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dizmo

New-to-me Car; Opinions and Suggestions?

Which Car?  

28 members have voted

  1. 1. What'd you pick?

    • 2011 BMW 535i xDrive
      3
    • 2013 Mercedes-Benz C350 AMG 4Matic
      3
    • 2011 Audi S4
      3
    • 2013 BMW 535i xDrive
      1
    • 2015 Acura TLX
      8
    • 2013 Audi A6 SLine
      4
    • 2014 BMW M235i
      6


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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I'm looking at getting a car. I've narrowed it down to a few options, and I'm just curious what the community thinks. It's always good to get opinions from a variety of sources, as you might have something mentioned that you didn't think of. These are the cars that I've more-or-less narrowed it down to:

  • 2011 BMW 535i xDrive $11k
  • 2013 Mercedes-Benz C350 AMG 4Matic $13k
  • 2011 Audi S4 $14k
  • 2013 BMW 535i xDrive $16k
  • 2015 Acura TLX $18k
  • 2013 Audi A6 SLine $21k
  • 2014 BMW M235i $22k

I live in a place where there's winter 8 months of the year, so AWD is something that I'd really rather have.

I'm leaning more towards the 2011 535i, because of the price, though I'm awfully tempted to get the M235i as it's supposed to be super playful, and comes with winters on BMW alloys. Still...twice the price...

The Audi A6 is also tempting, as I can drop a few thousand dollars into it and have a sleeper sedan that will go 0-60 as fast as some exotics.

No SUVs, I'd prefer a car. Must be 2012 or newer, maybe 2010ish plus if it's from a dealer (so if you're going to make a suggestion, factor in dealer pricing, not private).


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The only one on that list I would possibly recommend is the Acura TLX. If you're not competent at extensively working on vehicles, everything but the Acura will be a bad experience in short order, especially the Audis. Pre-owned European cars are nothing but trouble. Really though if AWD is a big requirement, then I'd say get a Subaru.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, atxcyclist said:

The only one on that list I would possibly recommend is the Acura TLX. If you're not competent at extensively working on vehicles, everything but the Acura will be a bad experience in short order, especially the Audis. Pre-owned European cars are nothing but trouble. Really though if AWD is a big requirement, then I'd say get a Subaru.

Yeah, I'd considered a Subaru, but they tend to bore me tbh. The newer Legacy's just got fat and more Camry-like, WRXs aren't common in auto and are significantly more expensive than they're really worth imo.


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Lexus IS350 AWD would be a good option. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, vetali said:

Lexus IS350 AWD would be a good option. 

Looked into it but they're not that common, and I'm not a fan of the older body style.


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14 minutes ago, dizmo said:

Yeah, I'd considered a Subaru, but they tend to bore me tbh. The newer Legacy's just got fat and more Camry-like, WRXs aren't common in auto and are significantly more expensive than they're really worth imo.

Yeah, they are typically not very exciting. The Forester for a time was sold with a turbocharged engine almost straight out of the WRX, and most of them were automatic. I don't know the model years though, and you said you were not keen on an SUV. The Legacy was sold with a flat six for a while even post-2010 I believe, but I've never driven one myself.

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As said above, none of the cars on your list are something I’d recommend except the Acura. People love getting luxury cars but the cost of ownership is something people just tend to not be prepared to deal with. I deal with cars on the electrical side but being I’m in the industry I get exposed to many areas in general and I’ve seen so many people that buy euro cars and they are in disrepair because they can’t afford to fix them. Euro is great under warranty but once they are off warranty it’s russian roulette


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Personally, I would get the TLX, but that being said, unless you can find *any* Acura with SH-AWD (which I'm guessing that TLX isn't?), I'd go for the A6 with a warranty, if you can get one. If you're gonna be stuck with mediocre reliability, might as well have the most fun with it.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 minutes ago, atxcyclist said:

Yeah, they are typically not very exciting. The Forester for a time was sold with a turbocharged engine almost straight out of the WRX, and most of them were automatic. I don't know the model years though, and you said you were not keen on an SUV. The Legacy was sold with a flat six for a while even post-2010 I believe, but I've never driven one myself.

Yeah IIRC that was up to....2010? I think? The 2.5XT. They're not bad, but again, not super common and they're too old to finance. I don't think the newer XTs had the same gusto.

3 minutes ago, Ravendarat said:

As said above, none of the cars on your list are something I’d recommend except the Acura. People love getting luxury cars but the cost of ownership is something people just tend to not be prepared to deal with. I deal with cars on the electrical side but being I’m in the industry I get exposed to many areas in general and I’ve seen so many people that buy euro cars and they are in disrepair because they can’t afford to fix them. Euro is great under warranty but once they are off warranty it’s russian roulette

Mmm they're a little more expensive, but as long as you do your due diligence when it comes to researching common issues and keep up on regular maintenance as you should with any vehicle they're really not that bad. Maintenance history is key though.

5 minutes ago, Dan Castellaneta said:

Personally, I would get the TLX, but that being said, unless you can find *any* Acura with SH-AWD (which I'm guessing that TLX isn't?), I'd go for the A6 with a warranty, if you can get one. If you're gonna be stuck with mediocre reliability, might as well have the most fun with it.

It is, the ILX isn't...which is a shame as they're nice cars too. Funnily enough, was basically tied for Subaru in 2013 for reliability (they beat them substantially in 2019), were more reliable than Nissan, and way more reliable than Jeep. The Land Rover rating always makes me chuckle. Really, though, they're all about the same as each other. Lexus and Porsche being the outliers, far in the lead.


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Look up mercedes vs audi vs bmw AWD and see which one is the best in snowy conditions. Last i saw BMW and mercedes were pretty bad.

And i'd just get the S4 (i'm biased,  i've got one. The avant version). Pretty bullet proof if you maintain them well. Not that hard to get some more power. (i'm at 440hp and 630nm torque and have no issues at all. 

 

All in all,  you need to drive them to know what suits you. You could get the nicest one,  but the driving and comfort might not at all be what you expected. 

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Psst, germans are really not that good in the snow. They barely know what snow is.

Those cars are meant for max 1 week of snow per year. They are more designed for people that think they need AWD than for people that actually need it.

 

All those german cars you mentioned are driving around where I live thinking they need such thing, but in reality the snow was bad 1 day this year (yes, exactly 1 day, well more 1 morning but whatever) and we don't have muddy roads or anything.


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5 hours ago, samcool55 said:

Psst, germans are really not that good in the snow. They barely know what snow is.

Those cars are meant for max 1 week of snow per year. They are more designed for people that think they need AWD than for people that actually need it.

As someone who drives a German Car (VW Jetta) in snowy conditions for coming up 5 years in a row in Canada? That's BS. Perhaps German Luxury cars aren't great in snow (such a blanket statement, that I cannot possibly believe it), but German cars in general? Demonstrably false. Mine's not even AWD. Winter Tires are more important than AWD when it comes to snowy conditions - though Winter Tires + AWD is even better.

 

 

@dizmo I'm partial to Audi, because I love the interior layout and the styling, but realistically any of them would be alright - the Acura probably would be the most reliable, but the Audi's should be totally fine with regular maintenance.

 

If you're dealing with Winter conditions, I'd suggest making sure that you pick up a good set of Winter Tires - as I said above, that's more important than AWD. AWD helps with general handling, but makes zero difference to braking performance in Winter (since modern cars already have ABS, which basically gives you AWD braking already). AWD + Winter Tires is the ultimate combo though. Just make sure to get a Winter Tire set, and switch between summer and winter tires as needed.


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Germany luxury is not something I'd want to be driving around outside of warranty.  If you really have $22,000 lying around for a used car get a newer Subaru.  A Legacy or a WRX depending on your comfort to thrill ratio.  They hold their value extremely well and have great AWD for snowy conditions. Whatever you decide do yourself a favor and grab a set of winter tires.  Winter 8 months of the year is a lot of snowy driving.


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yeeeeesh...looking at those cars (from a mechanics view) will you be able to repair them if they break down...the acura is the cheapest parts and labor....then would be audi (these are better to fix yourself labor sucks) and the rest (shudders)

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30 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

As someone who drives a German Car (VW Jetta) in snowy conditions for coming up 5 years in a row in Canada? That's BS. Perhaps German Luxury cars aren't great in snow (such a blanket statement, that I cannot possibly believe it), but German cars in general? Demonstrably false. Mine's not even AWD. Winter Tires are more important than AWD when it comes to snowy conditions - though Winter Tires + AWD is even better.

 

 

@dizmo I'm partial to Audi, because I love the interior layout and the styling, but realistically any of them would be alright - the Acura probably would be the most reliable, but the Audi's should be totally fine with regular maintenance.

 

If you're dealing with Winter conditions, I'd suggest making sure that you pick up a good set of Winter Tires - as I said above, that's more important than AWD. AWD helps with general handling, but makes zero difference to braking performance in Winter (since modern cars already have ABS, which basically gives you AWD braking already). AWD + Winter Tires is the ultimate combo though. Just make sure to get a Winter Tire set, and switch between summer and winter tires as needed.

Well my experience with a bmw 116d (the last RWD model) and snow tyres was absolutely awful, slightly uphill in the snow, yea that's 30km/h, anything faster than that and the traction control panics and you aren't going anywhere.

 

What you probably want is a relatively light car, less mass to stop and run around (german luxury cars are usually quite heavy).

 

Also i'm not saying german cars are bad, I've had a few and liked a few of them, but specifically a german car for the snow? Not exactly a combination i would go for.


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21 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

Well my experience with a bmw 116d (the last RWD model) and snow tyres was absolutely awful, slightly uphill in the snow, yea that's 30km/h, anything faster than that and the traction control panics and you aren't going anywhere.

 

What you probably want is a relatively light car, less mass to stop and run around (german luxury cars are usually quite heavy).

 

Also i'm not saying german cars are bad, I've had a few and liked a few of them, but specifically a german car for the snow? Not exactly a combination i would go for.

So your experience with a single car that's RWD is what informs you to say that "German cars" and "snow" are a bad combination?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 hours ago, Skyravr said:

Look up mercedes vs audi vs bmw AWD and see which one is the best in snowy conditions. Last i saw BMW and mercedes were pretty bad.

And i'd just get the S4 (i'm biased,  i've got one. The avant version). Pretty bullet proof if you maintain them well. Not that hard to get some more power. (i'm at 440hp and 630nm torque and have no issues at all. 

 

All in all,  you need to drive them to know what suits you. You could get the nicest one,  but the driving and comfort might not at all be what you expected. 

I've had friends that have owned both BMW and Mercedes, and you're right, the 4Matic is no where near what xDrive is. From what I've heard though, BMW's all wheel drive system is excellent.

 

Haha, yeah I like the look of the S4 but I've been reading quite a bit about transmission issues so that might knock that one off the list.

3 hours ago, samcool55 said:

Psst, germans are really not that good in the snow. They barely know what snow is.

Those cars are meant for max 1 week of snow per year. They are more designed for people that think they need AWD than for people that actually need it.

 

All those german cars you mentioned are driving around where I live thinking they need such thing, but in reality the snow was bad 1 day this year (yes, exactly 1 day, well more 1 morning but whatever) and we don't have muddy roads or anything.

And Japan is better? It's not like Japan gets much more snow than Germany does, yet everyone raves about Subarus in snow ;)

34 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

As someone who drives a German Car (VW Jetta) in snowy conditions for coming up 5 years in a row in Canada? That's BS. Perhaps German Luxury cars aren't great in snow (such a blanket statement, that I cannot possibly believe it), but German cars in general? Demonstrably false. Mine's not even AWD. Winter Tires are more important than AWD when it comes to snowy conditions - though Winter Tires + AWD is even better.

 

 

@dizmo I'm partial to Audi, because I love the interior layout and the styling, but realistically any of them would be alright - the Acura probably would be the most reliable, but the Audi's should be totally fine with regular maintenance.

 

If you're dealing with Winter conditions, I'd suggest making sure that you pick up a good set of Winter Tires - as I said above, that's more important than AWD. AWD helps with general handling, but makes zero difference to braking performance in Winter (since modern cars already have ABS, which basically gives you AWD braking already). AWD + Winter Tires is the ultimate combo though. Just make sure to get a Winter Tire set, and switch between summer and winter tires as needed.

Yeah, I'm just really not a fan of the Acura interior. Plus, the BMW and Audi both have more options I like, like a 360 degree camera system, better sport packages, etc.

Definitely getting a good set of winters. There's actually a 535i I've been keeping an eye on. Meticulous maintenance, includes a set of winters on OEM alloys, owned by a retired couple...but they're asking about $8,000 more than it's realistically worth.

27 minutes ago, Velcade said:

Germany luxury is not something I'd want to be driving around outside of warranty.  If you really have $22,000 lying around for a used car get a newer Subaru.  A Legacy or a WRX depending on your comfort to thrill ratio.  They hold their value extremely well and have great AWD for snowy conditions. Whatever you decide do yourself a favor and grab a set of winter tires.  Winter 8 months of the year is a lot of snowy driving.

The Legacys are too fat and really lost what they used to be in the newer models. WRXs don't come in automatic, at least none of the ones in the price range I was looking at are. Winter tires are definitely going on, no question there.

14 minutes ago, circeseye said:

yeeeeesh...looking at those cars (from a mechanics view) will you be able to repair them if they break down...the acura is the cheapest parts and labor....then would be audi (these are better to fix yourself labor sucks) and the rest (shudders)

Funny, my dad said something similar, but also said that BMWs, as long as they're properly maintained, are generally pretty bulletproof.

12 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

Well my experience with a bmw 116d (the last RWD model) and snow tyres was absolutely awful, slightly uphill in the snow, yea that's 30km/h, anything faster than that and the traction control panics and you aren't going anywhere.

 

What you probably want is a relatively light car, less mass to stop and run around (german luxury cars are usually quite heavy).

 

Also i'm not saying german cars are bad, I've had a few and liked a few of them, but specifically a german car for the snow? Not exactly a combination i would go for.

RWD cars generally are much worse than their AWD counterparts when it comes to snow, so that's really not a surprise at all. Also, what type of snow tires did you have? Some worse grade snow tires are actually worse in snow and ice than a good all weather tire.


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12 hours ago, atxcyclist said:

The only one on that list I would possibly recommend is the Acura TLX. If you're not competent at extensively working on vehicles, everything but the Acura will be a bad experience in short order, especially the Audis. Pre-owned European cars are nothing but trouble. Really though if AWD is a big requirement, then I'd say get a Subaru.

Lol you know how many parts Europeans cars have in us. American cars break wayyy more frequently and that will be a pain.

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24 minutes ago, Pauleft said:

Lol you know how many parts Europeans cars have in us. American cars break wayyy more frequently and that will be a pain.

The whole "European cars break more frequently" vs "No, American cars break more frequently" argument is bullshit in it's entirety.

 

There are no stereotypes about this that are correct. Some American cars are simpler, and therefore easier to fix. Some Europoean cars are simpler, and therefore easier to fix. Some American cars have cheap parts. Some European cars have cheap parts. Some American cars break down a lot and aren't reliable. Some European cars break down a lot and aren't reliable.

 

Shall I go on?

 

Let's cut the nonsense. To say cars from America or Europe or Japan or Korea are better/worse than the rest is stupid, and meaningless. It depends on the specific car, and to a smaller degree, the manufacturer itself.


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If you don't need the room of an A6 or a 5-series, get the M235i - it's small, fast and handles very well.

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2 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

So your experience with a single car that's RWD is what informs you to say that "German cars" and "snow" are a bad combination?

No, but you can't conclude that your VW jetta in the snow is fine means that every german car is good in the snow either, that argument goes both ways.

I've also driven a few FWD opels in the snow, but that was a few years ago and all summer tyres, surprise there is that they drove a lot better mainly because the TC didn't annoy me constantly (they only had ABS).

 

Thing is if you want to drive in the snow and want an AWD thing that can haul ass it's probably a good idea to look at a land rover, they usually have proper AWD systems with low-range and everything.

 

Actually, maybe that can help with making a decision. If it has low-range and can lock the diffs, it's a sign it should be at least somewhat decent because every proper off-road car has that. But then again that doesn't look like a normal saloon anymore and might not be what OP wants.

 

2 hours ago, dizmo said:

IRWD cars generally are much worse than their AWD counterparts when it comes to snow, so that's really not a surprise at all. Also, what type of snow tires did you have? Some worse grade snow tires are actually worse in snow and ice than a good all weather tire.

I know it were goodyears, don't remember the specific model. Grip wise they were quite crap tho. Not that it was much better with summer tyres...


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Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

Thing is if you want to drive in the snow and want an AWD thing that can haul ass it's probably a good idea to look at a land rover, they usually have proper AWD systems with low-range and everything.

 

Actually, maybe that can help with making a decision. If it has low-range and can lock the diffs, it's a sign it should be at least somewhat decent because every proper off-road car has that. But then again that doesn't look like a normal saloon anymore and might not be what OP wants.

 

I know it were goodyears, don't remember the specific model. Grip wise they were quite crap tho. Not that it was much better with summer tyres...

Haha, I don't think I know a single person in the auto industry that would openly recommend a used Land Rover product without immediately bursting into laughter...

Makes me think they were just really shit winter tires then. The grip is caused by proper compound, not as much by tread.


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10 minutes ago, dizmo said:

Haha, I don't think I know a single person in the auto industry that would openly recommend a used Land Rover product without immediately bursting into laughter...

Makes me think they were just really shit winter tires then. The grip is caused by proper compound, not as much by tread.

Yeah it's the rubber compound that makes the biggest difference - my winter tires are excellent, yet the winter tires on my fiancee's car aren't great (they don't grip well when stopping suddenly in snow) - yet both of our tread wear is basically non-existent.

 

26 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

No, but you can't conclude that your VW jetta in the snow is fine means that every german car is good in the snow either, that argument goes both ways.

I've also driven a few FWD opels in the snow, but that was a few years ago and all summer tyres, surprise there is that they drove a lot better mainly because the TC didn't annoy me constantly (they only had ABS).

Oh for sure, I cannot say that "All German cars are good in the winter" simply because my Jetta does superbly. But then again, I also never claimed such a blanket statement.

 

You have to measure each car individually - although cars with extremely minor differences can often be measured together.

26 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

Thing is if you want to drive in the snow and want an AWD thing that can haul ass it's probably a good idea to look at a land rover, they usually have proper AWD systems with low-range and everything.

Yeah, a Land Rover is not a great idea for a non-mechanic. Those things are not particularly reliable.

26 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

Actually, maybe that can help with making a decision. If it has low-range and can lock the diffs, it's a sign it should be at least somewhat decent because every proper off-road car has that. But then again that doesn't look like a normal saloon anymore and might not be what OP wants.

Why would the OP need locking diffs, etc? @dizmo, are you planning on doing off roading, or driving on snowed in roads that have been closed down during a blizzard?

26 minutes ago, samcool55 said:

I know it were goodyears, don't remember the specific model. Grip wise they were quite crap tho. Not that it was much better with summer tyres...

Sounds like they were just bad tires. Or perhaps you were driving it in a way that the traction control was fighting you, rather than helping you?


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1 hour ago, dalekphalm said:

The whole "European cars break more frequently" vs "No, American cars break more frequently" argument is bullshit in it's entirety.

 

There are no stereotypes about this that are correct. Some American cars are simpler, and therefore easier to fix. Some Europoean cars are simpler, and therefore easier to fix. Some American cars have cheap parts. Some European cars have cheap parts. Some American cars break down a lot and aren't reliable. Some European cars break down a lot and aren't reliable.

 

Shall I go on?

 

Let's cut the nonsense. To say cars from America or Europe or Japan or Korea are better/worse than the rest is stupid, and meaningless. It depends on the specific car, and to a smaller degree, the manufacturer itself.

The resale value on European cars drops so much for a reason.

Sure some American cars break down a lot, avoid the low end crap from Dodge and GM,and the rest are usually more reliable than most European cars. A few European cars may be easy enough to fix but in general haven't been simple to fix for quite a while. If I had to pick any Euro brand, and if SUV were an option, probably Mercedes ML350 as those are reasonable to do basic maintenance on.

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