Ask Bark is, for now, making its home here at Riverside Green. If you’d like me to tackle a question about car buying, or anything else, for that matter, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m always happy to help!
Let’s get to this installment, which comes from a gentleman with a bit of a quandary.
I am 54 years old with two kids in college. The 2012 focus titanium has hit 200K. I am looking for a car. I have potentially narrowed down my options to a new Golf GTI (~$27K) or a used 2015 BMW M235i xdrive ($29K). The BMW would have one year certified BMW warranty. I drive my cars until they die or until my kids hijack them. Both are automatics (wife requirement).
Do you have an opinion? Thanks.
Do I have an opinion??? As Liz Warren might say, do you know who you’re messing with?
First of all, it’s downright shocking that a 2015 BMW M235i can be had for under 30 grand now. In fact, it was so shocking that I had to look it up to make sure that Paul hadn’t been smoking the wacky tabacky. He hadn’t. Not at all. In fact, he’s right—there are even xDrive models in that range. Holy shit, man. That car was selling for about $52,000 just two years ago. That’s some steep depreciation, even for a Bimmer.
So that kinda makes it seem like a no-brainer, right? I mean, why not buy a $50k car for $30k? Not so fast, my friend.
I shopped the M235i heads up against the Focus RS when I made my purchase decision last year. The FoRS was just better in every sense—more fun to drive, more burbly sounds, even a better stereo. Also, it had useable rear seats for adults, a feature absolutely not found in the 2 Series.
I’ve spent significant time hooning the GTI around, and I love it. In fact, it’s one of the very, very few cars that I enjoy more with the automatic (in this case, a DSG) than the manual. Both the upshifts and downshifts are extra snappy and clean, and it makes the car a bit quicker in the sprints.
Finally, you mention that you are a gentleman who has reached middle age. Congratulations on such a fine life, sir. You deserve to ride in a car that will not make your spine suffer. The GTI has a softer suspension than the M235i, and is just generally more pleasant to drive on a daily basis. I didn’t see any desire to track or autocross your car, so while the extra kick of the BMW might be enjoyable every now and then, the GTI is plenty quick enough for most, and you won’t dread longer trips in it.
You also kinda have to assume that anybody who bought the M235i hooned it a bit. I wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable with a 50k mile Bimmer with only a one-year limited warranty.
So, despite the seemingly fantastic deal on the BMW, I’d go plaid, my friend. Get the Vee Dub.