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Yet another one of those "What car?" threads

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by aleksandr, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. aleksandr

    aleksandr Well-Known Member

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    Okay SF, recommend me a car. I've been looking for a while, but nothing really excites me except for cars that are out of my budget. I thought about the A5 Sportback for a while, but decided it was too expensive, cause its a 2010 model.

    Rules:
    (1) 4 or more doors. Yes, boring, I know, but I didn't come up with this rule, the fiancee did.
    (2) Nothing new, the depreciation on new cars around these parts is ridiculous, something like 20 grand a year. Year 2006, give or take a few is a comfortable place to be at.
    (3) Base models only, because I have the privilege of paying a tax on engine capacity and I don't need to zoom from one traffic light to the next in less than 5 seconds. (I.e. I'll consider the E200, but not the E350 or whatever)

    Budget is an issue I'll deal with separately (car prices are generally insane as I mentioned, but everyone accepts it and budgets accordingly), but as a starting point and as guidance, have considered the MB E-series, BMW 5-series, A4/6, IS250, all of which are okay I guess, and I wouldn't mind driving, but like I said, they don't excite. Except maybe the BM 5, but I hear the maintenance is a nightmare. Anything else I should consider, or can you guys manage to convince me to get one of the models I mentioned?
     
  2. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Well-Known Member

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    Since you live in Singapore, where cars are ridiculously expensive, none of these American people are going to be of much help - the US used car market is undervalued and if you buy used, you can put some of the world's finest cars in your garage for literally nothing. We also don't have the bracketed tax on engine displacement, and so something like an E350 is the smallest engined E-class we have here - there is no E200/220/280, nor 520i, 523i, etc.

    What do all of those cars that you listed cost in Singapore, as used cars?
     
  3. henrikc

    henrikc Well-Known Member

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    This is a tricky one -- we have the same tax rules in Norway, so a VW (Golf) GTI starts at ~$87,000, compared to less than $24,000 in the US, meaning that overpowered cars (really, who needs 210 bhp when driving in stop-start traffic?) which are fun to drive are out of the question. My best suggestion would be to buy a decent and okay car, and not worry about the excitement part. For that you can pick up a Mazda MX-5 or similar (lightweight, small enough engine to keep it cheap, big enough for the car and RWD) for weekends.

    (Assuming by excite you want the car to be somewhat sporty and fun to drive)
     
  4. aleksandr

    aleksandr Well-Known Member

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    Since you live in Singapore, where cars are ridiculously expensive, none of these American people are going to be of much help - the US used car market is undervalued and if you buy used, you can put some of the world's finest cars in your garage for literally nothing. We also don't have the bracketed tax on engine displacement, and so something like an E350 is the smallest engined E-class we have here - there is no E200/220/280, nor 520i, 523i, etc.

    What do all of those cars that you listed cost in Singapore, as used cars?


    This is my general expression when I read about the US used car market and think about the one over here: [​IMG]

    As a gauge, all the models I'm looking at (520i, E200, A4/A6 2.0, IS250) run approx US$65K for four year old models, perhaps slightly cheaper for the Lexus because of the inherent bias towards European/German makes. And since cars in Singapore only have 10 year lifespans, they only have 6 years more on the roads. By way of comparison, new they run about ~US$150K to US$180K. Again, the Lexus being slightly cheaper.

    Anyhow, I know the economics are totally out of whack, but everything else being equal, how on earth do I go about choosing between each of these makes/lines? Another quirk about the used car market here (not sure if it applies across the board) is that dealers are extremely reluctant to let prospective buyers do any sort of test drive, and trying them out at the dealership doesn't exactly equate, I would think. Though I have test-driven the 2011 E-class and A4, both of which are nice, but on the whole, still rather meh.

    This is a tricky one -- we have the same tax rules in Norway, so a VW (Golf) GTI starts at ~$87,000, compared to less than $24,000 in the US, meaning that overpowered cars (really, who needs 210 bhp when driving in stop-start traffic?) which are fun to drive are out of the question. My best suggestion would be to buy a decent and okay car, and not worry about the excitement part. For that you can pick up a Mazda MX-5 or similar (lightweight, small enough engine to keep it cheap, big enough for the car and RWD) for weekends.

    (Assuming by excite you want the car to be somewhat sporty and fun to drive)


    Sporty and fun is about right, yes.

    Yeah, people do that, but problem is you have to pay depreciation costs and tax twice (not to mention parking!), which I'm not particularly keen on right now. Would prefer one car to rule them all...
     
  5. HRoi

    HRoi Well-Known Member

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    of the ones you mention, the most 'fun to drive' by far is the 5 series. although i'm not a fan of the styling on the E60 but if you can overlook that (or if you actually like it), i think it's the best choice.

    although if you have to have a small displacement engine, i'd rather pick up a 320i
     
  6. Joffrey

    Joffrey Well-Known Member

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    Um, why would anyone want a car in Singapore? I thought it was teeny tiny?
     
  7. WorkingOnIt

    WorkingOnIt Well-Known Member

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    Anyhow, I know the economics are totally out of whack, but everything else being equal, how on earth do I go about choosing between each of these makes/lines?

    Choose the one you like to look at. Quite honestly, I think that is the only way. Reliability-wise, I would give the edge to the Lexus and drop the Audi down a notch, but they are effectively the same "type" of car as you said.

    Are you a car enthusiast or looking just for point A to point B? By base, I'm guessing your Audi consideration will be front wheel drive versus rear for the others. Not that you can get away with crazy shenanigans in Singapore anyways.

    How do the interiors match up in each model compared to your expectations?

    All of your options are indicating "family values" luxury. Otherwise, I'd say take a look at a Subaru Impreza, Legacy, or Honda Accord for better value if you really just want 4 doors to take you places.
     
  8. ms244

    ms244 Well-Known Member

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    $87 fucking grand for a Golf? [​IMG]

    You could buy like two duallies for that price here.

    I'd say CBR929 but it doesn't have any doors. [​IMG]
     
  9. NaTionS

    NaTionS Well-Known Member

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    Isn't there some sort of "parking space tax" in Singapore also? Or am I thinking of Hong Kong...
     
  10. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Well-Known Member

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    The Temple of Jawnz
    This is my general expression when I read about the US used car market and think about the one over here: [​IMG]

    As a gauge, all the models I'm looking at (520i, E200, A4/A6 2.0, IS250) run approx US$65K for four year old models, perhaps slightly cheaper for the Lexus because of the inherent bias towards European/German makes. And since cars in Singapore only have 10 year lifespans, they only have 6 years more on the roads. By way of comparison, new they run about ~US$150K to US$180K. Again, the Lexus being slightly cheaper.


    Do they sell diesel models down there? I'd rather have a 520d over a 520i, if it had to be one of the two. Probably would have a bit more grunt to push it around town. It'd never be a stoplight racer, but yeah.

    Maybe you could find a 2007 (after a mid-cycle facelift) 520i with the M-sport option pack on it, which will come with a little firmer suspension and bigger wheels - it won't have enough power to get out of it's own way, but it'll look nice at least.
     
  11. Cedric

    Cedric Well-Known Member

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    Montreal, Canada
    $87 fucking grand for a Golf? [​IMG]

    You could buy like two duallies for that price here.

    I'd say CBR929 but it doesn't have any doors. [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Duallies for the win!
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Is it even worth it/legal/cheaper to buy a car in the US and import it? (I'm assuming its not)
     
  13. henrikc

    henrikc Well-Known Member

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    While I'm not familiar with the laws in Singapore, it's not at all cheaper to import to Norway. You might be able to save some money on 15 y/o cars if you can get them for cheap from Germany, and you might save a grand or two if you import a brand new car from Denmark or Sweden, but the cars themselves are not too expensive -- it's the taxes on engine displacement, CO2 emissions and sales tax that makes the prices skyrocket. It's also worth noting that we have some great laws in Norway -- for products that are meant to last longer than 5 years, you have 5 years of "warranty" due to the Act on Consumer Sales (http://www.elektronikkbransjen.no/St...ticle_id=2190). So if your car has a defect and it's not caused by mishandling, you can get it repaired for free even though your car is out of warranty, making a long story short. There are of course some limitations, but that's the general summary. If there's anything like this in Singapore, it will not be beneficial to import a car at all.
     
  14. Achillus

    Achillus Well-Known Member

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    I would recommend a Volvo S40.
     
  15. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Well-Known Member

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    wow a golf gti for 87k? i've heard it all..

    how much does a civic cost? 50k ?
     
  16. aleksandr

    aleksandr Well-Known Member

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    of the ones you mention, the most 'fun to drive' by far is the 5 series. although i'm not a fan of the styling on the E60 but if you can overlook that (or if you actually like it), i think it's the best choice. although if you have to have a small displacement engine, i'd rather pick up a 320i
    I went to a used car lot today and the dealer was kind enough to let me test-drive a 2005 320i, and I was surprisingly impressed by the drive. Would a 520i / 523i has a similar drive? Because I wasn't all that impressed by the trim in the 320. May go and find a 5-series to test drive and see how I like that. To other posters: (1) Yes, Singapore is teeny tiny, but public transport isn't all that ubiquitous as people make it out to be, so a car is still pretty handy. I pay something like USD300 for parking a month in my building though. (2) For comparison, a new Golf GTI costs something like USD150k. See http://www.sgcarmart.com/new_cars/ne...?CarCode=10743 (exchange rate is something like USD1 = SGD1.25). Nuts, I know. (3) Importing can save you something like 20%, which is basically the markup the distributors make, but then you have issues with warranty and what-not. And we're right-hand-drive, which rather limits the places we can import cars from (basically the UK and random other commonwealth countries) (4) I honestly have not thought about Volvo at all - my impression is that they are built like tanks, and also drive like one. Is that still the case?
     
  17. GreenFrog

    GreenFrog Well-Known Member

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    how the hell is a GTI $150K USD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  18. aj_del

    aj_del Well-Known Member

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    Singapore prices are worse than India. I always thought that with 108% tax on imported cars, India was worst. A E350 brand new is around 125000 USD
     
  19. QBNCGAR

    QBNCGAR Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like it might be easier to move away from Singapore. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. HRoi

    HRoi Well-Known Member

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    I went to a used car lot today and the dealer was kind enough to let me test-drive a 2005 320i, and I was surprisingly impressed by the drive. Would a 520i / 523i has a similar drive? Because I wasn't all that impressed by the trim in the 320. May go and find a 5-series to test drive and see how I like that.
    sort of. IMO, with the 5-series BMW worked to get the same dynamics as the 3-series, in a heavier, larger body. it works for me, but i have no idea if the 520i will be woefully underpowered. the 523/525i's were already worked pretty hard by that heavy body...but might still meet your needs since i don't think Singapore driving conditions need you to do things like merge at high speed on a freeway like i have to do in the US
     

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