Going to buy a new car by October. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by anubis, May 6, 2006.

  1. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #1
    Hi,

    I know this has nothing to do with macs, but I'm graduating college with a degree in electrical engineering and I'm about to start my first real job. My starting salary is $64k/year and I'm dying to buy my first real car. (I appologize to my current car if it reads this threat, but I'm sorry, a '99 Saturn SL is not a real car ;) )

    Since I have no debt, no wife, and no kids, I can stretch my salary pretty far. I know that the fasttrack to wealth is home ownership, and I am going to be saving a lot of money every month for a down payment on a house. But since I'm so young (22) I've decided to just save up a sizeable down payment for a house in 5-6 years and buy the car now. And yes, I'm already planning on putting money into a 401(k). My employer will match 4%, so that's going to be my contribution. Given that I'm going to be saving for retirement and also putting about $500/month away for an eventual down payment on a house, I've decided I can afford car payments somewhere in the $700-$850/month range with 7% financing at 60 months with $4000 down. That would make the purchase price of the car somwhere around $35000-$43000.

    Anyway, I can't decide between a roadster or a sedan, so I'm going to list both. I like the idea of getting a convertible roadster just bceause they're sporty and look nice, plus my friend drives a convertible and there's nothing quite like putting the top down for an evening cruise around town. However, I like the idea of a sedan because a sedan would offer a much smoother, quieter, more comfortable ride, especially on the occasional road trip.

    The roadsters I'm considering are the BMW Z4 3.0i (first choice among all cars), BMW Z4 3.0si, and Mercedes SLK280. The Sedans I'm considering are the BMW 330i, Mercedes C350, Lexus GS300 and ES350, Infinity M35, and Acura TL. I was wondering if anyone has driven or owns any of these cars, if anyone has any suggestions about which one to get, or if anyone wants to suggest a model that is not on my list.

    Do you own a roadster or a convertible? Does the increased harshness and loudness of the ride ever bother you? Do you own a car that you love, isn't on my list, but has similar properites to the cars on my list? Do you have a general opinion about the quality of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, or Acura? How are the support and service departments of these car companies? I want to hear from you. Please post replies.
     
  2. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601

    Plymouthbreezer

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #2
    I love our BMW 3-Series, but it's been a mechanical nightmare. Still, I think it's an awesome car.

    The G35 is wonderful too. I'd recommend against the MB C-Class - Overpriced and clunky IMHO.
     
  3. yankeefan24 macrumors 65816

    yankeefan24

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    I can highly recommend any BMW 3 series. The 330 will be an awesome car and i highly recommend it. The Z4 is also nice, but I don't like it as much.

    -yankefan
     
  4. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #4
    Cadillac CTS/STS or the 330i for a Sedan. My dad has a 2002 330xi and the only problem it had was a blown water pump at 45K. Approaching 70K and still running solid. One of my uncles has a CTS. He just loves it. No problems and is spunky with the 3.6 liter V6 it has. I would go for the Z4 if you go roadster. My mom had a Sebring convert which was a POS( as a vehicle and due to it being a convert). I did rent a Mustang convertible in Florida. I liked it. Very nice convertible and found the noise and ride to be very acceptable and was worth it. If this wasn't your daily driver, I would recommend the Solstice/Sky for the roadster. The reason why the Solstice/Sky is a 2nd car is because it has a pitiful trunk.
     
  5. Peyton macrumors 68000

    Peyton

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    #5
    Depends on how much you want to pay, and how you want to finance. Leasing can get you more of a car.

    Convertable? sedan? etc.

    Mercedes has a brand NEW C class coming out in January, they know its old and needs to be replaced, so if you can wait, it should be amazing.

    The brand new IS 350 is a great car from Lexus, extremely quick and great mpg.

    Audi has an all new TT coming out for 2007 model year.

    Would you go for a coupe? Convertable 4 seater coupe? Mercedes CLK, or BMW 3 series.

    The 3 series is also new, but thought to be overpriced, uglier than previous versions, and the interior is not as luxurious as the lexus.

    Is performance more important? Than Luxury? Do you just HAVE to have heated and cooled seats? Things like that narrow the playing field too.
     
  6. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Gah! Plymouth
    #6
    WRX STI

    easiest choice ever

    Its the car i will be buying
     
  7. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #7
    Yeah, I was thinking about the Saturn Sky, but I can afford more than the Sky.

    I'm going to be keeping my Saturn SL (sedan) around until it stops running, which shouldn't be for another 3-5 years. The plan is to use the SL for roadtrips to keep the miles down on my new vehicle. Plus, if I get a roadster, the SL will probably still be nicer and quieter on the open road. But if I get a new sedan, it will probably be taken on road trips more often.

    Again, the Sky is pretty sweet, it's just that I can afford more car than that. MAYBE when Saturn releases the Sky Redline that would tempt me, but I still doubt it. Thanks for the response!
     
  8. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #8

    I definitely want to buy the car through traditional finance. Not interested in leasing, unless it's something like the BMW lease-to-own program (Make the ~$4000 up front payment, then pay lease rates for about 36 months, then either give up the car or refinance the "bubble" amount and purchase the vehicle at that time. Result would be about $200 lower monthly payment during the lease term. But I'm still weary of anything having to do with a lease.)

    Not really into the TT. Thanks for the comments on the BMW 3 series. As far as your last question, I think you really hit the nail on the head. I guess at this point I don't know if performance is more important than luxury. I'd say luxury (smooth ride, quietness, leather, feel of the interior) is a bit more important than how many horsepower it has. But at the same time, anything less than a 200hp roadster or a 250hp sedan just isn't going to satisfy. ;)
     
  9. CompUser Guest

    #9
    Roadsters:

    BMW z4: neighbor has it, he loves it

    MB SLK: personally, I don't really think they are attractive cars

    Take a look at the honda S2000, my friends dad has one and he absolutely loves it. In addition, it is supposedly a competitor to the Boxter and Z4 despite its brand name. Its about $35,000, not many options to add on, and its probably not nearly as costly to repair as the BMW. In addition to his S2000, my friend's dad has the infiniti g35x which is a great car for the money- 298hp, leather, all the goodies. It was rated better than the BMW 3-series in handling, acceleration, and braking, plus it is $35,000.


    If I were you stick with an infinti, lexus, or acura. They are reliable, cost less to fix, and probably less devaluation over time. On the other hand, they are not german engineered, so its just not the same as a true sporty little BMW.
     
  10. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #10
    Probably should have mentioned this also: the looks of the car are extremely important. It has to look sexy. And, personally, none of the Subarus look sexy to me. It's just my personal preference. It could have ridiculously good performance, smooth ride, perfect handling, etc., but if it doesn't have nice curves and pleasant visual appeal, then I'm not really interested.

    Again, nothing personal against Subaru, I just don't find their cars to be very visually attractive. I guess it's just in the eye of the beholder. *shrug* Thanks for the reply though!
     
  11. fuzzwud macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Location:
    Houston
    #11
    I don't have a car recommendation, but more importantly, I would suggest having 3-6 months of salary saved up (cash/liquid) for emergency use. Emergency use would be like being laid off, no salary, medical/hospital, and etc. I don't know what field you're in, but a job is hardly forever. If you have to change jobs (don't like the company, position, or people you work for), don't put too much financial burden on yourself so quickly.

    Do you have any school loans? Pay those off as soon as possible. Don't forget, one third of your salary goes to Uncle Sam! Do you have health/medical insurance? Did you consider car & liability insurance?

    7% financing for a car loan sounds too much. I'm not sure what other people pay, but I got mine at 4.1% 48 months by shopping around. I got an offer for 4.5% online but the car dealer offered a better rate.

    If you've considered those factors and feel okay with it, you can get whatever you want. I'd suggest getting something more fuel efficient. Gas will not get any cheaper.
     
  12. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    Feb 22, 2005
    Location:
    Gah! Plymouth
    #12

    Well you could look at the Mazda RX-8 which in my opinion is a very sexy car.

    I have heard it is beautiful to drive. 232HP 50-50 weight distribution i hear. Very nice car. Would be what i get if the STI didn't exist :p
     
  13. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #13
    Of course are you thinking of the cost of insurance on these cars? I would assume you're under 25 which will make the costs worse. I hear the insurance for the Solstice at least is cheaper for a roadster. But, I recommend still the CTS/STS or the 330i for the Sedan and Z4 or the Sky Redline if it tempts you so much for the roadster. :p I also 2nd fuzz suggestion. Make sure you have some emergency money just in case. That is why something like the Sky would be ideal for the roadster. As you said, it is a sweet vehicle. And it would leave you some cash to save for the just in case scenario.
     
  14. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #14
    RX-8 is definitely a tight car. The reasons why I'm affraid to get one, though, are the relatively horrible gas mileage (18 city, 25 highway) and the low torque (159 ft-lbs). I'll still probably test drive one though to see how much I like it. One of my friends has a prestine 1993 RX-7 twin turbo and it's plenty fast. But I also kind of feel like, if I was going to get a small sports car like that, I'd like it to be a convertible.

    Hey, what can I say, I'm very picky. I'll probably force the salesperson to let me test drive each car for 3-4 hours ;)

    -------------------------------

    Damn, I just went on Mazda's web site and configured an RX-8 the way I want it (grand touring package, nav system, 6 disc changer, spare tire kit, etc) and it came out to $35,264. Too much for a non-luxury brand, if you ask me.
     
  15. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #15

    I've alrady budgeted insurance premiums of $1300 per six months. Ridiculous? Well, yeah. I'm a "high-risk" demographic (under 25, unmarried male), so I'll have to pay a lot even though I've never been in an accident. It's just the price you gotta pay.
     
  16. Peyton macrumors 68000

    Peyton

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    #16

    cool. I really think, (having driven most all of the cars mentioned) that the Lexus IS 350 is your car. DEFINITELY test drive it before buying anything, for the price, it has unheard of HP, technology, comfort, one of the quietest, and reliable as its from Toyota/lexus.

    let us know what you choose!
     
  17. 2nyRiggz macrumors 603

    2nyRiggz

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2005
    Location:
    Thank you Jah...I'm so Blessed
    #17
    Get a small but good looking car...save yourself on gas$$

    Yaris i think they are called.

    Bless
     
  18. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #18
    Unmarried male ISO sexy car?

    No question about this: buy a Jag.

    Your penis will thank you.
     
  19. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #19
    Well, there is some pretty decent competion for cars in your prospective price-range. Which means alot of choice for you.

    If I were you, I'd set aside some time to do some test-drives of as many cars as you can. Reviews and recommendations are always helpful, but this car is for you - so get a real feel for it - besides, test-drives are fun.

    In addition to the cars you've mentioned, I'd check out:

    Infiniti G35 coupe.
    Audi A4 (A3 is pretty interesting too)
    Saab 9-3 or 9-5 aero. (I love Saabs)
    Volkswagon Passat (supposed to be a fine car, even "if only" a Volkswagon)

    Happy shopping, but don't go crazy.
     
  20. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #20
    I had a friend mention that for $43000 I could buy a base model Lotus Elise. Pretty sweet looking car. I'd definitely be the only person in town with one. Unfortunately saying it has a "minimalistic interior" would be an understatement. There's virtually no carpet or padding, no armrests, the passenger seat isn't even adjustable. But all of that complete lack of amenities means it only weighs 1900 pounds. 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with the 2.2 liter Toyota inline-4.

    I'd get it if I was braver. But I don't want to drop 43 stacks on a car that is supremely uncomfortable, no matter how fast it is. ;)
     
  21. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Thanks!!!
     
  22. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Thanks! I'll add Jaguar to my list.
     
  23. Steve1496 macrumors 6502a

    Steve1496

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #23
    I just wanted to chime in about the build quality of Mercedes. I own an SL500, and while I do love the car it doesn't have a great trac record. I've had problems with just about every aspect of the car. Off the top of my head: Transmission needed replacement, needed electrical wiring fixed because the windows worked erratically, speedometer needed fixing, and one of the cars computers failed. Still, can't beat the ride and looks.

    Congratulations on your new job and soon to be car!


    Steve
     
  24. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    Jul 23, 2002
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    #24
    Forgot to mention to skip the Ford redux models. Stick to the XJ and XK.

    And remember: if you can't get laid driving an XK, you can't get laid.
     
  25. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #25
    Acura TL that you listed in your first post.

    All the car magazines have nothing but positive words about it. Great build quality and reliability, not too big, and if you ever need repairs-- will be a heck of a lot cheaper than fixing a European car. Sigh.
     

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