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Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Bert1568, Jul 18, 2006.
frogs don't have the swag.
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moar math please
Alright, I'm back from my travels and I got an Int'l driver's license while I was away too; the chance to buy a car is also here suddenly (was gonna wait a bit more but this has fell in my lap) and I'm kinda torn on my decision, and still have to find out a bit more too - but a couple good things happened; I qualify for a tax-free car and I think a tax reduction on gasoline as well, but the tax-free amount is up to $30K on the car, so my wife is really down to get a $30K car now that she heard about that; not a penny more. She also wants a wagon this time since we have the dog. Second good thing is that I found an indoor parking enclosure with a spot for rent that is just a couple steps from my building, and you have to rent a space before you buy a car here to get a plate. So, both of those are pretty big factors, the first is whenever but the second seems like a slightly fleeting chance and I'd probably have to get a space further away if I miss any spots in this rotisserie tower next to my house. The parking at home/out will be more than the car payment and insurance so I crunched numbers, doesn't really matter anymore if I buy the car and let it sit a couple weeks here and there if I'm traveling. Seems most important to get a parking spot this close to my house.
Kinda debating between two cars seriously:
I've found an E55 wagon for sale right down the street, and they want me to go down and look at it and take it for a drive.
Upsides: dealer serviced it's entire life with records, incredibly clean (not even a crease in the driver's seat leather) with like 30K miles. It's an official Japan-spec car sold by an AMG Japan dealer, the only mod it has is a Panasonic HD screen flushed in the dash. Biggest plus, I think: it's LHD, and in the future if we get a second car it will likely be a LHD sports car (those mostly come LHD), so getting both cars LHD would be prudent, but LHD sedans/wagons are becoming increasingly harder to find unless you spend big money over here. Used to be a standard thing for import cars but they've mostly been switching over to RHD unless it's a sports special. This 55 is a one owner car, probably female driven (these cars are usually housewife cars here, and they're not rare like they are in America, they're actually very common) - I think I would probably end up tinkering with this car a bit if I buy it, like putting in the OEM third row jumpseat since it seems a lot of my friends and family are gonna come and visit me soon. I'm a little worried that it might wake up something bad in me, and I'll end up with wheels and stuff before I know it.
One more upside - it's an AMG, and AMGs are the shit in Japan, pretty solid resale value and the depreciation curve beginning to flatten out with this one.
Downside of this car - it's a 2004, rather than a newer 06 or 07. I am still researching but I'm thinking the extensive dealer servicing probably means this car is less of a worry. We won't be putting any real mileage on this car ourselves, since there's no real place to drive. Time in the car will never really show up on the odometer. I figure about 10-15K miles for the next 5 years. Is anyone familiar enough with these 55 cars to know if there's any crazy scheduled maintenance things that are invasive, like S/C rebuilds or anything like that?
Other car is an 08 LCI 530i wagon, it's a fairly standard car here. M-tech kit with the 18"s, half leather/half alcantara interior, pano roof, LCI iDrive, that's about it. Very standard M-tech E61 car, dealer CPO, but no warranty I think. They don't really do many warranties here I've found.
Upsides: I foresee it to be cheaper to own than the AMG in many ways, from insurance to oil. Not many foreseeable problems (?) Much newer than the AMG. It's nowhere close to hot enough of a car to tempt me into putting shit on it, it'd be bone stock forever and just pull heavy daily duty til it can't pass inspection.
Downsides: It's RHD (which is slightly intimidating to me right now), and it's in Osaka, so far away and it'd be a train trip to go get it and then a road trip back, can't exactly go kick tires. Depreciation cycle just beginning on this car, wouldn't be worth a lot in 5 years time.
Both cars are almost exactly the same price, have registrations for about 1.5 years left, and purchase isn't a problem; I haven't inquired about insurance yet though, and that may be a hassle.
Other minor contender cars on the edges of my radar, all about the same price:
320i LCI M-tech wagons in RHD (don't really want a 320i, but it's actually a pretty nice little car)
B7 S4 wagon in LHD (don't really want)
Alpina B10 4.8S sedan in LHD (I like this car a lot, but it's a last-run E39, so a little old looking now)
newer W212 E350 wagons in RHD
a bunch of E61 525i M-tech wagons in RHD
W203 C55 wagon with the NA 55 V8 in RHD (never liked the 203)
nice cars not even close to my radar, same price:
the typical E46 M3 coupes, S4's, big boat cars like 750i's and 06-07 S350's, near-new E250 diesels, old 650i coupes and cabs, etc, etc
So... E55T or a garden variety, newer E61 wagon?
The E55 sounds special, and fun to drive. It'd be my choice I'm sure.
if you must have a wagon my vote would go to an RS4 Avant if you can swing it/find a good copy. or S4 Avant.
The wagon thing is not a necessity, just happens that there a ton of wagons here and it is getting skewed by the possibility of being able to mod the AMG to retrofit the 3rd row jumpseat to seat 7 people in a pinch.
The RS4 Avant is here, it's close to the right price, but out of the running because it has an MT and I don't have the license to drive a stick in Japan. Wouldn't really want to bother to go through the hassle to get it either, the traffic is pretty hellish where I live - no space, people drive and stop really quickly... so I feel like the AMG that you just burble around in mostly, and sometimes squirt through open spaces in with big brakes to bring it down - to me that is more 'Tokyo' than a sprite M car with stick or an Audi RS. Need a car that is easy going at low speeds, but can really lay down the hammer if I get on the expressways and stuff, that's why I am drawn to the AMG 55. The E60 M5 with SMG qualifies as an automatic tranny here, but thinking about all these cars at once, I realize the SMG wouldn't be taht great at low speed, which is gonna be a lot of my driving. The old AMG's with the really bulletproof auto tranny are probably better.
Also, I have a B6 A4 Avant in America that sits at my parents house, and the B7 RS4 is obviously a different car but the interior is mostly the same; it'd probably bother me if I had to look at the RS4 interior all the time. I've already driven that car for years and so I worry the car ownership experience might end up a bit disappointing because of that, it's the interior you really have to live with. I also don't really like Audis that much in general because I feel they're less intuitive when you're in the seat; I actually prefer BMWs in terms of driving them day to day and I've had 3 of them and always liked driving my BMWs, the switches and controls are great, the driving position is good, but the LHD BMW's are kinda rare here, not many to choose from. Besides the M cars they only make the LHD option for the top 'normal' models like the 550i and 335i, which are a bit inflated in price for what they are. I don't really like newer BMWs anyway, I find them ugly. I was ready to settle on that E61 530i only because I know it'd be 'nice' and not cost too much in the long run.
I am going over to look at this E55 in a couple hours now, they have 2 or 3 almost identical ones. haha. It's such a rare car in America and people pain over finding one in the US, but like I said, they're seemingly common here, kind of crazy. The Japanese love cars, but AMG's in particular. Anyway, I might come back from the dealer and be clean slate, I dunno. Too many choices. I should add the Alfa 159 wagon to the 'slightly interested' list but I know deep down it's a piece of junk. lol
the E55 is pretty mod-able too to generate lots more power. if that means something to you
don't get the E60 m5 if you are going mostly at slower speeds. besides the horrendous gas consumption, the SMG is infuriatingly clunky at low speeds and with the 1-2 shifts
I've been researching MB stuff (and yeah, my eyes will never forgive me, I've seen way too many ruined looking AMG's with random black-wrapped stuff and ugly wheels in the span of 24hrs) and I think I would probably address the reliability stuff with maybe a better I/C and fueling setup, and some probably the basic intake/exhaust and some sort of local ECU tune to run off our Japanese 100 octane, we've got 100 at the pumps at every station here. It will definitely make more power, but I don't know how much more and the number is not all that important, it's a pretty wickedly fast car to begin with. My wife has had a 360 Spyder and a 996TT before and i think she still has no idea how fast this wagon we're about to go look at really is, it's gonna surprise her, haha. Apart from that, I think I would eventually cave in and do the E63 front and back face conversions since the Japanese are really adept at facelift changes and the E55 front will bug me forever knowing the 63 is better looking (but I'd rather have the S/C'ed motor), and then maybe a set of nice wheels and some sort of basic street suspension. I think this is all sounding a bit too rice-y at this point....
the s/c has quite a but of potential. as far as appearances go, I think it looks perfect with just a more aggressive (lower) stance and some classic wheels from the usual suspects (Brabus, Lorinser, HRE etc). two of my favorite cars are still my buddy's silver E55 with kw coils and Brabus 19's, and my brother has a black C-class from the same generation with Lorinsers - he still has it, I think it's 17 years old already at this point
Yep, when you started talking about E63 conversions for the front and back. But I'm a fan of the E55 as it is, I still like the looks of it.
I hope they sell the new RS4 avant in the States
but chances are slim
My car i'm renting while i'm in Monaco. Audi TT, hate it but better then nothing.
Here we have some better stuff
NY Times online has an article about the Golf 4 AWD turbo. Pretty slick. Not the RS4 Avant, but at 35K, not a bad alternative/value.
My sister just called... Her 78 MG Midget fuel line poped off going doing the high way... She was able to get it back on firmly. But now it will idle and start up like a champ. But dies as soon as you give it gas. AAA wants $230 to bring it 50ish miles back to her apartment. I am at least 180 miles away, any fast ideas? The car has a Webber carb w/o electric choke.
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