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To M3 or not to M3?

Q. Hello... I am in the midst's of moving up to a BMW M3 (1995-1997) but before I do, could you please tell me if there are any extraordinary costs involved in such a move? I expect I'll have to pay a higher insurance premium (maybe 25% more?) Can you tell me what annual upkeep on such a car is expected to be? I think I have to have one after driving it, but I don't want to jump right in. Or do I?

Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated,
Thanks.

A. This reminds me of a funny story. I was in BMW service school in Montvale, NJ taking the Fuel Injection I and II classes. We were working on a BMW 3.0 six-cylinder on a test stand in the shop. The morning was spent learning the components and theory and the afternoon was going to be spent on the actual engines. At that time BMW had two wires by the ECU for high altitude compensation. Normally they were left unplugged and only connected at altitudes above 5,000 feet. When they were connected, it severely leaned out the fuel mixture.

Being the little wise guy I am, I came back from lunch early, plugged the two wires together and tucked them out of sight. When the instructor came back and started the engine, he could not figure out why the engine was running so poorly. He was kind of embarrassed because he was supposed to be teaching us how to troubleshoot the system and he could not figure out what was wrong. I kindly offered to fix it for him and he reluctantly accepted my help. I unplugged the wires, the engine smoothed out and we all had a great laugh.

There is an old saying in the luxury car business, "If you have to ask what kind of milage it gets, you can't afford the car." In general what you can expect is about a 25% to 35% higher maintenance and fuel cost for this car. BMW parts are more expensive and maintenance is something you're going to have to do religiously. They are not known for their fuel economy, in fact, some have a "Gas Guzzler" tax added on when new because they do not meet EPA standards for fuel economy.

I drive a Mercedes Benz, so I know where you're coming from. I love the car and I deal with the higher costs of parts for it. I do have two advantages however, I do my own work which saves tons of labor dollars and it's a diesel. In fact I just drove it 2400 miles from Minnesota to New Jersey and back and I got 48 miles to the gallon. There is a lot of work you can do yourself that will save you money on cost of ownership and I suspect that you would be like me, you'd get the enjoyment of taking care of your baby yourself.

I say go for it.

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