Which New Car? VW, BMW or Other?

Long time lurker first time poster…

These kind of threads often seem to get a lot of attention so thought it's time to register an account and get some advice from Ozbargainers!

In the market to buy a new car and here are the background details:

  • Partner & I are in late 20's and live in a house we own.
  • Have always had the one car we shared as my work had been easily accessed via Public Transport and to save money.
  • Company is relocating office at the end of the year to spot closer to home however harder to reach via PT so driving will take 25 minutes where as PT will take over 45 and require train & tram (also receiving underground car spot in new office at no cost)
  • Have a approx. $30K in savings right now due to saving for international holiday at end of 2020 which obviously won't go ahead and much greater ability to save over last few months with limited spending opportunities.
  • no immediate need to purchase car ASAP, working from home right now till god knows when and exact office move date TBC just been told "end of 2020" also will be waiting to have enough saved to buy outright and not need to finance.

Anyway that should be enough background detail which people always seem to ask for later in comments, onto the car itself, features or details most important to me in order:

  • Curb appeal / general appearance: I'm self aware enough to know I'm someone who is swayed by brands and have a liking of more premium products. e.g. I own an iPhone, my vacuum is a Dyson, chose Miele kitchen appliances etc. Many Ozbargainers would argue that there are cheaper brands which do the same or better job than the listed products however I enjoy using all of them and haven't had to go in debt or sacrifice necessities in order to afford them.
  • Comfort inclusions: Leather seats, sun roof, good quality digital interface: in no way necessary in a car however the first 2 are just nice to haves which make me enjoy driving more. Have noticed a big difference in the ease of use in infotainment consoles between cars and having one that works well would again be a nice to have.
  • On going costs: cost of insurance, fuel consumption and servicing / repairs:
  • Performance: reality is I'll be driving this car in traffic to & from work 80% of the time, 10% of time to the shops and to run errands remaining 10% will be on longer drives on weekend day trips or local holidays. I have no delusions about being a race car driver nor do I plan to hoon around in it. However I've also driven my parent's Prius & various crappy loan cars to know that I enjoy driving some cars more than others. If money and practicality were no factors would I prefer to drive a ferrari over a camry sure, would I prefer a golf R over a baseline again yes. If the difference in enjoyment of driving the car is significant enough and the cost/practicality difference small enough I'd consider the better performance option.
  • Only requirement is that I can fit my golf clubs in it, preferably in boot but with back seats down will do.

I Have a budget of $40K in mind but will gladly spend less or be willing to go slightly above should reason arise. Based on that and all the detail listed above I've got 2 quite different cars in my consideration list:

Option 1: VW Golf, series 7.5 with R line & Sound & Vision package:

$40K new and in low-mid 30's for used one with low KM's
- I like the look of it
- Comes with 5 year warranty
- Convenience of smaller car however with ability to fit a lot into boot with backseats down.
- More reasonably priced to service & maintain for a Euro

Option 2: BMW 4 series 2014+ Model, <80,000 KM, uncertain on model 420i/428i/435i

Can find multiple listings on Carsales & Pickles which fit within the above details and below $40K
- Like the look of it more than Golf
- Few years down the road will still feel & look like a premium car compared to the Golf
- More enjoyable to drive.
- no warranty & will be pricier to maintain.

These 2 cars have also falled under consideration based on cars I've owned/own.

First car was a $3,00 Ford falcon I bought when I was 18. 2010 BMW 1 series was second car I bought once I began full time work, bought for $20K, loved it had no issues with it for a year and then was T boned at intersection and it written off. Bought a brand new VW polo with pay out for 23K as it was at the same time of buying our home so wanted to keep any potential unexpected spend down and get something new with warranty. 4 1/2 years later it's done 75K with no issues and very much enjoy driving it.

So kind strangers on the internet, what are your thoughts on the above. 2 quite different options, the VW being the more sensible, reliable option of the two. The BMW being the one which will bring me more joy driving & owning (excluding costs!)

Let me know your thoughts/impressions on the above or please suggest other options to consider and I'm clearly leaning towards what I know.

Final note, not interested in the OZB love child of a Kia Stinger!


  • +45

    Since when has the OzB love child been the Stinger? I thought it was always the old Camry/Corolla, or if we're beating a long dead horse, a nice 80k high yield investment of a CLA45 AMG. In saying that, I say get a Camry/Corolla.

    • -25

      Get the BMW

      • +11

        One of these days I wish you'd stop hanging off the top comments…

        • Do you think the corolla touring/station wagon will be released in Australia?

          • @Worf: Let me check my crystal balls :P

          • @Worf: We haven't had one of those in well over a decade. I'd say absolutely not.

    • No it was an A200 AMG, so not even an AMG, let alone a new sellout AMG.

    • +2

      Stinger (Kia Cars in general) have great value for money with loads of kit + huge warranty.

      Compare a GT Stinger with a similarly specced European, its a huge saving as europeans option you to death for some of the nice stuff.

      That said people compare stinger with cars that are sports cars, its not really - its a GT.

      • Stinger is a fine car but if you don't like the look of it then you'll have to choose something else. Also that little screen in the Stinger sucks.

        • It looks like its getting the 10" screen in the 2021 model (not confirmed, but that is what everyone is saying)

    • *Aurion

  • +30

    I saw your post title and thought, here we go again; another ask for help with no details or info. But no, a well detailed post with preceding research, a short list and supporting comments. Thanks for keeping it sane today.

    My choice would be the Golf, but I have a thing against BMWs; that is my personal leaning.
    The Golf would be a more modern vehicle for the same budget, and that can be a real difference. It should have a large enough boot space to hide your golf clubs, and the driving should be zippy enough to keep your modest wants entertained.

    • Haha I've seen and read enough Forum posts with a lack of detail to hopefully know better!

      The Golf does have Apple Car Play which I find really useful in the current polo and would be a missed feature in the BMW.
      Is there any other modern features that you can think of that the BMW would not have compared to the Golf?

      • You should be able to do a comparison at redbook.com.au or other similar sites.
        In particular, have a look at the safety items as well as the visible features.

        • Cheers will take a closer look tonight!

      • I like BMW, but golf is better priced in Australia.

        The golf pricing is pretty close to international pricing + local taxes.

        BMW (and other brands) add a bit extra "Australia tax"

        The Japanese brands are also well priced in Australia as we have free trade agreement

  • Put the Focus ST on your list, slightly above your budget @ 44ish - https://www.caradvice.com.au/851106/2020-ford-focus-st-revie...

    • +1

      The premium cost of the Focus ST comes from being an actual sporty/performance car.

      From the list of requirements/appeals performance is low down on the list. Hence a GTI not really being in consideration as I'd prefer to have comfort features such as Leather seats & sunroof whilst remaining under budget.

      Also the Ford Focus looks pretty full on to me, personal taste but not after something so flashy & loud.

      Am sure it'd be a joy to drive though!

      • Personally not a fan of plastic (ahem, leather) seats… burning hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Best combo is cloth + heated seat.

        • +6

          Yeah pretty close to hitting the nail on the head.

          I don't browse OZB because I want to buy things only because they're cheap.

          I use it to find items I already want at a lower price.

          So yeah the cars I'm looking at don't fit in the usual OZB Camry/Corolla tagret market. but I also want to get the possible deal on the car I do decide to get.

          Will investigate 2 series more to a) find out if they'll fit golf clubs in the boot and b) to keep an eye on actual sale prices.


  • +6

    I don't have any real knowledge about the cars you have listed. But from what you have written, it's the BMW (as long as your golf clubs fit) seems to be the one that will bring you the most joy.

    Sometimes it's not all about stats and figures, it's about how much you actually enjoy the car. But that's different with everyone.

    This is written by Spackbace, who sells cars for a living, and probably knows a thing about cars and how they connect to people.

    • That link takes me back to this thread? is that intentional or accident?

      • +1

        The link does takes you to a different thread. - It just feels like every other Help me Choose A Car Thread

    • +1

      In other words, don’t listen to ozbargainers when choosing something as personal as a car.

  • +5

    "Personally Kia Cerato GT, ticks all boxes and 7 year warranty."

    that's becoming Whirlpool's love child.

    • +1

      On paper this definitely seems like the most sensible option given the price, warranty & features (less sun roof).

      perhaps I'm vain enough to not have Kia as a brand appeal to me at all? however probably worth at least seeing & test driving before dismissing all together.

      • +4

        I have a Cerato GT.

        Originally wanted a Golf GTi, but fell in love with the Cerato - not quite as powerful (although a $600 RaceChip brings it almost in line with a GTi) great creature comforts, amazing warranty, capped price servicing etc.

        I initially scoffed at the concept of a Kia, and do believe that buying reputable brands is the way to go, but this isn't an iPhone vs $300 Opportunity debate (to use your other example of brand options). Kia is a very strong brand, under the wings of Hyundai, and is rapidly growing in the Australian market. As a new Kia owner, I may have some (or considerable) bias, but I believe that Hyundai and/or Kia will transition into a good brand position, not unlike the early days with Japanese brands.

        • Where did you get the race chip from? Do you have a website or dynograph? I was wondering about tuning the GDi motor, think there is room for tuning

      • +5

        I would of laughed at this a year ago but bought the predecessor (Proceed GT) changed my mind completely on the brand and the notion of brand loyalty. I have a late model WRX STI and I like driving the Kia.

        Quality is amazing, Cerato GT has everything the Euro has and fraction of the price and better warranty. Just drive one, I've driven a lot of late model Euros and the GT give them a great run, then when you factor in better warranty and half the price, hard to pass. Yeah the badge is an issue first but I quickly got over that once I started to see the car for what it was.

        • +2

          I think the Cerato GT is great value as well. Looked at one a week or two ago and was very impressed. A lot of tech built into a car for the price.

          Apparently, next year the Cerato GT is going to be getting the fancy pants remote smart parking assist that all the cool kids have got.

        • Thanks for the suggestion.

          KIA Certao seems to be the best alternative suggestion posted so far.

          Definitely has some advantages over the VW & BMW option.

          from photos alone I do not really like the look of it but might check out in person and keep an eye on enticing EOFY deals.

        • +1

          I also had a 2012 WRX which I swapped for a proceed 3 years ago. No regrets at all.

      • I have just come from daily driving with alternately a Kia Rondo and a Kia Cerato GT. They're both great cars, but top-level VW/Audi is in a different league.

        Seat comfort and drive enjoyment were the two clinchers for me.

    • +1

      We have one of these, its great value for money.

      Im seriously considering a stinger to replace my A5

    • +1

      Purchased the Cerato GT sedan in sunset orange late last year. Only issue there's no 360 deg camera that would have been handy. Other than that loving it highly recommend. Great value for a bit over $30k plus a fun drive.

      Would second this

      "Sometimes it's not all about stats and figures, it's about how much you actually enjoy the car. But that's different with everyone."

  • Usually i'd steer well clear from the BMW's, but having seen the reviews for the newer 3 and 4 series (2011 onwards) it seems many of the mechanical issues have been cleared up. If anything they seem to be more reliable than the golfs. Just if anything does go wrong be prepared to lose your limbs.

    • +4

      Have BMW fixed the problem with leaking blinker fluid yet? Most seem to run low, or run out completely.

      • +12

        Indicators are optional extras on lower end BMW models and completely deleted on higher end models.

  • +5

    Spend $10k on a Toyota Yaris / Honda Jazz which will get you from A to B reliably and economically.

    Put $30k of that into something that will give you passive income return.

    Passive income will get you closer to retirement / or allow you freedom to do what you want to do own your own terms.

    Sorry I was OT, enough of my suggestion.

    To give an opinion on your question and if I was you - I'd go for a 4 series, in a convertible body if possible. It would be pushing 6-7 years old however for that price point.

  • -2

    Purchasing the Golf would indicate that you do not have any qualms about supporting a company that exposed the public to increased air pollution whilst lying about vehicle emissions, tried to cover it up, then dragged everyone through the courts trying to minimise any compensation, and consequently shafted Australian customers who were treated far worse than others. What does a company have to do to be boycotted?

    • +21

      Given I already bought and own a Polo think the morale high ground ship has already sailed!

      • -1

        Yeah you're right. It's someone else's problem anyway.

    • +5

      Not sure why you've negged but I gave you a plus for bringing up a salient point.

      Personally I'd not support VW for their emmisions cheat and flapping up their customers with resale value as well as the pollution issue. People seem to have short memories.

      • +5

        They sure do.

        After five minutes of googling:


        All have skeletons in the closet regarding their emissions or fuel efficiency tests. But it’s ok. Just don’t buy a VW!

        • +4

          As Toyota is not on the list, thus Corolla/Camry is now the obvious moral, economic, green (if hybrid) and rational choice.

          • +1

            @AUsedname: https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-03-20/toyota-pays-1-3-bi...

            “ Toyota has reached a record $1.32 billion settlement to resolve a criminal investigation into safety issues that have been linked to at least five deaths.

            The Japanese car maker admitted it misled United States consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements over two safety issues that caused cars to accelerate even as drivers tried to slow them down.”

            • +1

              @YellowDieselGolf: I can’t resist, sorry….
              Hasn’t the amber turd mislead US consumers by making deceptive statements over numerous safety issues that have caused the lurgy deaths to accelerate as others were trying to slow them down?

              I sincerely apologise for blatant thread diversion. I’ll attend Logic Anonymous tonight……😇

    • Diesel gate is old news. Time to move on.

    • +1

      We're all very impressed with your virtue signalling

    • This comment assumes all other car manufacturers are squeaky clean, which of course they are not.

  • +5

    With a budget of 40k in mind the best 'bang for buck' (with your preferences in mind) would be the Golf.
    Some other options you could look at is the Audi A3, I would personally stay away from BMW (multiple bad experiences in the past), Kia Stinger Gt 2nd hand could be an option.
    Another very appealing option to me is the Hyundai i30 N, very reliable car, relatively cheap to run and maintain (compared to Euro which rip you off), and also very classy in my opinion.
    Also keep in mind of EOFY coming up soon - that could be used as leverage to buy a new car compared to 2nd hand - can also salary sacrifice and lower tax bracket.

    • A3 is a car I haven't looked into but reason the Golf seems more appealing to me is:

      • 5 rather 3 year warranty
      • Cheaper cost up front
      • Assumed slightly cheaper service and maintenance cost? unsure if there's any truth in that or would they be near identical?-
      • The small pop up screen + 2 circular air events beneath are ugly IMO
      • Should be very similar in servicing. Audi parts are the same as VW parts.

        • +2

          Nope, I was shopping for both and getting quotes for repairs from a VAG mechanic. Audi cost more and the layout and maintenance requirements also lead to costlier repairs.

          They do use many of the same parts, but costs vary substantially. Especially for anything close to the engine. The sideways mounting makes servicing a costly headache.

          • @Tambani: Is that in primarily labour costs? I've only ever seen it from independent mechanics who will buy the cheaper VW branded part. This is also from talking to a cousin who has an Audi A3 but I don't think they've had any big jobs done it.

            • @Zephyrus: Labor and parts. The mechanic told me his rule of thumb is audi parts cost about 1.5x the equiv vw parts

      • Big agree on: The small pop up screen + 2 circular air events beneath are ugly IMO

        So damn ugly. New A3 coming out late 2020. Interior looks way better!

  • +1

    Audi S3 hatch 2018 build MY2019. Some of these sold in early 2019 with 5 years warranties as Audi wanted to move 2018 stock.

    Comfort features, virtual cockpit and performamce.

    You may find ex lease vehicles towards the end of 2020 with a full 3 years of Factory Warranty for the low-mid 40s.

    • +1

      Or a Golf R with all of this, the remainder of a 5 year warranty and change in your pocket.

  • +1

    I was in the same scenario early last year. Had 45k I was willing to spend. Previously owning a bmw I promised myself I would never consider them again due to the amount of issues I had.
    I ended up buying a merc c250 diesel. The car has been amazing and the fuel efficiency is great. I have had it for 15 months now. It was 3 years old at the time and just did it’s final service. Car also had all options and was bought for 82k brand new. I ended up getting it for 44k.

    • The newer C class models definitely do look nice! I think i prefer BMW interiors but would definitely consider one if I came across at good price.

      Have you had to make any repairs to it since owning and how much has servicing set you back? did you do through Mercedes or an independent mechanic?

  • VW used monkeys to test their exhaust emissions. Do you really want to support a company that abuses animals? Don't forget they lied about the amount of emissions that their cars expended. These two reasons alone should stop any fair minded individual from supporting such a corrupt organsiation.

    • +1

      You forgot that VW was founded by Hitler; another reason?

      • +2

        That's not relevant to my decision making.

      • +4

        And Mitsubishi made planes that attacked Pearl Harbor, yet no one's boycotting Tritons.

        • Indeed. And apart from price, does anything make a Triton rice tastier than the non-Chinese alternatives? Mitsubishi remains on my avoid list- the only thing they make of note are low production cars like EVOs and weird sports cars- not that I'd buy either. Not sure I'd like to be out bush, lifes depending on what I've seen of Mitsubishi parts.

  • +1

    Partner & I are in late 20's and live in a house we own.

    If you own 100%, congratulations. But do you mean the bank owns majority share and just has your name on the title for convenience?

    No to both option 1 & 2.

    Go for a $20k car preferably a Japanese or Korean car with low servicing and insurance cost.

    If you're only going to be in it for 50 mins a day Monday - Friday.

    • I would hazard a guess that the house is mortgaged. Gut feel and logic tells me if they are well enough to 100% own their home, they would have more than $30k in savings.

      • +3

        Yes correct house is under mortgage if that makes any difference.

        • +2

          To be fair, it could make a huge difference. But alas, you're still in the market for a car and that's your prerogative.
          Get the Golf (I'm biased).

        • +2

          Just want to throw out the golf alltrack wagon or passat (doesn't have to be awd)

          And you wouldn't have to trade it in, in the future for a SUV like everyone else.
          Fit a family or 4 set of golf clubs in it.

          • @lazarski: Agree wuth lazarski. I'm currently looking at second hand Passat 206TSI Wagons, will likley pull the pin later this year. Wife currently drives a Nissan Qashqai TI but it is too small with a 7month old boy and plans for a second.

            However if you don't have any plans for children I would choose the Golf over the BMW.

  • +7

    If the difference in enjoyment of driving the car is significant enough and the cost/practicality difference small enough I'd consider the better performance option.

    How about an i30N?

    • +5

      Yeah, If I was looking at Golf R "line", I think a near new, very low km/old stock i30N would be a much better buy in that budget.

      • +1

        The i30 is manual only? which would make it not suitable as partner would still be driving this car from time to time.

        Plus as mentioned earlier performance is not really a big draw card for me.

        • +1

          Yes, i30N is presently manual only. The DCT (auto) was meant to be available in 2019, then this year, now delayed to 2021. Teach your other half to drive a manual. :)

        • +1

          The auto is supposed to be here for the 2021 model lineup, so maybe Oct/Nov this year? But I think a new auto i30N would be well out of the budget.

          If performance isnt all you wanted, then maybe something like the i30N Line Premium. Comes with auto and is the next step down from the N Performance. Should be able to pick up one of those brand new as an old stocker and save about $5~7k on your budget price.

          • +2

            @pegaxs: This is a good suggestion, and they're a decent warm hatch.

            • +2

              @PinzVidz: I agree. Not too hot and available in auto, with all the trimmings of the N Performance without the pricetag (or the performance.)

              • +1

                @pegaxs: The i30 N Line, Kia Cerrato & Mazda 3 Astina are all considerable alternative options and ones probabaly worth test driving.

                Price wise there isn't a huge difference compared to a 2nd hand mention VW which to me looks much nicer and having test driven know I enjoyed it. e.g. https://www.carsales.com.au/cars/details/2018-volkswagen-gol...

                • +5

                  @VenusDeMilo: Yeah, I don't know. I've never been much of a badge snob. I like a car to be reliable, cheap to maintain, affordable to buy, packed with value for money and be backed up by a company that has a track record for honouring its warranty obligations and treating customers as valued clients, not just as open wallets.

                  I get the infatuation with certain brands, (Apple, Gucci, LV, VW, etc.) but for me, I would forgo a badge on a vehicle if I could get better value for money elsewhere.

                  And you are comparing a brand new Hyundai i30 N Line Premium with full warranty, larger dealer network, with a used 2018 Golf that's had someone else's arse and farts all over the seats, sweaty hands on the wheel, pick and flicked boogers in the carpet and dandruff in all the nooks and crannies…

                  And at the end of the day, the Golf just looks like a Golf… At least the BMW looks like a BMW.

                  • +2

                    @pegaxs: I guess what each person sees value in differs!

                    Gucci & LV hold no value to me personally (GF might disagree) and I'd never consider buying a $500 Gucci wallet vs a good quality top grain leather wallet for $100 which is a 5 times difference.

                    I'm also not precious about buying second hand vs a brand new items. if I were to look an i30 I'd rather save a few grand and get a demo model which has had the aforementioned bodily substances spread all over it….

  • +1

    Go for a 2 series BMW, a touch smaller than the 4 so better around town/traffic IMO plus the power to weight is better for weekend drives.

    • From a very quick look there doesn't appear to be much of a price difference in second hand 4 series vs 2 series, e.g.:


      Both 2016 models, 76K & 80K on the clock, 2 series actually listed for 1.5K more.

      There seems to be a much bigger price difference in the models when bought new?

      with performance not being the major factor in the decision making unsure whether I'd rather sacrifice the smaller boot & back seat space for no $ savings.

      • +1

        I'd go with the 4 series dude. You mentioned you do some out of town driving/road trips. Something with a longer wheelbase and comfier interior is perfect for that, and the 2 series is still bigger than the Polo for around-town driving.

  • +1

    I think for $40k a 2yo BMW 230i M Sport is a better buy.

    Why why an R Line when you can get the R for not too much more?

    Increase the Budget to $50k and you can a new Golf R 7.5 or 2yo M240i LCI

    VW will have 5 year warranty and the M240i is an excellent car.

    I think BMW lost their with with the first gen 4 series, plus you don't want to buy an old 4 series as the new 4 series is around the corner.

    Me, I'd save a bit more and get a 2yo M240i LCI for $50k.

    • As mentioned earlier performance and sportiness of the car is lower on the priority list.

      Comparing a 50K secondhand performance car (Golf R) with 1 year or 0 years of warranty to a 30 something K car (Golf Highline) with 4 or so years warranty is not really an apples for apples comparison.

      interesting I wasn't aware that a new generation of the 4 series is due in the near future. although quick search suggests it's exact launch date is uncertain due to COVID-19.

      A new model would obviously lower value/cost of 2019/20 4 series models however would it make much of a difference of 2015/16 models that I'm looking at?