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New car time ... maybe.


garcon magnifique
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The Legacy is a decent car, reliable, robust, and remarkably economical for a 4wd tank. It has served a purpose in many ways, even though I'm still not convinced it was the right choice at the time. But by God I'm bored. I really ought to appreciate it more, it has all the equipment one could reasonably want, but by current comparison it's not exactly quick and not all that refined.

The thing is, I'm averaging 20k miles a year at the moment and that isn't likely to reduce for at least 9 months or so, and even then it's not likely to reduce by that much. Maybe down to 15k minimum. So while the sensible part of my brain is saying keep the Legacy and put another 15k on it, the rest of me is thinking get rid, if possible before it needs a service (2-3k off) and 4 new tyres (similar). And if I did keep it 9 months or so that would take in two fairly big services. As you can tell, this is me trying to concoct a financial argument on changing, when in truth what I save is likely to be more than cancelled out by depreciation on anything newer... :P

Anyway, that leads me to what next, if I do indeed take the plunge? For various reasons I don't need the practicality of four doors or an estate any more. Four useable seats and a sensible boot will do. I'm also hankering after something much more rewarding to drive and (for once) nice to look at, but it's still going to have to do 15-20k miles a year, so reasonable running costs and comfort are also key.

Without actually having driven anything yet, the car that seems to tick all the boxes is the Merc C250CDI coupe. Fast, frugal, good looking (IMO) and well appointed (with the right options ticked). And with the deals Merc seem to be offering, it hopefully also comes in at the right price (mid 30s).

I guess the question is, what else should I be looking at? Max budget is circa 35k for the perfect car although I'll happily spend less. :grin:

I have a view on most of the alternatives but I've gone on long enough, instead I shall try to maintain an open mind... +++

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Used 530d? The new model is easily within reach at that price point. Or the 525d?

Stunning interiors now and much better than the C250TDI in my opinion. Also, you could probably haggle 2-3 years service inclusive into the deal so you're home and dry without anything but pads and tyres to be paid for.

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Aye, but then the C250 isn't going to give him much more performance than he already has in the Legacy, despite what Mercedes would have you believe, it isn't quick.

The 30d is good, as It's basically the same lump as the 35d minus one turbo, so if your opting for it, you might as well go for the 35D as the economy is almost the same, the 25D is vastly inferior imo, and I wouldn't even consider it, might as have a 20D and get it mapped.

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BMW seem to have a strong mastery of the modern diesel engine, that is for sure. I also like the 3 series touring a lot. The 5 is just too big.

Not a fan of Mercs these days.

However, whilst you do 15k miles a year, as I do, what about a petrol?

I have a Quattro Audi estate with the 2 litre TFSI engine. On motorway runs I am easily up to 40 mpg (on Tesco 99). Not recommending Audi, but saying that the modern turbo petrol motors are getting pretty frugal...

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Not sure how old your experience of the 250CDI is Tipex, but the latest compares pretty well with the BMW 23d in terms of figures and has a mighty wallop of torque low down. These latest twin turbo 4 pots have all the performance of only slightly older six pots - my concern, if there is one, is more about refinement than performance.

It has to be said, I'm also more of a fan of the latest Merc interiors than BMW, although I definitely need to try at least one out. The 530d is an option, but I can't help thinking it's too big and lardy for what I really need, and although I've always quite liked bigger cars I'm feeling the urge for something a bit more cosy... but not, I don't think, a 1 series.

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Re petrol - I wouldn't rule it out at all, although in the shorter term I'll still be doing nearer 20k than 15k.

As an example, for only a couple grand more than the C250CDI I could possibly go for a C350 CGI petrol... official figures claim 40mpg average, although I can't help thinking that's going to be difficult to get in real life.

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Does it have to be diesel? The F30 BMW 328i is a twin turbo 4, so presumably reasonably economical and yet pretty quick. 44 mpg (combined) and 0-62 in under 6 seconds? The touring is out fairly soon too I think...

While I'm very happy with the economy/performance blend in my E250CDI, I wouldn't be comparing it to a BMW x30d or x35d. Having said that it does have the same 204 bhp output as my old (E46) 330d...so I suspect performance is more than adequate in a C250CDI

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We have a 2011 E250CDi on the fleet, nowt wrong with it to be fair, but personally I'd choose a six pot BMW over one, simply because the economy is at least as good, and the power/torque/refinement are better.

Have you considered an E280CDi if you prefer the Mercs? I love ours, that's a proper engine!

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This is all good stuff. Also shows what I really knew already - that comparing some of these options on paper doesn't always then stand up when you actually go out and drive them.

Maybe I just need to go and drive a few cars. Either I'll be smitten by one or I won't - and if I'm not then I should take the hint and keep the Legacy at least for a few more months while I'm still doing high miles.

If I could guarantee that in, say April, my mileage would be dropping to no more than 12k miles a year for a few years then I'd definitely wait til then, at which point I'd be looking at VERY different stuff - like sub 30 grand XKs and 911s. :P

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Another thing that is occurring to me is that I'm mentally discarding quite a number of cars entirely on looks, which for me is a bit of a rarity (nobody buys Subarus for their looks... :uhoh: ).

And it's funny how relatively minor things can ruin a car's looks for me. For example, I wouldn't consider a pre-facelift Jag XF because of those headlights, but I like the newer model. Similarly, and I can't completely put my finger on it, I like the C Class coupe a lot, but there's something not quite right about the E coupe. It even goes down to liking the 2012 facelift E class Sport (saloon or coupe) DRL arrangement (a simple straight line) to the angled L shape of the older one....

Am I rambling? :P

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Just go buy an Audi, you know you want to!

Damn you beat me to it!! :P

Seriously Garcon, I've said it every single time you consider changing and post about it, buy two cars - one for the commute, one for the weekend.

Yes okay I know my situation is a bit different to yours (and everyone elses for that matter). However the options are endless, means you can have something proper fast for the weekend, and the running costs of two cars are easily offset by the depreciation of sticking 60k on a brand new car every three years. Insurance and no claims bonus is less of an issue nowdays with the rise of multi car policies in the last five years or so. You could be driving a 996 or XKR immediately this way

Edited by Ian_C
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I like the C Class coupe a lot, but there's something not quite right about the E coupe.

It's the fat arse, those rear arches do it no favours at all!

Alpine D3 is a good shout, no idea what they cost, or if they are even still available, but they look great, see a white one occasionally and it always catches my eye.

Alternatively, what about a Toyota GT86 (or Subaru equivalent), it won't be disasterously uneconomical, it will be fun, and they very well priced.

Had a sit in one at Goodwood and I'm very impressed, seriously tempted to look at one next year as I'll have settled the finance on all our other cars.

Oh, and the two car thing, no matter how you fudge the figures to justify it to the Mrs, it most certainly isn't cheaper!

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