As of January 14th, it's been one year since I've taken ownership of the car. In that time I have fallen desperately in love with BMWs. I still miss my Saab and will always be a fan of the brand, but Echo has been an all-around better vehicle in just about every regard.
My year was nearly maintenance-free but that's due to a lot of scheduled maintenance having been performed just before I bought the car. This coming year I'm going to need:
(b) rear tires
(c) a major service including transmission and diff fluid changes, and installing a new water pump as a preventative measure.
A few things I've had to get used to with this gal:
I cannot rotate my tires. This car came from the factory with a staggered setup - my wheels are 18" all the way around, but the rears are 255's while my fronts are 225's. Furthermore, they're directional tires, so I can't even swap left-to-right. This year will be the first time that I myself get new tires on the car, so I have no idea yet how this will affect longevity.
I don't have to change my oil that often at all... though I do have to top it off frequently. This past year I've driven almost exactly 15,000 miles, and in that time I've changed my oil twice - the second of which I performed on Echo's anniversary. The recommended oil change interval for this car is actually 15,000 miles but all the enthusiast forums suggest that people perform intermediate 7,500mi changes to avoid issues. Despite the infrequency of the changes, they're still expensive, as this car has a 7qt sump and a $25 filter that can't be generically replaced. Changing the oil costs $95, and that's when I do it myself. These engines, even when perfectly healthy, consume quite a bit of oil; I think I've put a full quart and a half in during each of my 7,500mi intervals. Weird.
All in all, I'm so happy I was able to get into this vehicle, and I plan to keep her around for a long time. I still have a handful of preventative measures to get taken care of before I start thinking about performance enhancements, but this coming year it's looking like I'm going to be able to save a bunch of money, which means I'll be able to tackle all these issues more quickly than I would have otherwise. Anyway, Happy anniversary, cutie! You've been a blast.