Luxury cars depreciate faster than they accelerate. Well, I’m exaggerating, but I’m sure you get my point. And that brings me to the most recurrent argument of buying a new car versus a used one. You may consider buying a new car for obvious reasons, including claiming depreciation from your tax collector, but I’d choose the latter. After all, money saved is money earned.
Used luxury cars are selling at mouth-watering prices. To give you an idea, an eight-year-old BMW 750Li (F02) sells for around Rs 22 lakh, while a 15-year-old Porsche Cayenne can sell for less than Rs 15 lakh! As tempting as it sounds, you may be intimidated by the size of a 7 Series and the thought of driving it around our congested cities, or the astronomical maintenance costs of an old Porsche.
Worry not, because if you want a car that’s fast, frugal, fun to drive, not too large and yet luxurious, not too old and still under warranty (if you are lucky), then look no further than a BMW 320d (F30).
For me, the standard 320d is a complete and consummate all-rounder. While prices for a used, early pre-facelift model start at about Rs 20 lakh, low-mileage newer cars that are still under warranty and maintenance plans can sell for higher prices. Nonetheless, they can be well worth the premium. That said, you can still buy a used 320d for about half the price of a new one.
What I particularly like about F30s (which, mind you, is still a current model) are the retro add-ons and updates that can be carried out on them. If you visit BMW forums and blogs like bimmerpost.com or bimmerfest.com, you’ll discover that there is so much you can do with your 320d. For starters, you can code your 3-series and add features like the Sport+ mode on the iDrive in about 30min with a software update, by connecting a computer to your car via the OBD unit. Internationally, BMW offers M Performance Power Kits that bump up power and torque by around 10 percent. The kits, which could set you back by a little over 1,000 euros (excluding taxes, duties and shipping), typically include a larger intercooler and an ECU, and can be installed in a couple of hours. You can also add paddleshifters by upgrading to an M Sport steering wheel, a BMW heads-up display, sports suspension and a sports exhaust system; the list goes on. In fact, you can even get the BMW OEM full-digital 6WB instrument cluster. You should note, however, that these add-ons are specific to the vehicle identification number (VIN) of each car and are usually not available at your local BMW dealer, unless they oblige. You may have to import and even fit them yourself or contact an independent BMW specialist. All these parts require coding and come at a price. But spending a couple of lakhs on a used 320d really enhances the appeal of the car.
I recently drove a friend’s 320d, retrofitted with most of the stuff mentioned above, from Mumbai to Aamby Valley and it really left me impressed. I’m sure you’d be too.
Seven generations of the BMW 3 Series