Country & Base – Germany – Munich
- 1 Series [premium supermini and convertible]
- 3 Series [compact executive saloon, convertible and estate]
- 5 Series [executive saloon and estate]
- 6 Series [executive coupe]
- 7 Series [luxury saloon]
- X1 [compact 4x4]
- X3 [mid-size premium 4x4]
- X5 [large 4x4]
- Z4 [sports roadster]
RAC Cars Need To Know:
Billed as the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' BMW's focus seems to have shifted slightly in recent years. While still being impressive to drive, the company's direction is increasingly diverted to high power, high efficiency engines. This has accelerated sales of volume models such as the 320d, a diesel-engined 3 Series that can return over 68mpg yet still sprint to 60mph in less than eight seconds. As a result, there's no shortage of used stock of tidy 1, 3 and 5 Series diesels, although prices for some of the older V8 petrol-engined 5 Series models have collapsed. The once slow-selling 1 Series is now a firm recommendation.
Likewise the revered M badge, attached to only the sportiest BMW models, is no longer the guarantor of strong residual values, with running costs of cars like the M5 V8 or the M6 V10 depressing valuations. Even the M3 V8 is no longer the cast-iron seller it once was. The later cars, such as the 1M Coupe are, on the other hand, attracting rabid market interest. BMW has produced a string of successes, but has also a few less popular models on its hands, the 5 Series GT and the X1 not drawing quite such a following.
Reliability across the board is very good, although it's worth bearing in mind that only in the last three years or so has the run-flat tyre technology that BMW so wholeheartedly embraced caught up with the sort of ride quality that BMW owners have traditionally expected. Be careful of hard-driven M cars and track day specials and also steer clear of X models that have clearly had a tough life.