Looking for a fun-to-drive car on a 70L budget: Which BMW to buy?

This car will be used on the weekend for any and every trip that I take within the city and outside the city. If the luggage requirements are on the higher side – then the Seltos will be taken.

BHPian NagzulOTR recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My current garage – I have a Kia seltos (picked up the top end DCT petrol in 2020). Gets used by the missus and me for local driving and frequent trips to in-laws in mysore. Love the SPORTS mode here and I frequently dabble in that within B’lore when I find a 500 metre empty stretch. Don’t ask me where.

Hyundai Verna – 1.6 VT VT petrol – bought this as a second hand in 2014 from the owner directly back then when OLX was the only source. Got a sweet deal back then, 7 lac for a 1 year old verna with 10K on the odo which has now done almost 70K kms without any trouble. (clutch replacement pending) Currently gets used with a driver as by family for all commutes during the week (including office and shopping trips)

Triumph Scrambler 900 – Bought this right before Covid started. Done minimal miles but whenever I take it out in Bangalore it bring a massive grin on my face.

I have always been a car fanatic, I actually have a couple of scrapbooks where I have cut out photos of some beautiful cars from back in the 90s. Contessa was one of my first loves, the Old mercs and even to some extent the newer ones have always had a soft corener. I even have a Daewoo Cielo miniature toy still in my collection (white colour) As I have become older I have realized that my passion for cars transcends all parts of my life. On my XBOX I like playing Football and Racing games only. F1 or Forza or Dirt 5 are some of the only games I play – when I play. I watch F1 and have travelled to multiple circuits over the last few years as part of the annual holiday (have a kimi raikonnen autographed hat)

God has been kind and I am now in my late 30s and on the lookout for a German powerhouse to convert all this love of cars into a decision to get my garage expanded. I test drove the 520D (they have discontinued the 530D) and

I was quite happy with the experience. TD done for a Audi A6 and that was also nice. It looks beautiful indeed and has a timeless elegance about it. But none of them gave the shove in the back acceleration which was expected.

My friend asked me after the 520 D TD – how was it?

My reply – “it was good but I was expecting life changing experience. Maybe the Kia has spoilt me.”

And then last week I went and TD for a X4 (second hand) and MY OH MY. That was AMAZING. Even thought the TD for only couple of kms on a Sunday, the X4 even in comfort mode was able to bring a smile to my face. With this I have decided to search for my 3 litre monster and I will be patient looking for it. Don’t have anything from Audi here. Merc and BMW become the choice. Merc seems to be again and again coming up as a chauffeured car and doesn’t have those dynamics so now we are primarily down to BMW.

Within BMW, with the old X4 being discontinued along with the 530D, any new 3 litre will be prohibitively expensive (unless I consider the M340i)

In the second hand market – the 3 possible choices are 530D, X4 or the 630D. (and yes a used m340i though I have high doubts about that coming in the second hand market soon) I don’t want another SUV after the Seltos (yes it’s a mini-SUV and not a Fortuner or a Legender)

  • X4 – polarizing views on this car indeed. We have those who love it. And those who hate it. Clearly BMW agrees with the latter and hence discontinued. But reviews of the X4 on youtube (india and abroad) show that the car has a lovely engine and dynamics. I specifically love the ability to drive it carefree in Bangalore roads.
  • 530 D – Loved the G30 and the new face lifts as well. The GC is a big worry as I scrapped it quite some during the TD on the new models. However this TD isn’t doing justice since its on the 4 cyl 2litre engine. It was smooth as butter but didn’t get my pulse racing. I was more worried after the first scraping on which bump will I end up scraping.
  • 630D – frankly I don’t think I should stretch to the 6 series just because Its available. The car is a looker for sure and probably better looking than the 530D in my view. It is a step up

Time for some objective Points of discussion:

  • WHAT will the car be used for – I have a beater which works just fine and hence this car will NOT be used unless drive goes on leave.
  • This car will be used on the weekend for any and every trip that I take within the city and outside the city. If the luggage requirements are on the higher side – then the Seltos will be taken.
  • Given this I expect a 10K usage per year and nothing more than that. Unless I start doing cross country drives (part of the wish list as I near the 40s)
  • Family is short in height and small in numbers (one young kid and we are all 5’7 or lesser in height – relevant for the sloping roof of the X4)
  • What is the budget – the Range is from 50 lac to 70 lac. Kept a wide range just to ensure that I don’t miss out on any good options .
  • How old a car – I have tried to keep this objective and decided to not go for anything which was earlier than 2020. 2-3 years is enough for a car to show that it’s a lemon. With a 2-3 year range, I am hence keeping my mileage counter to 30K to 40K only. Anything more than this will mean the car has been driven a LOT and I would like to avoid that.

Where will you buy from – My 3-4 sources which I am tracking almost regularly are

  • BigBoyzToyz – Lovely collection of cars. Their pricing is supposed to be the best in the market and hence keeping their prices as benchmark while I look for other sources.
  • BMW Used cars – Good collection, been in touch with the Chennai, cochin and bangalore folks while looking for a 530D or a 630D or a X4
  • OLX – surprising collection of cars here in my selection criteria – specially in kerela. Talking to a friend to see if he can do a couple of TD for me before I make a decision to drive down to KL for a TD
  • Spinny and Cartrade- they don’t have a great collection of the 3 litres and most of them are flooded with the 4 cyl 2 litre cars across BMW and Merc.
  • Local bangalore Dealers – tried a TD with Citizen cars here for the X4. Over priced as such and will mostly stay away from them.

So what do you want from us?

  • Views on the objective conditions. Am I being too strict. Specifically, the age of the car (has to be 3 years or lesser) and Kms (less than 40K KMS)
  • Suggestions on the X4 vs 530D debate which is going on in my head.
  • Suggestions on how I can go test drive the right cars out there in kerela and Chennai and Mumbai.. Without having to travel every week and spend a couple of lac before even buying the car.
  • What rule of thumb should I use to decide on the worthiness of the deal. Assuming no damage to the car and NCB through the 2-3 ownership years and a clean service history.
  • 3 year old car at 30% depreciation from invoice value? I am seeing a lot of 2020 520Ds at 50 lac. 2020 X4 cost 60 lac. 2021 X4 cost 70 lac. 2018 530Ds going for 45 lac. 2020 530Ds going for 60 lac. Not sure of the right price. This is probably the most useless question and I know it already as I am typing..

Here’s what BHPian lamborghini had to say on the matter:

First will start with the questions:

3years & 40K is very liberal if you are new to used cars. I kept my buffer for cars within manufacturer warranty (where I can get at least 3 years extension on warranty), and run below 20K – even those over 15K were looked down upon frankly.

Advantages of this: these examples being under company warranty meant that they would be solely serviced by the company with full record of everything.

No reason for the kms but generally these cars just look cleaner with fresher interiors.

X4 – like you said, it can tackle everything you would go over. No ground clearance issues like the 530D. Explosive performance meets practicality.

530D – arguably interiors feel more premium, better handling.

Best bet is to first get relevant details from the dealers like warranty, number, etc. Then find a connect with a bmw/brand of your choice service advisor through your network who can help you by checking the service history, accident and warranty history. Once these come clean, then fly in and close.

I would also look at Delhi. Right now used car prices are completely off the charts with no real rationale on terms of depreciation. That 2020 530D asking 65 was probably sold for 70.

Car prices are typically lower up north so would start looking there as well, and highest down south but do calculate cost of re-registration.

Now coming to options:

Buying a luxury product is all about how it makes you feel. If it doesn’t make you feel good, you would be better off in something practical instead. The X4 which captured your heart – get it, don’t worry about SUV or sedan – it’s about what you felt better behind the wheel off.

If buying used, key is patience. No M340i maybe on sale right now, but maybe one comes up tomorrow.

I would suggest a drive of the 330i, X3.30i, C300D, GLA35, Macan as well. They’re 4 cylinders but have a decent power jump compared to the 20D and could be good options.

Also, the Porsche dealer in Mumbai has a pre-owned 2020 Macan S for sale apparently and with some hard bargaining it could be an option.

The 6GT is a good option as well – with the air suspension even ground clearance can be raised marginally to help with bad roads. But maintenance will be more expensive (primarily suspension parts). However the added dimensions means its not as chuckable as the 3/5.

Here’s what BHPian abaliga had to say on the matter:

Used car scene in Bangalore is very tricky to deal with, most cars are priced outside the ideal price based on the condition of the vehicle, I was searching for a well maintained Octavia for over 6 months and was not able to find anything that made economical sense, most cars that were run less than 20-25k were priced at 80-90% of its sticker price when new, I am guessing this goes unnoticed as the new vehicle prices have shot up too much in the last 3 years.

If possible do add the 30i to your list, namely 530i, 630i, 330i, 330Li and X3 Xdrive 30i unless you absolutely want to buy a car with 6 cylinders, the 2.0 litre turbo petrol is almost as powerful as the straight six diesel and is silky smooth as well.

Here’s what BHPian androdev had to say on the matter:

Chennai M340i on sale on team-bhp classifieds

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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