BMW – the perfect mid-range manufacturer?

When I first passed my driving test I had very little money but a burning desire to get mobile , so I invested extremely unwisely in a Morris Marina of dubious legacy, and even more dubious reliability. This affair, as you may guess did not last long – the only good news being that when I did write it off I escaped unharmed.

There followed a sad succession of awful cars most of which bit the dust in one way or another but at least the wrecks that I could afford to buy were getting slightly  newer, and thus less prone to massively expensive repair bills. They also had features like working brakes(!), and silent exhausts.

Immaculate condition

Finally into my thirties I at last had an income with a modicum of disposability and I was in the market for a decent car and my heart was set on a BMW. After ages searching the press and trawling round local garages, these being the days before the internet could show hundreds of models at the touch of a button, I found a 3 series just 2 years old  in immaculate condition  with automatic transmission and  just within my price range.

It was love at first sight and for the first time in my life (apart from the occasional drive of someone else’s decent motor). I was driving something quiet, comfortable and reliable and I relished every moment. This was a car that did everything it promised and did it in style. At that period I was travelling a lot for work and as a motorway cruiser it is still the best car I have ever driven, we also drove it to the French Alps for a ski holiday after taking out any driver car insurance and even after completing a journey that included travelling through the night it still felt comfortable to be in.

High insurance premiums

The only drawback as I’m sure any BMW owner will confirm were the high motor insurance and servicing costs – especially as at that time only authorised dealers could reset the annoying service warning indicators, and other relatively minor jobs like cam belts required a special tool that, you guessed it, only the dealers had. Sadly then at around 120,000 miles the financial pains were starting to outweigh the pleasures so we had to part company. I was delighted and also a little saddened to be overtaken on the motorway a few years later by my old Beemer still looking good and obviously living up to the reputation of, in my opinion, the best car manufacturer in the world.

It’s just sad that I can’t afford another one

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