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It's an interesting comparison... do you get a base BMW with no extra toys but you get the brand image, the fun driving dynamics of a BMW, the 4yr warranty (but higher running costs in the future)? Or a fully loaded Mazda6 for a few grand cheaper with all kinds of toys and lower running costs?

On paper, I'd pick the Mazda... assuming it's a decent drive. You get more toys, lower running costs, it's an interesting design, and most importantly it's discrete. A Mazda6 is a nice car. A BMW makes a statement- great for going out to the club, but not so much at work. Give me a nice car for work. But BMWs are great cars- E39 530i? Oooohhh absolutely brilliant car. You can tick "the ultimate driving machine" next to that one.

I worry about those Mazda6 19" rims. They're gorgeous but... some of the potholes here? I wince just thinking about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #23 (Edited)
I worry about those Mazda6 19" rims. They're gorgeous but... some of the potholes here? I wince just thinking about that.
Actually the 19" rims are not too bad. I hated the Run flats on the E92, they were Bridgestones and about the worst.


You can buy the 2014 GT and a LCI E46 for the same money as a loaded 320i. That is what I have, daily driver and a fun car. Maintenance on Mazda's in general is very low. Just routine oil and fluid changes. I had to replace 2 RTF at 12K miles, which cost as much as the maintenance for 4 years for a Mazda. Also the 4 year maintenance is only about 3 oil changes as BMW doesn't do oil changes until 15k. Many mfg's change the recommended oil change intervals at the moment they offer free maintenance, look at VW.

Here is an interesting take from a fellow BMW and 6 owner:

Bimmerfest - BMW Forums - View Single Post - May 2013 Incentives/Rates Thread
 

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It's an interesting comparison... do you get a base BMW with no extra toys but you get the brand image, the fun driving dynamics of a BMW, the 4yr warranty (but higher running costs in the future)? Or a fully loaded Mazda6 for a few grand cheaper with all kinds of toys and lower running costs?

On paper, I'd pick the Mazda... assuming it's a decent drive. You get more toys, lower running costs, it's an interesting design, and most importantly it's discrete. A Mazda6 is a nice car. A BMW makes a statement- great for going out to the club, but not so much at work. Give me a nice car for work. But BMWs are great cars- E39 530i? Oooohhh absolutely brilliant car. You can tick "the ultimate driving machine" next to that one.

I worry about those Mazda6 19" rims. They're gorgeous but... some of the potholes here? I wince just thinking about that.
Depending on one's priorities. A 320i with ZSP/6mt and minimal options would be a fun car to have, and could last long too if maintained well. But if one likes toys, of course go for the 6GT.
 

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Depending on one's priorities. A 320i with ZSP/6mt and minimal options would be a fun car to have, and could last long too if maintained well. But if one likes toys, of course go for the 6GT.
I tried so hard to justify the 320i with the 6mt. Coming from a E46 BMW, I really wanted another RWD car, and the 34mpg highway that the BMW got was great. With the number of miles I drive a day to work, it just wasn't worth it.

I was going to kill the value of the car by quickly racking up the miles on the highway. That, and I was tired of the whole "well, its been 75k miles. Time to replace my entire cooling and suspension system" that seems to be accepted in the BMW world. Decided it was better to have the mazda 6 for driving to work, and then I could possibly consider an MX-5, or keep my E46, as a weekend/track car.

If I was a low-mileage user, I'd probably spring for the BMW instead.
 

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I tried so hard to justify the 320i with the 6mt. Coming from a E46 BMW, I really wanted another RWD car, and the 34mpg highway that the BMW got was great. With the number of miles I drive a day to work, it just wasn't worth it.

I was going to kill the value of the car by quickly racking up the miles on the highway. That, and I was tired of the whole "well, its been 75k miles. Time to replace my entire cooling and suspension system" that seems to be accepted in the BMW world. Decided it was better to have the mazda 6 for driving to work, and then I could possibly consider an MX-5, or keep my E46, as a weekend/track car.

If I was a low-mileage user, I'd probably spring for the BMW instead.
I was in the same boat. I drive around 17k miles per year, so the BMW warranty/service benefit wouldn't make it even 3 years. Once I broke 80k miles in my TT things started getting really expensive really fast.
 

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I just traded in my 2009 328 for a 2015 6 gt. I loved my BMW but I don't think I will go back. The BMW required a lot of time at dealer for maintenance. Hopefully the mazda won't. The mazda was 25k a bargain. It isn't as refined or as fast as the BMW but it is nimble and light and great fun to drive. And the interior is sporty luxe. Beautiful and comfortable. I am smiling from ear to ear. It is that much fun to drive.
 

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I am another E90 convert. I had an '09 328xi sedan CPO. I had it for three years. The first 1.5 years was super fun. It was fun to drive around in a flashy BMW. The inline six was insanely smooth, the RWD biased AWD was fun, tight steering and handling second to none.

After the CPO warranty ran out and things started to go wrong, I cannot emphasize what a MOTHEREFFING NIGHTMARE that car became. I probably spent upwards of $7k on repairs in less than two years, including some wild things like rear differential, AC compressor, etc etc. In fact, the straw that broke the camel's back was taking it in for a battery replacement ($600, only replaceable at the dealer.) Meanwhile I'm a full-time graduate student working full-time. Not only could I not afford it, I simply didn't have the time to deal with it. In fact, I left the dealer, drove a couple blocks over to the Mazda dealer nearby and bought my '15 6 Touring MT the same night.

If you are thinking about buying a used BMW, I urge you to think twice. Yes, there are few other vehicles that are so thrilling to drive, but considering the cost of repairs and maintenance, it is plain and simply NOT WORTH IT. LEASE one, then you don't have to worry about anything.

Back to the Mazda, I've now put almost 9k on my 6. I like the car a lot. It's truly stunning, and gets a lot of compliments. Fuel economy is wonderful. Handling is okay. Really it's hard to compare, coming from a 3-series. But, it's far better than the other comparable cars I drove. Technology isn't as impressive either. But this is a much simpler vehicle, and in the end, I'm sure it will save me a lot of time and headaches.

I love that the 6 was available with an MT. That was HUGE for me. I love the styling. I constantly look at the car and think "damn." In fact, I think this car is better looking than my E90 was, and better than the current F30. It's funny how one can be so blinded by having the roundel in their face.

My only complaint about the 6 is the road noise. I've posted about it elsewhere, but I have a whistling coming from the drivers door at highway speeds. It drives me nuts, and no solution has been found yet.
 

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I just traded in my 2009 328 for a 2015 6 gt. I loved my BMW but I don't think I will go back. The BMW required a lot of time at dealer for maintenance. Hopefully the mazda won't. The mazda was 25k a bargain. It isn't as refined or as fast as the BMW but it is nimble and light and great fun to drive. And the interior is sporty luxe. Beautiful and comfortable. I am smiling from ear to ear. It is that much fun to drive.
That's exactly what I did. It was bittersweet to ditch the Bimmer, but it just had to be done. I noticed two other E90's that were traded when I bought my 6, and there's been at least one or two on the lot each time I've stopped by since. We are not alone.

My only other viable option with MT (deal breaker for me,) was the Accord. There's simply no comparison between the two. The Accord might be a bit more refined in its gadgetry, but I just couldn't imagine stepping down from a BMW to a Honda. Even though the Mazda is similar in some ways, it just doesn't feel like it. The test drive did it all.
 

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well, now I've GOT to post a pic of my 2005 330Ci w/ zhp (performance pkg) as well :) (The Mazda 6 is wife's car, so we have both a Bimmer AND a Mazda 6 at our house :)):

Dang, that is my favorite model 3 series. Even now the E90s are starting to look dated. This is just a classic look.
 

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I am another E90 convert. I had an '09 328xi sedan CPO. I had it for three years. The first 1.5 years was super fun. It was fun to drive around in a flashy BMW. The inline six was insanely smooth, the RWD biased AWD was fun, tight steering and handling second to none.

After the CPO warranty ran out and things started to go wrong, I cannot emphasize what a MOTHEREFFING NIGHTMARE that car became. I probably spent upwards of $7k on repairs in less than two years, including some wild things like rear differential, AC compressor, etc etc. In fact, the straw that broke the camel's back was taking it in for a battery replacement ($600, only replaceable at the dealer.) Meanwhile I'm a full-time graduate student working full-time. Not only could I not afford it, I simply didn't have the time to deal with it. In fact, I left the dealer, drove a couple blocks over to the Mazda dealer nearby and bought my '15 6 Touring MT the same night.

If you are thinking about buying a used BMW, I urge you to think twice. Yes, there are few other vehicles that are so thrilling to drive, but considering the cost of repairs and maintenance, it is plain and simply NOT WORTH IT. LEASE one, then you don't have to worry about anything.

Back to the Mazda, I've now put almost 9k on my 6. I like the car a lot. It's truly stunning, and gets a lot of compliments. Fuel economy is wonderful. Handling is okay. Really it's hard to compare, coming from a 3-series. But, it's far better than the other comparable cars I drove. Technology isn't as impressive either. But this is a much simpler vehicle, and in the end, I'm sure it will save me a lot of time and headaches.

I love that the 6 was available with an MT. That was HUGE for me. I love the styling. I constantly look at the car and think "damn." In fact, I think this car is better looking than my E90 was, and better than the current F30. It's funny how one can be so blinded by having the roundel in their face.

My only complaint about the 6 is the road noise. I've posted about it elsewhere, but I have a whistling coming from the drivers door at highway speeds. It drives me nuts, and no solution has been found yet.
+1 for this. I really struggled between choosing a CPO E92 328 and a new 6. I ended up with a new 6 because of reviews like this one and two of my friends have E90s with pretty low mileage and have spent thousands fixing them after their CPOs ran out.

Now with regards to a 320i, I was never even interested in this car. You're looking at a completely different driving dynamic between an E90 and F30 (I think F30) and I'd choose an E90, E92 over it any day. Like other people have said the 4 year 50K maintenance is a joke as you'll get nothing out of it, unless you're lucky and get brakes and rotors after a fight with the dealership. And don't think that maintenance is "free" it's included in the purchase price of the car. Also I'd like to see some more years of reliability data for BMW's turbos as the 335's and HPFPs have been quite the debacle.

For me driving 25k miles a year I need a reliable car, a new 320i can be reliable during the first few years but later on it will probably drain your pocket. And that's ok, if the buyer is prepared and willing to sacrifice it. If looking at a 320 I would buy used, there's plenty of them with 10-30k miles for a fraction of MSRP.
 

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Count me in the group of previous Bimmer owners! Had a '03 325i w/ sport/premium pkgs. I loved the car, but as others have already stated, repair costs became an absolute nightmare once it was out of warranty.

 

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I had a 2006 325i with the sport package manual and i loved it. But like you all said pain in the ass to work on, mine was reliable. But routine maintenance sometimes made no sense like the fuse box in the glove box, I had to use pliers just to get the fuzes out. Also replacing the back two spark plugs, I had to remove the big cabin filter. Oil was the easiest part with the oil filter being right there as you popped the hood. New suspension springs and sway bar to the mazda 6 was way cheaper then buying a new 3 series. Granted the mazda 6 has nothing in bmw handling, the cost and ease of maintenance are night and day.
 

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I know this is a BMW comparison, but for the money, I would so much prefer an SRT-8, especially in a Challenger 6-spd. I bought the 08 Magnum SRT just because I love wagons (that's also why I got my wife an 04 6 wagon and I drive a Subaru wagon to work) and I love extreme rarity. As a daily, the SRT is WAY better IMHO than a BMW. I drove a thousand miles from Carlsbad to Portland in my Magnum and never got sore a bit. One of the most comfortable cars I've ever owned.
 

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That's exactly what I did. It was bittersweet to ditch the Bimmer, but it just had to be done. I noticed two other E90's that were traded when I bought my 6, and there's been at least one or two on the lot each time I've stopped by since. We are not alone.



My only other viable option with MT (deal breaker for me,) was the Accord. There's simply no comparison between the two. The Accord might be a bit more refined in its gadgetry, but I just couldn't imagine stepping down from a BMW to a Honda. Even though the Mazda is similar in some ways, it just doesn't feel like it. The test drive did it all.

Agree with you 100% I stepped "down" from a 335d to my 6 Sport with a MT. While I occasionally miss the power, rear wheel drive and the great E90 steering, the 6, even in its "base" form, is a damn satisfying car. I test drove an Accord Sport with a manual and my very car the same day. The 6, dynamically just feels good. The Accord was good too but the choice was easy.


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I'm yet another e90 owner that made the switch to a 2015 6 Touring from a 2007 335i. I miss the power and torque of the 335i, but the 6 has fun enough handling to keep me satisfied. I was expecting a drop of interior quality going from the 335i to the 6, but was very happy to find out that Mazda's interior quality is great.

Maintenance costs is what caused me to switch. Parts and labor for my Going from ~20mpg premium gas to ~30mpg unleaded is just the cherry on top of the sundae for me. I don't regret making the switch whatsoever.
 

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I'm yet another e90 owner that made the switch to a 2015 6 Touring from a 2007 335i. I miss the power and torque of the 335i, but the 6 has fun enough handling to keep me satisfied. I was expecting a drop of interior quality going from the 335i to the 6, but was very happy to find out that Mazda's interior quality is great.

Maintenance costs is what caused me to switch. Parts and labor for my Going from ~20mpg premium gas to ~30mpg unleaded is just the cherry on top of the sundae for me. I don't regret making the switch whatsoever.
Just enforces the belief for me: Even if I have the $$, I just can't justify the extra Gs for the so-called premium brands. With the extra Gs, you can buy a lot of other toys (motorcycles,etc) and other fun stuff....
 

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I considered the 320 before I bought my '16 6 GT. I put 18k miles a year on my car and though the 320 claims decent mileage, that is using premium gas, which costs an additional 15% from regular. Take that into account and the mileage on the 320 ain't so great in comparison to the 6.

I liked the interior of the l better, but the driving characteristics of the 320 are nice, but not worth the 50% price premium.

Buying a BMW is a statement. My wife was dead set against getting one.
 
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