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Advice on buying an 97+ NSX

29 August 2001
Miami Beach, FL
I just graduated college in May, and looking to buy an NSX or a 2002 M3. I worked very hard saving up the car, and working full time now, I think I am ready to by a nice car.

I really like the 1997 NSX's and up. I also love the new M3. trying to decide which way to go. The M3 I have ordered will be here by October 22nd. I have also seen two very nice 97 NSX's. One is a Monte Carlo Blue and the other Black. The Blue one has 22K miles and they are asking 54,800. I think it's a good price. I just can't decide which way to go. The M3 optioned the way I want is around 50,500.

Any suggestions as to repair bills on the NSX or operational costs one can give me would be appreciated. The big advantage of the M3 is everything is covered for 3 years by the factory. I am having a tough time deciding. While I can afford the car, I don't want to go overboard to the point of having to borrow money from people to pay for gas, so trying to make the best decision.

Thanks for everyones input, and sorry about the long post.
Originally posted by sridhar:
...the Blue one has 22K miles and they are asking 54,800. I think it's a good price. I just can't decide which way to go. The M3 optioned the way I want is around 50,500.

Any suggestions as to repair bills on the NSX or operational costs one can give me would be appreciated...

Have you driven both cars? All I had to do was drive an NSX and that was it. One of the BEST things about the NSX is that it's a Honda. Maintenance costs are very low. That 22K mile blue is only now broken in. Check the VIN with CarFax and have a good NSX guy take a look at it before you buy.

Good luck, it took me about 4 months to decide and I ended up with a new Monaco Blue. I couldn't be happier. I just got back from a 50 mile country road trip for my lunch and loved every second of it.

'00 Candy Apple Blue / Black
M3 vs NSX?

I suppose they have similar performance numbers, but that's the only thing these two cars have in common.

Completely different cars if you ask me.

Either way, when it comes to performance I think you'll be very happy.

However, the question should be... "Do you want a sports sedan with 4 seats, or an affordable, aluminum, exotic, 2 seater sports car?


1992 NSX Red/Blk 5 spd #0330
1991 NSX Blk/Blk Auto #3070 (Sold)
1974 Vette 454 4 spd Wht/Blk
Looking for 76-79 Honda Accords
Tabasco, I haven't driven the M3. The new ones are real hard to come by. My first time driving it will be when I go to pick it up in Germany in two months. I have driven an NSX, and I loved it. Something about hearing the engine revving behind your head is a real good feeling.

Jimbo, You are right about them being different cars. However both are coupes, the M3 does have back seats. I can't decide if I want a new car or an exotic sports car. I have been wavering on this decision for the last two months. I am sure either way I go, I would be happy with the decision as both cars are sweet. Thanks for your input.
I also have been looking at an 95+ NSX, new M3, and 99 996. I love all three cars, but am leaning towards the NSX. It just takes time to find the perfect one at the right price since their sales are so low.

The M3 is basically a hot rod sedan, and the NSX is a purpose built sports car, but the performance of the M3 will equal or better any stock NSX-T.

Does anyone remember the Road and Track test pitting a M3, 996, and Z06 against each other? While the Z06 won on a dry track, the M3 won as an all around car and handily beat the 996. I wish they had thrown an NSX in the test.
The M3 is a much more practical car, but not as much car for the money as the NSX is. Does that make sense? The M3 you can take everywhere, park anywhere, and use it to haul future kids around in. Same is true of the Porsche. The NSX is purpose built and a complete joy to drive. But you will be very cautious of where you park it, and when you drive it, because you will cherish it. Personally, I think the M3 is over- priced for a small sedan, even though the performance is great. For the $50k cash you could get a 91 NSX ($35k) and a used 3-series ($15k).

Tabasco - Glad to hear that I am not the only one that goes for thrill drives at lunch.
They're both great cars and it depends on your tastes. The reason I would not buy a Bimmer here in LA is because they are a dime-a-dozen. When I walk through Westwood, I see a BMW pass by every 10 seconds. I could look at any stoplight and see 2-3 Bimmers waiting.
I'm not sure how they became so rampant, but they are literally EVERYWHERE you look.
I like the fact the NSX is more rare and looks like an exotic sports car rather than a sedan.
This is all my opinion however on personal likes. As far as the cars themselves, they're both great for what they were designed.
I'd love to have the M3 as my second car...they look fantastic (for a sedan) and would be a very fun, high performance yet somewhat practical commuter car.

But the NSX is a passion inspiring work of art, a vehicle that stands out in traffic and holds its own next to the finest out of Italy. My enjoyment of the NSX increases every day, even though I recently stopped using mine as a daily driver.

Purchasing my NSX new fulfilled a decade long dream and made me feel like I had accomplished something in my career. Purchasing a Bimmer would seem more typical.

Personally, I wouldn't buy an M3 until the dealer markups go away.
Actually I was very badly screwed by the BMW dealership in this area. I had put my money on an M3 last May. I was promised I would get my car but June this year, but as soon as they realized the demand was so high, they pretty much ignored the list and started to allocate spots to who ever was paying 5K and 10K over MSRP. I was very poorly treated by them and BMW NA did almost nothing to help me. I found a guy in Germany who is getting me the car, so I am avoiding some of the taxes, in the end I would be saving about 3000 vs buying the M3 here in the US.

I read a few posts where people mentioned the M3 as a Sedan. Starting this year they have stopped making sedans, just the coupes and convertibles. I love the NSX, I think it looks great. I am 6'4" and I fit very well in it. Most of my friends are pushing me towards the NSX. I will keep everyone posted on the decision. But thanks for all the replies.
At 6' 4", I'm surprised you didn't have headroom issues with the NSX. There are ways around it, but the NSXers I know around your height have modified their seats to better accomodate them. I'm 5' 9" and feel the NSX was designed specifcally for me.

As for my comments about the M3 being sedan-like, I know that the new M3 is only available in 2 door form...I'm just referring to it as a sedan due to its more boxy (albeit sporty and handsomely aggressive looking) profile.

'00 Acura NSX-T (red/black), '97 Honda Civic HX (black), '01 Lexus IS300 (black/black)
"Reality is better than the dream..."


[This message has been edited by akira3d (edited 29 August 2001).]
I'm not quite sure but I think you put down a deposit for your M3 Sridhar? If you did just wanna tell you that you should never put down a deposit during negotiations. If the dealer asks for a deposit he's trying to pull your strings. If you don't like the dealer you can ALWAYS walk out.

Both cars are really sweet but the M3 is gonna be a hard one to get. Dealers are charging crazy amounts over MSRP because demand is so high. Don't know about the waiting period for NSX. Also, the NSX scores big for rarity over M3. Your average Joe won't be able to tell the difference between a M3 and a 330ci but they sure as hell will look at a NSX. If you do choose to buy a M3 shop around. Some dealers have waiting lists that are 1year+ while some dealers have no, or very small, waiting lists and so will charge less. Don't know if you mentioned where you live but if the price of M3 is high in your area look towards the east coast dealers to purchase your M3 and have them ship it over to the dealer closest to your house at no extra cost. If they do ask for a fee to ship it cross country they trying to steal your money =) Of couse, there is the $625 destination fee that applies to all.
Oh yea, and another thing. 2002 M3's have the SMG II option. This is like what F1's have in there cars. If you get this option there is no 3rd pedal. Computer engages the clutch for you when you shift up/down. Personally I think it is just a fancy and sporty way of saying a car is automatic and takes away from the sports car feel. Also, there are paddle shifters located on the steering column. There is more info at www.bmw.com click on international homepage and go to either M section or Technology section and look around on your screen...they should have a link to SMG II somewhere.
I'm a car fanatic and I live in the area. I've owned NSXs and was the first on the list for the new M3 (didn't take it). Hope this helps:

1. BMW of Arlington currently has a "previously owned" M3 that you can probably get for less than sticker. They've been asking $52k but no one has taken it. It's Laguna Seca Blue.

2. HBL of Tysons just traded in an 00 NSX silver/black. It has been modified with all the Comptech stuff (don't know much about mods), a very expensive stereo (from Myer Emco) and black magnesium? wheels? The car only has 1700 miles. I stared at it for about 2 hours and finally forced myself to leave the dealership without buying it. If you're interested in it, email me and I will give you more info including who to call.

I would agree with what most people say on this board. Both are great cars and maybe the M3 is more practical. But the NSX is much more exotic, a lot more fun to drive (party because it is exotic) and you won't see them all over Montgomery County.

Good luck.
Hey Skim and WeakestLink, thanks for the reponses.

Currently this is my situation. I can get a great deal on an M3 right now optioned exactly the way I want it. The catch is, this guy is in Germany. BMW has a military sales program, where they get US Spec cars at much reduced prices. For 50,500. I would get a 2002 M3 which would go for about 52,000 here in the US. I need to pay him the money before the car is delivered. I don't know how comfortable I am about paying 50K for something which isnt' here yet. The price does include shipping via boat. If everything checks out, I might go to Germany and physically give him the check when I see the car be loaded on the the boat.

That's one option. The second one I am looking at right now is an Ebay auction for a Black NSX. It looks great, spoke to the GM of the dealership yesterday and seemed like a nice guy. Here is the link to the auction, now don't everyone go bid on it, I am trying to win this car!!!!


It looks like a very nice car at a great price, we will know in 4 hours how this turns out

Thanks again for everyones advice
Originally posted by WeakestLink:
2. HBL of Tysons just traded in an 00 NSX silver/black. It has been modified with all the Comptech stuff (don't know much about mods), a very expensive stereo (from Myer Emco) and black magnesium? wheels? The car only has 1700 milesGood luck.

I am pretty certain that car was was wrecked (blowout -> loss of control -> tree) and rebuilt. If someone is seriously interested, post the VIN number and I can find out.
I was so close to winning it. I was outbid by a 100 bucks on the NSX in the last 7 seconds. :-/ Oh well, that car for 52,395 was a steal.

I guess I will keep looking.
Originally posted by sridhar:
I was so close to winning it. I was outbid by a 100 bucks on the NSX in the last 7 seconds. :-/ Oh well, that car for 52,395 was a steal.

I guess I will keep looking.

Maybe it was a steal, maybe someone was robbed. There are dozens of serious things that could be wrong with a car even if someone takes half a dozen pictures that look OK. A seller can make any repaired car look good with some polish and selective low-resolution, at-a-distance picture taking.

Did you have this car inspected by a knowledgeable third party?? See this other post about someone who had a '95 inspected that looks good on eBay yet serious problems were discovered upon inspection. http://www.nsxprime.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002467.html
I was so close to winning it. I was outbid by a 100 bucks on the NSX in the last 7 seconds.

You weren't necessarily close to winning it. Your bid was for $52,395. For all you know, the winning bidder may have bid $60,000 or more as his "proxy bid". eBay simply added its minimum increment ($100) to your bid to automatically compute the amount needed for him to top your bid.
Hey Lud, I didn't get the car checked out, I was planning on doing that if I had won the auction. I got the carfax report. The only thing it said was the car was registered in June of 98. Everything seemed clean.

The way the bidding played out, I bid with about 5 mins remaining, and was outbid. Then went back and bid a $100 more, and became the high bidder. Then about 10 seconds later, a guy bid to go past me. About 1 min after that a new bidder came in and out bid the other guy. In all I was outbid by $200. I had 7 seconds left to bid again, but I didn't want to get caught in the moment and go past my budget. Cause like you said the guy could have had a maximum bid of $60000. Better luck next time.
Hey, Sridhar what do you do for a living, I go to Towson University right now and I can only dream of having a NSX when I graduate two years from now! By the way, I also live in Gaithersburg, 5 minutes away from Rosenthal Acura...
I agree with most what the others are posting. Take your time making the decision. Its fun isnt it?? Do you want a "showcase" car or a daily driver?

Personally I would say go with the M3 if need a cool car that is also a daily driver. It just makes sense. If you have a daily driver and you want something that people will ooh and ahh over I would say the NSX is the better choice. I personally love everything about the car. I have driven M3s and they are quick.. performances are similar. But I also think that if you go with the M3 you will have this disdainful feeling when you are at a stoplight and look to your left and see one.. look to your right and see another. It all depends on your circumstances.. I would have to go with the NSX if the choice were mine.. I have the extra garage space and already have my daily driver in a Ford Explorer. I have a 98' 3000 GTSL that Ive been tweaking recently as my somewhat "exotic" car.. but will be replacing that with an NSX in a few years. Dont let anyone sway your decision.. both have their pros! Cheers!

Here is an 97' NSX targa with 18k miles .. its white. very sharp! high 40's right now.. Im sure itll get a bit higher. Take a look at the pics.http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/aw-cgi/ebayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=594927223&r=0&t=0

Current Owner:
1998 3000 GT SL (modded)
1998 Ford Explorer Sport
(wanted Silver NSX!)
Hey NSXDreamer, I live right behind the lake at Montgomery Village. I work in DC as a software engineer. So it's not bad money, and I have wanted a nice car for a while, so just saving all the money I have been making for the last 4-5 years or so. I never thought getting a car would be this difficult, but it's so hard to make up my mind on which of the two I want.

Brian Jeanmaire, you are right about seeing the M3's everywhere. I talk to my friends at work, they were like I just saw this M3 here and this one there. I know in a few years there will be more M3's than all the years of NSX's combined. At this point, I have pretty much said which ever car comes to me will. I have been thinking about this talking about it to people, that no one wants to hear it anymore :-/ I saw that white NSX, I don't know if I like the white so much, it does look very clean though. I will keep you guys posted, but I will have a car before Oct. 22.
Here is an 97' NSX targa with 18k miles .. its white. very sharp! high 40's right now.. Im sure itll get a bit higher.[/QUOTE]

It also has not yet met the reserve price the seller has set for the car... and it won't actually sell at a bidded price until it does. Just because a bidded price sounds attractive, doesn't mean that the car can actually be purchased at that price.