I owned this car for about 13 years, since new. I knew nothing about cars and this was perhaps the most poorly treated, neglected car you can ever imagine. Yet, it was lower maintenance than my current Japanese 'reliable' car, which I follow service schedule to the letter. The worst "problem" was at 10 years when squirrels ate through wires during a year of just sitting, the mechanic changed some fluids, replaced some seals (under 2k total, with all the squirrel damage). So, I stupidly was the worst car owner ever. Yet, the car was perfect. I only sold because I needed money for move and didn't need a car. But, from day 1, this was the best driving experience I have ever experienced. It felt like there was no car there, in a good way, like I was completely connected with road. The seats made my lower back hurt beyond belief after a long trip, yet I happily put up with this pain because of the driving experience (except winter, without snow tires, it was a really bad car in the snow). The cup holders, as everyone has commented on, were beyond bad. They broke in the first year and barely held a drink even when the flimsy 'arms' were functioning. Should be in a museum of bad design. It had other quirks, the steering-wheal/key would randomly 'lock' frequently during attempts to start it...sometimes I wondered if I was going to get going, but always did. I even miss these quirks! Seriously, when I got it people said it would be constant problems and unreliable and maybe I just got lucky (or this car is a masochist), but it was so reliable. And the MPG it got was insane!! I think even better than advertised, crazy.
Purchased the car with 110,000miles and sold it with 200,000. Owned the car for 3 years and during that time other then $30 per oil change every 10k i had to spend $100 on new water pump. THAT IS IT. This car costed me nothing to own. If you are looking for a nice car that requires little to no maintenance - this is a car to get. Very good engine that has no problems, good performance and good MPG (30mpg on highway at 60mph).
Reliability, low cost to own, comfort, fun to dirve.
Smokin! If you have one you know what a great car it is!! Its easy to work on so I wont get rid of it. 120,000 miles and it is still as strong running as if it had 20,000. The torque is just a great feeling! It's a 'sleeper' on the streets. It's hard not to drive it hard like a sports car!!! I will fix any problem because you can't replace this car with an SUV. I have a Navigator for luxury rides and a Mini MC40 edition for go-cart fun rides but the wagon is a load hauling sports-car!!!
Torque,torque,torque! Sound of V-8 at full throttle!
Get rid of the water cooled alternator! It's very expensive to replace! Better window regulators!
Purchased CPO in 2001. Only had a few problems in my 9.5 years. Performance and build quality is unbeatable. Just sold the car as maintenance is getting expensive on a 12 year old BMW. My all in cost to drive the car (including repairs but excluding routine maintenance) was less than $3,600 per year. With a set of snow tires this car did great in the snow. Car was expensive upfront but more than worth it over time. I miss this car already. I only wish the new 535 wagon wasn't plagued with problems or I would not hesitate to buy another.