With over 31K up in the 325i Sport and well over 2 years of ownership passed, I felt it was time I try to summarise recent events and current thoughts on the car at the trailing performance end of the FastSaloons.com fleet.
With the new arrivals of the Neil’s M5 – the people carrier for the V8 enthusiast - and the most recent addition of Irfan’s brutal E55 AMG, you might think my fingers might be starting to thumb the classifieds in early preparation for the next generation of executive express for the White family. Well, the desire is always there. That crazy, power corrupted, devil inside, question, “I wonder what an extra 30hp would really feel like?” always plays the lead role. But then the practical, sensible, conservative voice pips in and converts lust into guilt. Maybe I’m not a true petrol-head, but currently Mr Sensible is winning. Here’s why.
First was the replacement of the family car. A five-year-old Peugeot 206 – mostly reliable, one [sensible] owner from new. Replaced with a new Mazda3 – dynamically not bad, nice styling, good inside. Here’s the key – Pug was £10.5K new, traded in for £3.5K – that is roughly one and a half grand in depreciation each year. Pretty good, I think. Check depreciation on my car – Christ! - £8K in 2 years, £4K a year. So, ok, I’m well paid for what I do, I can afford it, but should I have to? £8K could be one of the sprog’s University top-up fees – stop it Mr Blair and Mr Sensible, you’re both giving me a headache.
Second is what car to desire? What would I upgrade to? Sure the 330i might add a useful 40bhp, with more low-down grunt to match, but what price 40bhp? Go for a new 5? Nope, the jury’s still out on the gargoyle. An old 5 series? Surely its going to start aging quickly now the new 5 is out. A year-old E-class maybe? No hold on, I can’t afford an E55 and at last birthday I was still a few ticks short of the big four-O, so I don’t want to age myself prematurely by climbing into an E240. A new Audi 6 maybe? No, the wife is an Accountant, but I’m not.
But most of all, why replace a car that has been perfectly reliable in almost 32K miles? My 325i Sport has been the absolute paragon of reliability. It’s done everything I’ve asked of it – it is enjoyable to drive within its own decent power limitations, it has presence and desirability. It is still, in my mind the best small sports saloon of its type. Oh how I laughed at that Rover Ad that said how the MG ZT 190 was more preferable to the 318ES in their consumer group. Put the ZT on a comparable footing – compare it to the 325i Sport, and the Rover wouldn’t have a hope in hell. (And I bet the Rover would still loose £10Ks in 2 years – it just starts from a lower price point). So, I’m driving the car I want to drive, I don’t have to replace it – there is no point. Lets put the classifieds down – start reading Autocar from the front and not from the back and hope for a un-Bangled E90 next year. Well, we’ll see…
Since last we spoke, bills for servicing, number plates (why do modern number plates de-laminate so quickly?) and new rear tyres have been keeping the credit card swipe hot. The decent prices at Micheldever for the tyres are offset by the annoyingly inferior-for-the-price dealership service offering. The front tyres are probably going to need replacing in the next 5 to 10k too. I managed to cut my insurance down by using Privilege online discount rather than renewing my existing Privilege policy – bizarre but true. A number of small scrapes and scratches are adding up – a supermarket ding in the drivers side door and a broken fog light being the most noticeable. I’ll probably replace the fog light myself and eventually invest a few notes in a DentDevils treatment.