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New car possibly - BMW?

Hey all!

I have been looking around at getting a nicer car/suv than what I currently have. My wife and I have narrowed it down to BMW, Lexus, and Acura. I really like all 3 cars, and I have personally owned an Acura TSX. It was the best car I ever had. However, I would really love to move up to a BMW or Lexus. My wife and I test drove a 2016 Lexus IS 250 AWD F-Sport last night. I liked it, but I wasn’t overly impressed with it. Actually, we both were kind of disappointed. Not to mention, it was so low to the ground, it was like stepping out of a sports car. We then turned our attention towards BMW and found a 2014 X 3 35i at our local Carmax with 40k miles. We are going to go drive it to see how BMW’s drive. I have never driven one, so I want to see what this whole “driving machine” is about, although, that’s probably directed more towards the M3, etc., LOL.

Here’s my questions:

The BMW has a twin turbo engine. With 40k miles on it, what do I want to be checking for? I know Carmax claims they do all of the inspections, etc. I still question that sometimes.

Is BMW’s X-Drive pretty good in snow? I have done some research and it looks pretty good, but again, I have never driven a Bimmer.

What kind of problems can I expect at 40 plus miles? Do I need to go to the dealer for service? My closest one is 20 miles away which isn’t the end of the world.

Every one talks about expensive maintenance. How much more expensive would it be for items such as brakes, etc. compared to that of my wife’s Nissan? I guess I am asking, how much more are labor rates, etc.?

Last, am I nuts for picking up a used BMW? I really don’t know what to do. Again, we may or may not do this. However, it’s a possibility.


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As for being nuts I can’t answer that. But if high service and repair will make you feel bad then take BMW of the list. These are the type vehicles people lease and then turn in at the end of lease.

Edit; I don’t understand someone who is concerned about vehicle problems is even looking at used luxury vehicles. There are so many fine vehicles new that can be bought for a small difference in price as some used high priced status symbols.

None. It’s a brand new car. Unless it was a lease or rental vehicle.

BMWs have very high cost of ownership. My son owned two of them, and he won’t buy another.
But it’s your money. Any your wife. Let your wife make the final choice. If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

A BMW with a twin turbo?

The first two things you’ll to have to accept is, it’ll require full synthetic oil, and premium gasoline. Plus, the insurance will be higher because it’s considered a high performance vehicle.

Every person I know who has owned one of these high performance vehicles didn’t own it for long.

Not only for the high cost of ownership, but also because the vehicle couldn’t be driven to it’s full potential.

I mean, if you’re using it for a daily driver, you can’t go over the speed limit. And most times you’re usually stuck in grid-lock on the freeway.

Unless there’s a race track nearby, it’s a waste of money.


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I think the OP meant 40000 plus miles. At least that what he said the 2014 BMW had.

If you’re looking at the X3 you might also look at the Lexus RX350 and the Acura RDX. I’d pick them used over a used BMW.

Maybe you should change your heading. New to most people means ’ New as in no miles and current year ". Your post has used vehicles in it.

Good point Tester. I won’t even consider a vehicle that requires premium fuel myself.

I have a couple suggestions for you having seen how a 2014 BMW with xDrive aged. First, do not buy a used one. Instead, buy a Certified Pre-owned one from a dealer. You say the one you like has 40K miles. The comprehensive BMW warranty runs for 4 years or 50K miles, whichever comes first. So, yours likely is still (barely) under the original warranty. The CPO warranty would add 2 more years, or up to 50K more miles to the comprehensive warranty. You would not have to worry about any mechanical problems for at least two years, plenty of time to find out if the car has issues and get them resolved by your dealer at their cost.

  • Yes xDrive is as good as any AWD system on the market. Tires always matter in snow, and BMW saddles its vehicles with Run Flats, which makes it expensive and difficult to own and mount winter rubber (compared to conventional tires). So you will most likely end up using all-season tires. You should be OK.
  • You were wise to walk away from any Lexus IS 250. The “250” is the low-power, slow, old small V6 with gobs of trouble due to carbon build up. That is perhaps the worst Lexus on the (used or CPO) market. Lexus has replaced the IS 250 with the better in every way IS 200t, with a much more powerful turbo. It is a very similar (identical on paper) engine to the BMW 2.0-turbo. (you are looking at a 3.0-liter model, hence the “335i” designation.)
  • You should not expect any special problems with the BMW 335i at 40K., a partner site to CarTalk has zero reported issues to show on that 2014 model year car.
  • If you plan to use a BMW dealer to service your BMW, my estimate is about 25% more than a Nissan Altima sedan in terms of maintenance costs, but it is hard to pin down.
    Good luck!

You guys all express some really good points. I kind of wanted to see what you gear heads thought before buying something. The only way I think I would go about doing this would be to buy the Max Care extended warranty to 100k through CarMax. With that warranty, you can then go and have a BMW dealership do the repairs.

I may drive it to see what the “BMW” hype is about, but I will keep looking around. The Acura RDX is also a very high possibility.

I know that SUV’s per say aren’t suppose to be “sporty,” but can of you recommend some fun to drive SUV’s with power and AWD? I am really trying to stay in the SUV range for our travels and kids.

Thanks much!

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I know this won’t make much sense unless you actually try it, but the new Honda CR-V’s turbo engine and CVT are fantastic. If you get the fully-loaded AWD Touring for about $36K it will be a better vehicle in every meaningful way than a used BMW X3. I spend a lot of time in a 2014 X3 28i XDrive. I love it, but it is not as good as the new CR-V. The BMW X3 xDrive35i has 300hp, which is unusual. If you want a compact crossover with that much power, consider trying the Ford Escape with its most powerful engine, or if you want a bit more bling, the Lincoln MKC.

Please be sure to listen to the noise of the engine when it is at idle speed.
For several years, I have noted that BMWs with direct injection sound like a $9.95 Walmart corn popper when they are at idle speed. You may wish to differ, but my definition of a high-end vehicle does not include one that sounds like a really cheap corn popper.

Does that prospective BMW have direct injection?
If so, please be sure to listen to the incredibly tinny noise that the engine produces at idle speed, and then decide if that is truly a high-end vehicle.

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You might want to do an internet search, there seems to be a high number of complaints about Max Care.


Another new one to consider is the Mazda CX-5, which one reviewer thought much like a BMW, handling-wise. And, to me, it’d be as fast as I ever needed.

I’ll have to go drive a Mazda! I’ll check out the CR-V too. I did drive the CIVIC with the touring the package. The 1.5T was a blast!

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So? Why do you want to move down to a BMW?


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A non-turbo Lexus in good condition will allow you to sleep nights.

A twin turbo used BMW will make you get a second job to pay for the upkeep.

If you don’t have deep pockets buy a new car; there are plenty of nice ones in that price range. A Mazda 6 with all the trimmings is a blast to drive.

I agree 100%, buying a used BMW for $30-40k is just silly when you can get a great new car for that money.

Not only that, but getting a loaner 435i driven, I was really “impressed” by cheap interior materials and lackluster handling at city. Getting to 50+ MPH - that’s where it shows itself, but really I was more impressed with what Acura or Lexus had at better price point, not to mention better reliability

For the 3 L turbo AWD version, I’m seeing 8 safety recalls, most of them minor, but some appearing to be serious, one about fuel pump replacement. There’s 8 general recalls, again mostly for minor things, but might not be a minor hit to your wallet should you have to pay for them. Best to make sure all that has already been done. There’s 30 or more customer interest bulletins, many of them due to issues with advanced technology items like the navigation system, instrument panel, audio system, collision avoidance system, etc. That’s not a problem with this car I imagine just the downside to a vehicle with lots of high tech gizmos. One further issue you’ll have to resolve, there’s a recommended repair for drivetrain shudder. Good idea to make sure that has already been taken care of.

My guess, you’d be looking at a car that is fun to drive, performs well, looks nice, but compared to your wife’s Nissan, considerably more expensive to maintain and repair.