The Luxury Vehicle Discussion Thread (Especially the German ones)

Ronald Epstein

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As of the date of this post, I am still two years away from obtaining what I hope will be a vehicle that will last me nearly two decades.

And that may be the most absurd statement that anybody can make when it comes to car ownership.


The biggest mistake I made in my younger years was aiming for luxury vehicles. I have leased an Acura RX, a Cadillac CTX, a Cadillac SRX, a Lincoln MKX, and currently a 2019 Lincoln MKZ hybrid.

Out of all those vehicles I have owned, I actually like Lincoln the best. The MKZ hybrid is a joy to drive. Very smooth ride. However, Lincoln is getting out of the sedan business. And though I wouldn't mind getting back into a crossover or SUV, I am not particularly fond of the new CORSAIR, which is the only option for a hybrid without getting into the ridiculously large AVIATOR.

(All this can change by 2022 of course)


My dream car? BMW X5 Hybrid or a Mercedes GLC Hybrid

However, hybrid cars long-term come with their own problems which include expensive battery replacements.


THE BEST BRAND CAR TO BUY?


I am really hoping to talk to people on this forum who know car brands. Maybe some mechanics here? Maybe owners of German cars like Mercedes and BMW?

I feel as if I have done quite a bit of online research into what cars are reliable and what is not.

If I was to lease a BMW or MERCEDES it would be an easy choice. All the maintenance is covered. However, leases are very expensive when talking about a fully-loaded German car. You have to throw a lot of money down just to get low monthly payments. I always get hosed on leases.

Buying is a long-term decision. You have to factor in how reliable the car will be when planning to hold on to it for a decade or more. In my case, maybe up to two decades.

I don't want to keep having to buy vehicles. I have saved up enough money to buy my dream car.


I would love to buy a loaded BMW or MERCEDES. However, from all the research I have done, not only do these vehicles lose a huge percentage of their value once driven off the lot, but the parts inside the vehicles contain a lot of plastic that erodes quickly and within five years, the expensive maintenance process begins. Most rich people (for which I am not one of) lease these cars rather than buy them.

The most reliable vehicle? LEXUS and ACURA. The LEXUS RX is the most popular vehicle on the road today and it has a tremendous reliability record. Alas, compared to the German vehicles, the tech inside looks awfully dated. Being a tech guy, I find the LEXUS and ACURA to be a bit on the boring side though their ride is supposed to be spectacular.


Cars are obviously not a good investment in the first place. However, it seems I can't have the best of both worlds.

* I want to buy new in order to have the latest tech.

* I want to hold on to the vehicle for at least 15 years if not more. I don't plan to put more than 12,000 miles on it a year. I am retired.

* While leasing probably fits my lifestyle, it takes a lot of money down on a loaded BMW, MERCEDES, or LEXUS to get low monthly payments. And it's just a process that gets repeated every three years. It's a constant car payment.


Maybe the answer is that I buy a German car and continue saving money to have it maintained for the 15-20 years I own it. Those cars are unbelievably expensive to maintain, though.


Thought I would pick brains here. I am not in a hurry to do anything right now. But what I do have is lots of time on my hands to get as much information as I can to make an informed car purchase decision in 2022.
 
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DaveF

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Can't help you on the German luxury car front. My impression is they're for driving enthusiasts: great to drive, expensive to buy and maintain, and average reliability. Financially, I think buying is better than leasing, and owning for 5+ years is better than rotating every three. But that's a personal decision of one's tastes and finances.

I'm wanting to get an electric car sooner than later. My Subaru is going on five years old, which is young for me, but old enough that I can start thinking about replacing it without too much guilt

My current best guess for my next car is the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It's looking like the electric car that best fits my wants and needs.

And here's where I'm curious about your tastes in "tech" vs "luxury". If you really want tech, and want an SUV, you might consider a Tesla X. That's the techiest car out there. But it's expensive and not "luxury" in terms of fit-and-finish, or high-end materials and so on.

I'm out of my depth and experience here, of course, but I've also seen from a family member who buys expensive luxury for fun and comfort: Audi A7 and Porsche Panamera. I don't know where those are relative to BMX X5, but they've got great tech (read about them on ArsTechnica) and high end luxury.

Ok, sorry for just confusing everything :)
 

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A longtime friend of mine has two Lexus crossover vehicles -- a newer one his wife drives, and one that is over 10 years old that was handed down to their daughter. They have been very reliable vehicles. I road in the newer one when we last visited them in Raleigh, and was impressed. He also owns a full sized Mercedes sedan, which is his vehicle and he loves. However, it is expensive to maintain. He's a driving enthusiast (heads to the race track in Richmond a couple of times per year for driving classes/competitions), so he puts up with the higher cost of ownership.

Personally, I look at vehicles more as a necessity than anything else. We do purchase our cars instead of lease, and will usually keep them for 8-11 years. I mainly look for something affordable that meets our needs, and will be reliable and easy to service. I avoid the luxury versions, as they are more expensive and I really do not want to pay for upscale models. Lately we've been buying GM products, as we have a very good GMC / Buick dealership near our house for service, know a salesperson there, and can get a GM employee discount through a family member. GM came through for us when the transmission died in my wife's 2009 Saturn Vue in 2017 -- replacing it for free even though the vehicle was out of warranty. That type of customer service really impressed me, enough so that we bought a 2018 GMC Acadia (my car) and 2019 Buick Encore (my wife's) over the past couple of years. We are happy with each, and plan on keeping them for quite a few years.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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A real problem is that it's becoming difficult to "update" the tech systems in cars, now that all the processors are on the CAN bus.


The modern automobile may have as many as 70 electronic control units (ECU) for various subsystems.[7] Typically the biggest processor is the engine control unit. Others are used for transmission, airbags, antilock braking/ABS, cruise control, electric power steering, audio systems, power windows, doors, mirror adjustment, battery and recharging systems for hybrid/electric cars, etc. Some of these form independent subsystems, but communications among others are essential. A subsystem may need to control actuators or receive feedback from sensors. The CAN standard was devised to fill this need.
In years past, if you wanted to update the radio or CD player in your old Chevy, you pulled out the old radio and wired in a new one. That's no longer possible. All the electronics in modern cars are tied together on the CAN bus. In a worst case scenario, changing your entertainment system or cellphone bluetooth system may prevent the ABS from working, or the airbags from working, or the engine from running.
 
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Clinton McClure

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A real problem is that it's becoming difficult to "update" the tech systems in cars, now that all the processors are on the CAN bus.




In years past, if you wanted to update the radio or CD player in your old Chevy, you pulled out the old radio and wired in a new one. That's no longer possible. All the electronics in modern cars are tied together on the CAN bus. In a worst case scenario, changing your entertainment system or cellphone bluetooth system may prevent the ABS from working, or the airbags from working, or the engine from running.
There are ways around that and any car stereo installer worth his salt knows it. Most new aftermarket head units can use iDataLink Maestro to retain all OEM functionality when you replace the poorly designed stock head unit.
 

John Dirk

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Ron. Again our interests converge! I absolutely LOVE cars and have owned more than my fair share. When I finally reached the point where I could consider luxury cars I started with a Cadillac STS back in the day. That was actually a very nice car but when I met my wife she called it an "old man's car" and it was soon replaced.

I bought a brand new Mercedes C Class back in 2002 and it lived up to every bad characterization common to the brand. I replaced 2 water pumps, a turbo and a radiator all within a year of ownership. Fortunately the car was still under warranty and everything was covered but the experience scared me into a Lexus GS 430 the very next year.

The Lexus was rock solid as far as reliability but it was simply a dull and uninspired vehicle to drive. Lexus also did nonsensical things like render the entire Nav system inoperable if the vehicle was in motion. Never mind the fact that my wife was sitting right next to me and could safely operate it without distraction. Still, that car was a safe bet and I drove it for many years.

As my circumstances improved I eventually wanted something veering more towards luxury than "sport luxury" which was the GS's official category so I traded up to a Lexus LS460. I didn't go into this purchase with any misgivings. As expected, it was basically the same as it's little brother. Rock solid yet boring and uninspired.

My wife has a friend who works for Hyundai Motors so when they came out with the Genesis concept I was intrigued. By then I thought I was beyond anything Hyundai could offer but I was wrong. My wife's friend was able to get me employee pricing and I took delivery of a brand new 2015 Hyundai Genesis 5.0. This was a couple of years before Genesis was spun off into it's own brand. This car did a pretty decent job of bridging the gap between the sedate Lexus offerings and the thrill of the German brands but, again, I found myself in a sport luxury vehicle instead of a loaded to the gills luxury car which is what I really wanted. Hyundai gives you a lot for your money and reminds me of what Lexus USED to be before their sales skyrocketed and they became comfortable.

I drove the Genesis for about 5 years but eventually felt the need to get back into a proper full-sized luxury sedan. This was very recent and I seriously considered jumping up to the [now Genesis] top of the line G90. Like you however, at this point in my life, I didn't want to make any concessions. The G90 is an amazing car but I didn't care for the styling. It also positions itself as a competitor to the best of Germany but failed to offer things like a digital gauge cluster or massaging seats, even as options. I tried hard to like it but simply couldn't. Too bad because I could have gotten it at a great price.

After going back and forth between the luxury competitors out there I came to the same reluctant conclusion as many have. There is simply no equal to the S Class at the consumer level. That said, I wasn't about to spend north of 100K on any car. I found a pristine 2018 S450 and snatched that baby up. The fact that they depreciate so fast can be a great advantage if you do your due diligence during the purchasing process. I also do not believe the maintenance issues of yesteryear are as much of a problem today. I spoke to no fewer than 10 random owners before purchasing mine and none sited this as having been an issue with their modern [2014 and newer] vehicles. I've owned this car for about a year and it had about 26K miles when I bought it. Like you, I don't drive a whole lot because I work from home and prefer my motorcycle when I do have to go out, weather permitting.

Where tech is concerned, any modern luxury car will probably be fine as long as it doesn't lock out features as aggressively as my Lexus vehicles did. Most of the interactive tech in cars is moving to mobile interfaces such as Android Auto and Apple Carplay anyway. I wouldn't even consider a vehicle that didn't offer support for both.

I also test drove a Tesla during my discovery period before settling on the S Class but, as @DaveF said, these are not true luxury cars although they do have amazing tech.

In closing, I believe the smart bet is gently used vehicles that you keep for 5 plus years and pay off in no more than 2. Everyone talks about vehicle maintenance costs but not enough people consider loan maintenance costs. I would also suggest learning to do some of the more basic maintenance tasks yourself. Mercedes wanted nearly $500.00 for their Service A package for my car. When I checked into it I found it was nothing more than an oil change, some filter replacements and a bunch of fluid checks, etc. I ordered the air filters from Amazon for $80.00 and installed them myself after watching a You Tube tutorial. I then took the vehicle in for a standard oil change after having checked my own fluids.

You're right about the Lexus RX. My wife has one and loves it. Dull to drive but as reliable as they come.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.
 
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Nelson Au

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Ron, I currently own a 2001 BMW 330ci, what is known as the e46 chassis. This was a pretty well regarded car and the e46 is still considered a high water mark in the 3 series line. It is a solid sports coupe that lives up to your ultimate driving machine tag line. It’s coming up on 20 years since it bought new. it has about 170,000 miles, I’ll have to look at the odometer to double check. I have not driven it much since we’re in stay at home mode.

I never imagined I’d keep it this long but the more I drove it the more I love it. Its direct in terms of the drive train. I love a manual transmission and will never buy an automatic. So I might not replace the car until I have to. I’ve driven new BMWs when I have mine in for service and they are nice, the tech is great. But they lack the directness of a manual transmission. They drive well, but not as much fun.

I suspect your driving interests are different from mine. I really prefer the “sport” reference in my car. My car has hydraulic power steering, so I can still feel the road. The new cars have electric steering if I’m not mistaken, so they’re numb. Last year, out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I took the car on a drive up a windy road down in the South Bay up to Skyline Blvd and it was a blast, the car has handling so well around the corners, steering was precise and braking was great.

In terms of reliability and cost of ownership, it’s not bad. I have a friend who doesn’t believe it spending money to maintain a car past 50,000 miles or some number like that. It sounds like you might be similar Ron. I’ve always kept and maintained cars for a long period of time. The first 5 years of ownership didn’t cost too much. Three years of service from BMW Is free. I did replace a water pump around 50,000 miles and also did the timing chain. After that as the car approached 70 to 80,000 miles, it gets more expensive as things wear out. I replaced all the seals such as valve cover, oil pan, all the coolant hoses. Anything rubber was going out. A year and a half ago the fuel pump went out. Luckily the tow truck driver knew a trick, the pump is in the gas tank and he used a long wrench handle and had me crank the starter as he tapped the bottom of the tank and it got the pump working so I was able to drive home and to the shop the next day. Last year i replaced all 6 ignition coils and spark plugs as some of the ignition coils were misfiring, so I thought I got my moneys worth out of those parts. My friend thinks I’m nuts to have all the work down at the BMW dealer. But I trust them more in terms of knowing what they are doing and can get parts. Plus I’m paying for the convenience of their loaner cars.

By the way, late last year, i replaced the DIN sized factory radio with an after market double DIN unit designed specifically for my car. So it has a modern touch screen, Navigation, AM FM tuner, Apple Carplay, and integrates into the car. So the steering wheel controls for volume control and station scanning or iTunes tracks works. I can use the talk button on the steering wheel too to make calls while in Carplay. I can even watch movies on it from a thumb drive. Of course my car predates all the modern stuff and was easy to update. As others have said, the new cars may not be so easy to update.

I also upgraded the wheels from the 17” to 18” BMW wheels to update the look of the car and replaced the bumpers with a BMW M style aero kit with real BMW parts. I was tapped from behind and had to replace the rear bumper, so it was the perfect opportunity to do this long dream I had to do it.

I have not added up all the costs for service and upgrades, but in 19 years ownership, it’s less then a new car. When I bought this car, I really wanted the M3. But it was $20,000 more with the gouging as it was highly sought after then . It still is today! But I’m kind of glad I didn’t. The M Cars are always more expensive to service as the parts are more expensive.

I‘m easy on my cars and take care of them, so they last longer. I have had a very positive experience with BMW. If I do replace it, the new M2 is one I’d consider as it’s the newest car they make that Is the spiritual descendant of the e46. Smaller, sporty and has some teeth.

Good luck Ron.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

DENNIS: I am fully aware that tech gets old with each new year. The point I was making is that I want to buy new so at least I'm not a few years behind on existing tech.

SAM: I agree full electric would be great. I still have two years till I buy, but right now, electric vehicles are very limited on how far they will go on battery power before they have to be recharged. Recharging stations are not in abundance. I would be better off with a hybrid so at least I can go the distance on gasoline. If I missed something let me know.

DAVE: That Ford Mustang MACH-E is sweet. I would not mind a vehicle like that and I'm going to look into it in 2022. Thanks for that recommendation. I had forgotten that the vehicle existed.

JOHN: Read your response with great interest. I am happy that you did well buying used. I know that's the best choice to get into a luxury vehicle given the depreciation. However, I can't bring myself to do that. If I am going to buy a long-term vehicle I want it to be new.

It's also interesting what you said about Lexus. They are great vehicles, but I absolutely agree they look boring. I don't know why Lexus can't be innovative with their cabin. The tech looks outdated. They just introduce the 2021 RX and there are no improvements in the tech that you would think would have been updated after all this time. I was very disappointed when I saw photos of the new revision.

You also pointed out everything I suspected about German cars. They are made to be maintained.

The Teslas don't WOW me. They really aren't luxury vehicles. I think, however, I would consider the Ford Mustang MACH-E.

NELSON: You are the guy I wanted to hear from. You own a BMW. I have never learned to drive an automatic so I'll never be able to experience the "feel" that you have. You do bring up another interesting point. If I want BMW and accept the costs of maintaining it, I can probably get 15 years or more from it and still pay less than buying another car. I would also want the dealer to do all the work. It just makes me feel a little better in their hands. I believe I read that a BMW will cost you $17,000 to maintain over 10 years. I hope that's an accurate number I just provided. Do I buy my dream BMW and put enough money away for maintenance costs? It's an option. I

I can't begin to tell you how many YouTube reviews from car mechanics I have watched who all say that anyone who buys a new BMW is an idiot.


The BMW is the dream as long as I have the money to maintain it over the course of two decades. It will be like having a wife.
LEXUS is the safest bet. A reliable vehicle. Great Ride. However, very uninspiring.
The MACH-E looks like a possibility. Need to see how comfortable the ride is and the amenities it offers.

But, really? The safest bet would be sticking with Lincoln. They are not at the top of the list of reliable vehicles but they are the best bang-for-the-buck luxury cars with nice tech, a great smooth ride, and they aren't costly to maintain.

We will keep the conversation going. In the next two years there are going to be HTF members considering a car purchase and this would be a great thread to keep up on their expectations and experiences.
 
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Yee-Ming

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I have a BMW, nothing as fancy as Nelson's, just a 320i from 2011, so at 9 it's blown parts of the cooling system twice already, I recently had all oil seals, gasket cover etc replaced, and pretty soon I'm looking at piston rings as well -- it burns through a litre of motor oil per month now.

But it was an M Sport model, so already had 18" rims, sport suspension and bodykit. It's an E90, the generation after Nelson's E46. At 2.0L NA, it isn't the zippiest, but once it gets a head of steam up it does handle nice.

Pretty sure maintenance to date hasn't cost me US$17K, even with those repairs included, but then again labour is a bit cheaper here in Singapore.

Anyway, I'm still keeping it: the kicker in Singapore is that all cars require a 10-year "certificate entitlement" to even be allowed on the road, and so mine expires next year, at which time I have to either deregister it, which then means either scrapping the car or exporting it (a dealer can take care of all that for you), or renew the certificate, so there's always a firm either/or decision to be made as you reach that mark; most people don't and just unload their cars long before they even get to 10. Deregistering also gets you a rebate on some of the registration fee (tax) paid when the car was newly registered, so many cars do indeed get scrapped/exported at the 10-yr mark; this also means that renewing the cert means you forgo the rebate (for good).

Aside from blowing the cooling system twice (no permanent damage), which is partly a function of our high temp and high humidity all-year round, the car has otherwise been totally reliable. (Discounting dead battery too.). No other breakdowns.

FWIW. My missus will almost certainly renew her cert too. Then again, she has an M3 E92, one of the last of the V8 4.0L NAs...
 

John Dirk

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I love a manual transmission and will never buy an automatic.
I too love manuals but they will be increasingly hard to come by as most manufacturers have abandoned them at the consumer level. Again, I have my motorcycle to feed that need.
Last year, out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I took the car on a drive up a windy road down in the South Bay up to Skyline Blvd and it was a blast, the car has handling so well around the corners, steering was precise and braking was great.
Skyline Blvd in the Oakland Hills? That was my stomping ground for many years. I worked at the Oakland Naval Hospital back then, before it was closed. Of course that was long before I could afford anything worth taking on a scenic drive. :)
But, really? The safest bet would be sticking with Lincoln. They are not at the top of the list of reliable vehicles but they are the best bang-for-the-buck luxury cars with nice tech, a great smooth ride, and they aren't costly to maintain.
Quite possibly true but, depending on your aesthetic tastes, the Hyundai [Genesis] line might pleasantly surprise you. They are hungry for the luxury market and offer far more bang for the buck than other luxury brands. Definitely worth a look IMO.

The BMW is the dream as long as I have the money to maintain it over the course of two decades. It will be like having a wife.
This is easily the best line of the day. :)
 
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Thornhill

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My family loved BMWs, and they have had mixed results. My mother has always driven the 500 series and has had three over the years, she is still driving the 2001 she last bought and it has only required routine maintenance for the most part. My father always liked the 700 series and he owned 3 and each one gave him nothing but trouble, every trip back to the dealer would leave him $1,000 lighter in the wallet on a good day. He now drives a fully loaded Honda Accord and is very happy with it, no problems whatsoever, and says he doesn't miss the BMWs one bit. My sister had two X5s and she ended up lemon lawing both of them, now she also drives a Honda Accord. I have a cousin whose husband loves Mercedes Benz and is all he drives. He has already lemon lawed two of them for different reasons, but he's still loyal to the brand. I know other people who also have MBs or have had them and have all had issues with them. IME german cars are expensive to buy and expensive to maintain and are very unreliable. I have zero interest in german cars for all these reasons. I have mainly driven Acuras and have had zero problems with them, not to mention they don't really leave me wanting in the luxury department, but maybe I'm not so picky. To me the german cars mainly just have the name which is what you're paying for. As I've gotten older spending tons of money on a car is just not worth it for me. But that's just me. My wife wanted a nice vehicle and an upgrade from her Honda Accord, she looked at the MBs despite my warning, but she ultimately chose a LEXUS and has been very happy with it so far, no issues. I always recommend japanese makes, and the only ones I've had experience with have all been very reliable. Acura, Honda, Toyota and Lexus. That's my opinion on the matter. Good luck in your search!
 

Philip Verdieck

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You really need a refresher in current German cars.

1) Mercedes with a few limited exceptions is marketing sub par cars. They have all the features you want but a decade or so ago the corporate strategy shifted to profit margins over value and reliability. Some models are still good, others are not. Resale value plummets because of the usurious costs for parts. The value of older mercedes on the resale market (80s- 00s) is brutal because of said parts costs. If you think of those beautiful SEL you remember growing up, you will be shocked at their current value.

2) BMW. Better for reliability across the board but you will get raped on maintenance and parts. Its a world of difference once the covered maintenance is over.

3) Audi. Same.



If you want a nice luxury vehicle that will hold its values and give you reliability and be affordable to repair you should be looking at higher end Japanese vehicles.

As others have mentioned, the South Koreans are making great strides. Hyundai, and in some cases KIA. Go check out a KIA Stinger. They hired a BMW engineer to design it.
 
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Thornhill

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Ron, after reading your original post a little better, I need to make a couple of other comments. It seems like there's a few things you're looking for which will really make your choice difficult. Ultimately you will have to decide what really matters to you because I don't think you'll be able to realistically have everything. I will first say that you are absolutely correct about Acura and Lexus' reliability, in my experience it has been completely true. The boringness is really subjective, and just depends on the person. I haven't found anything in any BMWs or MBs I've seen to be more exciting, but again, that may be subjective. I currently drive an 2008 Acura MDX which I bought brand new off the lot in October of '07. I have not had to make any repairs to it other than routine maintenance in all that time. I know things are coming up now, but it's got well over 100,000 miles on it and is just about 13 years old so it's due for some real maintenance, which I'm fine with. The other thing you mentioned which I can see being an issue for you down the road is technology. My car was technologically advanced in '07, but now... not so much. Everything in it is outdated and looks it. There's no way you will be able to buy a car today, and keep it 20 years and be happy with it technologically if you're a tech nerd. Cars are advancing in that department too quickly now, you'll be outdated in a few years so keep that in mind. BMWs costing $17,000 over 10 years sounds close to accurate, if you are only talking very routine maintenance, which in my experience only my mother's BMW 540i has needed routine maintenance over 20 years. However, she only drives that car 100 miles a week, so that is not a good example to base a decision on. You WILL be putting good money into a BMW, no doubt about it. My question is why would you want to do that? It's good you're aware of it, but do you really want to go through the hassle and expense of "maintaining" a car? So it's really about you deciding what is most important, because I don't know that your main choices will tick all the boxes, at least not for 20 years.
 

Ronald Epstein

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You really need a refresher in current German cars.
Phil, I don't know who that comment was meant towards.

Right out of the gate I think I nailed pretty much what I have learned in my extensive research and what everyone else here has confirmed...

You buy a BMW or a MERCEDES and chances are better than good that you are going to get "hosed"

The best luxury vehicles to buy are the LEXUS and the ACURA.

I am not sure who needs to be educated. Most of us in this thread are in agreement.

What I have learned from this great conversation is that I have three really good alternatives to BMW and MERCEDES.

One would be Lexus, though they really have to do something with their interior console. It looks very dated and it would be hard for me to bring myself to buying one based on that.

Two would be Acura. They are very dependable. Interiors are a little uninspiring as well.

Three would be the Hyundai [Genesis] line which I will absolutely consider when 2022 rolls around. It all depends on how they are rated and how much amenities they offer.

Thanks, everyone. This isn't over. I'll be back in close to two years to look at what's out there and ask your advice.
 
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Amerkin

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Dennis Palla
First off, the qualifiers:
I am a car guy and can afford to buy just about what I want to, excluding the truly ridiculous (over 200k is my definition). I currently own a 2020 BMW X7 M50i (long time BMW fan and owner/leasee of 9), a 2017 Corvette ZO6 (my third ZO6, I like fast) and a 2019 Ford Edge ST. I’ve had many GM and Ford products (mainly pick-ups, SUVs, Mustang, sedans,etc.). I’ve owned Mazda, Nissan, Honda (RX7 and sedans). My family are all car people with a number of BMW, Mercedes, VW, Toyota, Honda, Ford and GMC products (similar to my own). I’ve leased more BMWs than owned. If you’re making payments, you get more car for the money. If you want to own, pay cash. As said, if you own long enough, the German cars will cost you seriously to maintain unless you do the work yourself (I don’t), and even then the parts are expensive (they love they’re product). Because of that (and not wanting to put up with the down time being fixed), I rarely keep a car longer than 3-4 years. I’m soon to be 68 and I don’t drive nearly the miles now that I used to (with all three cars in two different locations, I average about 12k a year, maybe a little more).
With all that said, IMHO, the German cars (not all) offer the best combination for the driving experience (power, handling, ride, feel, quality). And I think BMW gives the best. Admittedly, I’ve only had the more expensive models (5 series and up). My family members have had the 3 series and I’ve driven many of those. But I’ve driven a LOT of BMW models over the years, some I haven’t liked. I’m not a big Mercedes fan, but there are some models that I do like. The driving feel is a big deal for me and I’ve been a car nut for as long as I have memory. It’s not a status thing, never been into that. It’s all about the driving pleasure. I have bought cars for the utility of them and they haven’t lasted long in the stable (Honda, Nissan come to mind-- good cars but very boring, and I don’t like most front wheel drive vehicles).
If there’s some emotion related to your vehicle ownership (seems so Ron) and you can afford it (with all your considerations), then buy what floats your boat. Just go into it with your eyes open. And drive what you‘re interested in for a day or so, not just a short test drive (especially considering the amount of the purchase you’re considering and the length of time you will own it). For me, there’s not much worse than buying a car you end up not liking. I would never buy a car I haven’t driven and never own audio equipment (especially speakers) that I haven’t listened to.
I hope this has at least given you food for thought.
P.S. Electric cars make no sense to me. As you said, not enough range and charging stations, toooo loooong to charge, especially if you‘re traveling far (do the math, it’s ridiculous), and you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re doing something wonderful for the environment (power is and will be generated from carbon based product for a long time). The positive: one, they can be quite fast, at least the expensive ones. But, again, do the math: you have to plan your trip around charging stations and be very careful to NOT get into the throttle as to not destroy your range capability. Not fun. To me, it would be like being married to a Victoria Secrets model and not able to consummate the marriage....I’m just sayin’.....
 

Amerkin

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Dennis Palla
A little follow up:
I have owned a BMW (‘98 740iL) for nine years and put just under 100k miles on it. It was very reliable ( as have all the BMWs I’ve had except two, a ‘85 735i and ‘14 X5 50i) but did start to cost a bit the last 15k or so miles. Brakes are a big expense. Replaced a water pump, belts, head gasket, plugs and it cost $4k in 2007.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Dennis!

Very nice to meet you. Welcome to our forum.

You are in a very unique position. Unless I am mistaken, It seems like you have the advantage of being able to afford what you want, trade in the vehicle when you get tired of it, and buy something else.

The fact that I can buy a BMW X5 doesn't make me rich. I saved up money. It doesn't come easy for me now that I am retired. I am buying a dream car but I want it to last up to two decades. I cannot afford the game of buying a car, trading it in five years, and buying another. And, with the depreciation on BMWs, it doesn't sound like a game for a commoner.

Unless I am prepared to throw a lot of money into that vehicle, the BMW is probably going to be a bad choice. It's what my heart wants, but the mind is telling me to be more reasonable.

It bugs the shit out of me that a $70-80k car is filled with plastic parts. It seems like a huge con game for these German manufacturers who undoubtedly provide an exceptional driving experience above most others but at the same time lock you into a never-ending series of costly replacements should you decide to keep the car for more than five years.

I just looked at the Genesis vehicles. They are very nice. There's a lot of great tech in them. The only downside is thus far, no hybrid. I love hybrid vehicles. They can be very quiet.

And I agree totally on all-electric. Right now they are a waste.
 

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