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Debating...Maxima v/s BMW

I am currently owning a Maxima for past 6yrs. Has got some issues and so thinking to replace it. Willing to spend max $12,500(including all taxes & fees).
I am debating on:
1: Maxima/Accord/Camry 2005+(any of these doesn’t matter.)
2: BMW 5series 2005+

Now I am debating between my two options. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to buy BMW with respect to it’s cost of maintenance/insurance/gas, etc. Are there any known issues that I should avoid 2004-2006 BMW 3/5 series?

I am not into cars. I just use it to commute to work and around the city. I hardly drive 300-400miles a month.

Any guidance? I am open to other options as well.


The ones who tolerate the extra cost and headache associated with a BMW, are those who really enjoy the ride and handling. With your budget, I doubt you will get any 3 or 5 series with less than 100K miles. Even with Accord and Camry, you will be somewhere around a 5 year old one with 80K+ miles.
Test drive one or two BMW’s in your budget and see if you really fall in love with one. If you need is a point A to B car, then stick with a 4 cylinder sedan. I will extend the list to include, Altima, Mazda 6, Ford Fusion, Kia/Hyundai and on.

People buy BMWs because of the car and often in spite of the cost of maintenance. In my limited experience, they were quite reliable but more expensive to service and repair when it was needed.

The car though is a different breed. It is a driver’s car and not a passenger car. Maximas, l Accords and Camrys go from point A to point B with a minimal about of fuss. A BMW goes the same trip with a maximal amount of enjoyment…your call.

One end of not being into cars, is owning a Camry ( or Accord) It is the sane, efficient, dependable thing to do. A little Boring but sane and efficient.

Thanks. Good point. Yes, I am aware Maxima/Accord will be 80k+ miles and BMWs around 100k.
That’s one thing I don’t know how BMWs are after 100k.

I bought my current Maxima @128k and it’s right now 175k.

Thanks dagosa.

Yep, it’s the ride and feeling that will be different with BMWs. But wanted to weight it with cost of maintenance.

I will have to go test drive those to see if it’s worth.

If anyone here owns 2004-2007 3-5 series and can share their experience, that would help a lot.

Do you want to date a super model or a farm girl? You can’t compare a “wrong-wheel-drive” Japanese car to a BMW 5-Series. I have been driving BMWs for 30+years (3.0 CSi, 535, 540 Sport, 328i, etc.). Properly maintained, they can be one of the most reliable cars on the road. My current 1998 328i has 116,000 miles, I’ve owned it for seven years and it’s only been regularly scheduled maintenance. The key is finding an original owner car, all service records and a clean PPI. If you want a 2005+ 5 series, get RWD and manual transmission. Otherwise, stick with the safe (but boring) Japanese transportation appliances.

Buying any used car is a crap shoot no matter who the manufacturer is. No matter what vehicle you choose a thorough inspection should be performed even if the car does have low miles.
An inspection will not guarantee a problem free car but does improve the odds in your favor a bit.

Just curious, but what kind of issues does your current Maxima have along with what year and miles on it?

You say you’ve owned it for the past 6 years. If this means 6 years from brand new maybe resolving the issues would be a far better way to go unless the car is aged, rusted out, or has issues that are extremely serious.

I’d personally go with an Accord (which I own). I can’t speak for the Maxima, but the Toyotas I’ve driven have felt quite mushy and artificial with the controls, which I don’t like. My Accord is 12 years old with 110k on it and still feels very tight. I’ve got the 4cyl and it gets great mileage as well. If you don’t really care about cars, I’d say the additional costs of the BMW wouldn’t be worth it. You have to use premium gas, and it will certainly use more than an Accord, every aspect of maintenance will be expensive, and it will likely be significantly more expensive to insure.

Alust20313… I tend to agree with your assessment if funds are limited. An older BMW can be a can of worms. Good friend with one always struggles with the idea of spending much of the summer North of Portland with his BMW while it was under warrenty…no dealers in sight in this neck of the woods.

He has a summer home here and his BMW is awd but practically useless with the low clearance and fear of doing damage on the dirt roads comming in both the summer and winter.He ends up driving his Subaru Outback 90% of the time up here while his wife keeps his car in Mass for shopping and Mall runs. Neither really has the car they want much of the Summer.

These cars are pretty restrictive…consider that. They are not great cars for the Outdoor crowd unless everything is done from paved, well maintained roads. As far as actual performance other then handling, he says his v6 Ouback compares very favorably to the BMW too.

The biggest concern I’d have with 100K+ miles on a used BMW is the cost to replace an automatic transmission. BMW’s use very high tech units that can cost $5000 and more to replace and you don’t have many options due to small number of similar models in the junk yards. The Camry/Accord/Maxima cars could have the same problem but the cost of a new, used, or rebuilt transmission is much less.

Agree with another poster, I’d look for a BMW with a manual transmission and go in a different direction if you must have an automatic tranny.

Someone “not into cars” probably shouldn’t be in a BMW. A BMW is for someone who wants a certain driving experience and who is willing to pay extra for it.

A Kia or Hyundai would likely be the best choice for you.

at 3~400 miles a month, it’d be kinda hard to justify owning a high end car like a BMW

Maybe just the opposite is true; low mileage, fewer expensive repairs. I have a friend with a plethora of high end restored cars to choose from to drive…he drives his Accord to work everyday. That’s the car that is the cheapest per mile to drive, according to him.

Thank you guys for valuable response. Looks like I am not fit for BMW :D. It was my friend who’s little passionate about cars got me into thinking about BMWs.

The struts/shocks needs to be replace($1100) and has some oil leak. Costing $200-300.
KBB value for my car shows about $1700.

Planning to go to dealer to see what can I get for trade-in. Then have to weight against other costs to see if I should get things repaired or replace my Maxima.

I’d go for a Mazda6 with the Sports option. They are very reliable, cheap in upkeep and fun to drive. Agree that a Toyota Camry does not have a sporty feel.

For an average driver, a BMW is a highly overrated car.

@samyom if you’re getting a Camry, AVOID the 2.4 liter 2AZ-FE engine. Stripped cylinder head threads in the block 2002- 2006. Major oil consumption 2007 and up. Toyota issued TSBs about this. The information is out there. I’m not going any further on that issue.
I have a 2005 Camry with the V6. It has decent power and is roomy, but is pretty boring.

I also would be hesitant about buying an “older” BMW. It may have been driven hard and poorly maintained, especially if the last guy was in over his head financially. I worked at a Benz dealer for many years and I regularly saw customers that weren’t in a position to maintain their vehicles properly.

BTW . . . what year Maxima? How many miles? What are your issues? It seems a little unusual for me to get rid of an older car with issues, just to buy another unknown older car. Unless you are really car savvy and can identify a potential loser car.

Friends will do that when they want you to spend money on a car they may get to drive or ride in. They don’t live with the repair bills and payments.

Alternatively, just keep the Maxima. Keep adding oil. Leave the shocks.