I've been lurking in the last few weeks but got brave enough to make my first post.
I'm currently searching for a used 3-series AWD wagon or a 335d, and have found a few online within my price range. I live in the frigid Minnesota and do mostly city driving. I usually don't drive much at all—my 15-y-o car has 100k miles on it. That might change when I get a BMW!
I actually hadn't considered the diesel earlier in my search because I thought they were supposed to be much more expensive to buy and to maintain. Now, I'm seeing a couple of 2009-ish 335d that are $26-29k with about 30-50k miles on them, which could possibly make viable contenders in my search. My heart is really in the wagon style, but since the one I found is AWD with bummer MPG (at least the EPA numbers...not sure about real world), I could totally live with the sedan diesel for the efficiency.
What I'm wondering about is the cost of maintenance of the diesel. I've been reading all over the forums and reviews, and the information about the reliability and the cost to fix the 335d varies so much. I've read that diesel is only recommended if one drives a lot on the highway, and that it requires a lot of maintenance to keep it healthy and long-lasting—not a passive simple driver's car, but a mechanically-savvy person's car. That scared me a bit. I think I'm also carrying (possibly) irrelevant fear that was instilled by friends with VW and Audi TDIs that had required catastrophic out-of-pocket repairs within a year or two of purchase. In comparison, from what I could find, the 328xi wagon seems to be relatively maintenance-/heartbreak-free?
In any case, I'm trying to limit down my search to one model! If I drive mostly in the city—but often in inclement weather—and MPG is important to me, should I stick with the wagon, or spring for the diesel? MPG used to be *a lot* more important to me in the early days of my search, but I've made a total exception for BMW. :P However, the MPG of the AWD wagon that I've found is pretty low to me...so I do prefer the RW if I can find one!
While I'm not entirely new to BMWs in general (childhood family car, SO has an ancient 5-series wagon), I have zero DIY skills or capabilities, so I can't save any $$$ in repairs.
Coming from an unkillable and rock solid Honda Accord that I've had my entire adulthood, I'm a bit scared of reliability/cost for repair, but I'm ready for my little BMW now! Although I'm a crunchy greenie who was looking at Subies and Acura TSX wagon until a couple weeks ago, I just decided that I want something different this time.
Thanks for any input, and apologies for the length!