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      01-27-2013, 08:13 PM   #1
CedarZ4
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Trying to get into a Z, thoughts on this car?

Hey guys,

So I'm looking to get into a Z4, and am very picky with my color combination and options (white on red, with every option ) making it almost impossible to find my car.

I finally found one (some thousand miles away from my home) and would like to get your opinion and have some questions.

First of all, it's a 2012 with 3,000 miles. I pulled up the VIN, and its production date was 4/26/12. Why would someone buy a car and drive it for 3,000 miles and then sell it? According to the dealer (not BMW), they said the original owners (couple) broke up so they no longer needed the car. Is this an instant red flag? It's my first time buying pre-owned so I'm not sure what to look for.

Secondly, it's a 35i with every option (minus extended leather), asking for $50,000. Considering its MSRP would have been around $65k, the price seems reasonable... maybe, too reasonable? Could there be something wrong with this car?

And lastly, and most importantly, the roof. I've read a few threads here about noise from the top when up, but never read about a non-opening roof. According to the dealer, when opening the roof, when the back window folds on top of the roof, it stops. You have to release the button, then push it again for it to fold completely. When putting the top back up, it goes smoothly. The dealer said it is as a BMW dealer right now to get it fixed under warranty, some kind of sensor issue or something. Is this a serious problem, or should I not be concerned if it was fixed by a dealer under warranty. I'm just afraid of buying a $50k lemon, especially since most Lemon Laws don't cover used cars.

Thanks in advances!

Last edited by CedarZ4; 01-27-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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      01-27-2013, 10:46 PM   #2
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I won't be too afraid to buy a car still under warrantee. But I don't have experience buying a used Z4, so far after 18000 kms, no issues at all. for 35i it's a great deal though.
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      01-27-2013, 11:58 PM   #3
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Should be fine since it's under warranty. If you are really paranoid, get an independent inspection on it. But at 3000 miles, it's basically new.
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      01-28-2013, 01:36 AM   #4
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I will definitely get a PPI before putting any money down. Would a BMW dealer be better vs. an indy mechanic? Since I'm not from the area, I don't know of any reliable ones.

I read through the Lemon Laws and like you guys have mentioned, since it is covered by warranty, I shouldn't be too concerned. First, I have the warranty for another 3+ years, and if all else fails, it is covered by the Lemon Laws.

But, one question. I was looking through the pictures the dealer provided and it looks like the shifter baseplate has been taken apart / elevated.



I contacted the dealer about it, and he told me the pictures were taken by the bank they got the car from, and as part of the bank's inspection process, they removed the shifter to verify the shifter's condition and to insure that there is no debris or moisture undernearth. . Is this common practice? I've never heard of that being done. Why would there be debris or moisture down there, or is the dealer just yanking my chain. He seemed like a nice guy, and even disclosed about the roof being fixed at a BMW dealer... but then again, we can never be too sure with dealers.
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      01-28-2013, 01:48 AM   #5
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If there are any issues, it should be covered by warranty. I wouldn't worry about it too much.
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      01-28-2013, 02:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarZ4 View Post
I will definitely get a PPI before putting any money down. Would a BMW dealer be better vs. an indy mechanic? Since I'm not from the area, I don't know of any reliable ones.

But, one question. I was looking through the pictures the dealer provided and it looks like the shifter baseplate has been taken apart / elevated.

I contacted the dealer about it, and he told me the pictures were taken by the bank they got the car from, and as part of the bank's inspection process, they removed the shifter to verify the shifter's condition and to insure that there is no debris or moisture undernearth. . Is this common practice? I've never heard of that being done. Why would there be debris or moisture down there, or is the dealer just yanking my chain. He seemed like a nice guy, and even disclosed about the roof being fixed at a BMW dealer... but then again, we can never be too sure with dealers.
Ya, definitely get a 2nd opinion from a professional. No idea about the baseplate...that is weird! Since it's at a BMW dealer having its roof mech fixed, are they doing the baseplate as well?

I hope you got a testdrive...how was it?

The indy got the car from the bank? Did the car get repo'd? I'm confused.
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      01-28-2013, 02:35 AM   #7
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If it's too good to be true, it probably is
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      01-28-2013, 03:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tranquility View Post
Ya, definitely get a 2nd opinion from a professional. No idea about the baseplate...that is weird! Since it's at a BMW dealer having its roof mech fixed, are they doing the baseplate as well?

I hope you got a testdrive...how was it?

The indy got the car from the bank? Did the car get repo'd? I'm confused.
The indy dealer did not mention anything about the baseplate getting fixed, just said the bank that he bought it from opened up the baseplate to check for moisture and debris. So I assume that it does not need any fixing.

From what he told me, the car was originally owned by a couple and was no longer needed due to a breakup. It was returned to the bank that financed the car, and the bank inspected it (hence the baseplate being lifted), then sold it at auction. The indy dealer bought it at auction, and now the car is at a BMW dealer getting the roof fixed. He mentioned specifically he doesn't think it's a repo'd.

So for $50k, is this car too good to be true, or is it a reasonable price? What about all these stories that for some reason just doesn't sit well with me... just paranoia? Again, first time buying used so could use some more opinions.

And tranquility - no, I did not get to test drive this specific car since I am out-of-state and it is across the country.
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      01-28-2013, 04:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarZ4 View Post
The indy dealer did not mention anything about the baseplate getting fixed, just said the bank that he bought it from opened up the baseplate to check for moisture and debris. So I assume that it does not need any fixing.

From what he told me, the car was originally owned by a couple and was no longer needed due to a breakup. It was returned to the bank that financed the car, and the bank inspected it (hence the baseplate being lifted), then sold it at auction. The indy dealer bought it at auction, and now the car is at a BMW dealer getting the roof fixed. He mentioned specifically he doesn't think it's a repo'd.

So for $50k, is this car too good to be true, or is it a reasonable price? What about all these stories that for some reason just doesn't sit well with me... just paranoia? Again, first time buying used so could use some more opinions.

And tranquility - no, I did not get to test drive this specific car since I am out-of-state and it is across the country.
Not sure why the baseplate wouldn't be fixed...it's sitting there on top of the centre console. Very weird.

I have no idea about the whole reselling process, but how come the indy dealer only "thinks" it's not a repo...shouldn't he know for sure?

It's not paranoia at all, esp since you don't have a chance to test drive it. I don't agree w/ some others that just because you have a warr means it's ok to buy...you could be faced w/ a bunch of prbs and if they were fixable, why didn't the previous owner have them fixed 1st b4 selling?

GL w/ your choice.
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      01-28-2013, 04:30 AM   #10
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Here's what I would do: If you are truly worried, call an independent shop in the area and have them do an inspection on the car. Put down a deposit on a credit card, so if you get there and notice some major problem and the dealer refuses to refund your deposit, you can dispute it with your credit card company. In disputes, your credit card company will almost always favor you. I've purchased multiple cars sight unseen successfully. Do your research, have a backup plan, and you'll be just fine.
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      01-28-2013, 05:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarZ4 View Post
So for $50k, is this car too good to be true, or is it a reasonable price? What about all these stories that for some reason just doesn't sit well with me... just paranoia? Again, first time buying used so could use some more opinions.
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...modelcode=12ZB

Check out page 58 of the owner's manual. one for unclipping the baseplate is manually releasing the transmission lock for towing.

I bet the used car dealer knows exactly why it was towed and isn't saying because it is a bad reason.

Or even if he isn't BSing I think rule #1 of buying used cars is walk away if you think the situation is suspicious.

One other thing to think about, is that since the Z4 is one of the 10 worst selling cars you can get a crazy deal on a NEW model. My car had MSRP of $64k and the dealer and I settled on $55k after some back and forth. Why bother with some potentially sketchy used car deal when you can get it new for almost the same price....
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      01-28-2013, 07:36 AM   #12
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I would do this:

1) have a BMW pull the VIN to obtain if it has ever been serviced at a dealer;
2) inspection by a BMW dealer - have seller take it to local dealer and you pay for the inspection;
3) Carfax;
4) Put all the "representations" of nothing wrong with the car in writing with the seller and agree you are buying it, in part, because they claim nothing is wrong and the explanation of the baseplate removal.

The base plate at the shifter explanation is seems very fishy! Have you ever heard of that load?
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      01-28-2013, 10:41 AM   #13
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The only reason someone would remove the shifter base is to manually unlock the shifter for towing. Was this car a repo? Does it have all the keys?
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      01-28-2013, 01:48 PM   #14
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He said that he thinks it was not a repo and got a chance to talk to the original owner, and she said they returned the vehicle. He did provide me with a CarFace (provided by Adesa, auto auction), but it doesn't have anything more after it was sold.



Also, he gave me the sticker. While I don't think he made up his own stick, but two things seem peculiar to me.



First of all, it had Comfort Access added for a price. Wasn't Comfort Access standard as of MY 2011 or something? Or was it only a 2013 standard feature. Additionally, it says the M-Package was $3,500. I thought it was $2,500, and $3,500 was for the Citrus Package with M.
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      01-28-2013, 01:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The only reason someone would remove the shifter base is to manually unlock the shifter for towing. Was this car a repo? Does it have all the keys?
So one would never remove the baseplate to "check for debris and moisture"? Seemed weird to me...
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      01-28-2013, 02:10 PM   #16
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There have been many warnings about buying used cars that may have been flood damaged . In some cases, folks unload their flooded car before any problems pop up in electrical systems, etc. Maybe that's why they removed the baseplate to see if water or debris ended up in there from a flood.
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      01-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CedarZ4 View Post
First of all, it had Comfort Access added for a price. Wasn't Comfort Access standard as of MY 2011 or something? Or was it only a 2013 standard feature. Additionally, it says the M-Package was $3,500. I thought it was $2,500, and $3,500 was for the Citrus Package with M.
Comfort access isn't standard on the 2012 35i for sure, because my car doesn't have that option.

I don't recall 100% on the M sport package price but $3,500 seems right to me. (I do recall balking at the price difference between M sport and regular sport packages )

Dude, I personally think the "check for debris and moisture" is really a "check for customer gullibility". Go with your gut on this....
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      01-28-2013, 03:54 PM   #18
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The base plate just snaps it, it's easy to lift out too. 35i car is an excellent car (I've got one!). Check finances, get an independent check if you are worried. The milage is low, not even run in! Go with what makes you happy. If you have doubts, another one will turn up!
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      01-28-2013, 05:08 PM   #19
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Are the wheels the one on the lower left (#296)? If so, that's another reason to pass since these wheels have a history of getting cracks. You can read all about it in this forum in various threads.
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      01-28-2013, 05:13 PM   #20
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Thank you for the heads up, but I've read about 296 cracks. However, if I'm not mistaken, wasn't this only for the '09 models and they changed the foundation and design later, so they no longer have the problem?

Also, I asked the dealer about the car being towed. He said no, not that he knows of. If they wanted to tow the car, they would just put it into neutral (I mentioned that opening the baseplate to check for moisture and debris was peculiar, and would make more sense if it's used for transmission unlock for towing). Only car with the color combo and options I like. Maybe finding that "perfect" vehicle is not possible when doing pre-owned...
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      01-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #21
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As others have mentioned, I would definitely take it to another place to have it checked out. Obviously, things that would be correctable from a warranty standpoint are easy to complete. However, things like body work or paint work are going to be more of a pain in the ass... particularly if you're going to resell the car at some point.

In fact, an option that you may have is trying to get it alone for a test drive and swinging it by a different dealership to "consider" a trade in. If you can swing it, I've seen it take less than 15-20 minutes (from walk in to walk out) to have someone appraise the car. They're going to zero in on signs of body or paint work that a layperson wouldn't catch.

But, again as others have said, if you can get them to put it on paper that nothing like that has happened (which they should be qualified/expected to assess), then you would have some protection.
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      01-28-2013, 07:47 PM   #22
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The warranty is nice but if you get a car that is a huge pain with repairs it still eats up a ton of time and really cuts into enjoyment of the car.

Definitely worth an independent inspection at a franchise BMW dealer if OP isn't willing to walk on this one due to the colors.
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