Thinking about getting a bmw as a dd within the next 8 months and I came to /o/ for advice on it. Only Requirements are 4 doors, strong community, can only be model years between 1995 - 2011, and can take some slight neglect as I'll be in the air force by the time I get the car (leave for bmt on the 19th) and I don't know how my schedule will be. Any help is appreciated
Buy a 2008-2011 E90 328i in automatic like every other normie and enjoy your 7 second 0-60 time. Enjoy being passed up by Camrys? That's okay, your bavarian flag will remain in last place with you to comfort you.
How do you even "maintain" a BMW? Serious question.
Do you just drive to the nearest BMW dealership once a month and tell them to prevent a breakdown?
How the fuck do you know what needs to be replaced before it fails?
You change the fluids and filters.
When a check engine light comes on, you figure out what it is and fix it.
This sounds like basic shit but people in America will drive around for months with a CEL and then be surprised when their car leaves them stranded and go "omg [car brand] sucks I'll never buy them again"
Pretty much every community for every vehicle will have a write up of what you can expect at what mileage too. For example, E46 fuel pumps start to fail around 125k miles so replacing it at 100k will prevent you from having problems.
Not OP but, I've been looking at E91 wagons. Just the 328i. From what I've seen so far, it's by far the most bullet proof E90 series engine. I haven't looked at the maintenance but I'm assuming it's just routine fluid changes, timing belt and water pump?
definitely going to be at the top of your price range at the very least
Hard to find, especially in manual, but you should be able to get one for $6-7k.
Personal choice would be the 530i just because they're cheap, easy to find, and don't have the potential subframe issues of the E46.
Once you're in the AF you'll probably find yourself wanting something more once you're making actual money, assuming you went into a good rate (I don't know what they're called in the AF, navy guy here) and aren't starting out as an E-1. Then you can get something like an E46 M3.