Buying your first BMW is one of the greatest accomplishments of life (maybe), but with all of the cars on the market, it's easy to buy the wrong car. Here are 4 tips for buying a used BMW.
Tip 1: Avoid the V8
Let’s jump into our first tip for buying a BMW by keeping it simple. If you’re looking for your first BMW, take almost everyone’s advice on this one. Avoid buying the 7 Series – specifically the 750Li. And yes, this one comes for personal experience.
The BMW 7 Series is one of the greatest executive luxury sedans on the market, and very few cars come close to the speed, prestige, and luxury that the 7 Series offers. But let’s look at it logically and break down why you should avoid the higher end BMWs for your first choice.
First off, there’s the engine. The 4.4 BMW V8 used in the 7 Series is an incredibly powerful and smooth engine – when it work. The problem comes when you realize that the engine seems to pretty much self destruct after some mileage. From valve stems to vanos systems to leaking, the BMW V8 in these just aren’t what they’re all cracked up to be.
The power of depreciation works wonders on car lovers. We’re able to pick up used vehicles at huge discounts from MSRP, but sometimes that depreciation is deceptive. Sure, the 7 Series is one hell of a deal for $20,000, but before you take the plunge, look at why the market justifies such a low price for one of the most exclusive luxury sedans.
The 7 Series (and even high end 6 Series models) run through depreciation as quickly as valve stems, and while I love the 7 Series, it’s a horrible place to start your BMW ownership. I’ve found more success with sticking to more common models like the 3 Series, 4 Series and base 5 Series. Obviously M cars are excluded from that list as they have their own quirks that we’ll save for another time.
Tip 2: CPO Warranty
Most of this video is geared at someone who is looking for their first BMW and on a smaller budget of less than $15k – especially considering that most used BMWs can be picked up for a small fraction of what they originally sold for. This tip may not apply to most people, but if you have a higher budget, you should really look into a certified pre owned BMW.
Having a CPOd BMW will give you an extended warranty, which is going to become very helpful over the ownership of the car. On top of that, though, the car has to go through a series of tests before it can even be offered as a certified pre owned car.
With the CPO warranty, you should have coverage for 100,000 or 6 years. You’ll also get roadside assistance, which would have been handy in the past with this 4 Series…
You’ll end up paying more for a car with this, but if it fits within your budget, it’s the best type of warranty to have. Most of the time, aftermarket warranties are near useless when it actually comes down to fixing an issue.
Tip 3: Test Multiple Cars
I know this is a given, and I talk about it a little in this video about mistakes to avoid when buying a car. But to keep it simple, if you’re looking for a used BMW, test drive a few to get a true feel for how the cars are supposed to run.
Transmission and engine issues can be subtle from the start sometimes, so if something is going bad, be sure to have a comparison point with another car.
When we bought the 7 Series back in October 2016, we took a trip down to Atlanta to test drive a few, and I’m extremely happy we did. We were able to pick up on transmission issues, electrical issues, and interior defects just from spending some time with different cars that were all supposed to be the same.
Sure… that didn’t work out with that particular 7 Series thanks to other issues, but it kept us from buying one in even worse condition. Or they’re all just shit. I don’t know at this point.
Tip 4: Get a PPI
This last tip is one that I mention over and over again, but I try to make it clear in every one of these buyers guides. If you’re not a certified BMW mechanic or even competent enough in your skills to fix most things, have someone who is look at it before you buy it.
BMWs are tuned for a good time – not a long time. At least, not anymore. Sure, I’ve driven BMWs with near 400,000 miles on the odometer, but they’ve all had multiple transmissions, electrical issues, and other issues that were becoming noticeable.
Spend the $150 to get someone to inspect your car. And if you’re looking for someone in the East TN area, I’d recommend European Auto Garage in Knoxville who have worked on our cars for a while now. They’re not a sponsor; they’re just that damn good at their job.