A few quick updates on the car search since the last car blog.
2005 BMW 330xi
The BMW certified Pre-Owned warranty is a pretty good deal. It's 2 additional years under a warranty or an additional 50,000 miles. So a 2 year old car would still have 4 years left under warranty (up to 100,000 miles). So I figured I better see if I can find one I like.
First of all I like the interior of the 2005 3-series (2006 is the body change to the current version). I like how the dash is tilted to the driver, the radio display isn't polarized, and the built in cup holders are a lot better than the flip out version.
Driving the 230hp 2005 330xi I really enjoyed the car. It would be a fun car to drive, significantly faster than the Audi but significantly slower than the 300hp 335xi.
The 2005 options are somewhat limited though, and the body style looks "dated" according to Meghan. So I have also been looking for a 2006 330xi (really the only CPO option since the 2007 335xi's were a mid-year model). It's nearly impossible to find am xi (AWD) in a manual. I think there are pros and cons to to both and have been taking a look around.
I enrolled the car expertise of Jake to test drive some cars. We drove the 255hp Audi A4. I say "we" loosely because while we both planned to drive it, it was so unimpressive I just drove it down the road and returned within minutes because we had seen enough. Jake didn't see the point of taking a turn driving. It was slow, and had a cheap interior. It's too bad because I have enjoyed my Audi but really I think my 1998 interior looks way better. I think Audi went cheap on their styling now. There is NO room in the back seat, an indicator of that is how Audi carved out two grooves in the back of the seats for your legs, so you'd have an extra 1/2 inch if you kept your legs lined up! The price point puts it in line with the BMW 3-series, so Audi is in big trouble. It's also more expensive than the Infiniti G35 so it's hard to justify an A4.
We also drove the 340hp Audi S4. The car looks sporty and it is fast. Though it is NOT as fast as the 300hp BMW 335xi, but certainly the 2nd fastest car I've driven overall. From just a car standpoint it might rank 2nd on my list of all cars. The interior is more sporty, had comfy seats. Some of the interior design left you scratching you head, and it had some cheap buttons and knobs that you just feel like you'd have to replace a few times. Some negatives are that it is a gas guzzler with 16 mpg and only a 16 gallon tank. You wouldn't get too far from home on one tank of gas.
The Audi S4 is also MORE expensive than the BMW 335xi. So it's pretty much not in the running. The S4 is not as roomy either. I'm guessing reliability and resale of the BMW will be better than the S4 and there are more options on the BMW that I like. Besides a major strike against Audi is that after driving the S4 I asked for the S4 brochure and they said they were out of them (and that I should just go online and look at their website)! I don't think they should be trying to sell an expensive car like that.
The final indicator would be that the BMW dealer was busy on saturday, and Audi was empty.
So what does it all mean?
NET I keep driving the BMW when there is nothing about the drive that would make me NOT want it. Last week I had an hour to kill after work before a dentist appointment, so I told Meghan (jokingly) that I was just going to go sit in the back of the BMW and "be with the car for a while." She said that I have a problem. I didn't really go, but it was funny.
I think the BMW is still the leader in the car chase, I just take my time making a decision and wait to get comfy with it. The 2008 pricing should be in any day so I'll have to take a look at that, the good news is they said they are changing the rims which I think could be good so I'll have wait and see a new one in the show room and see what all of the changes are (though likely minimal).