I’m not looking to save any money, that’s for sure. I expect a BMW, or just about any RWD car, to cost me more. My little Saturn gets 38mpg+ (broke 40 several times) and is probably the cheapest car I’ve ever own from a “total cost of ownership” standpoint. There aren't very many cars on the planet that’ll save me a significant amount over what I currently have. The Saturn was cheap to buy ($900 invested), is cheap to insure, cheap to maintain, great on gas, and parts are among the cheapest out there to keep it going. Plus, it's super easy to work on and seldom needs anything.
I didn't really think about the BMW "premium fuel" penalty though. that's an extra $.20/gal around here.
The BMW is more daydreaming/ planning ahead (I will eventually replace the Saturn) than a serious near-term purchase. My problem is, my Saturn is reliable, economical, and cheap as dirt to drive and maintain but it’s just about the most boring car ever made. I long to drive a RWD car again but my 80mi daily commute means there is a SERIOUS fuel cost penalty to pay for something truly fun.
On top of the RWD requirement I also want:
-Manual tranny- no exceptions. I HATE driving automatics.
-room for 4-5 people (may compromise this one as I have other cars for family hauling)
-cheap (<$5000 used)
-no less than 30mpg hwy.
This has proven to be a difficult set of criteria to meet with a car.
As far as swaps go, although I’m more than capable, I have a 69 Mustang project that is first in line for competition before any major “Daily driver” swaps/mods are done. I just don’t have the time and money to accomplish it all. To top that off, I have my 3rd "bundle of joy" coming mid-next year
so time/money will be at even more of a premium.
I have, many times, considered building a 65 Ford Falcon into a daily driver after the Mustang is completed as I have a soft spot for classics. I think a 2.0L from a Ford Focus mated to a T5 (adaptor bellhousings are readily available) would make for a pretty good powertrain. It would propel a 2300lb Falcon with ease and should get 30+ hwy without any effort. However, that’s a MAJOR project that I can’t financially tackle right now. Something more “ready-made” would be preferable.