Ranking The Best Used BMWs To Get On A Budget (2023)

We'll be straightforward here: as far as Bavarian cars go, BMWs are among our favorite German automobiles. Extending from all categories (luxury, economy, performance, and so on), BMWconstantly makes outstanding cars, which only seem to improve as time goes on.

Unfortunately, though, the one thing that hasn't changed is the high costs associated with these cool sports carsor luxury cruisers. Getting a brand new one at a bargain likely won't happen, but that's not to say you can't get a few on a budget.

So don't give up hope yet. If you're trying to pinch pennies, but still want a reliable and fast car, take a look at these amazing BMWs to get on a budget.

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10 BMW Z3 M

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Alright, alright, before the obligatory "Clown-shoe car" comments come rolling in, take a moment to look deeper into this tiny sports car. Even though it may not be everyone's cup of tea, the Z3 Ms are awesome little toys to rip around!

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The classic Z3 has two options: the Roadster (convertible) and the Coupe. The latter is the one with the clown-shoe appearance, but it's still a unicorn. The M-tune is still an M-tune, so it'll certainly perform well. Plus, these models are only getting rarer and rarer. Before long, these Z3 M's may surpass their expected future value.

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9 BMW 535i (F10)

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For those of you looking for a more 'modern' type of car, we have a suggestion for you, as well. We present the early-to-mid-2010's 5-Series: the BMW F10-body 535i.

Like the newest 5-Series, the previous body was a well-equipped luxury sedan. Though, unlike the 2021 version, an early-2010's F10 won't break the bank to purchase; around $17,000 or so.

The 535i trim is our first choice (excluding the M5). It's a perfect hybrid between comfort and speed, making the 535i a near-ideal combination of the two. It's beaten only by the much faster, much more costly F10 M5.

8 BMW E46 M3

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Normally, when discussing our favorite BMW models to choose from, we'd rank cars like this E46 M3 much higher. Yet, with the growing price-tags on E46 M3's, these would-be cheap sports cars have begun to enter the territory of high-end classics.

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The early-2000's M3 is seen by many to be a 'Supercar in disguise', and for good reason. Twenty-plus years after its production, the E46 M3 still dominates various autocross/motorsports series. To add to that, the older M3s still grow in popularity every year.

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7 BMW 325i (E30)

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Every classic BMW enthusiast has a desire for a clean E30 M3 in their garage. However, with the old M3's prices increasing with (seemingly) no end, those of us without $70,000 to spend must look elsewhere.

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Luckily, not all E30's are as costly as the M. For instance, there's the 325i—a six-cylinder non-M alternative to the M3. It's much less expensive ($4,000 to $10,000) and offers an amazing platform for modifications. Plus, you can get a four-door option, too!

6 BMW E60 M5

As we have discussed with various sports cars in the past, depreciation will inevitably lower a vehicle's price. Some, though, hit a bottom-point, so to speak; only increasing from there. You'll see this a lot with old supercars and the like, but also less costly ones, as well. For instance, the mid-2000's BMW M5.

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Known as the E60 M5, this particular 5-Series is equipped with one of BMW's most ambitious power units to date: the 5.2-liter V10 'S85'.

So long as you don't mind spending the extra dough on copious amounts of engine oil and gasoline, the E60 M5 will be the loudest, fastest, and angriest looking luxury sedan you can get on a budget.

5 BMW 740i M-Sport (E38)

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Everyone who loves sleepers, listen up! While cars like the Volvo 240, Honda Odyssey, and other obscure cars are favorited by tuners to make into sleepers, it's the less well-known ones that are remembered. And what better car to take up that mantle than the E38 7-Series?

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As an owner of a 740i M-Sport, we can say (definitively) that the 740i is not your run-of-the-mill luxury classic. Its 4.4-liter V8 provides plenty of power, even stock, as well as a comfortable ride for all occupants. Those factors, plus many more, are just a few of the reasons why we'd rank the E38 as one of the best budget luxury cars available nowadays.

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4 BMW 540i M-Sport (E39)

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Speaking of the 4.4-liter V8 inside the 740i, there's yet another BMW that hosts the very same power unit. This one, though, is much more performance-oriented than the long-wheelbase 7-Series. Of course, it's the E39 540i M-Sport.

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Utilizing the same performance package as the 7-Series' M-Sport, the 540i is a sportier version of the 740i. The biggest upside to the 540i, however, is the availability of a manual transmission; something that's sorely needed in the 740i. With that, though, come slightly higher costs, albeit only marginally.

3 BMW E36 M3

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Onto our top three choices, our first of the selection is one that (in time) will disappear. Similar to the E46 M3, E30, and others, this choice is only affordable for the time being. It's more than likely not going to remain this way for long.

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The car we're talking about is the BMW E36 M3. Made in the mid-to-late-1990's, the E36 M3 marked the second generation of BMW's famous M3 lineup. Although it had big shoes to fill, since its predecessor was the legendary E30 M3, the E36 still impressed all the same.

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What's great for us is that it's nowhere near as expensive as the E30 M3. Well, for now, that is. We'd estimate that, within the next few years, the E36 M3 will go from topping out at $10,000, to the cheapest being $10,000. So, get 'em while they're still reasonable.

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2 BMW 525i (E34)

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Though we've gone over a couple of BMW's that're outstanding to mod, it's the ones that are rarely seen or upgraded that truly catches our eye. In this case, the E34 525i is a perfect example of what we're talking about.

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Now, we may be a tad bit biased, since we had previously owned, drifted, and sold a tank of an E34 - A 1995 525i. Even with a long wheelbase and heavy curb-weight, the older 5-Series performs as well as its smaller counterparts (so long as you account for the power-to-weight ratios).

1 BMW 328i (E36)

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"Hold on a moment. A 328i ranked higher than the M3 version of the same car?!" Yes, under normal circumstances we'd agree with that sentiment. The E36 M3 is far superior to the non-M 328i. However, with the M3's price only growing, it's become less of an attainable car (compared to what it was just a few years ago). So, if you don't want to drop around $10,000, but still have the urge for an E36, get the 328i.

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The 328i's appearance is almost indistinguishable from the M3's. Onlookers who aren't intimately familiar with BMW won't easily tell the difference between the two. Beyond that, the performance (although much less than the M3) is far from poor. With just a handful of mods, it wouldn't be wild to see a 328i that's better equipped than the samemodel yearM3.

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FAQs

Which is the best second hand BMW to buy? ›

10 Best BMWs To Buy Used
  • 10 M5 E60.
  • 9 325i (E30)
  • 8 Z3 M.
  • 7 2002.
  • 6 i8.
  • 5 Z4 E89.
  • 4 X3 E83.
  • 3 5 Series E28.
Jun 27, 2022

Which BMW is budget friendly? ›

BMW car price starts at Rs 41.49 Lakh for the cheapest model which is 2 Series Gran Coupe and the price of most expensive model, which is XM starts at Rs 2.60 Crore. BMW offers 22 car models in India, including 9 cars in SUV category, 9 cars in Sedan category, 1 car in Convertible category, 3 cars in Coupe category.

Is BMW a good second hand car? ›

But when you consider BMW used cars, you can get many of the features you want in a classic luxury car for far less than new ones. For most drivers in the market for a used BMW, buying one that's four to six years old provides a nice balance between cost and the latest features.

Do not buy a used BMW? ›

Many experienced owners and mechanics will tell you to stay far away from used BMWs, especially ones from the last 20 years, or so. They are simply not worth the money you will no doubt have to pour into them. They break easily, the parts are expensive, and the labor costs are astronomical.

What BMW has the least problems? ›

The first X3 may not be the prettiest model around, but it impressed many with its reliability.
  • 8 2008 BMW 750i. BMW. ...
  • 7 2010 BMW E90 328i. via BMW. ...
  • 6 2012 BMW Z4. BMW. ...
  • 5 2016 BMW M4. BMW. ...
  • 4 2005 BMW 325i. BMW. ...
  • 3 2019 BMW 1-Series F40. BMW. ...
  • 2 2018 BMW i3. BMW. ...
  • 1 2006 BMW E90 330i. BMW.
Feb 13, 2023

What is high mileage for a used BMW? ›

If you're considering a used BMW, you'll want to consider the following factors when determining the condition of low mileage used cars: Use – What is considered high mileage? Anything over 75,000 miles falls under this category.

How many miles is too many to buy a used BMW? ›

The cutoff for good mileage on a used car is generally somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 miles, but today's used cars are lasting longer than ever!

What is the poor man's BMW? ›

The Datsun 510, once considered a 'poor man's BMW.'

Which BMW is best for beginners? ›

If you're looking for a BMW as your first car, theBMW 1 Series is probably your best bet. It's small and agile, making it easy to drive for new drivers with less experience. While many other cars in its class are relatively basic, a BMW 1 Series is packed with the performance, features and quality you'd expect.

Why are second hand BMWs so cheap? ›

Why are used BMWs so cheap? They cost a lot to repair, the market is oversaturated, they have low residual value, and they are competing against new BMW pricing incentives. BMWs might be affordable in their used state, but that doesn't mean they're worth the investment. We hope this information was helpful!

What are the disadvantages of BMW? ›

High Ownership Costs (Con)

You'll need premium gasoline, high-end tires, more expensive parts that are imported. You'll also pay more for labor and your synthetic oil change. At the end of the day, BMWs are a the top of the list of most expensive cars to maintain .

Are BMWs worth the money? ›

BMW cars are known for their performance. They regularly place high on review charts, thanks to their powerful engines, superior horsepower, agility, and overall driving experience. No matter what class of vehicle it is, BMW tunes every model's driving dynamics to perfection.

Are old BMWs cheaper to maintain? ›

However, as BMWs are luxury vehicles, they will be more expensive to maintain and repair than other makes and models. BMW owners can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to $1,700 for overall maintenance and repairs each year.

What is the most common problem with BMW? ›

Oil Leaks. As much as it is not an issue with newer BMW models, oil leaks are one of the most common problems you encounter with BMWs. Most times, oil leaks witnessed with BMWs come from the valve corners or at the transmission. It may also be a result of a failing fuel pump.

How many miles before BMW has problems? ›

Although we believe BMW's are reliable cars there are a few primary issues that plague a vast majority of all BMW's and BMW engines. A lot of these problems start to develop somewhere in the ballpark of 80,000-120,000 miles.

How long does 328i last? ›

You can expect your 3 Series to last anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 miles when properly maintained.

Which BMW series looks the best? ›

Top Gear's Top 9: the best looking BMWs ever made
  • BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe. ...
  • BMW 507. ...
  • BMW 2002 tii. ...
  • BMW E24 635CSi. ...
  • BMW E39 M5. ...
  • BMW Z8. ...
  • BMW E46 M3 CSL. ...
  • BMW i8.

What is the most reliable 3 Series BMW? ›

The E90 330i built from 2005 to 2007 is definitely your best bet if you're in the market for a used and reliable 3 Series. Not only does it sport the most reliable engine of all E90s, but it's also one of the most powerful naturally-aspirated options.

Whats the best BMW on the market? ›

10 Of The Best BMW Car Models On The Market
  • 3 BMW M5.
  • 4 BMW Z4. ...
  • 5 BMW X7. ...
  • 6 BMW X3. ...
  • 7 BMW X4. ...
  • 8 BMW 6-Series GT. ...
  • 9 BMW i8 Roadster. The BMW i8 Roadster is an early adopter of hybrid tech. ...
  • 10 BMW X2. BMW X2 is based on the X1 and follows BMW's tradition of producing coupes off the back of a standard SUV. ...
Oct 26, 2019

What is the safest BMW model? ›

BMW IIHS Safety Ratings

The 2022 IIHS safety ratings haven't been revealed at this time, but two popular models were deemed the safest BMW cars in 2021: the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe and 3 Series sedans. When equipped with specific headlights, each of these vehicles was named a Top Safety Pick.

Who is BMW biggest competitor? ›

BMW Group competitors include Porsche, Audi, Mercedes-Benz USA, Lexus and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

What BMW gets best mileage? ›

The 2022 BMW 230i Coupe is the BMW with the best gas mileage. The BMW 230i Coupe runs on a 2.0L I-4 cyl engine that features a robust 35 MPG HWY and 26 MPG in the city.

What is too high of mileage to buy a used car? ›

Often, 100,000 miles is considered a cut-off point for used cars because older vehicles often start requiring more expensive and frequent maintenance when mileage exceeds 100,000.

What is the maximum mileage for a good used car? ›

What is Good Mileage for a Car? Most professional mechanics will tell you that 12,000 miles per year is an accurate estimate for a car that has not been overdriven and considered to have high mileage. Therefore, a vehicle driven for 10 years, would have an acceptable mileage of 120,000 miles.

Is a 10 year old car too old? ›

When buying a used car that's 10-years-old or older, your primary concerns are purchase price and reliability. Don't pay more than that 10-year-old car is worth. And, pick a car with a solid reputation for dependability. No car is really too old if you follow those rules.

Will a BMW last 10 years? ›

A BMW can last 150-200,000 miles with proper care and if you drive the national average of 13,500 miles per year, you can expect to drive your BMW for 10-15 years according to MotorAsk.

How old of a car should I buy? ›

What's the “Sweet Spot” for Used Car Age? In retaining “like new” quality and inheriting a slower depreciation rate, the best used car age for buying is 2-3 years. In fact, Americans are saving up to $14,000 on a 3-year-old vehicle.

What kind of person drives a BMW? ›

And as for the typical BMW driver? Described by Chambers' analysis as brave, flashy and self-confident, research from YouGov highlights that 70 per cent of BMW drivers see themselves as being more knowledgeable than other drivers.

How much is a low end BMW? ›

Its expansive lineup reaches into diverse segments, and in some cases creates new ones. BMW SUVs and cars emphasize upscale appointments and sporty dynamics. Least Expensive: Starting just under $38,000, the 228i Gran Coupe is the least expensive BMW car (followed closely by the 230i coupe).

What is BMW ghost? ›

The BMW Autowatch Ghost is a complete stealth immobiliser that runs totally independent to the factory alarm/immobiliser that's fitted. Once you have a BMW Autowatch Ghost anti-clone system installed & programmed to your car or van by one of our qualified engineers.

Which BMW model has the best engine? ›

– The S58 twin turbocharged inline six engine from the G20 3 Series is the latest and greatest BMW engine. It's extremely powerful and sounds great, but it's also known for being very reliable.

Is BMW better then Benz? ›

The J.D. Power 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study assessed 2018 models of the world's most famous brands, noting number of problems per 100 vehicles. BMW came 11th with a score of 108 issues. Mercedes-Benz ranked 15th with 122. So it's very close, but BMW looks to fare best of the two for reliability.

Can you haggle at BMW? ›

You can haggle at a dealership. We encourage our customers to always do their own research to make sure they're getting the most reasonable trade-in offers. Can you trade in a car you still owe on? You can with a dealership.

Is it worth buying a certified pre owned BMW? ›

Sure, you'll spend a bit of extra money on a CPO car than you will a normal used BMW but it's almost certainly worth it. The extra money you'll spend on the car is well worth the peace of mind, knowing that the vehicle has been thoroughly inspected and given an additional year warranty.

Is the BMW 328i a good car? ›

Are BMW 328i Cars Reliable? The BMW 328i has average reliability ratings. While it is considered one of the more reliable BMW models, it doesn't fare well when compared to other midsize cars in its segment.

What is the life of a BMW? ›

Almost any BMW has the potential to run for up to 200,000 or even 250,000 miles with proper maintenance–and there are always going to be outliers that go further. Since every new BMW includes complimentary factory-recommended maintenance through BMW Ultimate Care, it's easy to start off on the right foot.

Which car is better Audi or BMW? ›

BMW often edges out Audi in handling, with their cars designed to offer the “ultimate driving experience.” Audi cars are slightly less agile than BMW because their overall stiffer suspension systems maximize a smooth, comfortable ride. For reliability, BMW consistently ranks higher.

Is it expensive to repair a BMW? ›

On average, BMW owners can expect to pay between $150 to $400 per service every 10,000 miles. A major service can cost $1,000 to $3,000 or more. At the end of the day, owners pay about $1,000 to $1,700 per year for maintenance and repairs – this is higher than most brands.

Are any BMWs reliable? ›

Fortunately, BMW reliability ratings from multiple agencies corroborate that sterling reputation: Consumer Reports — In the 2020 rankings, every BMW in the lineup scored above average. The brand overall is ranked eighth, and the most-reliable BMW vehicles are the i3 electric vehicle and the X6 midsize SUV.

How much is an oil change on a BMW? ›

How Much is an Oil Change for a BMW? BMW oil change costs generally come in between $135 and $175, with about $90 to $110 of that total dedicated to parts and fluids, and the rest to labor!

Which is cheaper to maintain Audi BMW or Mercedes? ›

If you change your car fairly regularly then you most likely will not be paying over the odds to maintain your Audi as routine work does not differ in price by much. Audi are in fact cheapest for steering and suspension work and electrical and batteries.

What is the cheapest car to maintain? ›

Cheapest Cars to Maintain:
  • Toyota Corolla. Toyota has long been known as an automaker that produces simple, reliable vehicles with very low maintenance costs. ...
  • Honda Accord. ...
  • Toyota Camry. ...
  • Honda Civic. ...
  • Kia Soul. ...
  • Mitsubishi Mirage. ...
  • Nissan Versa. ...
  • Toyota Prius.
Feb 9, 2023

Why are second hand BMW so cheap? ›

Why are used BMWs so cheap? They cost a lot to repair, the market is oversaturated, they have low residual value, and they are competing against new BMW pricing incentives. BMWs might be affordable in their used state, but that doesn't mean they're worth the investment. We hope this information was helpful!

Which 3 series BMW is most reliable? ›

Among them, one of the most reliable BMWs of all time is the E90 3 Series, but we're not talking about the M3 or even the turbocharged 335i, no, that title goes to the entry-level and midrange non-turbocharged versions of the E90 fifth-gen 3 Series.

How many miles does BMW last? ›

How many miles do BMW models last? A BMW can last 150-200,000 miles with proper care and if you drive the national average of 13,500 miles per year, you can expect to drive your BMW for 10-15 years according to MotorAsk.

Is it a good time to buy a BMW? ›

There is no better time to buy or lease a new BMW than right now. Whether you are looking for a new 2023 BMW X3, X5, 5 Series, and X7, there has never been a better time to buy a new BMW than right now.

What is the best year used 3 Series BMW? ›

If you are looking at a used BMW 3 series then the generation that has the highest overall reliability rating is the 2006 through 2011. If you get one of the 328i sedans or coupes from this era you will have a long-lasting car.

Is BMW 3 Series worth the money? ›

Yes, the BMW 3 Series is a good luxury small car . Performance is still its ultimate calling card, and it's defined by confident handling and swift acceleration. The base model offers great fuel economy, while the M3 – the king of the lineup – is built to be track-ready. Trunk room is among the best in the class.

What are the most efficient BMW engines? ›

The 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline four-cylinder engine – this engine is used in a variety of different BMW models, including the 3 Series, 4 Series, 5 Series, and X1. It is known for being powerful and efficient, and many customers have said that it is one of the most reliable BMW engines.

Are BMW good for long distance? ›

For those who would think it is not the ideal car to drive anywhere for long distances, some would say think again. This is a car that BMW helped manufacture, and most, if not all, BMWs have a great history of being known to have the best ride comfort given to the driver and occupants.

Which BMW SUV has the best mileage? ›

Which BMW SUV Gets the Best Gas Mileage?
  • 2023 BMW X1 xDrive28i: 25 mpg city / 34 mpg highway.
  • 2022 BMW X1 sDrive28i: 24 mpg city / 33 mpg highway.

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