10 Best BMW Buying Tips: 5 New and 5 Pre-Owned

Car Tips | June 29th, 2008 by 24

We all know and love BMW’s. Some of us can afford brand new, some of us can’t. Some have the money but they would rather …

We all know and love BMW’s. Some of us can afford brand new, some of us can’t. Some have the money but they would rather spend it on an older BMW. This is all fine and well. No matter what BMW you get, you just bought a BMW. And if you are an enthusiast then hell yes! The more the merrier.

I have been looking at purchasing another BMW for myself. I know what I want, but I want too many cars. So I was trying to take my own advice and figure out what I want, and in the process I came up with the five best buying tips for buying new and the five best buying tips for purchasing pre-owned.

BMW M Performance Parts 3 Series F30 6 750x500 10 Best BMW Buying Tips: 5 New and 5 Pre Owned

Five Tips for New:

5) Research your credit information and finances. Know exactly what you can afford. Too many people know that they can afford a BMW, but they don’t know how they can afford it better, or pay less. I can afford a BMW too, but I don’t want to have to make the $600-$1,000 monthly payment if I don’t have to. Knowing your finances will also help you know how much you can and are willing to put down when you go to buy the car. Always know your debt to income ratio. Just because you make $6,000 a month doesn’t mean you can afford a BMW. Sometimes your credit card bills and the likes will hurt you when buying a car. And know that you will have those continual finances for the ownership of your BMW. Make sure you budget for a new car, even if you already make $20,000 a month. You will thank me later for it.

4) Don’t be hasty! Know exactly what you want and why you want it before you go buying it. I have seen too many people in my sales experience that purchased a car they either knew nothing about, or were told they wanted it by a salesman, only to end up not wanting it a month later and losing a lot when trading it in. it hurts your credit and your wallet. So be smart, know what you want. Test drive everything that you think is what you could use. If you want a 650i but you know that you need a 550i, don’t go buying the 650. Test drive it if you want, but buy what you know you will need. If you are looking for an M3 and don’t know whether you want an E90, E92 or E93, think about what you do all day every day. Do you take clients or friends out? Is it just you and your significant other? Is it just you in the car at all times, and maybe a few pieces of luggage? Think about these questions when you are buying.

3) Buy or lease? Which is better for you? Do you not drive a lot of miles a year and trade in every 2-3 years? If so, maybe a lease is the right thing for you. Do you like to hold on to a car for a while and hand it down through the family or sell it to a friend? Then buying is the right thing for you. The good thing about a BMW lease is that if your contract is for 10,000 miles a year, there is no issue with calling your salesman up and asking for 15,000 miles at some point during the lease. Just remember that it will cost you a little extra to do that.

2) Go to your local BMW dealership and buy what you want. It’s easy as that. If you have the finances, just go and find what you want. Research different dealerships in your area first. Ask friends and family members where they purchased their BMW’s and what salesman they got them from. Ask them their experience. No one wants to buy from the wrong place and find it out later.

1) European Delivery. There is nothing better than getting your exact BMW, the one that you want with the options that you want. You can take delivery of your BMW in two different ways, you can either pick it up from the dealership once it is ready and has been shipped by BMW, or even better, you can go to Germany and pick it up yourself. Now who wouldn’t to do that? You get to drive around Europe for a week in your brand new Bimmer and see the sights, drive the Autobahn, take the BMW tours, feel the greatness of the back roads over there, or best yet, go on the Nürburgring. I don’t know how many of you care about racing on the ‘Ring, especially in your brand new car, but I would do it, if that helps. Also, by getting an ED BMW, you are saving some nice cash too. I have seen people save $5,000-$6,000. Hmm… I like the sound of that.

Five Tips for Pre-Owned

bmw zhp e46 02 750x562 10 Best BMW Buying Tips: 5 New and 5 Pre Owned

5) Check on eBay or Autotrader for your next BMW. I warn you though, don’t ever buy it unless you’ve seen it and had it inspected by a BMW dealership or a certified BMW technician. Pay the couple hundred dollars to have the cars checked out. It can be okay to purchase sight unseen, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You can still pick up great deals online from dealers or private owners. Some owners just need to get rid of the cars and want the money. This is also a good way to gauge the average pricing of certain BMW’s.

4) Check out the local lots. See if there are any cars that you like. There are going to be plenty of back woods used car lots that will have no idea what kind of BMW they are selling and will price it low. Even though this is a great price, have it checked out by BMW or a BMW tech.

3) Go to a used car lot that you trust. There is a local lot here in Wilmington, NC where I live that is owned by two of my old sales managers from when I sold cars at Mazda. They are good guys and I trust them for a lot of stuff. They borrow my custom guitars all of the time and I hang out with them a lot. I know what they purchased the BMW’s for on their lot, and I can safely say that they are making a marginal profit off of them. Try to find people like that in your area. Take the prices that they have on their lot and compare them to the same or similar cars online or at another lot. Still, though, no matter what, always trust that there is something wrong with the car and pay to have it checked out at a BMW dealership or with a certified BMW technician.

2) Buy a CPO BMW from BMW. Go to your local BMW dealership and purchase one that you like and works with your lifestyle and budget. You will pay a little more for a Certified Pre-Owned BMW, but isn’t that extra warranty and peace of mind worth it? If BMW CPO’s it and there is an issue with it, I have never heard of BMW not taking care of it the right way. And if they don’t, contact BMW North America immediately and let them know the issue. Research on BMW’s website or at your local dealer the special finance rates on certain cars. Like right now, BMW is offering 2.9% financing on 2005 and 3.9% on a 2006 CPO BMW.

1) DON’T BUY THE FIRST THING YOU SEE! Take all of these tips here that I have told you and know more about purchasing a pre-owned BMW. If your gut says no, or that there seems to be something sketchy here, there is! And walk away, now! Don’t trust people, know whether they are telling the truth or not. Research your BMW information. E-mail me, contact someone that you trust with BMW’s and ask them what they think. Have someone who knows come take a look at the car with you. Always budget for the possibility that something could go wrong with your car and you have to pay good money to have it fixed. No car is perfect, not even a BMW, sorry.

These are the best tips I can give you guys. I hope these help, and feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or comments.

Article by Josh from RawAutos.com

  • John

    The European Delivery is probably one of the best ways to buy a BMW, as long as you have time to fly to Germany, the savings are amazing and if you lease, you will save even more.

  • http://www.rawautos.com RawAutos

    Thanks for your comment John. I’m glad that you had a great experience and are able to agree with my best tip. If you have an experience you would like to share feel free to e-mail myself or Horatiu your story, if you haven’t done so already.

  • Mark

    Very informative and helpful…..you would think that this would all be common sense, but then again, this info will likely save someone money….

    Another tip I could add is a simple one…..when you go into a dealer, see how you are treated….see how quick someone asks you if help is needed….if you get a bad feeling, then that is the first sign to get the heck out of there…..for instance, the local guy who was initially going to sell me my car left the dealership and went back into the oil business (smart man)…I really liked him as I could always stop and and yack (he has already sold my mom two X5’s)….when I went in and learned that he had left, I met his “replacement”….a true example of a cold fish….when this dweeb realized I was not going to buy right then and there, he quickly wrote me off…I could see it in his eyes, his face and his body language….the temperature in that cubicle dropped 25 degrees….

    At that point, I called and started a dialog with Irv….best move I ever made even though I am about 1,000 miles from Motorwerks Barrington!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA……NO BS from Irv!!!


  • http://www.rawautos.com RawAutos

    Very good point Mark. I know from being a former car salesman that it is absolutely important for a customer to have respect for you. I thought a lot of these things were common sense too, for a long time, but being a car salesman made me realize that it, unfortunately, is not.

    • gokhan

      I am planning to purchase a BMW 5 series between 2006-2009 years, but if i purchase one of those form private sellers or non-bmw dealers, they are being out of warranty. i wonder if buying a used bmw w/o warranty, or since i will be driving around 15,000 per year lease is better. i ask this based on service and repair costs that i may pay for the bmw which is very expensive. which one would you advise, used or new bmw?

  • Mark

    True Josh….despite the phenomenal growth of the internet (for better or worse, depending on whom you ask) has given the savvy buyer a wealth of information….Unless someone has lived under a rock for years, or hated computers for whatever reason, there is absolutely no excuse for not going into a dealership without a modicum of information/knowledge…the old axiom “Knowledge is Power” is true, though all you have to do is read the ‘fest where people have abused this knowledge. How?? You see, too many try going in to a dealer and cram down some ridiculously low ball offer down the dealerships’ throat..for instance, “I am willing to pay you only $125 over invoice for that $80K car”…then the customer gets pissed when they refuse the offer (and heaven forbid, counter the offer) and then go and tell lies on the BMW forums….

    There is a bad side to this information as indicated by the above example (the “$125 over invoice offer” is real though it was several years ago)….I am flabbergasted that some people try and beat down a dealership with some ridiculous offer….for goodness sakes, the dealer needs to make SOME profit and the sales person needs to make some sort of commission…..if you cannot afford a $1K to $1.5K offer over invoice offer, then you do not need to be driving a new BMW….

    I guess the bottom line is that if the sales person shows YOU respect, then be considerate and show some respect back….simple enough?? Then again….maybe not……


  • Horatiu B.

    Good points Mark, but honestly, for my first BMW, I closed the deal through email, with Irv, and walked into the dealership when I had to sign the paperwork. I did not even drive the car before :)

  • Bruce

    I’ve found two very reliable cars that have been inspected by BMW, along with carfax reports. I’m just stuck with the dilemma of high mileage(49,000mi) in one of the cars, a 2007 328i. The car started properly and drove great (if not better then the other car I test drove) but you have any advice when dealing with such a high mileaged car as that? Is there a milestone for BMW’s where they start faltering or does that depend really on how the car was treated for the 2 year lease? The other choice was nearly equal of price (roughly $23k) but was a 2006 325i with 30,000 miles without the premium package that the 328i had.

  • http://www.rosemarketingalliance.com nikki

    so, if I go to Germany to get a BMW, they will pay to ship it here? Or will I have to make arrangements

  • ian

    i wish to know were exactly is the best pplace to go for a second hand car in germany.
    i prefer the bmw 3 series convertible 2008 upwards.

  • http://www.refusevehiclesolutions.co.uk/ Dustcarts

    Think carefully about what you’re looking for, as the better you know ahead of time what you need, the more targeted your search will be, and happier you’ll be with your choice. A convertible isn’t the best choice for a family of five, and an SUV will prove to be a challenge for someone driving long distances or constantly navigating downtown traffic and parking lots.

  • Kevin

     I was curious as to what years of BMW you would reccomend? i’m looking into pre-owned BMWs and was curious as to what years you’d reccomend for long lasting life, performance, and wont rip out my wallet.

  • Vaj Sage

    It explains the process, with which almost 80% of us are familiar. It should have rather explained what maintenance problems one might encounter after buying. The cost of maintenance, whether it is advisable to buy a BMW after 100,000 miles, when do these die out e.t.c

  • Vaj Sage

    It explains the process, with which almost 80% of us are familiar. It should have rather explained what maintenance problems one might encounter after buying. The cost of maintenance, whether it is advisable to buy a BMW after 100,000 miles, when do these die out e.t.c

  • Kevinandliz0

    Do not purchase a BMW.  The service managers can at their discretion void warranties without any notification, and refuse to document any of their services, refuse to provide a written estimate, refuse to provide a written reason for voiding the warranty, and refuse to put one into contact with someone else.

    Calling BMW USA’s customer relations department is just as useless, they point the finger back at the dealer, refuse to provide their fax number, and refuse to offer any of the above mentioned documents.  

    They are structured so that a person has no access to anyone else within the company such as the BMWUSA consultants who agreed with voiding my warranty.   They are compartmentalized and use this to stonewall customers.

    The issue is that I purchased the car used from an independent dealer 4/30/2011.  The car was purchased at auction after being listed by BMW as a CPO (3/22/2011) car (by the independent dealer).   The car when entering service for a regular scheduled oil change (5/20/2011) the dealer offered me an extended warranty for sale.  

    Now they are claiming because the original owner did not record the oil change with the dealer at the scheduled time (17K instead of 15K, and 32K instead of 30K), that they are voiding the engine warranty.   This happened because I had an engine light due to the turbos.  Turns out the turbo problem according to the dealer are related to either 1) the wastegate actuators or 2) the flapper valve.   If you are not familiar with turbos, these items have NOTHING to do with oil lubrication.  

    Please protect yourselves and avoid BMW.   

  • Ihab

    thanks for the enlightening info josh, but im wondering would u trust the website autotrader, and if they mentioned that the car is cpo should i take their word for it? because a used m6 that has been driven 33,500km caught my eye (o yea btw is it a good idea to get the m6 based on the milage?) sorry for the 100 question

  • Kreighbaumg

    What is the true difference between CPO and just used inventory??  Is the CPO worth the added cost?

  • Ai–shiteru–

    I am from Laos, i am planing to buy a used BMW 2006 M6 from dealer
    This car have 13,000 miles import from America.
    The price is $70,000 include the tax.
    Plz give me advice, this is the only one M6 we have in Laos!
    And I really want it so much, plz give me some advice!
    Thank u soo much, waiting from the expert!

  • mayu

    Hi Josh,
    Thanks for your tips they are good enough to think about CPOs.
    I’ve bought a 2009 BMW X5 xDrive 30i yesterday (has 31,000 miles on it) from a huge and well-known dealer in Berkeley, California. Its a fully loaded SAV and the KBB value says for this model with all the features on it as – $41,692. I bought it for $41,900 -EMI for 72 months@2.9% APR. I’m happy with what I bought it for.  This is my first ever BMW. I currently own a 2001 Honda Civic (used car from a 2nd owner)

    This BMW X5 still has 18,000 miles/1.2 years of BMW Factory warranty which is till 2013 Feb. The dealer gave an extended warranty until 2015/100,000 miles which ever comes first, within the Car price. They also offered some warranties on tires/rim and maintenance related

    I have few questions regarding the maintenance warranties:1. Is it worth taking the Tire and Rim warranty (worth $1700) that covers any costs for replacement or repair of all tires and/or rims until 2015 March?2. IS it worth taking maintanence warranty (worth $2400) that covers any costs that we need to pay towards engine oil and fluid services, brake fluid service and brake pad replacement, any unexpected wear and tear servicing, Inspection services etc, from 2013 Feb till 2015 March? (Ideally the approx. general maintenance cost for my BMW X5 SAV between 2013 – 2015 would be around $4,500). This general maintenance will be free @any BMW dealer nation-wide if I take this maintenance warranty worth $2,400 now.

    I’m confused and not sure if it is really worth paying $2400 from my pocket now for future maintenance towards my CPO BMW X5 xDrive 30i. Will it be a wise decision to opt for maintenance.
    Do you see (out of your experience) that I might have any unexpected maintenance apart from general maintenance (such as, cooling system or CD player or rare view mirror malfunctioning etc.) which might cost me more than $4,500 between 2013-2015?
    They offered me this when I signed the deal. but I can take any of these warranties within a week with the above pricing. Can’t take any of these after a week of purchase. So I need to make a decision within a week only.
    Your suggestions on this would be highly appreciated. I still have time to think.

    Thanks a lot in advance,Mayu

  • Luis

    Hey josh I live in Wilmington nc hoping you can help me out I have been looking at a few BMWs email me if you can le_ayala927@hotmail.com

  • Budhak0n

    Waste of time and frankly outright silly when considering the operation of the world and REAL money. Glad to know you have some friends in Carolina with a used car lot though. Thanks for that wonderfully insightful tidbit of financial “info” that i garnered simply by doing a search in the Inteeeernet … World WIDE Web of useless info. Hilarious.

  • impellitterivan

    Hello i want to buy a bmw 325i from 2004. What should i inspect? Please help this will be my first BMW. If you preffer send me email to. musicaservicios@gmail.com thank you i have lots of concerns about this.



  • worthless site

    worst article ever all this is explaining is how to buy a used car in general, NOTHING ABOUT THIS ARTICLE DOES IT EXPLAIN TO YOU WHAT YOUR LOOKIN FOR WHEN BUYING A BMW waste of my time

  • Namakabrood Abrood

    I had no idea people are still interested in BMWs. Porsche for me cuz there are no substitutes.