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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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help - which car to buy

looking for a used convertible for the wife. chioces are Mercedes-Benz CLK, Nissan 350Z, Toyota Solara SLE and BMW 3 series. any suggestions? i was in the market for a 2004-06 model. if i go with the CLK, should i settle for the 320/350 or push for the 500? what options would you recommend? anything i should examine when looking at a car?
i've been looking on and off for a while now and it seems used car prices have really gone up in the last year. thanks.

Last edited by mtbmtb; 11-14-2009 at 07:04 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 04:45 PM
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Buy the CLK. The 350 will be fine for your wife (the older engine is a 320, not a 330). Get nav if she needs help finding her way. Get heated seats if she gets cold. Buy the newest car you can afford.

Good luck.

"Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you."--John Steinbeck
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 06:49 PM
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Get an M3 convertible and steal it from her every chance you get.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 08:28 PM
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What is your budget and do you really need a convertible (or you/she having a mid life crisis)? If you don't live in a Sunny warm area, a soft top convertible is about a useful a snow plow in Florida. If you are really only going to get to put the top down like 3 days a year because you live in Snowville, then do yourself and get a hard top.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-14-2009, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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we live in mississippi. most the time here it would be too hot rather than too cold to put the top down. it would be a weekend car and she would keep her suv. i'm really the one that wants the drop top. i bought my son a 68 cutlass convertible when he was 14. we drove it for 2 years and then he totaled it at 16. been jonesin for one since then. i was thinking about $20k max. when i looked last year the clk's were about that or a little lower and i thought if i waited a year and in mid winter the prices would drop, but it seems they have jumped. most clk's that i can afford are in the $22k range. i like the wheels better on the 05 model, so i was leaning to them. how many miles are too many? i know if one is taken care of it should last a while. been hoping to stay aroung 60,000 or so.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 07:29 AM
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A couple of these cars are in different categories. I'd recommend determining what kind of car you want, besides a convertible, before making your decision.

The 350Z is a two-seat sports car. Given the other options you listed, I'd guess that's not what you're looking for. If it is, I'd cross-shop cars like the SLK, Z4, Boxster, S2000, and MX5.

If you don't need a lot of power or prestige, I'd go with the Solara. It'll be the cheapest to own and maintain, but it won't have the luxury of the 3-Series or CLK.

If you do choose the CLK, and you can find a 500 in your price range, I'd say go for it. Very few people ever wish they'd bought a less powerful car (except when they're filling it up).

Miles: I'd say look for a good CPO model, preferable with an extended warranty if you're worried about maintenance costs. If not, have a dealership (not the same one that's selling the car) do a pre-purchase inspection to identify any potential problems.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-15-2009, 07:57 PM
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Given your list (which is quite random with cars from several different classes), a 2004-2006 BMW 325 or 330Ci convertible would be the best overall choice. You can easily put a hard top on these cars and they can easily seat 4 people. The build quality is very good, and the reliably has also proved to be good. They won multiple individual awards and top 10 segment reviews in their day. Get one with options, because they could be up-fitted with quite a few nice things such as the highly desirable sport package and xenon headlamps. This car would allow you to afford something with around 40-50k or less miles and you may even get a warranty.
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