2001 Volkswagen Cabrio vs 1991 BMW 318i Convertible

2001 Volkswagen Cabrio with 79,000 miles versus 1991 BMW 318i with 45,000 miles. Both have been well maintained. Thoughts?

I think your choices are eclectic. About all they have in common is that they are German convertibles. Is this a commuter car or a second car? If it’s your primary car, I’d get the VW. If it’s a second car, I’d consider the BMW.

BTW, do you believe that the BMW has been driven less than 2700 miles per year? Does it look like it just rolled out of the showroom?

“I think your choices are eclectic.”

That’s just about what I was thinking.

I wouldn’t go near the VW. The BMW won’t save you any money. Just thought I’d mention that.

As a second (or third) car, I’d go for the BMW. As something you’d use regularly, I’d avoid both of them.

Don’t over-think this, they are both fine. Just spend some time driving them both (and plenty of others) and buy whatever makes you smile the most. It’s just a car, have fun and get whatever you like. If you decide you don’t want it for some reason, sell it and buy something else. It’s just not that big a deal.

Whatever suits your fancy make sure your mechanic gives it a blessing with a checkover first.

Thank you for all of the helpful advice. I’m honestly just looking for a fun second vehicle that I could cruise around in mostly during the summer. I was looking at the VW only because it is front wheel vs rear wheel and might be a little better if I ever needed to drive it in some iffy New England weather. I am looking at these two in particular because they’re small and peppy, fun to drive, and actually in my price range.

Weirdly enough, the BMW does look like it’s in pretty great condition. Carfax is consistent with the reported mileage. The owner of the BMW does have records and it looks like the owner took good care of it. No records on the VW because it is being sold through a dealer but also looks clean.

Obviously, I’ll get them looked over by a mechanic if or when I buy either. I pretty much know that they will both be more expensive than a Honda to maintain.

Would one be worse than the other? (VW, later model, but higher miles vs. BMW, earlier model, low miles.)

The BMW will cost a bit more than the VW for comparable repairs and maintenance, and both will be more than the average car.

If you are a “spirited” driver, I think you’ll find the BMW more to your taste.

The owner having records would make the BMW a lot more attractive to me. Some BMW owners are very good to their cars, but others can really trash them. It should also give you an idea of what the upkeep costs of the car will be. I think with both the BMW and the VW both have the possibility of expensive repairs down the line, but the BMW is definitely a lot more car than the VW. Another thing to keep in mind is that the BMW is pretty close to the end of it’s depreciation-cycle, so if you only keep the car for a few years, you won’t loose much when you go to sell it, whereas the VW is going to be worth much less in a few years.

Also, with a good set of snow-tires, the BMW will handle winter conditions just fine.

“If you are a “spirited” driver…”

You can’t get too spirited in an underpowered car like the 318i. It has great handling, but isn’t quick.

Mountainmomma, I’d still take a hard look at the BMW. If you like it after a test drive, borrow it for a day and take it to a mechanic that knows BMWs. Tell him you want to buy it and want an inspection to determine what, if anything, it needs to pass inspection and then what it needs in general. Also ask about the general condition of the car. If it still looks good, make an offer.