Originally Posted by sf_loft
I haven't actually done the math based on your car's options and mileage, but buying out a lease is generally not a good idea. Are you financing the $26k or are you paying it off in cash? You've already paid for the 3 years of use (depreciation) + interest. You should take your monthly payments x 36 months + ($26k + state tax) = the amount of money you will spend on the car total.
Go to Kelly Blue Book and look at the current value of your car for private party sale. See if the car is worth $26k. If it's below, I would dump it and move on to a new car. If the number is higher then it may be worth it to buy it out. You also have to think about how much longer are you going to keep the car after you buy it out. Do you have an extended warranty? If you're looking to buy it out and dump it in another year or two, you'll be taking a bigger loss as the F30 comes out and the value of e9x plummets.
Regarding major accidents or lemons, it's the same leasing or financing. There is a lien against your car and the bank owns it either way. There is no difference. Ideally you would have gap insurance so that in the case of a lemon or major accident, it will pay off the loan / lease. There's no advantage of one over the other. I owned 2 e92 335's, they were both paid in full, the 1st got totaled and the insurance company paid it in full since it was only 1 year old. The 2nd one got repurchased by BMW due to 4 HPFP replacements and practically got full price for it even after 2 years and 32k miles. A friend threatened to lemon his 335 that was leased and BMWNA gave him such a hard time and practically screwed him.
In general, I have also heard that buying out a lease is not a good idea. Like you said, I already ate the depreiciation cost (and alot of it ) as my car was 15k/yr lease (currently have 30k miles). I don't think the depreication will be as bad as it was in the first three years if i bought my car out.
By end of summer I am going to see if it makes sense to buyout my lease. 26k doesn't seem like a bad price and I think i can shave off a little of that price (or to include CPO) as my car is BSM/Coral Red/ 6MT (not a common car for them to sell). Surprisingly, after 3 years, my car has been solid with 0 mechanical problems (and I dont baby my car). I am in no state to buy another BMW with a 40k+ sticker as I just bought a house and I dont see any other vehicles id like to lease (other then BMW M3 which has a 1k/month lease payments). I have been searching for other used 08 E92 335's to get an idea of what out there and the cost have been around 27-30k. If i keep my car, I wont be getting into the F1X series until the second year of the coupe release (which I am assuming will be 2014) if I even like the car.
In regards to leasing and financing when it comes to "lemon" and accidents. I was merely saying that if you get into an minor to moderate accident (2k-15k) worth of damages, with a lease, you can choose to turn it in at the end of your lease and call it a day. With financing you are stuck with a car that has been an accident (diminished value) and will likely be shown on carfax. Now if the car got totaled, i think risk factor is the same for both lease and finance.