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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are looking forward to purchasing a 2003 325i. Actually we almost closed a deal over the weekend on one that my local dealer had on the lot, but we couldn't work out an acceptable trade-in agreement. (i.e. They wouldn't give me enough for my trade). Other than this weekend's experience, I am new to the BMW buying process, and I'm looking for some advice on a few topics.

1. From what I've read on this board, it seems that you can order a BMW for a little below MSRP. Other than getting exactly what you want and negotiating a lower price, what other advantages are there to ordering a BMW as opposed to buying something already on the lot? I guess the dealerships don't normally keep much on the lot, but my local dealer just happened to have EXACTLY what we wanted - 325i white/tan leather - premium package - automatic. The price on it was $33,490.

2. I have been pondering financing options - traditional, Performance Loan, or Select. I have heard both good and bad things about the Select program, but the lower monthly payments sure make that financing option appealing. What are your opinions/experiences with this program, if any? I worry somewhat about the balloon payment on the end. I'm looking for any good advice on financing options.

3. I have heard numerous rumors regarding scheduled maintenance and the BMW warranty. Is there any truth to the statements below?

- If you miss a scheduled maintenance on your BMW you're factory warranty is void. True or False?

- What is supposed to be "free" maintenance covered under warranty ends up costing money due to hidden fees and work/repairs that may be otherwise unnecessary. T or F?

- Repairs and maintenance are very costly after the factory warranty has ended. T or F?

4. The salesperson I dealt with over the weekend told me that with the introduction of the 2003 models comes 4 years or 48,000 miles of FREE maintenance (oil changes and a brake job) and a full bumper to bumper warranty. Is this program really anything like its described by the salesperson??

Any other tips and advice for a newbie would be appreciated. My wife and I had our hearts broken over the weekend after the deal with the trade-in didn't work out. The salesperson pushes the "ultimate driving machine" slogan pretty hard. Do I have any reason to be skeptical of this slogan or any of the claims made by the maintenance program and factory warranty? And is the Select financing program a viable option in everyone's opinion? Many thanks.

Brian T.

Double Bimmers
1,176 Posts
I will try to answer some.

1) What is the point of ordering?

A) For your selection 325i, PP, Auto... You do not need to order, because that is one of the most common combo's of options. Other options are much harder to find on the lot, but yours is almost the "default" 3-series BMW.

4) Is the free service for a year longer on the 2003's


Registered User
3,365 Posts
Just finance your balloon payment if you are worried about it. If you can get a home equity loan, you can even deduct the interest on your taxes.

///Mpty pockets
1,963 Posts
1. Like CD said you shouldn't have any problem finding what you want on the dealer's lot. I stopped by one of my local dealers yesterday and they had 3 or 4 white, 325i w/premium. If you have searched this board I'm sure you found that $1500-$1600 over invoice is the price to look for....

2. I went with the baloon loan....what I figure is I can have the lower payments and refi. the baloon with a home equity when the time comes (like Patrick suggested). FYI, you will pay a bit more interest on the baloon loan.

Another option is to just sell the car when the baloon comes due...residuals on the loan aren't bad, but the resale value historically is still better. Doing this you should be able to sell for fair market price, pay off the baloon and still pocket enough to use as a down payment on a new car.

3. Why would you miss the scheduled maintenance? They are only every 15k miles (not often enough in my opinion). If you were to change the oil yourself they would still warranty the car; I don't see what you are afraid of here. I haven't had any service done yet but I certainly don't expect to be paying any 'hidden' fees. As far as repairs after the warranty I can't car is still under warranty.

4. Yes you get oil changes (one per year or every 15k miles) and a brake job if you need it.

Do some more searching of this and other boards for things like dealer/warranty complaints. We all bought BMW's and certainly all of *us* can't be wrong.

I would pretty much ignore everything the salesperson says...they have a car on the lot that they need to move and will play on your emotions to get you to buy it. Drive it and compare it to other cars and see for yourself.....

My only other advice would be to consider a 5sp. (it really makes the car fun to drive).
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