RAC Cars News


Best used BMWs on the market

By raccars Published

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With such a fine pool of examples to choose from, it isn't difficult to find decent used BMWs at surprisingly affordable prices.

The German brand makes famously reliable and good looking cars and there are plenty of attractive used models out there but it would be a mistake to rush in and buy the first one you see. Look around to find the best deal.

BMW 3 Series

The mighty 3 Series is not only BMW's best-selling model but also the best-selling premium brand car in the UK. It's a great all-rounder that's fairly hard to criticise, winning praise for its performance, economy and handling. It also feels as a premium brand car should, with a high quality finish to the interior.

The 320d is probably the pick of the bunch as a new car buy but open your mind to used petrol models; being hit harder by depreciation can make for a bargain second hand buy. A 320i that's only three years old and with 30,000 miles to its name tends to be about £3,000 cheaper than the 320d diesel equivalent and running costs are only very slightly higher.

BMW 1 Series

The 1 Series offers serious premium brand quality at a surprisingly affordable price. Fine handling and a smooth ride offset a lack of interior space, and if driving dynamics are your priority, few other hatchbacks can beat this rear wheel drive model.

Again, petrol models are the cheapest, saving you a couple of thousand on their diesel counterparts. The 118i is easy to find on the used market and unless you are covering very high mileage you won't even notice the difference in fuel consumption between petrol and diesel models compared to the purchase price savings.

BMW 5 Series

This is a classy feeling executive car with a smart cabin and a refined drive. In this case diesels are definitely the best option. Heavy depreciation makes the 530d a smart used buy, but the 520d is also good value. Go for higher spec versions because you get a lot more kit for very little extra cost. The 5 Series is popular among fleet buyers and while high mileage shouldn't be an issue on such a reliable car, especially if it has been properly looked after, cast a careful eye over the interior for wear and tear before handing over any cash.

BMW 5 Series Touring

The estate version of the 5 Series once again demonstrates why BMW is premium brand name. It's huge, comfortable and a lovely drive. The advice to stick to diesels applies as for the saloon version, and you may want to consider looking at the 5 Series GT. Its looks are divisive but it's a practical car with plenty of leg room for rear passengers and comes in at about the same price as the Touring.

BMW 4 Series Coupe

It hasn't been out for long but you'll find some good nearly new models on the market. The 4 Series is an elegant looking car with BMW's usual generous specification, classy drive and an unexpectedly practical and spacious interior. The 435i offers a great combination of speed and refinement and, thanks to steep depreciation, it's competitively priced for used buyers.


Easily one of the best compact SUVs on the market, the X3 combines efficiency with style. However for the same reasons, the X3 holds its value well so used bargains are hard to find. Look for an xDrive20d SE.


Another class leading SUV, the X5 is a fast, smooth performer with a surprising amount of agility. It's expensive but still good value and a lot of car for the money. The xDrive30d is the pick of the bunch and there are plenty of good ones around. Beware of niggling electrical faults on some X5s.

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