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Which wheel would you choose?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK I want to hear some opinions - I have been saving up for a convertible ever since I bought the 3, with my ultimate plan at the time to relegate the 3 to daily driver status and buy a convertible.
My current beater is a 2002 dodge neon, which at the moment needs a new water pump. Friggin thing only has 35K and needs a new pump, which will cost $40 for the part and somewhere between $600-$800 in labor ( the whole front of the engine has to come off, down to the timing belt/chain to replace the stupid thing).
So I have been thinking lately, instead of just going the small and powerful roadster and keeping the 3, that I would get a more upscale, but still small and powerful convertible route, and keeping the neon.
With the economy still in the crapper I have been thinking that selling the 3 and using the $ (along with part of the savings) to buy the BMW might be a better choice. If I run into bad times, the BMW would hold its resale value better.

The only thing that is hampering me is I really dislike the neon, it is just a cheap crap box, even though it has been well maintained. It is an ATX and is dog slow, entrance ramps on the NJ TPKE are an experience to say the least. But it gets the best gas mileage, and the heat and a/c both work well. But it would be a daily driver, does it need to be more than that?
The 3 on the other hand would be alot more comfortable (and dare I say fun) daily driver overall, with the exception of the a/c and less fuel economy. Prolly higher insurance as well since I wouldnt drop down to liability just yet.

The neon KBB is around $4K and the 3 around $14K, so the actual value is a no brainer.

So what do you think:

1 - MZ3 and SKY Redline
or
2 - neon and BMW 135i

I realize that the SKY and the BMW dont stack up against each other, but other than the Corvette these are the only two ragtops I currently like. I thought about the 350z, but I have never been a fan of the new z's looks.
The new IS convertible wont come in an MTX unless you get the blah 250, and it looks like the G37 is going to compete more with the 3 series, CLK, and volvo c70, which is too upscale IMO.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Not a big fan of the 1 series...the 3 series is better and although it is more expensive with options the 1 series can enter the 3 series territory.

Plus if you sell the Mazda you wouldn't be on the forums anymore :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Dont forget we are talking about convertibles here

Other than the M3, and the folding hard top (which doesnt really interest me as much as I originally thought it would), the 3 series has nothing over the 1 series. Its not the small sporty car it used to be - it now caters to poseurs and wannabe's who scrape enough money to lease one. And in convertible form the softer 328i starts at $44.5K - the 335i starts at $50.5K and weighs almost 4000lbs. Both models use the exact same engines as the 1 series in bigger heavier bodies. Forget the M3 which starts at $66.5K for the droptop. Anything else the 3 series might add is just fluff or un-needed for what I want the car for.

Even the 135i ragtop tips the scales at almost 3700lbs, but the 300hp twin turbo and sport suspension makes up for most of the weight.

IMO nobody is buying a BMW for the looks, price or practicality - most people buy it as a status symbol or for the luxury amenities, while a few buy them for the performance.
I am considering it for the performance and the refinement, I could give two shits about the blue and white badge. It could say Yugo on it as long as it has what I want. (OK well maybe not Yugo! :) )
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Miata hard top convertible FTW. Sell the neon, its a POS anyways. Go FI with the Miata, throw some coilovers on there, and youre under budget with a car that will demolish just about any convertible out there.

If you dont like that idea, keep the 3 and save up some money for the BMW. dont keep the Neon under any circumstances and the Sky is overrated.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Or get an 04/05 Mazdaspeed Miata and have the FI done for you...
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

you also gotta think about the maintance costs for the bmw. i personally like the sky but i cant actually fit in it and im only 6'2" i dont know if you have driven either car but its something to think about. i would go with a 350 or a s2000 personally
(i probably couldnt fit in a miata either)
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

i like the 1 series but dont see the appeal of a convertible but thats just my personal pref.... i voted hide your money in the matress
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

I'm 6'1 and can fit comfortably in a Miata and a Sky. I dont think the problem is height.. its width ;). Also, BMW has that 4 year free maintenance program...
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

its not width for me thats the problem, im what you could consider "wirey", my arms and legs are too long...
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

1. 135i > Sky Redline

on the other hand

2. Cars designed to be convertibles from stage 1 of development > cars with the roof cut off

and of course

3. MZ3 > Neon

Since you are adamant about getting a convertible I will spare you my lengthy opinion in its entirety about why id never get a 135i as a convertible, I am just wondering if you have done the math and can you afford to keep the MZ3 if you got the 135i in a hard top, that would be the best combination.

But again since you probably made up your mind on getting a convertible I say just get the Sky Redline and keep the MZ3, atleast you got two nice cars instead of one POS and another car that is something it was never meant to be.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Funny that I had to Google Sky Redline because I had no idea what it was,
Saturn? isn't that the same GM brand that would disappear in the next couple of months?

I you are looking for a convertible how about the best selling roadster of all time, the Miata, and it didn't won that title because it was a good looking car.

Don't go with the BMW just because is a BMW, and believe when I say that I'm a fan of European automotive engineering but if I want a convertible I will take the Miata over any other convertible regardless of brand; well except the Elise of course :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Well I went to test drive the Redline and the 135i today, but I stopped at the Mazda dealership first to take a PRHT GT Miata for a spin.

Two very different animals, these cars be. I felt more comfortable in the SKY, it was roomier. But the button layout for the mirrors and locks was terrible. It was without question faster (it has almost 100hp on the Miata), and oddly, contrary to reviews I read, actually shifted better than the Miata. The Miata didnt shift badly, but it was very notchy. But that could be because the Miata only had 50 miles on it and the SKY had 5,000.

Here is what I liked better in the Miata.
Handling - Miata not a doubt.
Amenities, again Miata.
Top - Miata, not even close. The SKY's top flat out sux compared to almost every convertible out there.
Trunk - Miata (the SKY dont have one with the top down).

Now here's where I like the SKY.
Looks - Sorry but the SKY is better looking.
Power - It has it everywhere. I didnt get to really romp on it as hard as I wanted to, but I didnt feel any turbo lag at all.
Brakes - SKY, they just seemed to work better.
Ergonomics - Other than the stupid button layout, the SKY just "fits" better. I guess it's because of the soft top, but there is also more headroom in the SKY.

Now here is a huge minus for the SKY - according to the sales lady, 2009 is the last year for the SKY. Saturn will continue to 2011, but not the little roadster. I have to confirm some of this with my cousin (he is sales manager for a Saturn dealer about 50 miles away). If I buy one it would be from him anyway, but overall I didnt walk away impressed.

I just wish they would put more hp in the Miata. It doesnt even have to be 260hp like the SKY, just get it in the 210-220hp range and I would jump on it. It is a great handling little car, it just needs more oomph.

Now the BMW well that's a different story all together - because the dealer didnt have any and they were friggin mobbed. I waited 20 minutes (you have to check in with the receptionist) and walked the whole lot inside and out. There were two coupes in the showroom and one 128i ATX convertible in the lot, so I got annoyed and left. I guess when they say call to schedule a test drive, they really mean it. Only reason I went there was it was right next to the Saturn dealership, so I gave it a shot.

Even though I am not moved by the looks, I think I have to try a spin in the 350z. maybe that will change my mind about the z. So I am gonna add the z back to my list of possibilities, and even though I initially ruled it out, maybe the Audi TT as well.

But on the plus side, I drove the MZ3 everywhere today, and never felt sad driving away from the test drives in the 3. Even the lot attendant at the BMW dealership said "nice little car" when I walked past him into the showroom! :exnbpup:
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Magazine's like to call it a poor man's 3 series for a reason. :)
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

I got to drive my moms Redline sky and it pulls pretty damn hard the only thing is the rev limiter, Its easy to hit if you're not careful (the turbo surge will shock you when you feel it).  The interior I think Is really nice the seats they chose feel perfect but then again the hood is huge and sometimes its kinda hard to see over it if your taller than average

but overall for the price Its an amazing car, really when you actually have it/drive it/wash it it starts to grow on you.  But the BMW would probably be a better investment personally.  Either way go test drive them, thats the only way you'll know which one is best for you
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

a miata can be lightly modded to achieve a nice balance of power as well. but i know if you're not the modding type, this is not a question.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Turbo miata ftw. Miata's have also been around for a lot longer, so the aftermarket support is very good. Its kind of hard to compare the turbo Sky to a NA miata. I'm also sorry to hear that you think the Sky is better looking than the Miata :(.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

Honestly...the Sky does look better than the NC Miata. Now, the MSM and late NB's look far better than both the NC and Sky IMO.

NA still looks best though.
 

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Re: SKY Redline or BMW 135i

NB > NC > NA. The NB is best because of the lines of the hood. I dont like the rounded off hood on the NC, but its still better than the NA. I hate flip up headlights.
 
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