Another Car Post (Audi/BMW) - Second Opinion on Budget

Hey all, hope everyone is have a great week and looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday (fly Eagles.)

So I'm moving soon and will likely be needing a car for the office commute - had previously been in NYC & Chicago were I did not need one (sold off my Tacoma after graduating.) This will be my first car purchase on my own and just want to make sure I'm being relatively reasonable.

Relatively, since the two cars I am debating between are the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i (I have partially considering a TRD Pro for the weekend trips, but it'd most likely just be to the east coast for some waves, nothing more rugged). Mainly looking for pre-owned (most likely CPO), 2021 and newer, and less than 30k miles. Examples:

Current budget looks something like this was the average price of $52k for one of these models factored in at a 6% financing term of 60 months. I am planning on putting roughly $14k down. I do already have an emergency fund, and a decent retirement balance, only big purchase coming up would be a home - though FL prices are insane and I'm targeting about 3 years from now with my fiancé.

Budget would look something like this:

  • Gross income: $11,250
  • Deductions (maxing out 401k, HSA, dental/health/vision): $2,060
  • Taxes (currently at 20%, not sure how IL > FL would factor in here): $2,250
  • Net income: $6,940
  • Rent: $2,000
  • Other (going out, gym, groceries, etc.): $1,850
  • Car loan: $875
  • Car insurance: $175
  • Gas & maintenance: $500 
  • Leftover/savings: $1,540

Commute would only be about 15 miles each way, and I don't plan on putting more than 10k miles on the car annually.

Questions: 

I understand with these higher performance cars, higher costs are expected for brakes, oil changes, tires, etc., so is ~ $3,000/year a reasonable estimate (I have gas at $250/month and maintenance at the other $250/month)?

For those that have driven, owned, or chosen between with of these cars, thoughts on either?

And lastly, gut check on my budget - seem like this is a decision I'm not letting my "flashy car" ego drive and can actually afford?

Thanks all in advance.

 

My two cents: forego the desire to impress people you don’t even know / like with a fancy logo and get an SUV that combines true luxury with rugged off-road capability — the Lexus GX. It’ll last you forever and cost of maintenance will be a fraction of that of the others. You can get a brand new 2023 one for ~$60k.

May be my upbringing, but I’ve always thought used BMWs were for posers who want to look cool but have clearly never owned a BMW before—there’s a reason you see so many of them on the used market at such a discount to MSRP.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for being economical and sensible - hence this post and my debate between something more fun to drive versus a TRD. 

This wouldn't be so much as to show-off (if I really cared I'd go for a sporty sedan and not a SUV) but to make my commute a bit more entertaining while also allowing my fiancé and I to have little weekend trips to the beach with our pup, fit a surfboard/bikes, etc.) I do like Lexus though I think the GX is a bit more car than I'd really need (in terms of size.) There is some truth to what you are saying though, but I feel this is more of a choice for myself rather than one I am making to impress others. I had previously thought about used Porsche Macan S models as well (2020/21 with less than 25k miles again) but figured these would satisfy my itch enough without going too crazy.

Not dead set on making a decision as I still have time until I'd absolutely need to get a car (most likely April/May), and hoping to see some more positive movements in used car prices (TRD I'd go for new since Toyota market is crazy still). Appreciate the thoughts!

 
Most Helpful

The commute is an EXTREMELY important aspect of a vehicle purchase that many people overlook. I agree with your sentiment of not buying a car that's flashy, and more importantly, having the time flex to choose which deal is the exact right one for you. 

When I say 'commute', I don't just mean the journey from work to home and vice-versa. Think about where you would drive on any given day, repeatable stuff. Do you drive somewhere for lunch during the day? Do you participate in a gym or rec league a certain number of times a week after work? Try to focus less on one-offs, like the occasional trip to Home Depot when you need something, or maybe a weekend getaway to the beach. Those are important to think about, but should never be the car-buying basis. 

Now, think about the a) types of settings you'll be in during your commute and b) the total length of time you spend on it, maybe average it out per week. Here's where I really make determinations like this:

  • If you're spending 1-2+ hours a day in the car, your 'luxury' aspect and comfort jump up in terms of importance
  • If your commute is short and simple (e.g., you bike to work or only use the car a little bit), then you can focus more on fun or maybe save some money on a lower-trim car

For context, I own an M2. I love it to death, I can rip some back roads on it, it's enjoyable for one person to ride for a bit, and I love meshing gears through stoplights. As a functional human adult, I can justify this car to myself because I primarily Metro/bike to work, and if I have to drive it's only 15-20 mins on a regular day. My wife has a Q5 which is our 'family' car and a lot more comfortable to ride in. Therefore, it makes sense!

Now, if I lived 45 minutes west, had to suffer a 2+ hour drive every day, lived in a completely car-centric neighborhood - no way in hell I'd have the car I do now. I'd get something bigger, automatic, and top trim to ensure that I can have all the integrated features I need to make those 2+ hours in traffic just a little more manageable. It's such a large factor when buying something that I think too many folks (especially Americans, won't lie) overlook. Like, no Braxton, you do not need a 3" lifted Suburban so you can drive a mile and a half to work. Get something smaller that'll get ya A to B, and splurge on something else. 

If I'm straying from your question then I don't mean to, just want to offer some solid advice that may help you. I don't think an X3 or an SQ5 is a 'flashy' enough car that it'll become redundant and only cost you more money. They are both GREAT cars that get good gas, have extremely luxurious interior features for short-term and long-haul drives, and hey - if they look good while doing it, that's only a plus. I may recommend toning down the trim if you want some extra cash, as I can personally vouch for the Q5 if you were interested in that over the SQ5. Just comes down to personal preference, and how much work you want to invest in deal-wise. 

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

 

Man, jealous of that M2 - I had rented the larger brother, a M4 on a getaway trip to Miami last year and that thing was beyond fun!

I do like your approach of actually thinking about usage of a car, cause totally fair those weekend trips could be few and far in-between with work. Seems like I'll be going into the office 3-4x a week, so that and dinner dates, golf outings, and drives into St. Pete and downtown Tampa (we're about 10 miles away) would be the bulk of it. The way I was thinking about it was, my fiancé already has an Acura sedan, so this purchase would be to balance that out and allow for the larger trips, without compromising too much on drivability - will see how the test drives go. Thanks for the comment and continue ripping that M2 when you can!

 

Ha! Could be wrong but might you have been the one in dialogue with me on my honeymoon thread 6-7mo ago when I rented an M2? I remember someone saying they also rented an F82 M4. That rental M2 is literally the reason I decided to buy one - had so much damn fun for 5-6 days, knew I had to make it mine. 

Regardless, glad you found some information helpful and always can provide advice via comment or PM if you need more. Buying a car is not an easy task unless you have unlimited money, so always a good thing to chat about. Hope you find some good deals!

 

Stonks1990

The commute is an EXTREMELY important aspect of a vehicle purchase that many people overlook. I agree with your sentiment of not buying a car that's flashy, and more importantly, having the time flex to choose which deal is the exact right one for you. 

When I say 'commute', I don't just mean the journey from work to home and vice-versa. Think about where you would drive on any given day, repeatable stuff. Do you drive somewhere for lunch during the day? Do you participate in a gym or rec league a certain number of times a week after work? Try to focus less on one-offs, like the occasional trip to Home Depot when you need something, or maybe a weekend getaway to the beach. Those are important to think about, but should never be the car-buying basis. 

Now, think about the a) types of settings you'll be in during your commute and b) the total length of time you spend on it, maybe average it out per week. Here's where I really make determinations like this:

  • If you're spending 1-2+ hours a day in the car, your 'luxury' aspect and comfort jump up in terms of importance
  • If your commute is short and simple (e.g., you bike to work or only use the car a little bit), then you can focus more on fun or maybe save some money on a lower-trim car

For context, I own an M2. I love it to death, I can rip some back roads on it, it's enjoyable for one person to ride for a bit, and I love meshing gears through stoplights. As a functional human adult, I can justify this car to myself because I primarily Metro/bike to work, and if I have to drive it's only 15-20 mins on a regular day. My wife has a Q5 which is our 'family' car and a lot more comfortable to ride in. Therefore, it makes sense!

Now, if I lived 45 minutes west, had to suffer a 2+ hour drive every day, lived in a completely car-centric neighborhood - no way in hell I'd have the car I do now. I'd get something bigger, automatic, and top trim to ensure that I can have all the integrated features I need to make those 2+ hours in traffic just a little more manageable. It's such a large factor when buying something that I think too many folks (especially Americans, won't lie) overlook. Like, no Braxton, you do not need a 3" lifted Suburban so you can drive a mile and a half to work. Get something smaller that'll get ya A to B, and splurge on something else. 

If I'm straying from your question then I don't mean to, just want to offer some solid advice that may help you. I don't think an X3 or an SQ5 is a 'flashy' enough car that it'll become redundant and only cost you more money. They are both GREAT cars that get good gas, have extremely luxurious interior features for short-term and long-haul drives, and hey - if they look good while doing it, that's only a plus. I may recommend toning down the trim if you want some extra cash, as I can personally vouch for the Q5 if you were interested in that over the SQ5. Just comes down to personal preference, and how much work you want to invest in deal-wise. 

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

#Sorrynotsorry, but that made me think of this: 

Honestly, get an estate (wagon) like the MB E450 or A6 Allroad or a good sedan like a 5 series or A6/7 and get all your practicality along with not feeling like it's going to turn over on the freeway off-ramp. Went from a classic M5 to a W8 Passat wagon and day to day it is so much nicer in almost every measure. Holds as much as the family Tahoe, is sporty to drive, has a massive fuel tank like a full blown SUV so it has range to it, AWD, etc. I could probably do the whole "lady on the streets, something else in the sheets" thing with it and turn it into expo-build if I wanted. Because it has that far wide capabilities.

Edit: Dangit. DealTeamSix beat me right to it!

The poster formerly known as theAudiophile. Just turned up to 11, like the stereo.
 
Stonks1990

The commute is an EXTREMELY important aspect of a vehicle purchase that many people overlook. I agree with your sentiment of not buying a car that's flashy, and more importantly, having the time flex to choose which deal is the exact right one for you. 

When I say 'commute', I don't just mean the journey from work to home and vice-versa. Think about where you would drive on any given day, repeatable stuff. Do you drive somewhere for lunch during the day? Do you participate in a gym or rec league a certain number of times a week after work? Try to focus less on one-offs, like the occasional trip to Home Depot when you need something, or maybe a weekend getaway to the beach. Those are important to think about, but should never be the car-buying basis. 

Now, think about the a) types of settings you'll be in during your commute and b) the total length of time you spend on it, maybe average it out per week. Here's where I really make determinations like this:

  • If you're spending 1-2+ hours a day in the car, your 'luxury' aspect and comfort jump up in terms of importance
  • If your commute is short and simple (e.g., you bike to work or only use the car a little bit), then you can focus more on fun or maybe save some money on a lower-trim car

For context, I own an M2. I love it to death, I can rip some back roads on it, it's enjoyable for one person to ride for a bit, and I love meshing gears through stoplights. As a functional human adult, I can justify this car to myself because I primarily Metro/bike to work, and if I have to drive it's only 15-20 mins on a regular day. My wife has a Q5 which is our 'family' car and a lot more comfortable to ride in. Therefore, it makes sense!

Now, if I lived 45 minutes west, had to suffer a 2+ hour drive every day, lived in a completely car-centric neighborhood - no way in hell I'd have the car I do now. I'd get something bigger, automatic, and top trim to ensure that I can have all the integrated features I need to make those 2+ hours in traffic just a little more manageable. It's such a large factor when buying something that I think too many folks (especially Americans, won't lie) overlook. Like, no Braxton, you do not need a 3" lifted Suburban so you can drive a mile and a half to work. Get something smaller that'll get ya A to B, and splurge on something else. 

If I'm straying from your question then I don't mean to, just want to offer some solid advice that may help you. I don't think an X3 or an SQ5 is a 'flashy' enough car that it'll become redundant and only cost you more money. They are both GREAT cars that get good gas, have extremely luxurious interior features for short-term and long-haul drives, and hey - if they look good while doing it, that's only a plus. I may recommend toning down the trim if you want some extra cash, as I can personally vouch for the Q5 if you were interested in that over the SQ5. Just comes down to personal preference, and how much work you want to invest in deal-wise. 

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

I love how much you love your M2. It makes me happy. Enjoy.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

Not to derail your thread but have you considered wagons? Not the sexiest vehicles on the road but IMHO combine the best aspects of a sedan (handling and lower center of gravity) with the perks of an SUV (more trunk space). Getting a sport version (RS6 / E63S) would result in better driving performance and sufficient trunk space. 

I have had sedans, coupes and wagons and was blown away by the practicality of wagons and level of handling for a taller car. 

I am a big car enthusiast but sadly am not informed enough to provide any perspective on the specific SUVs you listed.

Like any asshole who loves cars, I still have a couple more thoughts. I will say I have driven multiple Q5s (not SQ5s) and was generally pretty disappointing. Low driver engagement, feels top heavy, and it lacked the specialty quality that I thought would separate it from say a Tiguan. I am obsessed with the VW brand (own Audi and Porsche) but have been very let down by both the Q5 and the Macan. Perhaps the SQ5 performs materially better, but I find it hard to believe. 

One last thought - if you are getting a warranty (3-5 year) and the car has sub 50k miles when the warranty expires, I would assume the 3k estimate for repairs is good. Just remember, with German cars you will have good years and bad years. I have gone back to back years with zero expenses other than an oil change, only to be hit with 5k+ in repairs the following year. 

 

I would love a wagon - I've ogled far too long at some R6 Avant's and I recently saw an M3 Touring that was absolutely gorgeous. Can only hope I can justify that some day, but I haven't looked at more affordable options (mainly because I know wagons are not as popular here stateside, so not many used versions) and the other brands (i.e. Volvo, Subaru) aren't my cup of tea.

I'll have to get a feel of the SQ5 behind the wheel, since the base Q5 does seem to be a bit sluggish just from online information.

 

DifferentKindaHigh

I would love a wagon - I've ogled far too long at some R6 Avant's and I recently saw an M3 Touring that was absolutely gorgeous. Can only hope I can justify that some day, but I haven't looked at more affordable options (mainly because I know wagons are not as popular here stateside, so not many used versions) and the other brands (i.e. Volvo, Subaru) aren't my cup of tea.

I'll have to get a feel of the SQ5 behind the wheel, since the base Q5 seems to be a bit sluggish.

Got some bad news for you...there won't be an M3 touring model sold here in the states. We never got any generation of the M5 touring either for that matter. You're either going to have to go with an MB E450 wagon an A6 Allroad or and RS6 Avant. Or if you really do have the cash, a CPO MB E63 wagon.

The poster formerly known as theAudiophile. Just turned up to 11, like the stereo.
 

What year(s) of Q5 did you drive? I was let down by pre-2019 era models, but I actually test-drove the same unit my wife ended up buying an hour later. There was a slight engine modification that squeezed some additional power out during the 2020 to 2021 transition, but I do wish there was a little more power. In addition, I've read nearly everywhere that the acceleration 'lag' that plagues a lot of VWs and Audis across the board was kind of 'batched' for MY21 Q5s - unsure how that's possible w/ a reputable QC process, but our model doesn't have any acceleration lag. Maybe we got lucky. 

I really liked the interior too, but I'm a sucker for simple stuff and some people may find that plain. The 10.1" touchscreen was nice, as I came from a measly 6" LCD non-touch display and my wife from a car without a screen. Maybe we just set our expectations too low. I do love the car though, so as our resident WSO car fellow would love to hear some more thoughts about the Q5 from you. 

 

Hi Stonks1990 always love to see you chiming in. Hope life is good man :) 

I can confirm both models were pre-2019 (dont know exact years but Id guess '15 and '17). It is a hard car to critique because it is so strong from an engineering perspective, and I think to be honest the fault was on me for expecting too much. Every time I get into a German vehicle I expect an above average level of driver engagement, but the truth is that only comes with performance packages (RS, M, AMG).

I believe when you pay a premium for a vehicle it should be engaging and feel special. I didnt feel either of these things as I cruised around in the Q5. While the handling was better than the mid-tier SUVs (Tiguan, CRV, XC90, etc.) and the suspension was extremely smooth, it almost felt like it lacked soul. To be honest, I think Im just the wrong consumer for the Q5, and the car operates exactly as the engineers intended.

The same complaint I have with the Q5 I also had with my 5-series, which is that I just felt like I was floating along on the road with no involvement. Driving the Q5 was as passive an activity as wandering down a scenic road when you're lost in thought, you dont even realize youre walking. 

Audi has always had the best tech and infotainment systems of the big German 3 in my opinion, and the Q5 is for sure no exception. 

Overall, I think the car is a great daily but if you are looking to feel connected and engaged it is not the right car for you. Take this with a grain of salt as you have owned the car and know it intimately whereas I have merely driven my friends' a couple of times. 

 

I personally will never buy another bmw that is pre-owned. I bought 3 year old BMW years ago that was just off of a lease so presumably was well maintained. One week after buying it the transfer case exploded and was in the garage for 3-4 weeks being repaired. After that it was in the garage at least once a year for a new oil leak. Had an oil pan leak then an oil filter leak then a valve cover gasket leak then the value cover cracked and was leaking on to my exhaust causing smoke clouds which was fun. Had electronics issues with the ECU that caused misfires and had to replace all 6 coils and plugs for like 1200 bucks. Had both back windows stop working and got stuck in the down position while it was pouring rain in the middle of a 3 hour drive. And to top it all off, one day i was driving a sweet gal home in the morning, being all gentlemanly and shit, and I had some sort of ammonia type smell/fumes start leaking into the cabin thru the AC vents and i had to pull over and her and i had to get out of the car so we didn't die from whatever fumes were leaking into the car. I traded in the piece of shit car the next day and got an audi S5 pre-owned off a lease and so far I love it and no issues. 

So long story short, don't get a pre-owned BMW. 

 

You really had me in the first half, but lost me entirely in the second. 

Yes, BMWs are notoriously brutal to own due to the frequent and extremely expensive repairs associated with owning one long-term, but Audis are no better. Your final statement is like saying "I finally realize just how much harm heroin was doing to me, so I threw out all my needles and picked up the rock. From here on out, Im only doing crack".

BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, theyre all a nightmare to own and none of them are reliable. Sure, they perform very well when theyre not in the shop, but each of them goes into the shop more or less the same amount of times. Ive had two Audis, two BMWs, two Mercedes. NONE of them are reliable or practical. If you tell yourself otherwise, congrats, you played yourself. 

With that all said, the worst and best cars (from a reliability standpoint) that I have owned were both BMWs. 

 
Deal Team Six

You really had me in the first half, but lost me entirely in the second. 

Yes, BMWs are notoriously brutal to own due to the frequent and extremely expensive repairs associated with owning one long-term, but Audis are no better. Your final statement is like saying "I finally realize just how much harm heroin was doing to me, so I threw out all my needles and picked up the rock. From here on out, Im only doing crack".

BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, theyre all a nightmare to own and none of them are reliable. Sure, they perform very well when theyre not in the shop, but each of them goes into the shop more or less the same amount of times. Ive had two Audis, two BMWs, two Mercedes. NONE of them are reliable or practical. If you tell yourself otherwise, congrats, you played yourself. 

With that all said, the worst and best cars (from a reliability standpoint) were both BMWs. 

A couple of A2D moments here. One is that what model year did pappymason have? Because there's definitely a known spat of model years where Bosch electronics straight jacked all German mfgr's windows and I've lived it from the family S600 to my E46 325i to my VW Passat. The fumes? Either you had to be driving a diesel with the urea injection system (ammonia), or I'd guess someone's never dealt with a busted heater core before.

Beyond that, there are certain generations of these mfgr's that are nigh on bullet-proof. When the bean counters take over and put margins above reliability, then yeah we get those horror stories of BMW cooling systems that might as well be made of glass with how fragile they are, or trim pieces literally just sliding off in a $70k benz or the absolute trash quality of VWAG cars built in Mexico.

The poster formerly known as theAudiophile. Just turned up to 11, like the stereo.
 

I largely agree with you that BMW and Audi are similar in terms of mechanical issues / reliability and I have probably just been lucky with my audi. But the BMW (heroin in your analogy) was so terrible to own that I will personally never buy another one as long as i live. I just can't in good conscience sit back and watch a fellow WSO member do heroin. Perhaps my audi will fall apart soon who knows, but i haven't spent a dollar fixing it in 3 years. I also never recommended that the OP buys an audi, i was just saying that's what i did. I'm aware it's not the smartest decision from a value / reliability perspective but life is too short to drive an accord. 

Related to your analogy, i once saw a junkie leaned up against my bmw with a needle sticking out of his arm and i had to scream at him to wake him up so i could go to work. symbolism i guess. 

 

Currently have the Audi but don't think I'll get another one. Looking heavily at the Genesis GV80 and the Ineos Grenadier. 

My main issue with the Audi (and they may have fixed it - mine is a 2018 MY) is that whoever designed the interior hasn't spent a lot of time in a car. There's no convenient place to put your phone, no sunglasses holder other than in the center console sliding storage, which becomes inoperable if you have anything in the cupholders. While I would say my annual maintenance comes in substantially less than your estimate, the way they're built can make what should be small repairs very expensive. I have a single bulb out in my backup light, but the whole rear light is a unit so to fix that I'll have to replace the entire thing for something like $800. 

 

I have an M340i and within the first year the transmission experienced a complete failure and had to be replaced. I bought it brand new so the repairs were all under warranty, but had I bought it used, it's a completely different story.

That being said, I love the car. The performance is great for a sedan and I personally think the BMW infotainment system is better than its rivals'. I also test drove a Lexus IS350 F-Sport, Audi S5, Mercedes C43 AMG, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, and a Kia Stinger GT and thought that the BMW was the better car of that bunch.

I wouldn't recommend buying a used "luxury" car at all. Buy it new or lease it, depending on budget/model/deals/etc. You could finance a new X3 M40 with similar terms for about the same monthly payment. 

https://www.bmwusa.com/financial-services/car-payment-estimator.html&nb…;

Buying new or leasing also reduces your maintenance spend as well. Mine came with 36,000 miles of maintenance included. You will also likely replace your tires every 18K-20K miles. And performance tires are expensive, about $450 per tire. 

 

Without knowing your current net worth (breakdown in retirement and other savings) hard to say if you can really afford this car or not. Any advice otherwise is basically YOLO

On the surface Id say there isnt nearly enough margin to be comfortable with this purchase. Maybe if you are around 500k saved, but then Id put more down.

Also consider your insurance will increase substantially as well (since you are paying zero currently). That will likely be $200+ a month. Is all of that worth it just for a commute car?

#biketowork

 

His proposed down payment isnt a strong down payment though, and insurance on a luxury car especially when you are used to paying $0 will be a surprise. It eats into that savings rate, which is already relatively small. 

EDIT: Noticed he included expected insurance in the budget, which is good. Id still say that car on 130k gross income is a bit excessive, especially before a wedding (assuming it's paid for by family) and upcoming house purchase (and costs of home ownership will not stop there, just wait). Not saying you shouldnt treat yourself, but thats a big chunk of your income. If you are expected to grow your income over the next few years then Id just stomach waiting and buying a more practical, yet boring, car like a used Rav4 until this becomes a non discussion. You will enjoy a car a lot more when you dont have annoying car payments getting in the way.

If Im in your shoes and have 100k, 200k, or 300k saved it's no way. 400k - 600k it's harder to think about. Beyond that sure go ahead. Id also look at creative solutions if commute is that big of a deal - can you live closer to work? Or get a job closer to you? People rationalize a lot of decisions that end up becomming silly. If you get one of those cars its not because you need it, its because it's a toy. Which is fine - Im not a car guy myself but have spent thousands on other things that people would say is excessive - but only because I view it as a toy and dont try to rationalize it.  

 

`Totally fair, and I have been attempting to not scale my lifestyle with recent job/career changes, but easier said than done of course (Mr. A2D already knows about how expensive stereo equipment can be - spent a decent amount on my set-up along with my growing vinyl collection, but have been trying to manage my desires lol.)

As for your question about whether these costs are worth it for a commuting car? My biased opinion of course, yes. I will be needing a car regardless, and as much as I'd like to burn some extra calories doing the 15 miles x 2, not sure how feasible that would be - especially during summer months and the additional effort to keep that consistent with early mornings / late evenings. 

Now I totally understand the argument of grabbing the cheapest car possible, but I do think there is a point to working a high-paying job and being able to enjoy the rewards from that (to a certain extent and not going overboard.) My fiancé and I are not planning on having any kids (potential for adopting,) so not needing to save for a future family, just ourselves, helps with long-term planning in terms of what we will need.

As of now, net worth looks like this:

  • Checking - $8k
  • HYSA - $8k
  • Short-term CD: $20k
  • 401k (including rollovers): $95k
  • IRA: $18k
  • Individual account: $40k
  • HSA: $5k
  • Debt: ($3k) - no student loans, just from U-Haul rental and recent moving related expenses
  • Net: $191k

Fiancé makes $135k and will have her remaining student loans (roughly $10k) paid off this year. Her Acura monthly payment is about $450 (think the rate was 3%) and she has about $50k in her retirement. As mentioned, will likely be renting for next 2-3 years as I bank whatever excess I can from my regular pay, in addition to majority of my bonuses. I have only been in banking for a full cycle, so hoping to see some meaningful jumps to my savings over the next couple of years (all-in pre-tax pay scale over the last 4 years since graduating in 2018):

  • 2019 - $85k
  • 2020 - $95k
  • 2021 - $95k
  • 2022 - $155k

Was in NYC first two years so did not save as much, then Chicago. Insurance for my fiancé's Acura is I believe $1,200/year, so I had put $2,100/year and was hoping that was conservative (will need to look into this a bit more). Credit was above 800 for a bit, but recently took a hit for some reason in the last 2 months and is sitting at about 780. 

I definitely see your line of thinking and am balancing my impulse for an enjoyable daily driver against the more conservative choice (the 4Runner that would last basically forever.)

Thanks for the reply!

Edit: Saw yours and will reply: Fiancé has already picked out a building and it's in a great location (she moved in a month ago), albeit not as close to work as we could have done. Our wedding will be small (we had planned for this year actually but will be next Fall potentially) - plan on renting out an Italian Villa and inviting ~ 25 close friends and family only (estimated cost of this is $50-75k depending on what we choose - using Le Collectionist for the accommodation.)

 

I still have my college Tacoma and was thinking of upgrading recently - I looked at the exact same two cars as you. The X3 M40i freaking rocks and IMO has one of the best engines BMW has built in a long time. The SQ5 was nice but some part of me couldnt stop thinking it was a mom car.. something I didnt feel with the X3. 

Ultimately I decided to put $2K into my Tacoma to make it 'perfect' and hang on to the cheap car for a few more years but if I were you I would go with the X3 M40i. 

 

Funny enough my college car was a Tacoma as well, drove that thing back and forth between home in LA and the Bay Area for school more times than I would have liked (trying to make a relationship with an ex at UCLA work during the first couple months haha.) Even with 40k-ish miles and it being about 5 years old when I sold it before moving to Chicago (had let it sit at my mom's for two years since I had always planned on returning to LA after the NYC stint) I basically got what I paid for it (a couple months into COVID - if I held for another year would have made money LOL.) 

Do wish I had that still and would make this decision meaningless, but I was leaning towards the X3 myself...

What'd you do to the Taco if you don't mind me asking, lift, cargo cover/rack, bumper? Always love seeing some decked out builds.

 

Love to hear it - this is actually my third tacoma haha. In college I would buy crappy ones and fix/flip them. Pretty sure I could sell today for a bit more than I paid for it. It’s an 04 so last model year of the first gen 4WD 6cyl 5sp. I have built some off road tube bumper tacos in the past but wanted to go for an OEM plus style build for this one bunch of small mods and upgrades that make it just so much better. 
 

  • upgraded lights and higher output bulbs all around (might do a HUD retrofit in the front soon) 
  • removed carpet and door panels and added a bunch of extra sound deadener so it’s super quiet in the cab even with bigger tires 
  • second gen wheels 17in and BF A/T tires. With 2.5 in spacers so no rubbing and wheels sit flush with fenders. 
  • Just got new belts, fluids, plugs, water pump, clutch, AC recharge etc. 
  • upgraded brakes from an 03 tundra 
  • 2.5 in lift all around with an add a lift. This is something the PO did probably 100K miles ago and I’m planning to do a refresh soon 
  • new speakers all around with a sub under passenger seat. BT connection hands free mic etc. 
  • Concealed spot to carry 
  • nice rubber tub mats. So nice when you ski ever weekend haha 

Magnetic phone charger holder thing. So clutch
 

Stuff I’m planning to do:

  • Black plastidip the chrome surround the on the front grill. Going to keep bumpers chrome.
  • suspension refresh 
  • Repaint hood - fading a little 

Pics I just went outside and took below: 

“”

 

The performance versions of those cars tend to be more unreliable than the base trim, which is typically targeted towards the mass market and normal drivers. No disrespect towards your taste, I’d like something that can rip too.

However, I’m digging Volvo’s styling, safety, and technology and I’d recommend a lightly used XC60. Maybe an AWD one if you’re more adventurous. Give it a shot or let me know if you’ve seen it or been in one, but I think it’s probably more pragmatic and up your alley.

Array
 

Used Japanese cars seem to have little maintenance and repairs compared to their German counterparts. Not sure why Acura and Lexus SUVs haven't entered the chat all that much on here.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee
 

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