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BMW 328i or Lexus ES350 or Audi A4 or Mercedes C300 (4MATIC)

I am in the market for a certified pre-owned luxury car. I’d like a 2-3 year old car and my choices are between:
BMW 328i or Lexus ES350 or Audi A4 or Mercedes C300 (4MATIC)

My criteria:

  1. Reliable
  2. Should last long (200,000 + miles)
  3. Should not require tons of maintenance (although I would do regular oil change, tires, etc)
  4. Should be comfortable ride
  5. I care for speed, but am not obsessed by 0-60 time
  6. I can spend 25-30K (can go up by a couple of grand if car is great).

Any advice is appreciated.

P.S. I have also been suggested an Accura TLX by some friends

ES350 meets all your criteria. Being based on the Camry makes upkeep very straightforward, and inexpensive in comparison to the German 3.

My ES300 lasted me 15 years, in great shape when we sold it.

I have owned an A4, Mercedes and my current 1998 BMW 328i and would recommend the BMW over the others.
The A4’s complex Quattro system is unnecessary and a pain in the butt. It’s basically a FWD car that sends some torque to the rear when needed.
If you want a MB, get a RWD E Class. The C class is only a MB in name and not up to their standard of quality.
I bought my 1998 328i sedan 11 years ago with 52k miles. 100,000 miles later, it’s been usual maintenance – oil changes, tires, brakes, etc. and the most reliable car I have owned. Be sure to get a RWD one with a manual transmission.
The Lexus ES is a re-badged FWD Toyota. If you want a Lexus get the real one – the LS series.

LS? That’s like telling somebody asking about the 328i to get a 750i…

Lexus by far the preferred choice. Second an Acura. All German luxo cars are very expensive to maintain, especially when they age. Budget $3000+ per year for those if you have no major repairs.

A guy down the street has a 16 year old Lexus LSD400. Over the last 10 years he has only had two repairs.

I see these cars in different classes. The Lexus ES is just a fully loaded Camry. The MB C series is a watered down MB. The Audi and the BMW are more of a driver’s car. OP you have to decide what is the biggest priority.

If you want one of the more “Fun” Lexus lines, look at the IS with the bigger engine or the G series Lexus.

The Lexus best meets your criteria. Consider the GS as well as the ES, as it’s sportier but it still has a pretty comfortable ride. (That’s what I drive.)

ALWAYS . . consider you local service options BEFORE you buy !
in THIS small town , BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are NOT a service option ( 140 miles one way to the nearest. ) . . at all.
The Lexus can go to the local Toyota dealer for proper service.

We currently have a Land Rover in our Ford shop . . hoping for service.
Sure we can do it but parts are 140 east and proper diag is hoping its all mechanical diag and not computer based.

The Lexus IS is more the size of the European cars you mention. I know a number of people with BMWs and they consider them reliable. One guy owns a 2008 528i and has had few problems. One is the plastic coolant reservoir broke and the other is the water pump. He is well aware that the plastic impeller in the water pump will break after about 5 years. His solution is to replace the OEM unit with a racing water pump. It is all metal and will last forever. The pump costs a bit more, bit it is the last time it will be replaced. BTW, he doesn’t wait for the water pump to fail, he replaces it at 5 years as preventative maintenance.

@ken green Depending on the model, you might as well just paint the guy’s name on a parking space. He’s going to be SO regular, you might want to give him a desk, too.

Writer Doug Demuro bought a used Range Rover from CarMax WITH the extended warranty ($3900 !!! ) and per the article, it saved him $6000 at the 6 month mark. His intention was to own it 1 year and writhe about the experience.

I’d rate them in this order by reliability, cost of routine maintenance, longevity

Lexus ES350
BMW 328i
Audi A4
Mercedes C300 (4MATIC)

But styling, well, the Lexus is downright unattractive imo. So were I given the choice, I’d probably spring for the BMW & risk a little on the practical aspects. You only live once, right?

@GeorgeSanJose I agree with the order but there should be a large gap (about 3 spaces) between the Lexus and the BMW! Several other makes, like Acura and Infiniti would likely fit in there.

A 2 or 3 year old used car may be in great condition or nearing junk status. It all depends upon how it was driven and maintained. If a 2 or 3 year old car has had infrequent oil changes, or never in some cases, it’s on its last legs no matter what badge is on the back.

As to reaching 200k miles that also depends upon how it is driven and maintained. Maintenance also means more than oil changes and tires.
All things equal the Lexus may be a better gamble. However, if that Lexus has never had the oil changed, has been infrequent, or been run chronically low on oil all bets are off.

We have an 07 Lexus ES-350. EXCELLENT car. 180k miles on it…and have had just ONE issue. Had to replace the water pump at 100k miles. That’s it…no other repairs. Just normal maintenance.

Lexus. Forget about the other choices.

Lexus by a longshot.
But if it were my money I’d rather buy a new Camry or Accord. Get the leather interior and it’ll be just as nice and one heck of a lot less expensive to own than a used luxo car. And you won’t run the risk of inheriting someone else’s unsolvable problem… or accident residue. The ones on your list are just “conspicuous consumption” cars anyway. No disrespect meant.

The Lexus ES is as boring as a Camry, nothing wrong with that (I drive a Camry myself), but if you really are going to spend Lexus range money, might as well get a 2 yr old IS or GS and have some fun too. Otherwise, just buy a Camry. IMO, the Lexus ES only serves the purpose of having a Lexus badge.

Not to me, the ES300 was a bit better in every way than the Camry. That’s why I got it.

A Camry XSE with the 6-cyl engine is not nearly as boring as the LE with the 4-banger. The Camry has versions for more than just one buyer.

I read a review once that stated that the Camry was so boring it would make you scream, and so quiet nobody would hear you.

I’d still go for a new Camry over the used choices listed.