Thinking about upgrading from a 4 cyl. manual to a 6 cyl. auto

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For a while i wanted the most basic, reliable and economical car possible that was still confortable enough for long trips and i've been very well served by my old W202. Probably the most dependable car i ever had. Everything is extremely easy to get to and parts are cheap. During three years and 100k km, all i had to replace was a bad MAF, took me maybe 2 minutes and a water pump which was probably a 20 minutes job. Changing spark plugs and coils takes about 15 min and i don't even have to lift the car to change the oil, filter is right on top of the engine and it's a super clean job. It would be just as simple if i had to replace the starter, alternator, AC compressor, PS pump etc. Mileage is around 6.5L/100km (36 US MPG) on gas on the freeway or 8.5L/100km on E85 (28 MPG).

Recently a friend of mine bought a 99 Accord 3.0 V6 automatic coupe and another friend got a Peugeot 406 3.0 V6 automatic coupe. Drove both and loved them. I always prefered automatics but happen to be too distracted when i drive them. The V6 was the best part, they sound good and the torque is much more pleasant. However, both persons are only short trip, agressive drivers and don't care about their cars and do very little if any maintenance at all, the opposite of me.

After all i am a car enthusiast and to me there's no replacement for displacement. I would really like to drive something that sounds a bit nicer and has more torque but am unsure i can have it both ways and find something good on fuel and more importantly, be as easy to work on and reliable as what i currently have. A nice candidate would probably be another Mercedes with a longitudinal V6 like i had for a short time, they were designed to be easy to work on but 12 spark plugs to replace is stupid. What scares me the most is a transverse V6 with a bank of cylinder impossible to get to and requiring to pull the intake along with a bunch of stuff just to replace sparkplugs, diagnose a misfire or replace a gasket. Are they all that bad?

Waiting for your opinions and real life experience on owning cars with both types of engines and transmissions!
 
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How about BMW 3/5 with normally aspirated inline 6? I've found them to be reliable, easy enough to work on, and plenty fun to drive. And they can be had with a manual. The turbo 4 BMW's are pretty good too, but some do have a few problem areas to watch for.

Had a Honda (Acura) of that vintage with V6 and automatic. It was fun to drive and plugs weren't bad to change. The transmission had to be replaced under TSB/recall around 100k miles, but that was fairly common to that era. Car was running good at 250k miles when we moved on from it.
 

CKN

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Have you consider a 4 banger w/ a turbo. Easy to work on just the added cost of the turbo??????
He's as an incorrect assumption about turbos if you re-read his post. Motor technology has come a long way in the last 20 years w/small displacement turbo motors cranking out respectful horsepower.
 
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I've yet to get a transverse V6, for all of those fears. But a few years ago I went from manual to auto; now I'm back to having both. I disliked, at first, getting the manual back, but have adapted. In some ways it'd be nice to just keep both going forward, that way I'm just used to both, and enjoying both.

Will say that a lousy manual is no better than a lousy auto...

Just to play devil's advocate here, how do you know this isn't just some temporary feeling? Your friends got different rides, so suddenly you feel the need to change too. Gauging by your signature you're not one to keep up with the Joneses, so I don't want to accuse of that: but sometimes ideas pop into our head, and the right thing to do is to ignore them. You didn't come up with the reasons for your prior purchases on a lark, after all, they had solid reasons.

Sometimes i have to run the math and look at the consequences so as to nix an idea.
 

M119

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Have you consider a 4 banger w/ a turbo. Easy to work on just the added cost of the turbo??????
Possibly but it won't have the soundtrack. I'm also thinking about 5 cylinders. Already have one and i think they're cool.
 
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How about BMW 3/5 with normally aspirated inline 6? I've found them to be reliable, easy enough to work on, and plenty fun to drive. And they can be had with a manual. The turbo 4 BMW's are pretty good too, but some do have a few problem areas to watch for.

Had a Honda (Acura) of that vintage with V6 and automatic. It was fun to drive and plugs weren't bad to change. The transmission had to be replaced under TSB/recall around 100k miles, but that was fairly common to that era. Car was running good at 250k miles when we moved on from it.
As a DD BMW 6cyl manual owner, the reliability does not compare to a Honda. They are pretty fun and many things are easy to work on but sometimes the Germans really overthink things.
I think it’s easy on a BMW then work on my Honda and the Honda is almost unbelievably easy. Feel like I am missing steps or something.
 
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The thing with luxury German cars as DD’s is that you have to be familiar with weak points. As long as you pay some attention, they are usually more reliable than anything else. If you don’t, $30 part can cost you arm and a leg.
I use my BMW as DD, track car, taking kids to school. More reliable than my Toyota. But, Toyota would be more forgiving if something fails and I neglect it. Also working on transverse V6 is a nightmare.
 
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As a DD BMW 6cyl manual owner, the reliability does not compare to a Honda. They are pretty fun and many things are easy to work on but sometimes the Germans really overthink things.
I think it’s easy on a BMW then work on my Honda and the Honda is almost unbelievably easy. Feel like I am missing steps or something.
My DD BMW 6cyl manual is 11 years newer than yours, but the reliability has been as good as any Honda that I have owned. And the original transmission is still in the car, unlike the Honda which had to be replaced.
 
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Stick with your RWD formula if you're wanting the V6 experience. I'll never buy another transverse V. Car makers think nothing about jamming that valve cover 2cm from the firewall. Everything I have now is longitudinal, and I love it. The intake still has to come off if I want to change plugs in the '17 Mustang, but at least I don't have to rock the engine forward to get my hands on them.
 
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Stick with your RWD formula if you're wanting the V6 experience. I'll never buy another transverse V. Car makers think nothing about jamming that valve cover 2cm from the firewall. Everything I have now is longitudinal, and I love it. The intake still has to come off if I want to change plugs in the '17 Mustang, but at least I don't have to rock the engine forward to get my hands on them.
I had to change master cylinder not long time ago on Toyota, and I really hope I will never have to do that job again.
 

M119

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Are you going to break into the MY2000s or stay in the 90s? How much new fangled tech can you tolerate? Willing to plug in a code reader to diagnose problems?
I have no problem with buying something a bit more modern but i don't have much interest in german cars if they're more recent than say 2005. In this case i'm more tempted to get something like a Toyota or a Honda.
 
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