Love my SSEi, and infatuated with a 2001 540i...help! - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 06-23-2004, 12:43 AM   #1
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Default Love my SSEi, and infatuated with a 2001 540i...help!

Okay here'* the deal. I need to buy a new car. Don't worry, my '97 SSEi looks and runs as hot as ever. The minivan'* finally getting the boot and the son'* going to take over my pride and joy.

I love the 240hp SSEi, and nothing I've driven has come close. I've driven the later SSEi'* and I came away unimpressed, although I plan to test drive a GXP this week.

Here'* what I've tried:

Infiniti G35 AWD (260hp) - Handles well, but too cramped. Bummed because it was my first choice on paper.

Acura TL (270hp) - Great acceleration and handles well, but the seats and my lower back don't get along. Also the styling screams I'm a HONDA!!!.

Chrysler 300C (340hp) - Accelerates well but handling is surprisingly spongy. The seats are fabulous. The styling is growing on me. The beast may have a HEMI but it also has 300 lbs on the SSEi. My 8 year old Pontiac is WAY more agile. And unlike the other cars, the Chrysler dealers are getting full price right now.

So as I'm getting out of the 300C, I notice this 2001 540iA on the lot. I originally was considering a new BMW 330i but couldn't see parting with that much cash. I figure, why not try it out, the 540i only had 33K miles, and the asking price was 37K, right about what a GXP would cost (before incentives, discounting etc)

So I drive the 540i. I've driven other Beemers, and they were usually bulkier, or smaller- engined. But this 8 cylinder, 282 hp, 324 lb ft torque monster blows everything else away! The acceleration is simultaneously slamming and smooth. This 3 year old handled and rode better than all of the above, even my SSEi when it was on new tires. The only reason I didn't start dealing was that this particular 540i lacked any kind of lumbar support - odd, dontcha think? So I'm looking for one with the "Comfort Seats" option. I figure it'* as good an investment as the new GXP, except for:

Repair / Maintenance costs (The previous owner was paying $73 USD per oil change)
Tires (45 series fronts, 40 series rears) AND Snow Tires (I got by with All Season rubber with the SSEi)
Insurance?

Have I missed anything?

Opinions?

Thanks

Art
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Old 06-23-2004, 12:55 AM   #2
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I think you hit the nail on the head with high maitenance costs.
Parts for the beemers have always been a sore point and the main reason you seldom see one restored or fixed up?
The choice is of course yours alone but if it were me I would keep looking?
Some other choices might be...
Impala ss
Monte carlo ss
gto?
I realize the handling may not be as good but with the saved money you could upgrade the suspension?
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Old 06-23-2004, 01:54 AM   #3
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what about a gs400?

my brother just picked up a red 2000 gs300 with 40k for 22,900. you seem like your into performance, so id recomend the v8 gs400 (although im sure the 300 has get-up).

as i recall, lexus has been #1 for relieability for quit a while, toyota makes some relieable cars. i havn't checked it out yet, but my brother said its got a ton of cool things, like "snow mode" or somthing, were its got traction control, but it will also not use 1st gear, nice thing here in mn.

ive always like the 5 series too, even when i beat one in the aurora...of course it wasn't a 540, it was dark, 530 maybe? or whatever else they make
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Old 06-23-2004, 01:55 AM   #4
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incase anyone is wondering, gs300 = lexus gs300, or lexus gs400, VERY nice cars, hope to check it out in person this weekend
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Old 06-23-2004, 01:17 PM   #5
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Perfect cure: Drive a BMW M5.

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Old 06-23-2004, 02:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
what about a gs400?

my brother just picked up a red 2000 gs300 with 40k for 22,900. you seem like your into performance, so id recomend the v8 gs400 (although im sure the 300 has get-up).

as i recall, lexus has been #1 for relieability for quit a while, toyota makes some relieable cars. i havn't checked it out yet, but my brother said its got a ton of cool things, like "snow mode" or somthing, were its got traction control, but it will also not use 1st gear, nice thing here in mn.
i concur, the GS is a nice alternative to check out: but I'm biased :P

The inline-six is sweet stuff, is bulletproof (it'* NOT the older I6'*), and the motor is actually a 3.0L NA variant of the 2.5 twin-turbo fire breather in my sig. It'* the NA 1993+ Supra motor. In Japan, the GS (known as the Toyota Aristo there) gets the twin turbo Supra motor instead of the V8

... the V8 is even better. Smooooooooth. Bulletprooooooof. The "snow" mode is part of the Electronically Controlled Transmission (ECT), and has a sport mode too - much like Performance Shift on newer Bonnes and whatnot.

... i have a GS400... too bad it'* a 1:18 AutoArt model
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Old 06-23-2004, 02:28 PM   #7
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im pretty pumped about checking out the gs300 this weekend, personally i would have gotten the 400, but maybe the aurora can at least keep up wtih the 300...hehe
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Old 06-23-2004, 04:35 PM   #8
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Alright, I'm gonna give my biased opinion here since I own a 2000 M5

Well what can I say, it is the best sports sedan going. The new Benz'* have way more power and are faster, but none have the agility and handling of the 5 series suspension and body.

You are right, compared to a Bonneville the 5 series will (and should, for the money) blow it away. You are talking about a used BMW which originally cost $60k (the '01 540) vs. a car that costs new $36k (Bonneville, G35, etc). The 5 series is a really special car.

You WILL have to pay some money in maintenance, I will warn you now. Yes, oil changes are $73 (do it yourself and save the money IMHO), and parts are not cheap (although there are many sources online for parts at 40% off, but this won't help you if your car is broken down somewhere).

Just a FYI, if you buy a used BMW at a dealer you can get it CPO (Certified Pre Owned). That means you can get a 6 year 100k warranty on it with a $50 deductible. Do that, even if you have to pay a little bit more for a 540 at a dealer. I would say the warranty is worth about $2k-$2.5k.

On a 540, the only thing you have to worry about is the water pumps and radiators. These trend to go every 70-80k (but they are cheap, its the labor that gets ya). Of course there are regular things like suspension bits (tie rods, ball joints, etc.) and brake parts (pads, rotors, etc.) after high mileage. But beyond that, the powertrain in these cars are extremely solid. And there are a lot of DIY sites with pictures to help you on maintenance.

Compared to the Infinitis, well, they (Infiniti) are getting awful darn close in the suspension/braking category. If you can get over the cheap interior bits, its a great car for the money. Too bad it wasn't to your liking.

The Lexuses are great cars too. The problem with them (in my opinion) is that they don't drive anywhere like a german 5 series sedan. Drive both (back to back if you can) and you'll see what I mean. They are great cars, don't get me wrong, and they will run forever. But they are a luxury car. Also, the GS is due for a completely new model next year. THAT car will probably give the 5 a run for its money, but will also be very expensive.

And by NO MEANS am I knocking the Bonneville here. It'* a great car for the $. I think GM has a lot of catching up to do with the Japanese and Europeans (I've never seen so many new models in my life so quickly), but they will do well. GM is ramping up with their suppliers to make a better quality car, which in turn will make it more competitive.

Oh, and lumbar in the seats was a $400 option in the 5 series (German cars nickel and dime you for every option! A sunroof is NOT standard!). You don't need to get comfort seats (a $1200 option) in order to get lumbar, you just need a car with the lumbar option.

PM me if you have any questions on the Bimmers.
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Old 06-23-2004, 04:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CFoote
And by NO MEANS am I knocking the Bonneville here. It'* a great car for the $. I think GM has a lot of catching up to do with the Japanese and Europeans (I've never seen so many new models in my life so quickly), but they will do well. GM is ramping up with their suppliers to make a better quality car, which in turn will make it more competitive.

Oh, and lumbar in the seats was a $400 option in the 5 series (German cars nickel and dime you for every option! A sunroof is NOT standard!). You don't need to get comfort seats (a $1200 option) in order to get lumbar, you just need a car with the lumbar option.
... yup. The GXP is a start, but it'll really shine if the N* powered the correct wheels

... A hole in the roof isn't standard with a $70k Canadian Caddy STS either... my buddy'* car doesn't have one. Oh well, extra headroom
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Old 06-24-2004, 12:13 AM   #10
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Default Drove the GXP tonight

Well, I drove it around westchester county, NY for about an hour tonight. Nice, no-pressure salesman.

The GXP is VERY Nice. Tight, solid, quiet. I was willing to take it up to only 80+ mph on the interstate. Robust acceleration and handling. I didn't take the time to perfect the seat adjustments but it was very comfortable.

I don't like the way the OnStar antenna looks like an aftermarket add-on. Otherwise the styling is very slick. On the inside it seems more compact than the 92-99 version, but I knew that. This time I took more notice of how there was less storage space in the console, and the glove box is "under" the dash.

The gauges with the white background are stylish but I think the old ones were easier to read. I missed having a boost gauge!

I didn't miss the power, though. While it didn't give me the rush of the 540i, it sure felt like it had more oomph than the SSEi. The GXP was very well behaved in the twisty back roads.

The one thing the GXP has over the 540i - the muscular tailpipe music. Man oh man that GXP exhaust is perfect. Not boy-racer like a Trans-Am either.

This is a VERY tough decision. If I HAD to buy right now, the GXP wins hands down as the sensible choice. But having a sweet SSEi already, even at 120K miles, makes another seem unnecessary.

The BMW is calling to me. I've put feelers out for Certified 540i'* with lumbar support. But I still don't know whether I will be willing to pay the price.
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