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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

Long time lurker here. Parents are Volt owners and they love it. I wanted to get some advice from some of the folks on this board regarding a car decision I am trying to make.

I recently moved to Washington, DC from California and own a 2007 335i coupe with 92K miles on it. I have not been pleased with the maintenance costs in keeping it running and I am concerned about the long term longevity of the car. I still owe $7.5K on the BMW (car is valued around $11k trade in) and wanted to get your advice on trading it in and taking on a Volt lease. My mileage per month is estimated around ~500 mi since I moved.

I enjoy driving the Volt, think it is a fascinating car, but also want to make a financially sound decision. What are your thoughts?
 

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What is your daily commute? With the lease deals you can get now on Volt, I think you should definitely look into it. Did you buy your bimmer new? or used?
 

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We traded a 5 series BMW for the Volt. My wife, who loved that BMW, now loves the Volt even more. BMW's are mighty expensive cars to own... maintenance and repair costs are out of sight... and they take a lot of both, especially when they get up in years and mileage.

The Volt is a nice driver, nearly as good as your 3 series; unless you are a "boy racer" behind the wheel, you will like the Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My daily commute is 20 miles, in total. I bought the BMW used back in 2012 for $22k, and put $7.5 down at the time. I have run through some more calculations as well:

BMW gas cost per month: $95
BMW insurance cost per month: $105
BMW car payment cost per month: $287
BMW maintenance cost over last 2.5 years: $4500 (est)

I dont think there will be a large monthly savings coming to a volt after the lease payment and insurance costs. The obvious big ticket item is the sustained maintenance cost of the BMW, which has been quite unfortunate. The car no longer has any sort of warranty, which gives me cause for concern in keeping it running for the next 2.5 years. Thoughts?
 

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My daily commute is 20 miles, in total. I bought the BMW used back in 2012 for $22k, and put $7.5 down at the time. I have run through some more calculations as well:

BMW gas cost per month: $95
BMW insurance cost per month: $105
BMW car payment cost per month: $287
BMW maintenance cost over last 2.5 years: $4500 (est)


You are on the right track.

I traded my 2003 Z4 with 80k for my Volt. I didn't incur any high maintenance bills yet on it except if I decided to fix the power top which went out. I just opened it manually for the last 6 months. But knowing there was always going to be one around the corner was a daily thought. I gladly got rid of that daily worry once I bought my Volt.

What I pay more per month as payment I more than make up for on my reduced monthly gas bill bill even when you calculate the extra $30 (very conservative estimate, probably more like $25 since I charge it at work) I pay extra monthly on electricity.

And having Bumper to bumper warranty now is a great piece of mind.
 

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My daily commute is 20 miles, in total. I bought the BMW used back in 2012 for $22k, and put $7.5 down at the time. I have run through some more calculations as well:

BMW gas cost per month: $95
BMW insurance cost per month: $105
BMW car payment cost per month: $287
BMW maintenance cost over last 2.5 years: $4500 (est)

I dont think there will be a large monthly savings coming to a volt after the lease payment and insurance costs. The obvious big ticket item is the sustained maintenance cost of the BMW, which has been quite unfortunate. The car no longer has any sort of warranty, which gives me cause for concern in keeping it running for the next 2.5 years. Thoughts?
Flame suit on....

Ok, as a long time and multiple Bimmer owner, what you are relating here is not uncommon. They are tremendous cars, designed to meet the expectation of "Ultimate Driving Machine". You don't mention what the $4500 in maintenance was (Tires alone for a 335 should be in the $1200-1500 range), how many miles it has, or who did the work. Mechanics charge a lot, but most of it goes to the dealership.... not to the tech. This is also why many people get out of a BMW- the second or third owner is not really able/inclined/whatever to maintain the vehicle as it should be, and little things become bigger > more expensive. An older vehicle has things that wear out and should be addressed.

With a Volt, or virtually any new/leased vehicle, you should be able to avoid much if not all of the maint. expense of the sort you recently incurred. I would be surprised if your insurance cost is vastly different, but call your agent and ask. I would susppect that your gas and car payment VS. lease will take you to a net zero position, with the savings residing in the decrease in maint. cost.

Dunno your fiscal position, but $4500 over 2.5 years doesn't feel like much. But then, the only car maint. expense I haven't been able or willing to work on myself over the last several years has been a transmission rebuild.

Flame suit off

Leasing is not the most prudent fiscal move, unless you have tax benefits that you can take from it. You will likely LOVE a Volt!
 

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Get the Volt. My only question is whether you should lease or buy.

My previous 4 cars (not including 2 and counting for my wife) were BMWs. I never thought I'd switch.

The Volt drives better than the 5 or the 7 I owned. The 3's that I had did handle better, but it was closer than most would think.

I expect the long term maintenance cost of the Volt to beat just about anything out there.

I leased my first Volt out of an over abundance of caution, and regretted that almost immediately. When my lease was up I bought a new Volt. The only car decision I have ahead of me is when and if to move to the Gen 2.

There's a lot of pricing info on this site. If you can get a great lease deal and can't take advantage of the tax credit, then Lease. If the lease deals aren't great in your area, but the purchase discounts are decents (my case), and you can take the credit, then I'd recommend buying.
 

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Well, depending on what you put down, your payment will probably right around what you're paying now.
Your gas bill will be at or near $0, as well as your maintenance.
I'd expect the insurance to be slightly lower as well.

So between fuel and maintenance alone you would be saving $150 a month.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Flame suit on....
Appreciate the honest response Danno. I'll freely admit that as the 3rd owner of the BMW you pretty much hit the nail on the head with regards to upkeep of the vehicle. I know the Volt would be a great fit for me, so I guess the real question is whether or not it makes fiscal sense to keep the BMW or lease a Volt. I know this debate opens a whole other can of worms, but what sort of analysis should I be looking to perform in order to determine the financial viability of such a decision?
 

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I have a 535i sitting on my driveway rotting away because the Volt is so fun, the ultimate driving machine doesn't feel so ultimate any more. From an emotional standpoint, definitely trade the BMW for the Volt. I can't speak for the financial aspects of whether you should really jump in on this or not. The maintenance costs on an older vehicle usually beats the cost of a new vehicle (BMW is an exception as I've stopped trusting my local stealership long ago). I don't recommend leasing to anyone, but many people do it. I like to drive my vehicles into the ground (the BMW is approaching 200K miles) but many people blindly get new leases every few years to always get a new car.

And given the horrible traffic in DC, maybe you can consider not getting a car at all. I visited DC once and tried to drive during rush hour traffic around Tyson's Corner. The frustration from that experience really makes my commute through the corn fields wonderful in comparison.
 

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I am also a former BMW 3 series owner and present Volt owner. I couldn't be happier.

The Volt's performance and handling remind of my BMW, more than any other compact vehicle.

I would recommend purchasing though, considering the $7500 tax break. You would not be able to take advantage of that if you lease.
 

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My daily commute is 20 miles, in total. I bought the BMW used back in 2012 for $22k, and put $7.5 down at the time. I have run through some more calculations as well:

BMW gas cost per month: $95
BMW insurance cost per month: $105
BMW car payment cost per month: $287
BMW maintenance cost over last 2.5 years: $4500 (est)

I dont think there will be a large monthly savings coming to a volt after the lease payment and insurance costs. The obvious big ticket item is the sustained maintenance cost of the BMW, which has been quite unfortunate. The car no longer has any sort of warranty, which gives me cause for concern in keeping it running for the next 2.5 years. Thoughts?
Based on 34 months of ownership and 29,258 miles of driving (57% electric):

Volt gas cost per month: $26.58 (BMW 3.6 times more expensive)
Volt insurance cost per month: $107 (a wash)
Volt car payment per month: $428* (Volt 1.5 times more)
Volt maintenanace cost over 2 years 9 months: $38** (BMW 118 times more expensive)

*My first (and only) lease experience. I didn't negotiate at all on the price of the car (shame on me). The base price of the Volt is $5,000 less than when I leased.

**This represents the only payment for maintenance (one tire rotation). Other tire rotations (2) and one oil change were gratis from the dealer.

As you can see, the Volt has it all over the BMW in gas and maintenance. If you are a smart consumer, you can really save in the price you pay for a Volt, not to mention the $7500 tax credit (assuming that you can take it next year).
 

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I sold my 740i Sport to buy our second Volt. I miss the lusty V8 and the beautiful interior but to be honest, I don't otherwise miss my BMW. Even though it was paid off, maintenance and tires were averaging around $2000 a year and gas was another $200 per month. I sold the BMW for around $14,000 (it was in absolutely mint condition) and then put that down with an additional $9,000 (to account for the $7500 federal tax credit and $1500 state rebate). My monthly payment (72 months, zero % financing) is $373. I save about $50 a month on tolls (since I can go in the HOV lanes) but spend about $25.00 for electricity so call it a net benefit of about $25.00. So effectively, I'm spending about $350 per month whereas before I was spending about $365 per month. The Volt has all of the latest tech (bluetooth, modern NAV, HDD, etc.) whereas the BMW had was was cutting edge in 2001. I suspect my maintenance costs were going to rise over time with the BMW as well. For me, it was a smart financial decision to ditch the BMW for the Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I've done some more calculations here...

Assuming the initial constraints remain true, the total cost of ownership for the remainder of the BMW loan (28 mo) is: $18,908.
Using a exponential decay model for car value, the value of the BMW at end of loan term is roughly $7000. (seems optimistic)
Net cost for BMW if I sold at the end of the loan: ~$12k

Applying the same methods to a volt lease leaves the net cost to use for the Volt at roughly $11K. I do not have any tax credits I can apply, and I currently dont pay for utilities in my apartment. Thoughts?

Edit: Assumptions for Volt Lease (2 year)
Gas Cost: $20 a month
Insurance: $105 a month
Lease payment: $349 a month (Guess) with $0 down
 

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I have a 535i sitting on my driveway rotting away because the Volt is so fun, the ultimate driving machine doesn't feel so ultimate any more.
+1. The Volt is way more satisfying to drive than his BMW. I will, however, give credit to BMW for recognizing this fact and moving to more electrified vehicles like the i3 and i8 (not that I'd suggest an i3 over a Volt in most circumstances).

I've done some more calculations here...

Applying the same methods to a volt lease leaves the net cost to use for the Volt at roughly $11K. I do not have any tax credits I can apply, and I currently dont pay for utilities in my apartment. Thoughts?
My first thought is that people who buy BMWs aren't usually that concerned with numbers! ;) A Corolla maybe but not a BMW. Which is sort of the point: The Volt is a great drive.

If you can't take advantage of the tax credit then lease. I doubt though that you'll be able to do a two year lease.
 

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Hi Everyone,

Long time lurker here. Parents are Volt owners and they love it. I wanted to get some advice from some of the folks on this board regarding a car decision I am trying to make.

I recently moved to Washington, DC from California and own a 2007 335i coupe with 92K miles on it. I have not been pleased with the maintenance costs in keeping it running and I am concerned about the long term longevity of the car. I still owe $7.5K on the BMW (car is valued around $11k trade in) and wanted to get your advice on trading it in and taking on a Volt lease. My mileage per month is estimated around ~500 mi since I moved.

I enjoy driving the Volt, think it is a fascinating car, but also want to make a financially sound decision. What are your thoughts?
I traded an '11 328 xi for the Volt. Thought I would miss the Bimmer (my 3rd), but I really have not. My next car will most likely be a Gen 2 Volt.
 

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I do not have any tax credits I can apply, and I currently dont pay for utilities in my apartment. Thoughts?
Are you sure about the tax credits? I'm just asking because many people misunderstand the tax credit. Do you pay federal income taxes at all or do you get everything back that you payed in over the year?
 

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It's really easy to rack up high maintenance bills for BMW's when you go to the BMW dealer for service- one of my bro in-laws clients brought her 2007 3 series x-drive in for the airbag recall two weeks ago.
As a "courtesy service" BMW dealership gives all the recall cars (including our 3 series) a good going over. Her itemized total for "TLC needed..." came to $9,700! The car isn't even worth that much.... My bro in-law took the list from BMW and checked every item including "rust found- replace front coil springs" and leaking oil pan gasket ($1,800 to replace the oil pan gasket). Basically the only thing really needed was to replace the oil pan gasket- which he would do for $8xx not $1,800. All the other items were "judgement calls" in his opinion- like a few rust spots on the front coil springs, and some marks on the rear control arms left from flatbed truck tie-down hooks.

If you can do your own oil changes, brake pad changes, some basic stuff- and have some things done at local shops vs the BMW dealers- the maintenance costs for BMW's are way under $2k per year.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Are you sure about the tax credits? I'm just asking because many people misunderstand the tax credit. Do you pay federal income taxes at all or do you get everything back that you payed in over the year?
I use the standard deduction because when I itemize my personal deductions it comes out to far less. Maybe I have the tax theory wrong but I was under the assumption that without large deductions (home ownership, dependents, etc) it would be better to lease in order to fully realize the tax credit.
 
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