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Thread: Practical daily: Subaru Legacy BP H6, BMW E91 330i, ?

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  1. #1
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    Practical daily: Subaru Legacy BP H6, BMW E91 330i, ?

    After heaving my wife's suitcase into the slot between the strut brace and the bulkhead in the 350Z, I've started thinking about a change. I've backed out of selling the RX-7 - turns out an FD is better when it's not your only car, who knew? - but then keeping two impractical sports cars seems less than ideal.

    So I am intending to sell the Z, and replace it with a car of similar weight and power but with a big load bay. Ideally I'll get an estate and then I can put bicycles in easy-peasy, although a hatchback would probably suffice.

    I still want decent power, since it would be annoying to be caught short mid-overtake because I'd left the RX-7 at home. I also would like decent handling, although it doesn't need to be a sports car in terms of involvement, just reasonably capable. Should be reasonably comfortable for long trips. I want reasonable reliability, because I've already got one unreliable car.

    I'm not bothered about image; I guess I lean towards Japanese cars but doesn't have to be. Fuel economy would be nice but not a high priority as I don't do many miles anyway. Auto or manual is fine in principle.

    I don't want a diesel because you have to pay an extra tax to drive into greater London from next year. I'm leaning away from turbos because they tend to need more maintenance.


    Current top contender is the Subaru Legacy 3.0 R, fourth gen (BP) 2004-2006


    http://www.uklegacy.com/forums/index...-manual-wagon/

    Pros: spacious, chain-driven nat-asp engine meant to be fairly strong, not too heavy (<1500kg?), 4WD, cheap (2-4k)
    Cons: Post March 2006 incur higher annual road tax due to thirst. Most are autos and the pre-06 auto is meant to be not-great. Fairly rare, most have high mileages. Rust is a concern especially as often bought for rural / winter duties.

    Second contender is BMW 330i Touring E91 2005-2012ish

    https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-det...02009224076399

    Pros: bit more efficient than the Subaru, & thus avoids higher rate tax, possibly more interesting handling (?), likely auto box is good, 'luxury' interior
    Cons: Uncertainty over German maintenance costs especially cars from this period. Although 3-series are common, 330i petrol estates are vanishingly rare and seem to be auto only (pictured car is one of two I can see for sale, both autos).

    Other options could include a Stagea, which would be even rarer and might need importing from Japan, which I probably can't be arsed with. But the closest thing to a 350Z estate. Or other estate options?

    I don't really want an SUV. Minivans don't tend to come with the acceleration I want, not sure that the M-B R63 is really sensible.

    Then you get onto upper size hot hatches, maybe Ford Focus ST or something. Not as big but I managed to fit bikes into my Pug 306 back in the day, so should work. Downside is being FF.
    Last edited by samoht; October 9th, 2020 at 12:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Junior Potato
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    I once drove a Kia Carnival V6 people mover. Put the foot down and it went like a shower of shit.

    And modern sporty FWDs are faster and grippier than older 2WD sportscars.

    You should get a Lexus IS200 wagon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rare White Ape View Post
    You should get a Lexus IS200 wagon.
    IS200 is great apart from the engine, 153hp. However an IS300 wagon is a really good option. Again super rare but they do exist.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2003-Lexu...cAAOSww-lfX5V9

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    Spiny beast TheBenior's Avatar
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    I have a buddy who had a 2006(?) E90 325i, which in the US had the lower output 3.0L. Other than his clutch slave cylinder failing and taking the clutch with it (while still under warranty, thankfully), it was a pretty uneventful ownership experience.

    Oil consumption that's excessive by typical Honda or Toyota standards isn't unusual in Subaru H6s here, but on the plus side, they seem less prone to head gasket leaks than the H4s.

    The Focus ST hatchback is not particularly spacious inside, even compared to other cars in the class like a Mazda3 or GTI. In the US market, Ford was rather misleading about cargo volume (not only likely measuring to the roof, but also somehow having the same figure as lower trim Focus hatchbacks that didn't have full size spares).

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    As the only person here whose family has owned the sedan, higher or lower powered versions of both cars you are looking at, I may be able to assist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yw-slayer View Post
    As the only person here whose family has owned the sedan, higher or lower powered versions of both cars you are looking at, I may be able to assist.
    How do you think they compare? Any big gotchas on the reliability front? Anything else I should consider?

    All advice welcome

  7. #7
    Severed Member JoeW's Avatar
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    I would stay away from the BMW just because if it does break...it will be more expensive.

    I would stick with Subaru/Toyota and maybe VW products. I really don't know what models you guys get in the UK so I can't make any specific suggestions.

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    I'll post a bit later, as it was late over here and I was trying to gather my thoughts.

  9. #9
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    OK, what we had/have is as follows:

    Have: 2005(ish) Legacy GT sedan (BL), 2.0L Turbo, both with and without STI springs and STI sway bars. Always stock rims. Tyres were originally Potenza RE050 (I think) and last 2 sets were Michelin Pilot Sport 4, around the same time the same got put on the BMW

    Had: 2008(ish) BMW 320i E90 sedan. Tyres were originally whatever, I think the stock run-flats on the stock rims. Eventually we got a good deal from BMW as some dude traded in his M Sport-type 18" (I think) rims and tyres so we bought them and they came with got Pirelli P-Zeroes. When those ran low on tread we swapped to Michelin Pilot Sport 4 until we sold this car. So there was a period when they overlapped.

  10. #10
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    Other options:
    Don't bother with the Stagea, you already have an FD and now you want something reasonably reliable which isn't an arse to find parts for!

    For minivans I would seriously suggest you think about a secondhand S-Max Titanium with the 2.0 Petrol turbo. It's what we have and it shifts, although it is noticeably heavy and hence thirsty. However the pull is very notable (esp after we replaced the Primacys with the Pilot Sport 3, may try and get the 4 next time if it's available in size). It also has 7 seats, inc a second-row of 3 seats which 3 adults can comfortably sit in no problems as they are all exactly the same chair and almost all exactly the same legroom, as well as a decent-sized boot. The steering is also not bad... for a minivan, then again it is basically a slightly wider, taller Mondeo platform.

    The only things we have found to be aware of are some earlier stereos (like mine) had a problem where the bluetooth would drain the battery (obviously got fixed). There is also a power steering issue which Ford wanted GBP8K to fix (aka change the entire PS system) and which you can read about on the forums. However an independent managed to fix (so far OK for 2 months touch wood) for GBP530 (i.e. Less than one tenth what Ford HK quoted) . If it lasts us a year after that fix then that's good and it means we won't have to buy something else to replace it (it was looking like a Serena e-power but anyway).

    Anyway that's it from me, and thanks for indulging in my GNJ-length/quality posts - which I had to split into 2 parts as I busted the 10,000 character limit.

    EDIT: Originally said the independent fixed the power steering for GBP5.3K but it was actually GBP530 (aka less than 10% what Ford wanted to fix it). The figure has now been corrected.
    Last edited by Yw-slayer; October 11th, 2020 at 01:30 AM.

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