What BMW Should I Buy For Under $10,000 (2024)

The used car landscape has changed recently, and things have gotten tougher for budget-minded BMW enthusiasts. But even at the entry point of $10,000, there are still tons of options. Today, we’re looking at some of the best BMW cars you (might be!) able to buy for under $10,000.

E30 318is

E30s haven’t really been “cheap” in a while. Since E30 M3s have started commanding deep six-figure fees, the lower trims have appreciated substantially. However – ten large can still get you a decently well-kept, higher-mileage 318is. The “is” designation gets you sportier suspension and seats, BBS wheels, a limited-slip differential, and a few more horsepower, making it the best choice if you’re not planning modifications. If you’re planning to modify, pretty much any E30 will get the job done.

Worth mentioning is the E30 325is – but it generally only exists outside of our budget, and the additional price isn’t worth the added two cylinders in the inline six. The E30 318is represents a wonderful balance between light weight, low cost to run, and low price to entry – which lands it on our list.

E36/7 Z3 Roadster

The Z3 Roadster has always been a bit of an oddball in enthusiast circles. It looks just different enough from a regular E36 to be jarring, and the Roadster never got the enthusiast “cred” its funky coupe relatives got. But it’s tough to argue against a manual transmission, RWD, super-compact size, and under 3,000 pounds. Plus, most of these – even the 200 horsepower 2.8L versions – can be had for significantly less than $10,000. When enthusiasts say “they don’t make them like this anymore” – the Z3 Roadster is the exact sentiment they’re talking about.

E85 Z4 Roadster

The successor to the Z3 Roadster, the Z4 suffers similar stigma from enthusiasts. But just like with the Z3, it’s got some undeniably wonderful qualities. Five or six speed manual transmissions, RWD, and the smooth power delivery of the M54 or N52 inline six (depending on year). Unfortunately, the Z4 is significantly heavier than the Z3, and only the N52-equipped models got a significant power increase (up to 261 horsepower!).

E90/E92 328i, 330i, or 335i

Now over 15 years old, the E90 is starting to show its age and depreciation is certainly having its way with the chassis. A few years ago you could find a 335i at this price point with no difficulty – but it’s a different market now. You may have to settle for a 328i or 330i for now, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

The general criteria for buying a good enthusiast BMW is finding a manual transmission, RWD, and a six-cylinder: and the 328i does all of that just fine. The non-turbo E9X chassis isn’t going to win any drag races, but it’s balanced, compliant, and receptive to modifications – and a great buy at this price point.

E36 318ti

Speaking of losing all the drag races, it’s the Touring International! I’ve already waxed poetic about this piece of Euro quaintness somehow finding its way to America, but I never miss a chance to spread the gospel. The 318ti is a polarizing 3 Series that produces almost no power and uses bits from the E30 chassis.

But if going fast isn’t a priority – and it really shouldn’t be – you can grab one of these for as little as $5,000, even in good condition. And for the more industrious among us, engine swaps are not uncommon and well documented. Go find one, now!

E60 550i or 535i

One of only two V8 powered cars on the list, I hesitated to even include the E60 550i at all. It’s now uncommon to find these listed below $10,000, and reliability is certainly not a strong suit. They’re heavy; they’re not particularly quick by modern standards, and the newest tech is over a decade old.

But…they’re cool. You can’t find a naturally-aspirated V8 anywhere these days, and it still drives like a BMW – engaging and playful (but a little heavy). If you know what you’re getting into, the 550i delivers a wholly unique experience today, and that’s worth something.

There’s also no shortage of high-mile 535i’s (xDrive optional) running around, with questionable maintenance records and a drivetrain malfunction waiting to happen. But they’re N54-powered (read: receptive to modifications) and can be downright fast. You can even find them in touring form, making this an exceptionally versatile chassis at this price point.

E82 128i or 135i

Oh, how things have changed. The 135i used to be the best driver’s car you could buy at around this price point. There are some still floating around our budget, but they’ll likely need some significant maintenance items. And if you’re not equipped to deal with that, the 128i does everything the 135i does, just a bit…slower.

You still get old-school BMW hydraulic steering, heavy and responsive. Don’t want a dated-looking screen? That’s okay – it’s optional, just like power seats! And of course, the holy trinity is present as well – RWD, six-cylinder, and six-speed manual. The 128i is probably one of the best modern BMWs in terms of retaining the old school feel. The 128i also responds well to a few choice suspension mods, and are great candidates for spirited driving or even track work.

E39 540i

It’s getting tougher and tougher by the day, but you can still find a E39 540i from the early 2000s for just around $10,000. It will likely be automatic, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. They’re all RWD, and you can even get a touring model in the US, where the V8 wagon market is limited. With classic good looks, a powerful V8, and plenty of aftermarket support, there’s no reason not to get into an E39.

E46 330i ZHP

You can’t possibly think that we’ve missed this one, as it has represented one of the best performance bargains since it was new in the early 2000s. The 330i was the best of the E46 chassis (M3 notwithstanding) and the ZHP package added some performance goodies that made it even better. It will be tough to find a ZHP at this price point these days, but the run of the mill 330i is no slouch either.

E36 328i

Finally, my favorite on the list – the E36 328i. The fun-to-shift ZF five-speed manual trans is a joy, and pairs up great to the M52 inline-six. It’s light and tossable, and nearly everything you’ll ever need to modify on the car has been thoroughly documented on the internet. Seat swaps, suspension setups, and engine swaps – the E36 chassis has seen them all.

Best of all, BMW sold tons of these in the U.S. – like, nearly 300,000. Which means they won’t be getting scarce any time soon, and there will usually be one available at whatever your price point is. And at $10,000 you’re getting a moderately well-kept example.

My choice? A manual, 100k mile or so 328is, which might run you $8,500 in a desirable color combination. But you can certainly find a sedan or convertible and come in well under-budget – and be having more fun than almost anyone on the road.

These are all just suggestions – but for the money, these are almost certainly the best choices. It’s a shame some of the better bargains – like the 135i – have appreciated so significantly. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below!

What BMW Should I Buy For Under $10,000 (2024)


What BMW Should I Buy For Under $10,000? ›

The 3 Series is generally the cheapest BMW to maintain in the manufacturer's current lineup, and drivers pay about $748 per year to do so. Some vintage models are also cheap to maintain, like the BMW E28.

Which BMW is best in budget? ›

Key Highlights of BMW Cars
Popular ModelsX1, X7, M2, Z4, X5
Most ExpensiveBMW XM(Rs. 2.60 Cr)
Affordable ModelBMW 2 Series(Rs. 43.50 Lakh)
Upcoming ModelsBMW iX1, BMW M3, BMW X6, BMW i5, BMW 5 Series 2024
Fuel TypeDiesel, Petrol, Electric
2 more rows

Which BMW is cheapest to maintain? ›

The 3 Series is generally the cheapest BMW to maintain in the manufacturer's current lineup, and drivers pay about $748 per year to do so. Some vintage models are also cheap to maintain, like the BMW E28.

What series of BMW is best? ›

The 3 Series is BMW's best-selling model. It accounts for nearly 30 percent of the company's car sales. The range was introduced back in 1975 and is going strong even today.

Why do used BMW are 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.

Which is better BMW or Audi? ›

According to leasefetcher.co.uk, the performance of each vehicle is as follows: Audi: Audi possesses a power that the BMW does not. You can book it on the road with an Audi. BMW: BMW vehicles are generally better equipped for a more sporty performance, ready for a rugged and flat driving experience.

Which is the cheapest luxury car of BMW? ›

BMW 2 Series

Serving as a direct rival to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine, the 2 Series is the entry point to BMW cars in India, with prices starting from Rs 43.50 lakh (ex-showroom).

What cars are better than BMW? ›

  • Mercedes C-Class. Best for: luxury and comfort. ...
  • Audi A4. Best for: understated modernity. ...
  • Volkswagen Arteon. Best for: being utterly stunning. ...
  • Tesla Model 3. Best for: tech and performance. ...
  • Volvo S60. Best for: promoting a sense of serenity. ...
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia. Best for: being the best-handling car in its class. ...
  • BMW i4. ...
  • Jaguar XE.
Nov 15, 2022

Why are BMW oil changes so expensive? ›

Depending on where you go for services, such as either at your local BMW dealership, a certified repair facility or an ASE Certified technician, a BMW oil change typically costs anywhere between $85 and $250+ due to the need for high-performance or a synthetic blend motor oil.

Are BMWs expensive to fix? ›

Let's rip off the Band-Aid. 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.

How long do BMW cars 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.

What is BMW best selling car? ›

In full-year 2022, BMW and Mini car sales in the USA were slightly weaker with SUV sales higher and the X5 the best-selling model.

Is a BMW a good car to buy used? ›

BMW cars are recognized for having a strong engine and rear-wheel-drive platform. You can find used BMW cars easily, helping you avoid the depreciation that occurs immediately after a brand new car leaves the lot. From a financial perspective, buying a used BMW that's five or six years old can be the best option.

Should I really buy a BMW? ›

BMWs are known for their excellent build quality. Many other brands tend to cut corners on things like paintwork, interior materials, and dashboard design in order to save money. BMWs don't do this – and won't ever do this – they make sure everything has a premium look and feel, inside and out.

What are the cons of owning a BMW? ›

High Ownership Costs (Con)

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 . When you are buying a used BMW you need to consider that these cars have a ton of complicated electronics.

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! Even a used car with 100,000 miles or more can be a good choice if it has a strong maintenance history and a lack of deeper structural damage.

What's better BMW or Mercedes? ›

Now that you know more about the different areas that matter in a luxury vehicle, it's time to discover which one wins the competition of Mercedes vs. BMW. While both manufacturers produce some of the finest vehicles that a luxury consumer could ask for, the clear winner is BMW.

Which is cheaper to maintain Audi or BMW? ›

However, Audi tends to be more costly for repairs to your gearbox. In general, Audi and BMW cars are somewhat more expensive cars to maintain. There may be a slight difference in costs overall, but it won't be so much that it should make or break your decision between the both of them.

What is BMW's cheapest SUV? ›

2022 BMW X1 MSRP – Starting at $35,400. 2022 BMW X2 MSRP – Starting at $36,600. 2022 BMW X3 MSRP – Starting at $43,700. 2022 BMW X4 MSRP – Starting at $51,800. 2022 BMW X5 MSRP – Starting at $60,600.

Are BMW reliable? ›

In fact, BMW often ranks in the top ten when it comes to the most reliable automakers and cars, according to several consumer reports. However, BMW is consistently outranked in reliability by Kia, Toyota, and Lexus.

What car to get after a BMW? ›

Volvo V40. The stylish Volvo offers a good alternative for buyers looking for something a bit less generic than the BMW. Volvo has given its V40 an almost coupe-like shape, but retains a good proportion of the practicality that has made the brand's vehicles so popular.

Why choose BMW over Mercedes? ›

Simply put, BMW offers the best performance, safety, and quality out of any luxury car brand, giving drivers nearly infinite reasons to buy a BMW as opposed to a vehicle from another manufacturer. Once you own your first BMW, you will never want to own a vehicle from another brand again.

Why is BMW called a beamer? ›

The nickname “Beamer” comes from Great Britain – and originally served to distinguish it from a British manufacturer* whose motorcycles bore the nickname “Beezer”.

Are BMW oil changes $2000? ›

A BMW oil change will typically cost between $130 and $180, including parts, fluids, and labor.

What is the price to change oil in BMW? ›

How much does a BMW oil change cost? Ideally, an oil change in BMW costs between $135 and $175 at a dealership. Around $90-$110 will be for parts and fluids; the rest will be for labor. But if you change the oil at an independent mechanic, the cost may be between $75 and $120.

What happens if you don't get an oil change BMW? ›

The wear down

Engine parts start to wear down the longer you wait to change the oil. That is because dirty oil is thick and abrasive, so as it cycles through the engine, it picks up more and more dirt. It wears down the engine parts even while keeping them adequately lubricated.

Are BMW good on gas? ›

Along with the 2 Series and 4 Series, the BMW 3 Series leads the way with impressive fuel economy. The 320d M Sport offers up to 60.1 mpg. The latest diesel 3 Series also come with mild-hybrid technology as a standard, which improves fuel economy even further.

Does BMW breakdown a lot? ›

It isn't the most reliable brand on the market, experiencing issues with their engines, fuel system, non-electrical systems and the axle and suspension. Though many will report these issues, there are also a lot of owners that will state they have had their vehicles for several years and experienced any problems.

What is high mileage for a 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. However, 75,000 miles of stop-and-go traffic wears more quickly than 75,000 highway miles.

At what mileage does a BMW break down? ›

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.

What BMW lasts longest? ›

iSeeCars: The BMW M6 is on a top 10 list from iSeeCars of the Longest-Lasting Sports Cars, with some of them lasting over 200,000 miles. So if you are worried that a high-performance M6 is a rash purchase, worry no more.

Which US state sells the most BMWs? ›

Number of BMW dealerships in the United States in 2023

The state with the most number of BMW locations in the US is California, with 52 dealerships, which is about 14% of all BMW dealerships in the US.

What is the number 1 selling car brand? ›

2022: Top automakers in U.S. car sales

General Motors led all automakers, selling 16.2% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2022. Toyota and Ford were second and third in market share. These are estimates of the final 2022 data and subject to change.

What does the M in BMW stand for? ›

The “M” in the BMW M Series stands for “Motorsport”, and the M Series was originally created to facilitate BMW's racing program. Over time, the BMW M program began to supplement their vehicle lineup with modified vehicle models, which are now available to the general public.

What year used BMW should I buy? ›

Price is another important factor to consider when buying a used BMW. Price can be something that makes or breaks your decision! You should look for models from 2005-2010 to get the best deal on this luxury vehicle without having to worry about repairs and maintenance later down the line.

What is the best BMW for a new driver? ›

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.

What to look for when buying a used BMW? ›

Things To Consider Before Buying Used BMW Cars
  • The car's history: This is probably the most important factor to consider while making the purchase. ...
  • Warranty: ...
  • Cost of ownership: ...
  • Undertake a detailed price survey: ...
  • Pre-owned and certified: ...
  • Depreciation and resale value: ...
  • Maintenance issues:
Nov 24, 2022

Why is BMW service so expensive? ›

Why BMW Maintenance is Expensive. Maintaining a BMW is expensive because it's a German car with specialty parts and technology. BMW is engineered for driving enthusiasts – it's not just a car to get people from point A to point B.

Why do people buy BMW? ›

They manufacture vehicles that are both reliable and stylish. It is one of the more recognized car brands in the world. Many people enjoy owning a brand that has been recognized by others as being strong and powerful. A BMW's style often helps people feel confident when they drive their vehicle.

How long should you own a BMW? ›

BMW, maker of the “ultimate driving machine,” is consistently rated among the most reliable luxury car brands. In general, you can expect a BMW to last at least 150,000 miles and 10 years.

How much should you make a year to own a BMW? ›

The average household income of a new BMW car or SUV buyer is $124,800 per year. To compare that to the US population, the median household income in the United States in 2020 was $67,521. Of note, that's down from the median income in 2019, which was $69,560.

What could be wrong with a BMW? ›

BMWs are well known for their fuel pumps issues. All engines, including BMW engines, have two fuel pumps. These pumps work together to move the gas from the tank into the motor. The low-pressure pump pulls the gas out of the tank, and the high-pressure pump forces it into a combustion chamber.

Are BMW good after 100k miles? ›

Are BMW reliable after 100k miles? This depends entirely on how well the car has been looked after - and this applies to any make or model of car. Look after your BMW well and it could sail past the 100,000-mile mark without a hitch. But abuse it and neglect it, and you'll soon start to have issues.

At what mileage do cars start having problems? ›

Generally, vehicles are likely to start experiencing problems after the 100,000-mile mark. Also, in most cases, they no longer have a valid manufacturer's warranty, meaning you have to pay for repairs out of your own pocket when something goes wrong.

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.

Which BMW depreciates the least? ›

The BMW 2 Series holds its value even better, with the most accurate BMW resale value estimates expecting it to retain around 49% of its total value after five years. Once again, around 25% of that depreciation takes place within the first two years.

Which is better BMW or Mercedes or Audi? ›

Therefore, you might choose any of the three if you want a cosy, comfortable journey. Audi frequently beats out rivals if you want to put appearances above everything else. BMW is the best option if you want a joyful, exciting driving experience. Mercedes remains the king of power, safety, and speed.

Which is better BMW or Mercedes? ›

If you want the smoothest and safest ride of your life, Mercedes is your best bet. Depending on your budget, a BMW may be cheaper to buy initially but can get more expensive to maintain and insure.


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