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I am in the market for a small two-door coupe. You will see that my car knowledge is fairly limited and I tried my best on researching before making this post (to avoid duplication). If I repeated anything, I hope you can forgive me. I also apologize for my verbosity. Thank you for your patience and help.

Over the past 3 years my '08 335i coupe had a series of issues. First the transmission oil leaked (~50k miles), then the water pump went out (~58k miles). Very recently the ABS/traction control malfunctioning light came up on the dash (~63k miles). Each repair cost north of $2k and I've decided to put an end to the constant headache and therefore plunged myself into the market for a new car.

I live in North Jersey and work in New York City. So I don't drive to work. My car is used exclusively for pleasure (grocery runs, numerous short road trips, several long road trips, and very occasionally, tossing it around at speeds deemed safe by His Majesty's Government). Last year I put on less than 5k miles on the car. In other words it's as much of a toy as it is a tool. 99% of the time it will have no more than two people in the car and no special cargo/luggage.

I entertained the idea of convertibles briefly but I heard bad stories about their upfront cost, maintenance cost, increased wind noise due to odd roof shape, and reduced sound insulation (primarily with soft tops). As a result, I made a pass on them.

My budget is around $50k with some flexibility (±20%). Cars that cost less don't really catch my eye while I struggle to justify spending significantly more than that. I can do lease/finance/cash depending on the deals. But if I did make a purchase (as opposed to leasing), I intend to keep it for longer than 6 years. I can buy new or used. I am also not time sensitive (which is good as I heard there's a long waiting list for M2).

I'm considering the below:
Lexus RC350, Audi TTS, Chevy Camaro, and BMW M2. Do you see any other vehicle in this price range I ought to investigate?

I have scheduled test drive sessions with all the above cars. If you have driven/owned/used any of them, I would love to hear your thoughts. Additionally, if you know any reputable dealers of the above brands in the northern Jersey area (as well as North Carolina), I would appreciate a referral.

Being a current owner of a BMW, I'm partial to the brand. I enjoy the excellent service experience at the dealership, the surge of adrenaline from the exciting engine, and the generally upscale build quality of the interior. But I do have some questions that I hope this forum can help me answer:

  1. How's the M2's reliability? Consumer Reports rated the '16 2 series as one of the most reliable car models. Does that translate to the M2?
  2. I learned that BMW crippled their originally fantastic warranty program. Currently is there a way to extend the manufacturer's warranty and maintenance agreement to beyond 4 years? Perhaps 6 years? Or even longer?
  3. Active/adaptive/radar cruise control is something that I really want to have in my next car. Most of my road trips involve cruising on busy Jersey highways. Cruise control that can adjust the speed automatically can be a real boon. Sadly from the looks of it, this option did not make it into the US for the M2. Is there an aftermarket solution? Or should I wait for the 2018 model refresh?
  4. I use an Android phone and like Google Maps very much. Is there a way for Android Auto to work on the BMW iDrive system?
  5. How's the Dakota leather in the M2 for long-term use? I heard conflicting stories (in terms of comfort and durability) about the only available leather option in the M2.
  6. The M2 does not have active blindspot detection? Seriously?

Additionally, I have heard rumors on a 2018 model refresh. Does it make sense to wait (I know, what a bad question!)? Do you expect BMW to add active cruise control and blindspot detection? Do you expect them to hike the price considerably?

These are my questions for now. Thanks again for your help.
 

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First off 20% is an additional 10 grand on top of 50K. You can get yourself a lot of car with that. I do not own an M2 but would imagine that reliability of M2 is too new too tell. But the N55 has been solid. I am a bit all over the map on what i want next but have it narrowed down to two polar opposites. The M2 or a used X5M. One other car that has interested me that you may want to put in the mix is the MB CLA 45 AMG. Otherwise i would put the M2 on the top of the list that you have mentioned. Also, if you want to save some dinero, get a 2016-2017 in 2018 when everyone else will want the refresh. Personally, this first model looks to me to be perfect. Hope some of this helps. Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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The M2 is a bare bones but high performance car, sort of 21st century, German version of a Plymouth Road Runner. So, that means no Merino leather, no sunroof, adaptive cruise control, parking cameras, blind spot detection, etc. It you want all that stuff and still go fast, BMW wants you to spend more money on a M3/4/5/6.

Yeah, those $2k repair bills are a PIA. Admittedly, you've had a string of bad luck. But, your repair costs are trivial compared to the depreciation on a new car. An M2 with DCT and Executive Package would be somewhere north of $60k out the door. A good rule of thumb of depreciation rates of 25% the first year, 20% the year it goes out of warranty, turns seven model years old, and the year it goes over 100k miles, and 15% the other years, for a car driven 12k miles/year. A reasonable guess is that a low mileage M2 might depreciate at 1/2 that of those rule-of-thumb rates. The attached figure tabulates your annual deprecation costs under that assumption. You'd be looking at $25k of depreciation over the first six years, and annual depreciation wouldn't go below $2k/year until year 11.

The flip side if the depreciation thing is that no machine lasts forever. I kept my E46 M3 12.5 years and 115k miles. The 12th year's maintenance cost was about $7k, and there was a lot more costs on the horizon. So, I'm wary of keeping any BMW past 100k miles again. But, the 7th through 11th years (and up to about 103k miles) were "The Happy Time," both in terms of maintenance cost and depreciation costs. I was driving an historically great car for the cost of a new Hyundai.

At eight or nine years, and 65k-ish miles, you should have a few good years left in your current BMW.

BMW's only cut back on free maintenance. They only thing you'll be missing is one oil change, free wiper blades, and probably one set of front brakes. The warranty is the important thing, and that's still four years/50k miles.

There's nothing upscale about the open weave carbon fiber interior trim in the M2, and opposed to the M3/4 where the carbon fiber interior is imbedded under a thick layer of clear plastic.

Only you can decide what's best for you. But, if you decide to keep your current BMW a few more years, pull up the attachment every time you have a big repair bill and you'll feel a lot better about that repair bill. That's what kept me sane with my old M3, even in the 12th year. The first year's depreciation on my new BMW was $19k. No maintenance costs, though.
 

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Autoputzer,

Does that chart keep you out of trouble with the wife? You left of the columns labeled "Fun Per Mile" and "Dollar Per Smile."

Mike
 

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Autoputzer,

Does that chart keep you out of trouble with the wife? You left of the columns labeled "Fun Per Mile" and "Dollar Per Smile."

Mike
Hah! Only if she doesn't see it.

When we were working I insisted that our "consumption" (spending + car depreciation) be less than 80% of our earned income. I had a cell on the spreadsheet that calculated that ratio. I'd let her fill in the specific amounts for the discretionary spending line items, but with the requirement that the ratio be 0.80 or less. If she was smart, she could have flipped over to the Vehicle Purchase & Sale Worksheet and figuratively sold my M3 by filling in the Vehicle Sale cell. But, when we were both in high school bookkeeping class together in the 1970's she was smoking a lot more and better pot than me. So, she doesn't remember much about bookkeeping.

This whole depreciation thing did put her in line for her own BMW soon, though. By keeping her current Honda an extra two years, she'll be able to get a 2018 X3, instead of a 2016 BMW X1, CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, etc., with the money we save on deprecation. Looking at car depreciation on my financial spreadsheets makes me dread buying a new car. So, I take exceptional care of my cars. "Autoputzer" means "car washer" in German.

Actually, we have two separate piles of money now: Putzer Dynasty and Auto's & Frieda's. My BMW(s) are bought with Putzer Dynasty money. My beaters and her cars come out of Auto' & Frieda's pile. I keep the money separate because we don't have kids, and when I go ****-up or "splat," the remainder of the Putzer Dynasty goes on to another Putzer... likely my cousin's daughter, if she turns out right. So far, so good.

My mother, creator of the vast Putzer Dynasty, was really pissed when I bought my M3. But, after several years she finally said "You love that little car, don't you? I understand that now. You can buy another one with Putzer Dynasty money, someday. But, don't buy another one until I'm dead. In fact, I want you to drive that one to my funeral." When she was dying years later, I made a point of driving up to Virginia instead of flying. The morning after she died, the funeral home called and asked if I wanted a limo for the funeral.

"Oh, Hell no. We're going to put F-U-N back in "funeral." This is also going to be a car show."

Coming back to Florida from the funeral, with the ten year old M3 freshly washed and waxed for the funeral, I stopped at a hotel for the night. The guy parked next to me in the portico was starring at my car with a puzzled look on is face, and he eventually asked "How old is that car?" Here's the M3 at 12.5 years old. Notice the reflection of the right exhaust tips in the rear bumper. Alpin Weiss III holds up real good over time. Good call on your M2,

I sold the M3 to a twenty-something kid in North Carolina. For an extra $500, I delivered it, getting in one more road trip. He even got a trunk load of spares (tucked in around the full size spare tire). His dad is in line for my manual-transmission 535i (just about the last one made) in about five years. The kid was pretty interesting. He has a mail order business selling collectable sneakers. His dad drove me to the airport, and told me he was worried really about the kid's obsession with sneakers in high school. But, when his son earned enough (in high school) to buy a new E90 M3 and pick it up in Munich, he stopped worrying. He works for his kid now.
 

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Wow, that car was/is in great shape! My RS6 is 14 years old and has some rust (dam it) on the front doors, but otherwise in similar shape. People don't often get it as they don't really take care of their cars. American car's and Japanese car's simply do not hold up as well, cosmetically and mechanically.


Mike
 

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Wow, that car was/is in great shape! My RS6 is 14 years old and has some rust (dam it) on the front doors, but otherwise in similar shape. People don't often get it as they don't really take care of their cars. American car's and Japanese car's simply do not hold up as well, cosmetically and mechanically.

Mike
Frau Putzer's Honda had nothing but wiper blades, oil, filters, tires (78k miles), and one battery before 100k miles. Getting another one was a no-brainer until the local Honda dealer refused to special order one. They don't keep many AWD SUV's on the new car lots down here, and I wanted a fresh one not touched (and scratched) by the wash monkeys. So, she's waiting for the G01 X3 now.

We're moving to Tennessee in a couple of years, where we'll see some snow. But, we're retired so when it's snowy and salty for a few days we can stay inside. I'm also going to have a floor drain in the large garage so I can deluge the underside if Frau Putzer's xDrive if we have to venture out in it. I just put summer tires on my 535i. So it will never see snow or salt. I'll get some real snow tires on dedicated rims for my beater, though.

In Floriduh, sunlight is the car killer. That's why I always buy white cars. Dark colors will eventually blister and peel down here if parked outside.

When I was working, I'd put poster board under the back window to protect the top of the back seat and the fabric between the seat and the bottom of the back window, a big towel over the dash and steering wheel, and sometimes towels over the front seats. I had a litte routine I'd do before going into the building after getting to work.

I'd go through a lot of Armor-All down here, too.
 

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Hah! Only if she doesn't see it.

When we were working I insisted that our "consumption" (spending + car depreciation) be less than 80% of our earned income. I had a cell on the spreadsheet that calculated that ratio. I'd let her fill in the specific amounts for the discretionary spending line items, but with the requirement that the ratio be 0.80 or less. If she was smart, she could have flipped over to the Vehicle Purchase & Sale Worksheet and figuratively sold my M3 by filling in the Vehicle Sale cell. But, when we were both in high school bookkeeping class together in the 1970's she was smoking a lot more and better pot than me. So, she doesn't remember much about bookkeeping.

This whole depreciation thing did put her in line for her own BMW soon, though. By keeping her current Honda an extra two years, she'll be able to get a 2018 X3, instead of a 2016 BMW X1, CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, etc., with the money we save on deprecation. Looking at car depreciation on my financial spreadsheets makes me dread buying a new car. So, I take exceptional care of my cars. "Autoputzer" means "car washer" in German.

Actually, we have two separate piles of money now: Putzer Dynasty and Auto's & Frieda's. My BMW(s) are bought with Putzer Dynasty money. My beaters and her cars come out of Auto' & Frieda's pile. I keep the money separate because we don't have kids, and when I go ****-up or "splat," the remainder of the Putzer Dynasty goes on to another Putzer... likely my cousin's daughter, if she turns out right. So far, so good.

My mother, creator of the vast Putzer Dynasty, was really pissed when I bought my M3. But, after several years she finally said "You love that little car, don't you? I understand that now. You can buy another one with Putzer Dynasty money, someday. But, don't buy another one until I'm dead. In fact, I want you to drive that one to my funeral." When she was dying years later, I made a point of driving up to Virginia instead of flying. The morning after she died, the funeral home called and asked if I wanted a limo for the funeral.

"Oh, Hell no. We're going to put F-U-N back in "funeral." This is also going to be a car show."

Coming back to Florida from the funeral, with the ten year old M3 freshly washed and waxed for the funeral, I stopped at a hotel for the night. The guy parked next to me in the portico was starring at my car with a puzzled look on is face, and he eventually asked "How old is that car?" Here's the M3 at 12.5 years old. Notice the reflection of the right exhaust tips in the rear bumper. Alpin Weiss III holds up real good over time. Good call on your M2,

I sold the M3 to a twenty-something kid in North Carolina. For an extra $500, I delivered it, getting in one more road trip. He even got a trunk load of spares (tucked in around the full size spare tire). His dad is in line for my manual-transmission 535i (just about the last one made) in about five years. The kid was pretty interesting. He has a mail order business selling collectable sneakers. His dad drove me to the airport, and told me he was worried really about the kid's obsession with sneakers in high school. But, when his son earned enough (in high school) to buy a new E90 M3 and pick it up in Munich, he stopped worrying. He works for his kid now.
LMFAO auto! Good story. Thanks for sharing
 
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