All posts by Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington writes all over the internet about cars. He was (probably accidentally) interviewed to be the host of the next Top Gear USA.

How to Start a BMW Collection

We all love our BMWs, but eventually, we reach that point where we want to have more than one car in our garage. Starting a BMW collection might sound like an expensive proposition, but you don’t have to break the bank to start your collection. You might even end up making you some money in the future.

It’s important to note that while we’re talking about specifically starting a BMW collection, you can apply most of these tips to any new or classic car collection.

First, Learn the Market

If you’re just in the car collecting game to collect, then this step isn’t as important. If you’re collecting cars as a possible money sink or thinking about collecting cars that you can sell later, learning the market is the best thing you can do for yourself.

The classic car market has cooled a lot in recent years. As long as you’re smart about it, you can still make some decent money with a car collection.

Pay attention to price trends for the cars that you’re considering adding to your collection. Talk to industry experts, especially those that specialize in BMWs. Gather as much information as you can before making a purchase — especially if you’re planning on selling later or want to flip the car and sell it after.

Keep Storage in Mind

You’re not going to want to park your collectible cars out on the street where they could get damaged from the elements or stolen. You want to make sure that you have enough space for your collection, whether you’re planning on storing two cars or 20.

If you have a garage attached to your home, that might be enough for two cars, as long as you’re not expecting to have a lot of extra room. If you’re going to have more than that, it might be worth it to invest in a free-standing garage or storage area on your property.

If you’re going for free-standing storage, consider investing in commercial style garage doors. Not only are they stronger and more secure than most residential options, but they also come in a variety of styles, and you can customize them to make them match your home’s aesthetic.

Maintain Them Well

There’s no point in purchasing collectible cars if you’re going to let them sit and rot in your garage.  Take the time to maintain them well, even if you don’t drive them all regularly. Try to get BMW-branded replacements if you need to replace any parts, whether they’re inside or outside the car. Aftermarket parts will do the job in a pinch, but keeping everything BMW-branded will increase the value of the car.

Start Your Collection

Once you have storage and market knowledge handled, it’s time to start picking up some cars. Experts recommend starting with three cars — a daily driver, a show car and one for occasional use. This gives you a fairly balanced portfolio to start out with.

Don’t worry about going cheap if you’ve found a car you love. If you have a model that you’ve got your heart set on obtaining, why not find one that needs a little TLC and turn it into a project car? It might take some effort to turn it into something suitable to show at a BMW concourse, but if it’s a car you really love, it will absolutely be worth the effort.

Start Small

You don’t need to break the bank to start a collection — unless you really want to, but we don’t recommend it. Start out small and build your collection one car at a time. Take your time to turn it into a collection that you’ll be proud of for years to come.

How Does the 2017 BMW 5 Series Stack up Against the 2017 Mercedes E-Class?

Mercedes leaves no market niche unfilled. In the last decade, the three-pointed star brand has taken a portfolio that was robust and injected it with steroids to achieve some vehicles that can only be described as neurotic. BMW, the market-leader not long ago, has pledged 40 new or updated models by 2020 to compete with their Teutonic neighbors.

Consumers who love crossover coupes and electric runabouts can rejoice at all this puffery, but these brands are still best measured by their staple sedans. There is no competition where BMW and Mercedes are more evenly matched than E-Class vs. 5 Series, and for 2018, both are fresh and ready to do battle.

More Alike Than Different

Back in the 1990s and early ‘naughts, this comparison would have been entirely predictable. BMW, the sports sedan company, delivers a businesslike interior and better on-road dynamics. Mercedes sacrifices nimble handling and delivers a more luxurious experience for the well-heeled socialite.

Now, however, things are different. Technology has allowed each company to toe the line further and further into the other’s “niche,” until what was a blurred line no longer exists at all. You can take your Mercedes to the track, and you can use your 5 Series as a limousine — and in both cases, life will go on quite pleasantly.

Parsing Hairs

Still, while these cars might both strive to be the one-car-that-does-it-all, they are two distinct products and must be judged as such. To be fair, it must be said that within each model designation there are a cavalcade of trim levels that include hybrids, all-wheel-drive models, track stars and even a wagon for Mercedes fans.

Using the middle-of-the-road E400 in comparison against the brand-new for 2018 540i is the closest we can get to a head-to-head. Turbo sixes power both cars. Mercedes is more potent on paper, but we hear the bimmer is underrated. However, with both cars scraping 400 horsepower, it is a little concerning to hear that the Merc can have issues with braking.

Styling and Interior

The BMW benefits from coming fresh out of the design shop, and so it brings sharper lines than the E-class — which was initially penned for the 2014 model year and has since been refreshed. However, the Mercedes has aged well, and the E-class coupé is handsome on a level only a 2-door, which BMW doesn’t offer, can achieve.

Inside, the newer BMW offers a world-class infotainment system that is, of course, the latest iDrive interface. Both cars offer superb interior appointments, with the nod going to the Mercedes for overall interior stylishness — it’s just warmer and more inviting than the austere BMW.

The Final Word

Anyone who can put either of these cars in their garage should count themselves lucky. After all, no one said full-size German sedans were cheap. The BMW is new and exciting for 2018, but the halo will fade, and if you go this route, know that it offers slightly higher operating costs than the E-Class.

Even though it’s been on the market for some time, the E-Class remains relevant. It is perhaps the slightly more comfortable car, thanks to its comfy interior, but it does feel heavy on the road next to the new 5 Series. Will you be much happier in either one than driving a company car, though? Unquestionably.

Driving Your BMW in the Winter

Bavaria in January can see below-freezing temperatures, and in other parts of Germany, it’s even colder. Right now, a large chunk of the United States is seeing sub zero temps, with highs barely getting above zero. If you’re concerned about driving your Bimmer in the cold, you can feel confident it’s built to perform in any condition.

However, just because you have a high-performing car, you shouldn’t drive as if nothing has changed. To ensure your BMW has a long and rewarding life, you should take steps to be safe during the winter months and protect your car from the harsh effects of salted roads. These tips are easy to follow, but they make a world of difference.

Protecting Your Finish

If you’re like many BMW owners and want to keep the paint on your car looking as shiny and new as possible, winter weather is no fun. Snow and rain can strip wax from your car’s finish, but that’s only the beginning of your problems. Particularly for older models, you’ll want to ensure oxidization and rust do not set in.

The first step you should take to protect your car from the elements is to keep it inside. A clean, organized garage is the best place to do this. Make sure the garage seals well, has proper insulation and that the door is in good working order. A running car you can’t back out doesn’t do you much good.

Storing your BMW indoors will go a long way toward improving your winter driving experience. Allowing the battery and engine fluids to stay warm will reduce the effort needed to start the car, prolonging battery and accessory life.

The warmer indoor environment will also keep ice from clinging to underbody components. This step is critical in preventing rust, as expanding water can cause small cracks in metal components where rust can begin to eat away at your prized vehicle.

Driving in Snow and Ice

Some BMWs come equipped with the xDrive all-wheel-drive system, but if you own a rear-wheel-drive model, you can still enjoy it when there’s snow on the roads if you take the right precautions. To maximize traction, you should install a set of snow tires. Consider having a second set of wheels, so you can keep the snow tires mounted and install them when the weather turns bad.

No tire can stop you from making bad decisions on the road, so use caution. If you’re not sure how much traction you have, drive slowly and remain in control. Avoid making sudden or jerky movements.

Lastly, be prepared for anything. You could end up stuck in the snow and the cold, so it’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car. BMWs often come with toolsets — however, you should also put together a kit containing, at minimum, a few snacks, water, a flashlight, a space blanket and flares. You should also carry a set of jumper cables.

It might sound like a lot, but these small things will allow you to drive your BMW all through the winter. That’s an easy choice compared to winding up stuck in a snowbank.