Best pre-owned BMW under $20,000?

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Despite most of us being BMW enthusiasts here at BMWBLOG, not all of us can afford a brand new BMW. We know that a lot …

Despite most of us being BMW enthusiasts here at BMWBLOG, not all of us can afford a brand new BMW. We know that a lot of you fellow readers are driving pre-owned Bimmers, some are probably even quite old. Despite the fact that not all of us can afford a brand new BMW, that doesn’t mean we can find great, great cars with roundels on them. So we decided we’d take a look at some older BMWs and see what kind of cars we can get for a reasonable budget.

So we set a budget of $20,000, which is less than a brand-new Honda Accord. So, instead of buying an Accord, you can get a superb BMW that’s not only more premium but more exciting to drive (not that Accords are bad, just a bit dull). However, it can be difficult to pick out cars in this price range, as the variety is vast. So we decided to pick one classic, something that’s a bit rare and special, and one relatively new and modern BMW.

For the classic, the car I kept seeing for around $20,000 that can be had with decent mileage and is just almost impossible to turn down is the E39-generation BMW M5. It’s quite possibly the best sedan BMW has ever made and possibly even one of the best performance sedans of all time, from any brand. Not only does it still look good all these years later but it comes with enough creature comforts to not feel ancient. It also has four doors and a big trunk, so it can be used everyday, like a normal car.

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However, under the hood lies a masterpiece of a 4.9 liter V8 that makes about 400 hp and a sensational noise. It’s also mated to a six-speed manual transmission as its only option, as it should be, and powers the rear wheels. It’s just an awesome car and one that every BMW enthusiast adores. So for about $20,000, the E39 M5 would provide a car that’s not only a classic and something truly special but also something usable and easy to live with.

For the more modern car, we felt that the E92 BMW 335i Coupe is a good buy. For about $20,000 (you can find some lower but mileage may vary), you can get a good mileage E92 335i Coupe that will provide you with a ton of fun, great luxury and style. One thing I personally love about the E92 3 Series coupe is that the styling is almost timeless. It will still look good in 15 years, as it’s just simple enough to age well but has just enough sporty flair and aggression to make it exciting looking.

We decided on the 335i Coupe because its turbocharged 3.0 liter I6 engine makes 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. That silky N55 engine is still used today in the BMW M2, albeit making 365 hp in that car, which is a testament to its excellence. It’s turbine smooth, makes a great noise and delivers instant thrust. The 335i is deceptively quick and makes for a great sports car.

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It also handles really well, far better than the current crop of BMW 3 Series and 4 Series models. It has a bit more of that old tactile feedback than we’re used to today and there’s a purity there that’s mission in modern Bimmers. It also rides really well, has a comfortable interior and a modern-ish iDrive system. So you won’t really be losing much by the way of modern comfort and technology to a brand new BMW. It’s also usable everyday, has a decent sized trunk and backseats.

So those are the two cars we chose for $20,000 and under but we’re curious to see what sorts of choices you came up with. Comment below and let us know what you’d pick.

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