A decade of buying used German Sedans: Insights after owning 4 of them

Once you get used to these, it’ll be very hard to justify a new car purchase at any price point.

BHPian GT3 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I would like to share my experience of owning 4 decade old Germans in this thread. I am not well versed in writing an expert review on cars. I will just share my genuine thoughts on the ownership experience of these cars. My dream was to own an E60 530D, but before I could do that I bought 3 other Germans.

Purchase 1: 2006 Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI

Our first German car was the Skoda Octavia TDI, which we got from a Dealer. We purchased it in 2013 and sold it in 2015, only because of boredom. It had run 1,10,000 kms when we got it and had it till 1,50,000 kms. It was a 3rd owner’s car and was not company maintained, so there was no guarantee regarding the genuinity of the odometer. We took a leap of faith and purchased it. Thankfully it was a fruitful ownership experience and we got to experience first hand the depth of engineering these cars had to offer. Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the car now. Will share in the future if I retrieve any photos.


  • It is the Innova of the German cars. It will run 5,00,000 kms trouble free even if abused.
  • The 1.9 TDI had linear acceleration without any turbo lag. I also like the gruff and crude noise of this engine.
  • Fuel efficiency of 18-20 kmpl.
  • It just demolishes bad roads with ease and I never slowed down for bad roads like I did with the other cars mentioned below.
  • Stable handling with a feelsome steering.
  • Built like a tank.
  • Excellent VFM as a used buy at that time.
  • Cheap maintenance.


  • The car was too low to the ground, elderly people might have trouble getting in and out. The ground clearance was also an issue.
  • Honestly couldn’t think of any other con. I feel the car was way ahead of it’s time when it was launched in India.

Purchase 2: 2011 Jetta DSG

Towards the end of 2019, while still searching for that elusive E60 530D, I also started searching for a well maintained Jetta, Laura, Passat. While browsing through the OLX app(which is my favorite social media and time pass) I came across a doctor owned New Shape 2011 Jetta DSG which was with the 3rd owner. It had run 1,00,000 kms and was fully company maintained. Even though a 3rd owner car might ring alarm bells, it was in an excellent condition and a major service was done. The tyres and battery were replaced recently. I bought the car after getting it inspected at the service center.

I used the car for close to 1.5 years and 20,000 kms and sold it.


  • Extreme value for money. I bought it at a price less than that of the base model Renault Kwid.
  • Excellent engine with a good balance of performance and efficiency. I got an average of 15-16 kmpl.
  • Balanced ride and handling.
  • Very reasonable maintenance costs.
  • Average Reliability.
  • Compact size and reasonable ground clearance for a D Segment sedan.


  • Missing Bluetooth and Reverse Camera in my Model Year.
  • Body parts are hard to source.
  • The 2011 model, didn’t have LED headlights, so it might look like a Vento to some.

Purchase 3: 2010 MB E350 CDI

Towards the end of 2020, since no well maintained E60 530d was available, I also started searching for other 3.0 diesels. Saw a few X5’s but did not like them. Then again a doctor owned 2010 MB E350 CDI came up on the radar. It was with the second owner and had run 85,000. Just like the Jetta, the MB was also recently serviced and had its tyres and battery replaced. It was not fully company maintained but the service history was available.

It has run 1,30,000 currently. I might replace it with a L322 Range Rover, W221 S350 CDI, Facelift W212 E350 CDI or the Endeavour 3.2.


  • Excellent comfort, it feels like you are floating on the road.
  • The performance is good, if not excellent for a 3.0 diesel.
  • The prestige associated with the 3 pointed star.
  • Solid build quality and the car feels like a tank.
  • Reasonable VFM. Got it for the price of a mid-variant Ciaz.
  • The interiors still look brand new considering it is a 13 year old car.
  • It is more suited to our road conditions than the E60.
  • Good reliability.


  • Not a fun to drive car. The engine, gearbox and suspension are suited towards comfort. It might not be a con for the target audience.
  • Spares are eye wateringly expensive.
  • It is not fuel efficient like the new age 3.0 diesels, I get an average of 8-10 kmpl.
  • Body parts are hard to source.

Purchase 4: 2008 BMW 530D

As usual, I was still scanning through OLX and other classifieds, for an E60 530d. Then one fine day, towards the end of 2022 my known contact in KUN BMW, informed me of an E60 530D that had come in for exchange during a used car festival at KUN BMW, Chennai. I immediately went to Chennai the next day from Coimbatore. Saw it, drove it, checked the service history and bought it immediately. It had done 90,000 kms when I saw it. Like my previous purchases, a major service, tyres and insurance were done recently by the previous owner.

It has run 1,00,000 kms currently. I might sell the car, since it is too stiff for the most of our roads, but it is a dream on smooth tarmac. I might replace it with the F10 530D or Panamera or a Cayenne.


  • A dream to drive on perfect tarmac. No other car comes even close to this at this budget.
  • Still looks stylish and contemporary after close to 20 years since it was designed.
  • Bomb of an engine and handles like it’s on rails.
  • Extreme VFM. Got it for the price of a Middle Variant Swift.
  • Average reliability.


  • Extremely stiff ride which is not suitable for most of our Indian roads. I thought it’ll be manageable, but it’s not, even after replacing the struts.
  • Rubber parts are showing signs of ageing, since it’s 15 years old.
  • It is not fuel efficient like the new age 3.0 diesels, I get an average of 8-10 kmpl.
  • Interiors don’t have the same quality as the Mercs of similar vintage (Though newer BMW’s have improved vastly nowadays). There is a huge difference.
  • Body parts are hard to source.

My general thoughts after owning 3 old Germans

  • These cars are excellent VFM as used buys. Once you get used to these, it’ll be very hard to justify a new car purchase at any price point.
  • If you want peace of mind I would suggest getting a car 5 year old German. Even though 10-15 year old cars are reasonably reliable it will not be a rosy path as there will be constant minor niggles. God forbid, there is a fair chance you might end up with a white elephant.
  • But if you are someone like me who wants to experience different flavours of cars without hurting the wallet much and you are someone who changes cars frequently and you don’t mind the small niggles and is willing to take the risk, I would suggest getting 10 year old Germans.
  • A competent FNG is a must. Otherwise don’t even think about owning a 10 year old German.
  • Go for a model that is generally reliable. For example, avoid brands like Land Rover, Jaguar, etc. Also avoid cars with air suspension, as they will entail huge replacement costs. But it is altogether a different story that I am dreaming of owning a L322 Range Rover or the W221 S Class.
  • If you are someone who doesn’t need the badge value or a 3.0 diesel, I would suggest getting a VW or a Skoda, as they offer 90% of what a BMW or a Mercedes offers, including the Fun To Drive part(but a 3 Litre is a 3 Litre and there is no replacement for displacement).

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Source: Read Full Article