Last week my trusty family transporter was totalled in a hit and run, fortunately it was parked and no one was inside. We had plans to retire it from dd duty in about two years. My insurance company has written me a generous check for my once very nice but now destroyed ford explorer. I have about $5k to spend, keep in mind I need something as reliable family sized daily transportation for about two years. I have found a 2001 BMW 525i in very good condition with about 120k miles. The other car I'm looking at is a 2004 Passat wagon 1.8t engine and similar mileage. Cosmetically, the VW has seen better days but it's nothing that can't be fixed pretty easily. Neither car has much if any rust, and both appear mechanically sound(either will be checked out by a professional before I hand over a fist full of cash). I and my wife definately prefer the BMW, but are compeletly ok with the VW as well. Oh yeah, I also have a bit of a relationship with a good garage who has a euro specialist on staff. To those who have experience with these cars, which seems like the better choice, and what should I look out for in either model?