Help deciding between two cars

I currently have $20000 in the bank and have seen two good offers for cars that I am interested in.

1) 2002 BMW M3 (130000KM) => $19000

2) 2005 Mazda RX-8 (58000KM) => $16000

Right now I am leaning towards the RX-8 just because it costs less. Please let me know what you think.

Which I would choose would depend on how much you can afford on maintenance costs. The BMW M3 is going to require a valve adjustment and Inspection I every 30K miles. It will also require frighteningly expensive tires which will need replacement about every 20K miles. When you need a full brake job be prepared to shell out $2,000. If the M3 doesn’t have records walk away. There was a run of engines with bad bearings during 2002 and many engines were replaced under warranty-it would be important to know what was done on the car. Small things will go wrong that usually don’t on a Japanese car.

All that said…The M3 is a far superior car in every measure and will delight you in many ways. The capabilites are very impressive and the interior quality is top notch. You’ll be amazed how well a car can handle and steer and how good the seats are. It’s a BMW M3 which means it carries a certain something that a Mazda RX-8 cannot muster in the lust department. However, it’s not a car for folks without enough money to maintain it. If you can afford to maintain it and you live somewhere you can enjoy it, by all means buy it. If you buy the reliable Mazda though make sure you never drive the M3 because you’ll never like your RX-8 the same way again.

If you’re sold on luxury, go for the M3.
If you’re sold on efficiency and practicality, go for the Mazda. Trust me, Mazda is UNDERrated! It’s an outstanding car.

I drive a BMW make right now and I love it, but I pay for it too. Beyond fuel, parts and maintenance can be more costly (and parts can be harder to find or need special ordering).

My frugal father paid cash for a used '96 Mazda 626 in 1997. He is still driving it today. With maintenance and typical care, it’ll deliver exactly what you need, with comfort. Toyotas are famous for lasting to 250,000 miles and Mazda is the underrepresented match. All Mazda drivers I’ve met haven’t gone back, actually…

They’re both great cars, but one is far more practical on multiple levels here. Mazda will keep 3k in your pocket and you’ll spend less maintaining it.

Good luck selecting!

Yeah, regular Mazdas are nice practical little cars, but this is a rotary engine sports car!

Really, there’s not much strangers on the internet can say about this purchase. Neither are practical economical cars-- they’re fun sports cars and the qualities of a car like that are purely subjective. I think they’ll be probably pretty equal in reliability and the BMW might cost a little bit more to fix. You need to go test drive both of them and see which one you like to drive more.

Drive the RX-8 in traffic, IMHO it is similar to driving an economy car due to the lack of low end power. Otherwise an incredible car to drive especially at the track where I was fortunate to drive a friends.

Rx for RX-8?

I don’t know what latitude you live near or if you intend to drive in cold weather.
Also, I don’t know if the RX-8 has drastically improved or a cure was developed for a problem I witnessed involving RX-7’s.

I worked for a couple of years at a Mazda dealer near 45 degrees latitude in the midwest. Whenever the winter temp went south of -10F or so, RX-7’s came in “on the hook” while other conventional piston-powered Mazdas went on their merry way. They had starting issues at cold temps that took frustrated owners by surprise.

Check it out if any of this is relevant.

I drove an RX-7 company car and loved driving it!

Both cars are money pits; the BMW because of its Paris Hilton taste for upkeep, the RX8 because of its unusual engine, which often Mazda dealers don’t know how to service. Both cars scare me to death.

If you want fun and reliability, an Infiniti would be a good choice. If you buy a low mileage one you will have many years of reliable driving sat moderate cost.

How is an Infiniti fun? It’s a luxury car. It’s reliable, luxurious and well made-but not fun. Unless of course you’re middle-aged or older haha. Then I can see it being perceived maybe as fun. They have that new G coupe, but that’s not even remotely close to his price range.

I’d stay away from both, for the same reasons Doc gives, plus the RX-8 fuel economy is poor. Were I you, I would put that money in the best regular 3-series car (328i, 330i) that you can find - they’re great cars, less expensive to keep up, and much easier to find.

Have both vehicles inspected by a mechanic BEFORE you buy. Also, you’ll need to religiously check the oil level on the RX-8 as they burn oil, even brand new, as it injects a spray of oil into the engine.

Not ALL Infinity’s are considered Luxury vehicles.

The Infiniti G is a luxury GT coupe not a sports car. It doesn’t matter anyway because as I mentioned before it’s WAY out of the posters price range. He’s looking at cars in the 15-19K range and a G coupe with options is 40K plus.

Can you afford the insurance? Get the VINs off both cars and ask your car insurance company what they will charge. That may make your decisionn easier.

You might also look at an 2004/2005 Infiniti G35 Coupe. I’ll bet the insurance is a lot less than an M3 and it’s still a whale of a lot of fun.