BMW is a brand with an incredible loyal following, something that’s quite impressive considering its high entrance fee. The cheapest BMW on the market at the moment is the 228i, which starts at $32,850 and that’s before optioning pretty much anything. If you want a 228i with any of the options that you’d imagine a BMW to come with, you’re already almost at $40,000. So BMW is clearly not the brand for everyone, but that’s also a good thing, as there should be some semblance of exclusivity among luxury car brands, though that is starting to fade.
However, a popular way to get into a BMW, but spend significantly less money, is the used car market. Buying a BMW second hand brings a lot of benefits, especially if you buy a Certified Pre Owned BMW. This way, you buy a car that’s already taken a large depreciation hit, saving you from that, one that may still have some warranty left and you can get more Bimmer for your money. For example, you can have a couple year old BMW 535i for the price of a brand new 228i. That’s a big jump up the BMW ladder.
So let’s take a look at the top ten second-hand BMWs right now.
10. BMW 3 Series GT – While the 3er GT isn’t exactly a fan-favorite, that’s exactly why it makes a good second-hand buy. There’s probably many coming off of lease deals at the moment that have already taken their depreciation hit, so they should be decently cheap. And because no BMW will touch one, they aren’t going to move well off of dealer lots, so dealers will start slashing prices just to move them. And the 3 Series GT isn’t a bad car, it’s just not really an enthusiast’s first choice. However, for an enthusiasts who suddenly has a young family and could use the extra space, a pre-owned 3er GT for a very low price could just entice said enthusiast to pull the trigger.
9. BMW Z4 – The BMW Z4 is getting a bit old and doesn’t really show any signs of getting a replacement any time soon. However, the Z4 is still a very fun sports car. In fact, it may be more fun than many of its newer competitors, thanks to its slightly more old-school way of doing things. The Z4 has yet to get the ultra-modern tech that so many new cars have gotten, so it’s a bit more pure and that will help its driving dynamics. Plus, it still looks great despite its age and can be had for cheap because literally no one wants to buy them anymore. Prices are plummeting as decent examples can be found in the low $20,000 range, so for someone who wants some inexpensive, yet very fun, top-down motoring as maybe a second car, the BMW Z4 could be that very car.
8. BMW X5 – The E70 generation BMW X5 was always a great luxury SUV. It was fast enough, handled well, had good interior space and was very nice to drive. It wasn’t the best looking SUV nor did it have the best interior, but it’s genuinely a great car to drive and own. Now that the current-generation X5 is out and hogging all of the spotlight, prices have really come down on pre-owned E70 X5 models. Now you can find a decent one in the low $30,000 range, which is lower than the price of a brand-new X3. Find a CPO model and you’ve got a great deal on your hands.
7. BMW X3 – While the E70 X5 is a great deal, many people would rather not buy an older generation car. The current F25 generation X3 can be had for cheap on the second hand market as well, even cheaper than the E70 X5. And while it might not be as luxurious as the previous X5, it’s packed with newer features and technologies and ultimately looks better. It’s definitely the newer feeling of the two cars and it’s even sportier to drive. The F25 X3 is actually a very fun little SUV to drive and is perfect for someone with a young family. Good examples with low miles can be found in the high $20,000 range which is a helluva deal for such a well-rounded machine.
6. BMW 4 Series – The BMW 4 Series is easily one of Bavaria’s best cars. It’s sleek, great looking, fast, comfortable and fantastic to drive. And to top it all off, the 428i is great value for money on the second-hand market. Nice, low-mileage examples can be bought for the low-to-mid $30,000 range which is fantastic for a car with as much performance, comfort and style as the 4 Series has. Plus, the 428i’s 2.0 liter turbocharged N20 engine is also extremely efficient for as powerful as it is, so it isn’t even a compromise for someone who wants a sports car but can’t afford a bit, powerful engine. The BMW 428i could be one of the best bargain sports cars on the market right now.
5. BMW 3 Series Touring – In the ‘States, these are actually somewhat expensive, because they’re actually kind of rare. The people that have them aren’t typically giving them up for cheap and dealers don’t get many of them so prices aren’t going to drop that much. However, in Europe, they’re very common and can be had for far less than over here. This makes them incredible value, as they already were great value when brand new. The 3 Series Touring can be had with a variety of fun and efficient engines while also having great driving dynamics and excellent practicality. Their prices vary quite a bit, depending on engines and options, but regardless of how much you spend, it’s a great deal.
4. BMW 5 Series Touring – One good thing about buying a car on the cusp of replacement is that their value is coming down. Not many people want pre-owned 5 Series’ when so many other car companies have newer pre-owned cars out there for sale. So pre-owned 5 Series Tourings are having their prices slashed and that makes them fantastic buys. The current BMW 5 Series is an outstanding luxury car to begin with, even up against newer competition, but the Touring just makes it more practical and it also looks so much better than any other big estate car. In fact, it looks so good it’s making me mad that it isn’t sold in America and all we get is the hideous 5 Series GT.
3. BMW 5 Series Saloon – For the same reasons as the 5 Series Touring, only the saloon is the better deal. Because there are more of these on the market, and it’s actually starting to get a bit flooded with them, they can be had for less than the Touring models can. This makes them outstanding value for money. Here in the ‘States, a fully equipped, current-generation BMW 535i with low mileage and in great shape can be had in the mid $20,000 range. So for the price of a modestly equipped Toyota Camry, you can have a full-sized luxury BMW 5 Series with a 300 hp turbocharged I6 engine. How do you pass that up?
2. 1 Series hatchback – Okay, so like the 5 Series Touring, this one is only available to our friends across the pond, but for them this is a sensational car. Again, there are a lot of these on the market and the pre-LCI ones aren’t very well liked for their looks. However, despite their slightly ungainly looks, they drive amazing. The 1 Series hatch is probably the best driving small hatch on the market and comes with excellent punchy, yet efficient, engines. It’s hard to find more smiles-per-dollar than the 1 Series hatchback.
1. BMW 3 Series – This one is obvious, isn’t it? The 3 Series is the bread and butter of BMW. It represents everything the company stands for and has done so for the past four decades. It’s the BMW that 90 percent of BMW owners have and that means the second-hand market is absolutely flooded with them. If you can stand the lack of exclusivity, as it feels like every soccer-mom in the world has a base model 320i on lease, the BMW 3 Series is the best combination of fun, practicality, performance and efficiency on the market, period. Tell me there’s a better used car deal than the 3 Series from any brand and I’ll show you a liar.