

However, if you think you can accommodate all your needs in a car, go for it. Our second vehicle is a car (2002 Nissan Altima). Personally, I find cars a lot more comfortable to drive than a pickup truck or SUV. The Villager drives like a car, which is another reason we selected it over an SUV.
 

PatrickM

Screenwriter
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I'm sure the M3 Convertible will be a lot of fun. The storage or hauling space is greatly reduced but man will that car be fun to drive.

My boss has a 330ci convertible and with snow tires and the traction control it wasn't bad in the snow this year.

Go for it.

Patrick
 

MickeS

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Get the M3. Buy a small trailer. This will let you have both hauling space and the car you want.

/Mike
 

Justin Doring

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A convertible is a weekend car. Period. With your lifestyle, or anyone's lifestyle for that matter, I don't really think it's a viable option. Convertibles are great, but a pickup truck, SUV, wagon, or sedan would be a better fit for a "single car family."

Also, an M3 convertible is a waste in my opinion. Because of the fact you want a convertible, you obviously don't care about performance, so a 325Cic would be more than adequate. You'd then have $20,000 or more left over for another vehicle like an SUV.
 

Jared_B

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Because of the fact you want a convertible, you obviously don't care about performance
Completely wrong, my friend. I care very much about performance, that's why I'm looking at the M3 - as opposed to the 325Cic or the Mercedes CLK.

Just because a convertible has it's compromises, does that mean it cannot perform well? All cars make compromises in certain areas in order to be better at others. By your reasoning, one could deduce that M3 Coupe owners don't care about performance either, because that car sacrifices performance for some luxury (weight). The Porsche 996 also sacrifices performance, but in their case for heritage (rear-engined). Are you going to tell these people to their face that they don't care about performance?

I'd like to know what your definition of "caring about performance" is. Does one have to buy a Ferrari F50 to care about performance? If there is a faster car out there, does that mean the owner can't care about performance?

I find that comment insulting. I do care about performance, that's why I plan to go to driving schools and actually LEARN how to drive. The fastest car on the planet will do you no good if you don't know how to drive it properly.

About your other comments, could you please elaborate? Why do you think a convertible is only a weekend car, and not an everyday car?
 

Philip_G

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for 2 people? hell why not. Got a friend with a pickup? PERRFECT. No? fuckit rent one when you need one. You can afford to simply in the gas you save.
however living in redmond I'd get the M3 and skip the convert, but that's just me.. chocolate and vanilla :)
the x5 is a nice ride though, about as un SUV like as it gets.
 

Justin Doring

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"I plan to go to driving schools and actually LEARN how to drive. The fastest car on the planet will do you no good if you don't know how to drive it properly."

This is an excellent idea and absolutely correct. Driving school is the best "performance upgrade" one can invest in.

"Why do you think a convertible is only a weekend car, and not an everyday car?"

A convertible is a weekend car, because it has very little passenger or cargo room. Picking up people from the airport, going to the hardware store, etc. is difficult in one. The same goes for a coupe, although not quite to the same degree. A convertible is great for a second, third, or fourth car, but I couldn't imagine having one has my only automobile.

"Just because a convertible has it's compromises, does that mean it cannot perform well?"

A convertible can perform well, but not to the degree of its coupe and sedan brethren. Because of the excess weight and compromised rigidity and aerodynamics, a convertible affects the speed, handling, and balance of an automobile. BMW makes a fine convertible, but convertibles are, by definition, lifestyle cars as opposed to driver's cars. Now I'm not saying one should drive around in an automobile with no A/C or insulation in order to reduce weight, but hacking off the top to get a tan and let the wind blow in your face is contrary to enthusiastic driving, which is exactly what the M3 promotes.

By the way, are you thinking of the manual or the SMG?
 

Dennis Nicholls

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I'm a single guy but I gave up on the compromises that having a single vehicle forces upon you. I have an F-150 pickup and a Miata. One gets good mileage and the other doesn't. One hauls stuff and the other doesn't.
 

Jared_B

Supporting Actor
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May 7, 2001
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Thanks for all the replies so far.
Let me respond to a few of the points brought up:

The 4.6is is very nice, and while it is faster, it doesn't really handle that much better than mine (same suspension, just diff wheels).

I was able to drive a 6 speed M3 convertible, and fell in love with everything. It handled like it was on rails, and you can sense everything that is happening under that tires - but not in a bad way. It actually rode better than my X5.

My X5 has the 19" wheels with performance tires, and it works fairly well in the snow. So an M3 with real snow tires would be just fine for the limited snow use it would get. The M3 also has a ski sack which is big enough for a snowboard or two.

One final sticky point is selling our X5 without taking too big a hit, and getting the M3 with the same monthly payment. I don't expect anyone here can help me with that, though... It’s definitely more logical to keep the X5 and pay it off, then just go buy the M3. But when was car buying ever logical?

Edit: I'm thinking about getting the SMG Justin, as my wife hates driving sticks.
 

Todd Hochard

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Do it! Do it! Do it!
The little trailer on the M3 would be funny (and yet very practical). I always got strange looks on the boat ramps yanking the Sea Doos out with my old Z28.
Do it! Do it! Do it!:D
Do both of you work? How do you make do with one vehicle?
Todd
 

Jared_B

Supporting Actor
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May 7, 2001
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Thanks for the encouragement, Todd - can you write something to my wife as well ;) She loves the X5, and after the test drive, she loves the M3. Her concern (a good one, too) is cargo space. I’m sure that if we could just swap keys and drive off, she would be ok with it though. As it stands now, we’ll need a generous buyer for the X5 and a good deal on the M3 to make it happen.
We both work at the same location, so we carpool. We also have to drive 35 miles through heavy traffic, which’s why we want SMG. The way I see it, we’d better be extremely happy with the car cause I'm wasting 2+ hours a day in it.
 

Daniel Swartz

Second Unit
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Mar 3, 2002
Messages
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Definitely go for it. I've owned a 330Cic and currently own a 330i (damn winter climates). Every time you get into your car you will smile. It will make your life much happier and a loaded M3 isn't much more expensive than a loaded X5.
And believe me, good snow tires coupled with BMW's DSC system, will get you through all but the roughest winter conditions on a DAILY basis.
PLEASE, PLEASE BUY THE SMG SYSTEM THOUGH! :)

 

MickeS

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And, like Philip pointed out, for the time you really need to haul something, you can rent a truck. U-Haul will run you $35 for a big truck. That's like 3 weeks of gas money you would have spent on the X5. :)
/Mike
 

Todd Hochard

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Her concern (a good one, too) is cargo space.
Ahh, but how often do you need lots of cargo space? Not Mon-Fri (man, I pity you and that commute- I go 20 each way, but light traffic). Most of your weekend trips will fit easily in the trunk, and on longer trips, well... who cares!!! Think about carving those winding mountain roads, with perhaps the best suspension ever put on a factory car! DO IT!!!
Todd
Am I antagonizing enough?:)
 

PatrickM

Screenwriter
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Aug 10, 2000
Messages
1,138
SMG is great in the M3. Wish I had it in my car.

Just a word of warning. There has been some word of the M3 engine throwing rods and such and not in isolated cases where someone is abusing it. Seems to be a back order of M3 engines for BMW of America. Could be a fault of some sort.

Check out the BMW boards for more info. You won't have a hard time finding a thread.

Patrick
 

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