You know who you are. There's probably a few of you reading; the ones that say, "Why would I spend $27,000 on a new Mazda MX-5 when I could get a used Chevrolet Corvette with more power." Yes, we're talking to you, used car proponents. While it is a fair argument, it's not like used cars don't come with drawbacks of their own, though.

In an attempt to put this new-versus-used argument to bed once and for all, Matt Farah of the The Smoking Tire has picked up a pair of $25,000 cars - a used, but lightly modified, 2003 BMW M3 and a 2013 Ford Fiesta ST. Naturally, there's a comparison.

Farah, as he's wont to do, does get into the nitty gritty of what each car is like to drive, and discusses the merits of used and new-car shopping. But as he rightly points out while testing the M3, "So, it is a good car. But like any used car, it really does depend on the individual car."

Scroll down for the video, and let us know what you'd rather have. Would you pick the 333-horsepower, used BMW or the 197-horsepower, warrantied Fiesta ST? Let us know in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 161 Comments
      John Blaze
      • 11 Months Ago
      I owed a 2002 BMW E46 M3. It only had 45,000 miles on it back in 2005 and the differential started going bad. I got out of that thing so quick. I have never went back to BMW after that. I have heard nothing but horror stories about those vehicles when it comes to repair issues.
        Teleny411
        • 11 Months Ago
        @John Blaze
        When you consider the Tanks BMW & Mercedes were building in the 80s & early 90s it's very depressing.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 11 Months Ago
        @John Blaze
        Only thing worse might be an Audi.
        Cheddar
        • 11 Months Ago
        @John Blaze
        Yep, I had an E46 M3 for nearly a decade -- Same issues, only I stuck with it. It bled me dry constantly, making every pleasure drive include crossed-fingers and subconscious wincing. I finally got wise and left the brand behind for good (just sold my E46 3-series utility wagon). Reliability and efficiency has since become a bigger priority for daily drivers after the bad BMWs so I've moved down to a Mazda6. ZERO regrets, whatsoever, though I still keep a proper weekender to feel alive! DO NOT buy an old E46 M3 if you can't afford two. Seriously, don't!
        SloopJohnB
        • 11 Months Ago
        @John Blaze
        And WHY didn't you try to get BMW to cover the dif? 4/50 warranty and BMW probably would have covered it under goodwill unless you were a real un-nice person to the dealership.
      yyz
      • 11 Months Ago
      I went through this same scenario a few months ago. I was looking at a Fiesta ST, a Focus ST, a VW GTI and a 2006 BMW Z4 coupe. I REALLY loved the look of the BMW, but with 90,000 miles on it, I was scared to death of the possible repair costs over the next 5 years. With all 3 new cars within a couple hundred dollars of 22k, I ended up going with the GTI.
        E
        • 11 Months Ago
        @yyz
        new GTI for 22k? Not so sure about that
          yyz
          • 11 Months Ago
          @E
          Absolutely. $21,905 to be exact for a 2013 base 2 door after rebates. Only options were monster mats and a first aid kit. And I got 0% financing for 72 months to boot.
      ffelix422
      • 11 Months Ago
      Were it not for E39-M5, I'd happily take the E46-M3. I think people confuse the M-cars with their lower-brethren. The M-Cars are considered "semi-exotics" with racing engines and should be treated as such. If you drive-maintain-service it like a Subaru your going to have problems.
      ccweems
      • 11 Months Ago
      There are good reasons people are parting out German cars with 50K miles. Vanos and automatic transmissions together can call for an $8K repair at an independent garage. A shop near me has had a number of BMW's and MB's owners give them the title when the repair bill is totaled. These complicated zillion speed automatic transmissions are often a factory only repair. They are also changing transmission models before they work out the bugs. Vanos aside engine longevity is improving albeit synthetic oil has helped. The longevity of automatic transmissions appears to be half that of the engine. On an expensive care that is not a durable strategy. For fun compare the resale value of the German car of your choice with a Ford F150. It doesn't take that many years before the PU is worth more than a 7 series BMW.
        Teleny411
        • 11 Months Ago
        @ccweems
        The less electronics the better- an S-Class or 7 series out of warranty is a disaster waiting to happen. People want all these gizmos and do-dads, & turbos. They add to complexity and lessen durability and reliability.
          SloopJohnB
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Teleny411
          They can be a technicians car. But VANOS is largely an oil change issue…don't believe the factory oil change interval of 16K miles….the ATs are ZF…another item to ignore factory ATF change intervals (factory says lifetime fill..you BETTER change oil and filter every 50K per ZF).
      Nicholas
      • 11 Months Ago
      The Fiesta ST supplanted the Focus ST on Car and Driver's Ten Best list this year.
      SloopJohnB
      • 11 Months Ago
      Used M3 FTW.
      Chris
      • 11 Months Ago
      The price may be the same, but these are still two very different cars which is just one reason why this video will not "put this debate to bed", as the article states. It really depends on the individual and what they want in a car. I think a more realistic approach would have been comparing the new Fiesta ST to a 2003 Golf GTI, or even an old WRX. Other than price, these two have next to nothing in common. As for which I would choose between these two cars? If what I'm after is styling, prestige factor, RWD power, and nostalgia, then the M3 wins hands down. On the other hand, if what I'm after is something that is fun, sensible, and a reliable daily driver that has enough room inside to hall my junk around, and not look ridiculous with a bike rack on it then I would have to go with the Fiesta, without question.
        D E S I G N
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Chris
        why go with the fiesta when you can have the best of both worlds in an m3? doesn't make sense.
      Avinash Machado
      • 11 Months Ago
      The M3.
      PatrickH
      • 11 Months Ago
      The Focus ST starts at $23,625. Can someone explain to me why they used the Fiesta?
        Nicholas
        • 11 Months Ago
        @PatrickH
        Because the Fiesta weighs 500 pounds less and can outshine its big brother in everything but a drag race.
          PatrickH
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Nicholas
          The Focus ST is faster around a track, any track, save a tight autox track. So there's that.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 11 Months Ago
        @PatrickH
        Everywhere I read that the Fiesta is even more fun than the Focus. But it comes at the expense of dd driving as it is unconfortable and smaller. But it feels like a gokart.
      S40Powered
      • 11 Months Ago
      Give me the M3 E46 anytime. Instant classic.
      Arturo Rios Jr.
      • 11 Months Ago
      As a young college kid I bought my first car from a dealer used. It was a 2001 Eclipse Spyder GT, the thing blew it's engine in less than a week. The crooked dealer said it had a warranty of 30 days yet they refuse to repair the car. I went ahead and replaced the engine with my own money. From there two years later I bought my second car. A 2004 Mustang GT, the car had a salvaged title but only cost me $7800. For what it was the car was pretty reliable, it came with 30k miles and the only things I replaced in the 50k miles I drove it was just tires, regular oil change and a clutch I sold that car for $4500 . My next purchase was a 2011 Mustang GT from Carmax. The car came fully equipped and it only cost me 24k, the sticker new was at 43k. I suppose that at this point my next purchase will be an all new car but given the value for slightly used car, I might think twice before I get into such thing, buying an older car from a crooked dealer, never again. I think the only way I can buy new, is if the interest rate is below 2% that way buying used won't make sense.With interest my 24k car will turn into 30k in the 6 years I took in financing it. That's still well below the 40k plus I was going to end up paying if I had purchase the car new. If I sell my car in lets say 6 years from now, the car will be probably be worth around 20k, which is only a 10k loss. A 2014 (new car) will be worth 24k which is a 20k loss.
        SloopJohnB
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Arturo Rios Jr.
        LOL…your 24K 2011 Mustang GT will be worth less than 10K in 6 years.
      Scooter
      • 11 Months Ago
      I'm a fan of both ST's, although I wouldn't pay $25,000 for a brand new one, especially given Focus is due for a refresh soon. I would gladly buy any ST used though, its a fun car with sporty looks and performance to match.
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