I'm by no means expert in car buying, but these are my thoughts:
1. Probably its hard to identify many issues on a casual inpsection. You can have a good look at the panels for the normal ways of identifying crash damage. Other expensive things are normally transmission faults and oil leaks. You should listen to the engine idling with the bonnet up to see if it makes a very loud ticking noise. All of the BMWs have a rattling/ticking noise to some degree but if its very loud it can indicate engine problems especially on the 2007 and earlier cars. Expensive to fix.
2. Its quite common for BMWs to have oil change service service after 2 years and up to 20,000km in many cases. In my opinion its far too long, but if considering a car with such history you should look for evidence of oil change service either at the dealer or reputable BMW specialist. Some workshops will substitute cheap inferior oils which could be a problem after a lot of km.
3. I don't know, but I personally I'd choose the car with lower km and better history.
4. 19" tyres will make the steering a bit heavier, although I think you should blame the civic. Its just because you are not used to driving a proper car with decent steering feel, but that can change.
5. Not worth the $$$. It would make more sense to buy a Tom Tom and keep the standard iDrive.
6. I think that's a very good idea because maintenance problems can cost a lot. You need to give yourself the best chance of buying a decent car in the first place.
7. If you find a good car and a good mechanic it may be cheaper to take your chances. I am not sure if you can get Extended warranty on a car of that age anyway.
Last edited by John_01; 03-14-2013 at 06:47 AM.