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Newbie with some ???s

2452 Views 10 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  thebimbo
I currently own a '02 M3 convertible. I am having problems with it ever since I had the bearing recall completed on the vehicle. I am looking to replace this car with a '03 or '04 Maserati Coupe. This vehicle is not a daily driver but I am concerned about reliablility. Since I'm in the middle of building a house, closing on a house in South Carolina, and looking to buy a SUV for my wife, I didn't want to spend an over abundance of money on a new '05 model. Here are my questions (again, forgive my newbie ignorance...)

1. What can I expect to pay for an '03 or '04 coupe (looking for F1 trans since wife cannot drive manual)

2. What is the reliability of these years.

3. Anything I should be concerned with when looking for these model years?

4. Any additional advice?

Thanks a bunch for helping a person in need out.

Best Regards to all,

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The Maser is not happy in auto mode. I would not buy a CC car if it will be driven in that setting more than like 5 percent of the time. My reliability has been OK, but not great. Nothing that leaves one stranded, mostly electrical stuff (horn fuse blowing, inop nav system, noisy clutch after hard acceleration). It is on warranty, and I am using it as a daily driver. I did get a 6 speed, though.
I only know prices for 02s. 03s and o4s I priced were about 15-20K more, and I did not feel it was worth the price on the coupe.
M3s can be problematic. Nearly every other early one had the engine replaced and the electronics are super buggy. I had two friends who invoked lemon laws on their M3s...
While ours is not a daily driver, we've had zero problems with the car ('02 CambioCorsa). Service has only seen the car to perform updates - there's quite a few that were cheerfully applied by our dealer.

Whenever the wife drives ours, she's in Auto mode. No ill effects as yet.

Search through a few archives here and you'll find random problems reported, just like any car. As far as I know, there's no particular problems for the '03 or '04 models.

The unknown factor is clutch life on the CC models. There's a fear that the CC system will require clutch replacements at 25,000 mile intervals, like some of the Ferrari cousins.

Latest pricing I've heard is $50k-ish for '03 coupes. Other posters should be able to confirm if that's accurate info.

55-60 is the going price for the 02 coupe. in my search (2 months ago), 03s carried a premium. I would say 65 is a deal. I have only seen one spider (02) priced at 50K and it got snapped up.
Search ebay for completed auctions, or traderonline, and you will be able to confirm these numbers.
Thanks to all for your replies

Thanks to everyone who have given me more insight. One last question... I have seen this asked on this forum but no difinitive answer though... Why are these cars for sale with such low mileage? I have seen an '04 coupe with only 2,300 miles on it for 72K. Is there something I'm missing. Since this is going to be my last car for the next few years (wife wants to have kids), I figured I better get something that is going to last... Thanks again for the replies.

Thanks to all for all the great information. I have to agree that anytime a car manufacturer stands behind their product, it is a good thing. My main concern with the M3 was the reliability issue. I never had a problem with the bearings. Everything seemed fine. I received the recall as a precaution (thought it was a good idea). After they replaced the bearings, I am having some hesitation problems. Don't know if they are related but it started after I received the car back from the dealer. I have also found that BMW does not care about it's customers. Each dealer has a different policy when it comes to loaner vehicles. Most of the time I usually wait for the maintenance but there are times that I need a loaner. Since I didn't purchase my car from the local dealer, they do not offer me any loaner vehicles (when needed).
To be honest, I was concerned when I saw a lot of Maseratis for sale with low miles. I only drive my M3 on the weekends (too far to work to commute with this car - 200 miles round trip) so this car would replace that. I live in a snow-belt area so the car would be sitting for most of the winter as well. I like the styling and like the idea that the car is hand-built. Being hand-built is a double-edged sword. I believe that there is more care put into the assembly of these cars. I also believe that production cars have a greater chance of having issues than hand-built but I have no basis for my theory there.
Thanks again to everyone. After the first of the new year, I will take a trip to some of the dealers that have '03 & '04 for sale and start some serious looking.

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When I dropped off my 02 coupe at Ferrari of San Francisco I got an 04 as a loaner. Then, after the service was done, the porter drove my car back to my house and fetched the rental (60 miles, or so one way). I am very pleased with the service.
However, if reliability is your number 1 concern, get an Accord hybrid with 260 hp. Good mileage for a long commute, unobtrusive for speeding. The Maserati is probably on par with the Germans (they slipped of late in the quality surveys), but you will get some stuff related to the handmade/low volume nature of the best. It has been tolerable, but so far...on mine:
1. Horn fuse keeps blowing (someone says a V1 plugged into the lighter socket causes this, but WTF...?)
2. Trunk did not shut properly
3. CD changer became inop, then fixed itself
4. Horrible noise from depressing the clutch after hard acceleration in 1st gear, almost like Power steeing at full lock going bad, but maybe a T/O bearing?
5. NAV never worked, no sat signal
6. Gear level has to be held continuosly in reverse, or the park assist and reverse lights never engage
7. Parking brake did not catch, but on the last stop
8. Cat converter shield rattle
9. If the car sits for more than 2 days, I get a low battery light and the fan for HVAC only works at low fan speed. Also, with the low batt condition, car dies after being started. Goes away after a spirited Italian tune up type drive!
10. Driver window seal deteriorated or got out of adjustment
11. 3 recalls, steering bolts, fuel hose, one other...

Little niggly stuff. I guess I am used to Italian cars after owning Alfas, Ferraris, etc. Still a happy camper, and the car is fantastic in terms of looks and power. The M3, in California, is as common as a taxicab. Parents like to give them to teenagers after graduation (way too much power, IMO).

Good luck hunting !
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I will have to agree that the M3 is becoming too common. I wish they would have gone back to limited edition where there are only 3,000 brought into the US. With the amount of production they are pushing for the M3, it is no wonder why they are having electrical issues. I'm waiting until this summer to purchase the Maserati. I have been looking on the internet and I'm formulating what I would like to have in the vehicle. Thanks to all for everyone's help. You have all convinced me... I will be looking for a '04 (if possible) or '03 this spring/summer. I'll keep all informed as to my progress. Looking forward to becoming a true part of this group.

jafo, It seems you are another M 3 owner looking at a Maserati. I also traded my 2002 M3 SMG for a 2004 Spyder GT and I have seen a couple of people on the F-Chat board who have done the same. While the M3 is a nice car I did not find it exciting, First off looked way to much like all the other 3 series on the road and just did not seem all that sporty to drive. My engine never blew up but was always paranoid it would and recently they sent me the recall for the bearing replacement even thou I got rid of car last year. Picked up my Spyder on April 1st and drove it every single day till I put it away 12/17 and did not have one single issue with car. I see you are nervous about buying one because of the high deprecation but remember a lot of that is because these cars sell new at well below list. When the dealer told me I could get about $11,000 off price that almost scared me off as I was use to paying at least list for my past cars. Go ahead and get the cart then throw on a Tubi and you will be blown away, especially after have owned the M3 which I think is the most annoying sounding car around.
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