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Discussion Starter #1
So here's my dilemma..

My e46 325i is getting long in the tooth and my thoughts have wandered to new cars. My fiancee and I discussed cars the other day, and the only ones we could mutually agree on were the GTI and BMW e90/92. Luckily, we both agree on no minivans ever. What would you get (honestly):
-The new GTI looks pretty nice inside and out (in some ways, i like the interior better than the BMW)
-The BMW e92 coupe is my favorite current car design short of an Aston Martin and I'm just partial to BMWs.
-Though i'm sure VWs have gotten better, there are is too much scary stuff about reliability floating around about them. My mom's old 2003 Passat was a huge POS and the dealer sucked too
-If I were to buy outright, the VW would be about 29k and the BMW i'd get would be about 35k (RWD, 4 door). I still prefer the looks of BMW's 4 door to the GTI. But, i'd be much less inclined to want to buy the VW outright due to my general apprehension about the brand and its dealers.
-With ED, and multipe security depoists, I could probably lease an e92 equipped with everything I want (including AWD if necessary- see below) for about $455 a month including sales tax.
-A GTI equipped how i'd want it would probably be around $465! Yes, to be fair going on an ED trip is going to entail about 2k in expenses, but i'd consider it a vacation and would LOVE to do it again (did it w/ my current car in the pre-welt days).
-After many years of driving RWD cars, I'm not sure I can stand that front-heavy feeling in corners no matter how sporty the chassis.
-A 4 door GTI is more practical and gets better fuel economy. Yes, an e90 is a bit more partical than an e92, but as it stands now, it's another $20/month to lease (strangely). And again, i just love the lines of the e92. And a wagon is even more expensive.
-I'm getting married soon and plan on having a kid within 2 years...so again, the GTI practicality comes into play. Then again, its not like an e92 would be impossible with a baby.
-My fiancee currently only drives automatics. She's agrred to learn stick, but is still very apprehensive about having a stick as our only car (strange since both her parents are die-hard stick drivers). If push comes to shove, I think i'd rather have VW's DSG trans than BMW's sucky GM automatic and annoying paddles. She's also apprehensive about RWD, but I'd be fine with an AWD BMW if that becomes a sticking point.
- And not that fuel economy is a HUGE concern, but it bugs me that a small, modern, aerodynamic, well engineered car would only get 25 mpg on the highway (with xdrive). That's not much better than some SUVs. Even the 28mpg highway for the RWD is looking a bit shabby nowadays. Contrast this w/ 32 for a GTI w/ DSG (or 31 mpg on an A4 quattro). (as an aside, I wish BMW would just make 6th a true cruising gear, get the RPMs down and the fuel econ up).
-I do kind of like the more low-key image of VWs vs BMWs.
-There's just something fun, and a bit juvenile about the GTI that appeals to me. Same feeling i get when I rent a small hatchback in europe and enjoy thrashing it.
-When all is said and done, I think I'll push for the BMW. It's what I really want, and the price is affordable. If it sucks or doesn't meet our needs, it can be returned in 3 years and we can get a GTI at that point. But, if we REALLY have to get an automatic I might have to go w/ the VW now. Or maybe a 335d...but I digress and that's going to be a lot more money.
Thoughts?
 

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If you're planning on starting a family, I'd avoid the E92 coupe on grounds of practicality. My choice would be a 6 cylinder diesel E90/E91 - a good compromise for you. Practical enough for a small family, good fuel economy & great drive.
 

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The DSG tranny is not that great. I had a MKV R32, and in everyday driving it was not smooth. When taking off it felt like driving with a person just learning stick. Also the gear changing speed is based on how much throttle you are giving, and can sometimes get confused and delay, what felt like a second, when hard accelerating.

If you are planning on having kids, I would not be shopping for a coupe. It's not that you can't fit kids in the back, it's the pain in the ass taking the seats in and out.

Reliability was not bad with the MKV, however you are looking at a first year new model and you know how that can go.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you're planning on starting a family, I'd avoid the E92 coupe on grounds of practicality. My choice would be a 6 cylinder diesel E90/E91 - a good compromise for you. Practical enough for a small family, good fuel economy & great drive.
I agree...if only they imported one of the smaller engined (and cheaper) diesels here. As it stands now, a diesel would probably run about another $100/month for a lease (even w/ the BMW incentive).
 

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I agree...if only they imported one of the smaller engined (and cheaper) diesels here.
The BMW 4 cylinder 2.0 diesel in particular is a great engine - refined, economical & powerful.

The big downside to having smaller engines available is that BMW's will soon become a very common sight. Recently here in the UK, BMW was the 5th most popular car on our roads.
 

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When the lease on my E90 335i ran out a couple of months ago I picked up a used 2008 GTI for about $18k. The DSG is fantastic, fast smooth shifts, the interior is great, no complaints. It's definitely not my 335, but for 1/3 the price it makes a great little runabout :) Oh! And make sure to get it chipped, those $400 get you an extra 30hp that really show.

Once the residuals get a little better I will probably get another 335, but I'll be keeping the GTI for sure.
 

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I'd probably vote for the DSG VW, although I do not have personal experience with DSG (I have a 335xi coupe and an MkIV R32). Having a hatchback adds a lot of practicality, and the way the VW seats move, it should be easier to get child seats in, than a BWM coupe. From a BMW performance perspective, and automatic xi 328 is really going to be a bad combination, and I'm assuming you can't afford to step up to a 335xi coupe. If you can get your wife to agree to a 328xi 6sp, that might be decent.

If your wife is not comfortable with RWD, I doubt she will get that comfortable with it, particularly living in NY where you will have both snow and reasonably amounts of rain. I say this from experience -- I had a 330ci as an everyday car, and I don't know that my wife ever was that comfortable driving it, although we now have a 330ciC that is her first choice, as long as the weather is good. The RWD vs AWD battle wages almost daily on bimmerfest, but I think having RWD as your only car in NY (which can get decent amounts of snow), is a pretty bad idea, even if you do decide to go with winter tires.

I don't think VWs reliability is that much, if any, worse than BWM, and while there are some bad dealers (as there are bad BMW dealers), if you look around you should be able to find a decent one. On the topic of fuel economy, I can pretty easily get 30mpg with a 335xi coupe on the highway, although you have to slow down (~70 mph). You shouldn't be averaging 25mpg unless you are going 85. I do suspect on average you'll get better mileage iwth the GTI, but it not be as much better as it appears.
 

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The DSG tranny is not that great. I had a MKV R32, and in everyday driving it was not smooth. When taking off it felt like driving with a person just learning stick. Also the gear changing speed is based on how much throttle you are giving, and can sometimes get confused and delay, what felt like a second, when hard accelerating.

If you are planning on having kids, I would not be shopping for a coupe. It's not that you can't fit kids in the back, it's the pain in the ass taking the seats in and out.

Reliability was not bad with the MKV, however you are looking at a first year new model and you know how that can go.
How was the DSG when using full manual mode and the paddle shifters? Especially during spirited driving.

Thanks,
Leif W.
 

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The GTI is not even remotely in the same league as the 3-series. Heck, it's not even in the same league as the 1 series. I'm not being a brand snob when I say that you can't compare a FWD, 4 cylinder VW to a BMW of any sort.
 

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Maybe not quality-wise, but the GTI is a light, tossable, fun to drive car that also happens to be very practical. It usually gets good reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The GTI is not even remotely in the same league as the 3-series. Heck, it's not even in the same league as the 1 series. I'm not being a brand snob when I say that you can't compare a FWD, 4 cylinder VW to a BMW of any sort.
I don't know that I'd go that far. Sure, the 3 (and the 1) are probably better engineered and built-- and they'll certainly handle better. But the GIT is still a very good european car that gets lots of great reviews. In some ways, it's better than a 3 series (practicality, fuel economy, interior design for example) Anyway, given our mutual preferences (and dislikes) these are the 2 cars we could agree on.
 

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If you're planning on starting a family, I'd avoid the E92 coupe on grounds of practicality. My choice would be a 6 cylinder diesel E90/E91 - a good compromise for you. Practical enough for a small family, good fuel economy & great drive.
OP lives in NY. Here in the states, the only engine available in the E91 is the N52. No diesel or turbo.
 

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Maybe not quality-wise, but the GTI is a light, tossable, fun to drive car that also happens to be very practical. It usually gets good reviews.
What I love about BMW cars is that tank-like teutonic feel that is traditionally associated with high-end German cars, the perfect steering that you can only get with RWD, and, of course, the BMW handling. All of these are the things that make BMWs feel special. VWs, on the other hand, may be German cars (or at least "German engineered", since most of them are made in Mexico these days), but they feel totally different. Basically, they are nicely equipped econoboxes. The GTI may be faster than the base model Golf, but underneath, it's still the same car. Not to mention, VW's reliability is pretty atrocious.
 

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What I love about BMW cars is that tank-like teutonic feel that is traditionally associated with high-end German cars, the perfect steering that you can only get with RWD, and, of course, the BMW handling. All of these are the things that make BMWs feel special. VW's, on the other, may be German cars (or at least "German engineered", since most of them are made in Mexico these days), but they feel totally different. Basically, they are nicely equipped econoboxes. The GTI may be faster than the base model Golf, but underneath, it's essentially the same car. Not to mention, VW's reliability is pretty atrocious.
Yes. I agree. My wife has a VW Rabbit and it drives okay, but it is definitely missing that tank-like stability that the 328i has.

BMW's are so solid. They are the only cars I can make a quick left turn with and not feel like I'm on 2 wheels.

This is my fourth BMW. I may bitch and complain here on occasion but in reality BMW has spoiled me for life.

Nothing like renting a piece of crap at the airport and finally getting back to the BMW. Oh yeah!
 

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I'm currently cross shopping the GTI (4 door), 330i/328i sedan, and the A3 (very similar to the GTI). I've test driven the 328 and the A3, and they are different cars.

from a family perspective, the A3/GTI offers more functionality as the hatch back is very useful. Since I am looking only at 4 door/5 door cars, cant comment on the coupe, but as other posters have said, it's easier to get in and out of a 4 door than a 2 door. That and my little girl really likes having control of a window (rolling it down), and the coupe just has the pop out windows (or am I mistaken.. I just assumed this). The 328 will work as a family car, but I like hatches. Sure wish the 1 series hatch was here, I'd be really interested in that.

driving wise, quite different between the A3 and 328- the A3 felt more 'tossable' but the 328 offers a lot more feel, speed, comfort and is more a GT than the A3. The A3 was / is a blast, but is less refined. I assume the GTI will be the same, or a bit less refined but havent had the opportunity to drive one. The A3 reminds me of my older B5 A4 - quite tossable, noisy, and 'raw'. The 328 felt more 'mature' but was faster and better composed, just a bit less involved IMHO. But that isnt a bad thing as I get older. It sure had a lot better balance / weight distribution.

The A3 had the DSG and it was fun. I didnt notice the jerkiness mentioned before, but didnt do that long a drive. If I had to get an auto, I would get a DSG. Add a chip and it's quick.

I'm leaning more to the 328 for the better balance, feel (quicker, at least stock) and I've had turbos for the last ~18 years and wouldnt mind a normally aspirated motor - plus the X3 we have has agreat motor, same as in the 328 (but tuned differently). But the A3 / GTI is still high on the list.

hmm, I may have to test drive them again this weekend, back to back. My little girl loves to go for test drives too.
 

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I've never driven the GTI. I'm sure it's fun, but I would take a 328i over it any day.

The GTI is what it is. Many more conveniences on the 328i with premium package.

I've never driven a DSG transmission and I admit it has whetted my curiosity.
 

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28 mpg is the hwy mpgs the EPA posts. I get about 22-23 on average, but it involves a large chunk of stop-and-go stoplight driving. I got 28 mpg on the highway in the heat of summer with the A/C blasting, four grown adults in the car and the trunk packed to the gills. I know under normal circumstances I could get 30-34 on the highway.

For the fun factor the car is pretty fuel efficient vehicle, I must say. My old Ford Focus got worse mpg on the highway due to the car lacking a 5th or 6th gear, albeit it drank 87 octane.

To me the GTI and 328i are just different cars, so I am not sure how to help you in your decision. They'd be an off couple to consider, in my book. :) I think a GTI would be a good daily driver though, should comfortably seat four adults if you get 4 doors, and with folding seats and the hatchback it can fit quite a lot of cargo. It's a pretty practical car.
 

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They are good questions!

Ultimately the VW is going to be more fun to drive out of the box. The 328 is a little more mature, calm, composed, the GTI more tossable and more playful.

The VW reliability is a deal breaker for me, as is the lack of ED. I have owned a GLI, which was a POS ***8211; then I got an S4 which was 10 times worse ($5,000 for a new transmission, $5,000 for a pair of turbos). VW is horrible. I***8217;m not a big fan of FWD, although it does address some of your packaging concerns.
European Delivery is an amazing experience. I can***8217;t say enough about that.
Solely because of VW***8217;s horrid reliability, I got a Mazda 3. And a 328iT.
I get 32-35mpg on the highway in a 328 ***8211; its about the same as I get in the Mazda 3, although the lighter Mazda 3 gets better mileage around town. The wagon is only too expensive if you lease ***8211; which I assume you are. It leases for more than a 335, for God***8217;s sake!

The 328 needs a more involving intake/exhaust sound, lower gearing on the MT, and more negative camber up front to make it involving. It leans a little too much to the luxury side for me.
 

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Bimmer vs. VW (GTI=Golf)??

Does anyone else not see the incongruity of this equation?

A sedan vs a compact.

I am also a VW owner and let's just say that if I could afford a 2nd late model Bimmer, I damn sure wouldn't have ANY VWs in my driveway.
 
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