Let’s assume you have your mind set on a sedan with a budget of around RM 90,000. Naturally, you’d look towards B-segment sedans in the new car market, perhaps the Honda City. Maybe you’d start asking around for opinions and someone questions, “Why not a used BMW 3 Series on that budget?”
A quick search on the internet will reveal the average listing price for a pre-facelift F30-generation BMW 3 Series to be bang on said budget. It’s a tempting proposition, an “H” logo is attractive but one that spells “BMW” is something else.
Personally, the F30 3 Series represents the best of modern BMWs, before the design team decided to delete “subtlety” from their vocabulary. More importantly, the F30 3 Series adapts well in Malaysian driving conditions, where it ranges from world-class expressways to apocalyptic crater-filled roads.
It offers a fantastic balance between comfort and handling, even more so in the facelifted (LCI) versions. Those however, are slightly above budget. The pre-facelift models may not be quite as accomplished in terms of ride and handling, but its deftness is still present, which is in the core of the F30’s DNA.
There is a catch – which you’re probably already well aware of – when buying a used car, especially one that is of premium status - it comes with premium maintenance cost. And because the car is no longer under warranty, cost of repairs incurred will be exclusively borne by you.
Bear in mind that if you can’t afford to maintain a 3 Series when new, you won’t be able to afford one used. The value of a car depreciates but not its parts, which means you need to have considerable cash reserves for the car.
We’ve discussed what to look out for in an F30 3 Series as well as common problems and cost of repairs in our used car buying guide, so be sure to check it out.
Being a used car, expect frequent replacement of wear and tear parts. Ideally, you’d find a trustworthy mechanic or workshop so you wouldn’t spend more money or time than necessary.
It also helps if you’re savvy in car knowledge. But don’t pester mechanics with Google findings, nothing annoys them more than customers who thinks they know more than the mechanics themselves.
A brand-new Honda City on the other hand, will be covered by manufacturer’s warranty and you just know it will give you years of fuss-free motoring experience.
In this latest-generation of the Honda City, it’s the most comfortable it has ever been. With a suspension tuned so comfortably, you’d question if it’s the same company who made the FD-generation Honda Civic Type R.
Being a Honda, the interior space is masterfully utilized with class-leading legroom. The superlatives used here aren’t from a press release, it really has the most rear legroom in its segment, we’ve measured and compared them.
You’d also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, something the F30 BMW 3 Series doesn’t have from the factory. Then again, the warranty period has passed so you’d be free to mess around with the infotainment system.
Let’s not mention fuel consumption because if it is at the forefront of your requirements, then a used BMW shouldn’t appear on your radar. The Honda City or any new B-segment sedans should be your default choice.
Bottom line is this - if you want a relatively painless ownership experience and fuel consumption is important, then the used-car life is not for you. A new Honda City or any other B-segment sedan will do the job perfectly.
And here comes the but - if you consider yourself to be somewhat knowledgeable in cars, have a reasonable amount of cash at hand, and most importantly, have the patience, then you should muster the courage to buy a used BMW 3 Series.
Not every used “Conti car” is a nightmare. Provided you find one that is well looked after, it will give you more smiles than any B-segment sedan ever could.