My 2000 626ES was purchased instead of the Honda or Toyota based on price. The car handles great, rides nice, but the engine is too buzzy and quite underpowered. I thought I could get used to that, but I long for more power without seeing the tach at 6000 rpm. The interior looks like a million bucks and I don't think anybody makes a better one in this price range. The transmission is easily the worst feature of the car with rough shifts and an annoying tendancy to slam into gear after coasting. I thought I may have just gotten a bad transmission but after it failed and was replaced by an equally bad shifting transmission I think it is just a bad design.
The interior is great, the exterior is attractive and doesn't look cheap. The price far undercut the Honda and Toyota.
The transmission needs big improvements. The brakes have good feel at first, but are now pulsing ... again.