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Old 04-05-2010, 08:00 PM   #1
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2000 Porsche Boxster vs. 2001 BMW 330Ci

So I'm a college student and have been saving up my money to buy a new (to me) car... being that I've been a member on here and on e46fanatics I'm well aware of most of the major faults of each car respectively...

I haven't been here in a long time but I'm here to ask what car do you think would be best for a 21 year old college student without a career, but a steady job? Are the IMS and RMS issues still around? Mechanically the BMW is a lot more bullet-proof engine wise than the 986 but it still has a horrible coolant system and I run the risk of having the sub-frame break out from under me (fortunately there's a class-action lawsuit in which BMW will fix it free of charge if it happens to you) but I may not have the car before September when the deadline expires so I'm kind of iffy about it... I'd love to have a 986 but I don't have $12,000 for a new engine if the IMS goes to hell, is it basically still a gamble?

The reason I left the site was because I knew I couldn't risk the gamble, should I stay away? And I know those Raby engines aren't cheap either...What about an S?


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Old 04-06-2010, 04:43 AM   #2
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If you're going to get a 3-series, I'd probably not get an '01. The main reason for that is the terrible steering feel. This you might already know, but if you haven't driven one, give it a try... very dull. The other issues aren't really worth worrying about.

That said, I have a friend with an '01 330i w/the sport package, and he seems to like it enough. It has had the common cooling system issues and other various gremlins pop up, but I think overall, it's been acceptable in the reliability department. But getting back to the fun-to-drive part, it's just not. There are better (and more reliable) options for the money. They can look cool, though.

As far as the Boxster is concerned, I'd probably not want one for an only car in college. I'd worry about it too much, it has the potential to be expensive, isn't all that practical... but it would be a hell of a lot of fun. Honestly, if you're stuck on a roadster, I'd probably get an S2000 or Miata over a Boxster while in college. They're just as fun, but a bit more, oh, Japanese.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:40 AM   #3
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What are you going to be doing with the car? Is it your primary mode of transportation? Where do you live? What kind of conditions are you going to have to drive through? Do you have a nice extra pile of money to spend on upkeep and repairs?

When I was in college, a Porsche (or nice BMW) would not have been a good idea. My Rx-7 got pretty beat up by sitting outside, careless drivers, drunken idiots, ect. but it was a $2800 car, so I just figured it was going to be replaced anyway when I graduated so I didn't bother with cosmetic type repairs. Having a car you can afford to keep, not just buy, is a big key. Especially in college.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:09 AM   #4
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buy an old enthusiast owned Miata that has been well maintained. Take the rest of the money you didn't blow and put the first $1,000 in a picture frame in $100 bills. Hang it on the wall. If at any point you have more money in that picture frame than your money market account you are missing out on one of the biggest oppourtunities of your life: investing early, which is the quickest way to become a millionaire. Your next car can be a Ferrari F430 or Carrera GT. Go to Barnes and Noble and check out some of the books by Dave Ramsey, he specializes in the less complicated ways to invest. I'd already invested $100K (and lost it a few times) through stock trading by the age of 21, mostly by working part time at a high end watering hole but boy do I wish I had known about the easier, no-brainer ways of letting my bankroll just grow itself into a million dollars before the first grey hair. Once you are 30 or 40 that advantages of that early start are gone and your old Porsche or BMW is worthless.

p.s.
I just spent over $5K on major maintenance (including the IMS ugprade), dropping that kind of cash is not something a college student should be worrying about. A veteran of a late 90's Asian currency meltdown, dot com bust, subprime Chernobyl meltdown, pump and dump commodity bubble.....different story. But dang if it still didn't hurt to fork over that kind of cash from my blood sweat and tears. Why not put it on the Credit card? You'll never consider entering into a WORSE agreement in your life than putting money on plastic. Budget for the big repairs before you buy.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:24 AM   #5
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Analyze carefully why you want either car....

Cars depreciate and they may impress your buddies but few girls give a darn what you drive. In fact my wife told me once if I had been driving the Porsche I had before the sedan I had when I dated her, she would have been warned off me as not husband/father material (she is also the one who told me to go buy the 2 recent Porsche Boxsters I've bought so she isn't against my toys, just for me waiting till the kids college tuitions were paid for and the retirement secure).

Get that career going. Invest in your education. Put a little aside for the next layoff.

Buy transportation now and defer the gratification for later. Buy the car that depreciates the least and drive it into the ground. Take any $ you save by doing that and invest it. My kids had 401Ks before they were out of high school.

Buying a higher maintenance expense car that is 9-10 years old makes little sense in your situation IMHO. Not that they aren't great cars.

Eventually, you'll probably want a house, kids (talk about an expensive hobby!), trips, etc.

And when you have all that paid for, the fun of being able to pay cash for a toy car is darn near nirvana.

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Old 04-06-2010, 09:48 AM   #6
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The flip side to the saving money argument is that you're only young and in college once, so enjoy it while you can. A good compromise would be to spend a bit less on your car and stick the remainder in whatever one of these financial advocates would recommend. If nothing else, put it in a high-interest savings account so you can still easily tap into it if needed.

I don't know your budget, but I'd guess low teens based on the cars you've mentioned. Stick a few grand away and for under $10k, you can probably find a higher mileage S2000 or one hell of a nice '02-'03 Miata.

If you want a sedan, there are good options that aren't an '01 330i, but still fun and relatively new sport sedans for under $10k. IS300, G35, maybe an Audi A4, 328/323i, something like that.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:29 PM   #7
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I was a prior e46 M3 owner and they are solid cars IF MAINTAINED PROPERLY however:

1) The automatic/tiptronic trannys WILL fail between 100-120k miles. Reverse is the first to go and then eventually you are looking at a $4,000 repair bill at minimum.

2) Lower control arms and front end bushings as well as tie rod and steering components also fail around 120-150k which will run about $1,500.

3) Oil changes are every 15k but i suggest doin them around 9-10k and will run you $180 if done at BMW dealerships. Brake jobs will set you back around $1,000 as well.

4) I also replaced an AC motor resistor which is a common failure and a DIY type fix at around $200 and seems to be common.

5) If the radiator coolant expansion tank has not busted on a used e46 it will lol and that will set you back about $800 + a tow to the BMW stealership.

Other than the above mentioned problems the BMW is a stellar car when maintained and is a blast to drive.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:36 PM   #8
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Buy a used mustang GT girls love em and they are cheap. Invest 8 of the 10 grand cash and take a random trip to vegas and blow a grand on gambling and another grand on hookers and booze.

You will appreciate this advice when you are married and have a mortgage and a toddler (because once she has that ring on those Vegas trips are over brother!)

just my .02
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Old 04-06-2010, 04:52 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for your replies!

@Samson
I'd definitely be getting one with the corrected steering feel if I go through with the 01! I'd be worried about an S2000 though, not for reliability but for other factors like getting it stolen and revved at (I heard some kides like to steal the interiors of those also and stick them in their little civics), at every single stop light...

@blue2000s
It'll be my only car however I plan on having about $4,000 in the bank specific to the car for repairs and what not....

@Perfectlap
it sounds great to be able to invest and move hundreds of thousands of dollars but don't you need money to make money? I wouldn't be willing to invest very much because the risk it too great, could you maybe PM some tips on how I would even go about getting started?

@mikefocke
you're perfectly right, and it would be awesome to be able to provide my kids with a financial future like you've set up for yours... however it's hard to do when you're 21 and only care about your immediate satisfaction (of course you all know what its like to be my age and want a car)

@Samson / wake&moto
Yeah, you guys are right but I see this as an opportunity to get the car I want now, I don't need practicality, I don't need four doors, I just want to have fun and drive a nice car.... later on I'll be driving sedans and minivans and all that family oriented stuff... you know?

@wake&moto
no automatics for me, so I won't have to worry about the no reverse, I'd love to have an e46 M but that's not for me right now, I really wouldn't want to deal with valve adjustments every 15,000 miles not to mention that parts are more expensive then the already up there 330Ci (as compared to a honda or other), I'm aware that BMW deems the bushings wear items so am expecting to replace them if I go through with those...
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:26 PM   #10
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^You don't need money to move money IF and only IF you start young. A small amount ($3,500) given enough time to compound can grow into a huge sum if you put it into the right type of mutual fund. Since you are youngster born in the 80's you can take on more risk, start with growth funds (small and medium cap), and maybe more focused sector specific funds like Financial ETFs some of which are up 15% already this year Vanguard (known for low fees). Just call them up, and ask to speak with a rep they'll walk you right through it.
As far as risk, I don't think you are risking any less by plunking down thousands of dollars into a car you KNOW FOR A FACT will only lose value. That car will cost you a fortune in missed oppourtunities down the line.
Over time the profit or gain from your investment will buy additional shares. Once this momentum really gets going you'll find out that only a small part of that huge bankroll was the cash you initially put in. If you squirell away a measley 7-15% each week or each month then you'll really be in business. I can't tell you how many 30 year olds I know who have never bought a share of a stock, mutual fund, anything. And the older folks boy are they in bad shape. USA today once had a poll that said fewer than 3 out of 100 seniors could write a check for $600.

I'd recommend some books to you but you're eyes would probably just glaze over because its all very dry and technical. Next time your at Barnes & Noble flip through the Dave Ramsey book Total Money Make Over. He's not really market technician but he really brings home the point on saving through mutual funds. Flip to his testimonials from the people under 30 who started investing early. Skip the tesimonials from the older folks because I don't think you'll indentify with them and their foreclosures and bankruptcies. But these younger people were in good shape to be millionaires by maximizing the time advantage of their money.
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:37 AM   #11
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I read that even the 'corrected' cars still felt overboosted and numb. Have you driven one of each? I'd be curious if that's really the case. My experience is with an '01 that may or may not have been updated, and either way, it's not a satisfying drive compared to the competition.

What about a Z3 coupe? They have always intrigued me, but I kind of have a thing for slightly ugly but interesting cars. Maybe an MB C43? Automatic only, but they are very cool cars.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
^You don't need money to move money IF and only IF you start young. A small amount ($3,500) given enough time to compound can grow into a huge sum if you put it into the right type of mutual fund. Since you are youngster born in the 80's you can take on more risk, start with growth funds (small and medium cap), and maybe more focused sector specific funds like Financial ETFs some of which are up 15% already this year Vanguard (known for low fees). Just call them up, and ask to speak with a rep they'll walk you right through it.
As far as risk, I don't think you are risking any less by plunking down thousands of dollars into a car you KNOW FOR A FACT will only lose value. That car will cost you a fortune in missed oppourtunities down the line.
Over time the profit or gain from your investment will buy additional shares. Once this momentum really gets going you'll find out that only a small part of that huge bankroll was the cash you initially put in. If you squirell away a measley 7-15% each week or each month then you'll really be in business. I can't tell you how many 30 year olds I know who have never bought a share of a stock, mutual fund, anything. And the older folks boy are they in bad shape. USA today once had a poll that said fewer than 3 out of 100 seniors could write a check for $600.

I'd recommend some books to you but you're eyes would probably just glaze over because its all very dry and technical. Next time your at Barnes & Noble flip through the Dave Ramsey book Total Money Make Over. He's not really market technician but he really brings home the point on saving through mutual funds. Flip to his testimonials from the people under 30 who started investing early. Skip the tesimonials from the older folks because I don't think you'll indentify with them and their foreclosures and bankruptcies. But these younger people were in good shape to be millionaires by maximizing the time advantage of their money.
the markets are very unpredictable and timing is everything. Who is to say that in our life time we will enjoy the progress that your generation did??? case in point? ask anyone who wanted to retire this time last year lol they lost 50% if their IRA value in less than 12 months.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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That's true. but our markets are and will continue to be the haven for wealthy investors around the world because we are the most transparent and liquid. If you're rich you have to put your money to work somewhere. You can't buy food with a block of gold and you can't put all your money in your house, people learned this the hard way.

p.s.
people who lost a lot of value in their retirement accounts last year and the year before have made a big comeback. Those who sold in the panic are in bad shape indeed. That's the thing about the markets, if something goes up in value those who are in a position to profit from a fall have already made their bets. On the flip side If a market falls from irrational selling and despair, similar bets are being made to profit from the eventual surge back to the mean. The forces are just too powerful to pass up cashing in one way or the other. This is why I think it's always good to cash in on some gains when things get way too bullish, or periodically before it even gets to that point. Funnel some of that gain into a cash account so that you can buy things when the markets bottom out--as they have done at least 20 times in the last 80 years. But they always come back.
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:46 PM   #14
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I got my car when I was 20 yrs old and a junior in college. I babied it alot so didnt drive it too much. It is not as practical as a bimmer, so you will always be worried where you park it and if its going to scrape and worry about little things. I didnt have any problems and did most the maintenance and mods myself. So far I have had no problems. Im currently in Medical school thousands of miles away from my car and cant wait to go home and drive it.

The BMW crowd is fun bunch of people although very cocky. I go on BMW drives all the time so if you get a 330 you will have a nice clan to join. The Porsche crowd is a bit older and not as fun ( no offense to anyone here).

I like both cars but I didnt want to be a typical person and get a bimmer so I got a boxster S and it took me a year to find the right one.

listen to the previous posts. The deciding factor is what type of person you are, where you live, what conditions you drive in and such. BMW 330i is just a car, but a nice car. Porsche Boxster is something more unique( dont listen to ignorant people who bring it down either). S2000 is not bad either but I wouldnt buy it over a boxster.



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Old 04-07-2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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Well actually

I didn't set up the 401k for my kids, they did it themselves out of earned income. One drives a '94 Mazda hand me down, the other a '10 Prius.

And if the market tanks, if you have enough to begin with, that isn't really the catastrophic event you might think as long as you have the discipline to stay invested, diversified, etc. The market being down 30-50% creates a buying opportunity for those with the nerve and cash to take advantage of it.

How many Porsches could you buy with the money you could have made since the "great recession" began and everyone cried the sky is falling...and if you bought that Porsche when things were at their worst, how many opportunities for appreciation would you forgo while the Porsche continued to depreciate.

I was out of school and earning $167 a month when I bought my first sports car (Alfa) and I had hassles maintaining it and it was almost a total loss when it blew a head gasket...are you financially and emotionally ready for what can happen to an older car?

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Old 04-07-2010, 02:39 PM   #16
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To OP, have you had a forum handle like RickyBobbyyy? (Not this forum)
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Old 04-07-2010, 04:03 PM   #17
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Me, I like one of the old James Bond movies to describe what I would do.

YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE........
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:54 AM   #18
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I own both an E46 and a Boxster. Both are very expensive cars to maintain.
If I was in college I would recommend the BMW over the Boxster though for one reason..... the E46 is far more reliable. You spend a lot of time either upgrading (IMS bearing and water pump as one example) or repairing Boxsters...... E46's have common problems as well but they cost a far bit less to fix.

I agree with earlier comments however..... anyone in college should not buy either of these cars.... in college I was not responsible enough to keep up with the expensive maintance required to own either of these cars...... buy a civic!
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Old 06-26-2010, 06:58 PM   #19
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No brainer. Get the Boxster.

Why?



The number one reason to own a Boxster as a College student is that when your buddies want to go out drinking -- you'll NEVER HAVE TO DRIVE because everybody won't fit in your car. So, your other buddies will take turns being the designated driver.

How do I know this? Because I drove a 2 seater mid-engine car in college (not a Boxster) and wasn't the designated driver ever.

You can pick up a decent older Boxster these days on the cheap. Get the car you want. You're going to buy a car anyway, figure out how much more is it to get and keep the Boxster. Is that amount worth it to you?

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