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Cheaper alternative to BMW

The repairs on my 2004 BMW 530i are absolutely killing me. I want to get rid of it and buy an ‘nice’ car with low repairs bills. Does such a car exist? What about an American made luxury car?

new or used and is it the maintence costs or repair costs ?

I’m also curious about what type of repairs are involved with this BMW.
Actual mechanical failures or are you including things like scheduled maintenance, brakes, and so on?

Personally, if the brand image isn’t that important to you, I would go for a well-equipped Mazda, Ford, or Honda. IMO, they are about as close to BMW-like handling as you can get without the extra cost of the pinwheels, and you can deck them all out to be darned close to luxury cars. If you need a luxury brand image, then a CTS would be my top choice among alternatives. But that’s just me.

You would need to examine your motivation for buying a BMW in the first place. If you merely need a full-featured reliable car, you can find models from most manufacturers. Eraser suggested three brands and I would warmly recommend that you check out the offerings from Hyundai as well.

But if status played a large role in your choice then you are severely limiting your options. Buick, Cadillac, and Lincoln should be prime considerations. All have fine reputations.

A good premium brand is Lexus. Or, if you want the “driving excitement” of a BMW, try Infiniti. The G3x coups/sedans are spectacular, but they’re expensive.

Of course, if you’re absolutely made of money, the Lexus IS-F is an extremely impressive sedan which blows BMW out of the water.

Acuras are good entry-level luxo cars. The current TL’s looks are. . Controversial to say the least, but the driving experience and comfort level is very good.

Infinity G sedan or coupe. You can find a 2010 G37 sedan for around $23,000. The equivalent BMW 528 will cost about $27,000. Edmunds says that you should expect to spend about $4400 for maintenance over 5 years on the G37 and a whopping $9000 for the 528. Note that these costs are easy to predict. Not so easy to predict are repairs, but a similar dichotomy exists: $2300 for the G37 and $6400 for the 528. Add them up, and the M&R costs for the BMW are 2.3 times those of the G37. And the BMW 528 costs about 17% more at purchase to boot. The G37 is RWD or AWD, just like the Bimmer. I have a car nut friend that sold his Corvette and replaced it with a G35x a few years ago.

Infiniti G37 or Lexus ES350, Acura TL if you can stand the looks.

Thank you everyone! Great suggestions and thoughts!

It’s mainly the maintenance.

But it is a solid and safe car (& not completely paid for yet!) I’m not wedded to the brand or a status symbol at all, but as I get older and commute a lot I’d like to have a real cushy ride with no sound from outside coming in! I’ve always thought those “OP” (old people) cars like Cadillacs were best for that - guess I’m getting old!

Also a pet peeve is that you can’t pre-set radio stations. Another pet peeve is that I just happened to be talking to a friend who also has a BMW who told me about a recall for a defective battery cable cover - which in one case caused a fire!! I immediately took it to the dealer today and it was fixed, but why wasn’t I notified of this by BMW? Sigh.

For what it’s worth, my brother was NOT notified about several recalls by Toyota. I know they’re due, because I ran his VIN and all the incomplete recalls came up.

One of my co-workers switched from BMW to Lexus for the same reason you give & seems satisfied with her new Lexus. I’m not sure of how the maintenance costs down the road compare though. People here have complained about the high cost to replace headlights on Lexus for example.

Another idea: If you are willing to purchase a new car anyway, and you like BMWs, why not just purchase a new BMW ? Don’t they have a no-maintenance-cost plan when you buy a new one? You’ll have the higher monthly payments, but you won’t have to worry about maintenance costs.

If you want a lower monthly payment and a low maintenance cost, and are willing to live with a little less status and possibly more road noise, a Toyota Corolla would save you a lot of dough, and you could use that dough for some pretty fun and entertaining stuff to improve your lifestyle more than just driving down the road. The cost to replace a headlight on a Toyota Corolla would rarely exceed $50. Consider carefully how you want to spend your dough. Let the market decide for you. Don’t you think the most popular car in America – a Corolla, or a Honda Civic maybe – don’t those purchases makes more sense and put dollars in your pocket for spending on other things?

the BMW no-maintenance-cost thing is only for the first 4 years, when costs are cheap. Once the expensive maintenance starts coming due, you’ll be responsible again :wink:

Maintenance can get expensive and usually the more high end the car the higher the maintenance costs.
The initial free maintenance thing is a hook to get you into the car.

As to not being notified of a Recall, there is no law that says a car maker has to notify you; only that a notice must be placed in the public domain with press releases and so on.
For a car maker to track down and notify the owners of all affected cars would require a massive investment of man hours due to cars being resold time and again, the state of registration changing, and some cars ending up in salvage yards or broken down in someone’s drive, etc.

What would be the ultimate cushy ride? I know you give up some on performance but just wondering…

Infiniti G37 or Lexus ES350, Acura TL if you can stand the looks.

We LOVE our ES350…but it’s NOT in the same class as the BMW or Acura TL in handling. Great smooth ride. The handling is EXCELLENT for our needs…but I wouldn’t compare it to the BMW or TL.

Check out the latest 2013 Toyota Avalon. Great reviews, solid car, should last a long time with reasonable maintenance costs.

Back in the early '80’s I wanted to buy a motorcycle, but was too chicken.
My older brothers 900(?)cc BMW bike was a thrill.
Got a Honda car 'cause I couldn’t afford a BMW.
(Did any other companies make bikes and cars back then besides Triumph?)

While Honda and BMW make both cars and motorcycles, Triumph split in 1936 into separate companies, but with similar names. One other is Suzuki. Also Audi recently bought Ducati.

IMVHO, one of the BMW hallmarks is it’s excellent rwd chassis. The very cheapest way to approach one for the least amount of money is NOT with a fwd car. I must differ with the suggestion that Honda will suffice. An Acura, maybe in awd. My friend with both a BMW 3 series and a 6 cylinder Subaru Outback for his wife, says that the performance of the two motor wise is actually quite similar.

Handing is obviously better in the BMW but The Subie is not that far behind. I would recommend the regular Legacy 3.6R or 3.6R Limited or Impreza WRX,

CR made this surprising statement when testing a RAV v6. “Normally we don’t equate good handling with Toyota but do with the RAV v6 awd…” not that I would recomend one over a BMW, but it does show you there are a plethora out there. Subarus in general are considered some of the best handling in each class they have a model. And, one of the most reliable and cost effective you can buy.

I have several friends who drove BMW 5 Series cars and now have Acuras or chose a Lexus. All are happy. Many ex-Jaguar owners are also happy to have chosen Japanese upscale cars.