Yesterday, we discussed which BMW would be the best starter Bimmer, meaning which BMW would be best as someone’s first. Cars like the E30 3 Series and E34 5 Series were discussed as being excellent first BMWs, as they’re both very inexpensive and easy to maintain. But what about for someone who’s had BMWs before and wants to get the absolute best value-per-dollar on their next used BMW? Well, we’re here to help, as always.
Value-per-dollar is a very interesting dynamic, because it varies depending on the buyer’s interests, what the buyer can afford and the lifestyle they live.
For example, if a customer is looking for the sportiest BMW possible and doesn’t have a family, an E92 BMW 335i coupe might be the best buy for them. Or if someone has a family and values space, comfort and practicality over all else, maybe an E70 BMW X5 might suit their needs. So it really depends on a lot of factors. But let’s just go with a sort of all encompassing BMW. A BMW that’s both sporty and comfortable, practical yet dynamic. And because BMWs like this can be had in many different price ranges, we’ll pick one in a low price range and one in a higher one.
E39 BMW 540
In the lower price range, in my personal opinion, it’s very hard to be the E39 BMW 540i as an all-around best bang for your buck BMW. With a 4.4 liter V8, making 286 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque, and a six-speed manual (five-speed auto was optional if you don’t want three pedals) the E39 540i is capable of 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. It also can seat five comfortably, has most modern amenities you could want and is one of the more reliable older BMWs. The E39 BMW 540i is considered a better deal, even better than the almighty M5, because it has 80 percent of the M5’s performance but can be had for less than $10,000 with decent mileage. Plus it still looks great, is very comfortable and is possibly the best non-M5 5 Series ever made. Sounds like the best BMW money can buy, at that price point, to me.
E90 BMW 335i xDrive
Now, if you’re looking for something a bit newer with more modern amenities and comforts, but still want the same typical BMW blend of performance and comfort, I’d probably go with an E90 BMW 335i xDrive. For anywhere in the $20,000 range, you can find a very nice example of a 335i xDrive with little to decent mileage.
The E90 335i xDrive is an amazing blend of talents. With 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque (don’t you love that German tidiness?) coming from its twin-turbocharged I6, the 335i xDrive is capable of 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. It can be found with either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto, has room for five and even has all-wheel drive for bad weather. Being all-wheel drive, the 335i xDrive didn’t come with sport suspension, so it rides comfortably. And being that it’s relatively new, it has most of BMW’s most modern amenities, including one of the better iDrive iterations. So it’s a very fast, comfortable, all-weather sedan that looks great, can seat five, has a good trunk and all the modern equipment one will ever need all for less than the price of a brand-new base model 228i.
These are just a couple examples of the best bang for your buck used BMW, and the one’s I’d choose. Feel free to add your own.