BMW 3 Series
BMW 6 Series
BMW 1 Series
BMW 7 Series
BMW 5 Series
BMW's have a reputation for mixing luxury with performance, and the modern line-up caters for almost every taste. The used car market can offer up a decent bargain, too. Here are five of our favourites.
1 - BMW 3 Series (1998-2005)
Some consider this generation of the 3 Series (E46) as the best looking to date. The two-door coupé version was — and still is — a very popular car and it retains a sleek and smart appearance.
BMW has always ensured that the 3 Series drives well, and the E46 is no exception. In 320Ci guise, it will get you from standstill to 60mph in 8.3sec and return 31.7mpg. Ride quality is top notch and the car is spacious and has a top-quality finish inside.
There are few reports of major problems with the 3 Series, because it is well engineered. Servicing costs are reasonable, too.
We found a 2.2-litre 320Ci Sport showing 49,000 miles for £4950.
2 - BMW 6 Series (2003-2010)
After an absence of 14 years, the 6 Series was reintroduced to the BMW line-up in 2003 with equal amounts of hype, anticipation and bewilderment. Based on the excellent E60 5 Series, the E63 6 Series Coupé became the headline act of the controversial styling era under design chief Chris Bangle.
The styling divided opinion, and that has pushed used prices lower than one might expect, even though the car looks less controversial today. It’s great to drive, covers long distances in proper GT style and has a high-quality interior. Servicing costs are reasonable, although spares and tyres can be costly.
We found a 10-year-old, 60,000-mile 645Ci automatic for £7795.
3 - BMW 1 Series (2004-2011)
BMW’s first attempt at a family hatchback was a popular buy among middle classes taking their first steps into a premium brand car.
Often criticised for its small boot and a shortage of rear leg room, the 1 Series delivers an excellent driving experience, with fine balance and good steering. Only a poor ride on rough roads lets it down.
The 3.0-litre petrol version is a riot, sprinting to 60mph in just 6.1sec and on to a top speed of 140mph.
Look out for wear on the front tyres as well as the driven rears, and beware of faulty manual gearbox and clutches.
Our research found that a 56-plate 130i M Sport with 57,000 miles on the clock can be yours for £6650.
4 - BMW 7 Series (2002-2008)
The 7 Series was possibly Chris Bangle’s biggest blunder. The design was awkward but, as with the 6 Series, the divisive styling means that used car buyers get a bargain today. What’s more, a mid-life facelift softened some of the original’s harsh edges and restored a modicum of elegance.
As you’d expect, the 7 Series is huge, inside and out. The large cabin is lavishly equipped and you’ll be whisked between meetings in imperious comfort.
There are faults relating to electrical issues, with the iDrive infotainment interface suffering the most. The air-con and boot release can also be glitchy.
You can put a 58,000-mile 730d Sport on your driveway for £10,000.
5 - BMW 5 Series (2004-2010)
Whether you want to carry five people in comfort, style and luxury, or knit together a series of corners on a challenging country route, the E605 Series does it all with ease.
It delivers a sporty driving experience, yet its ride quality remains compliant and composed. The cabin looks stylish, feels upmarket and is well bolted together, too.
Running costs are low, with economical engines, and reliability is good.
Issues that arise are likely to be related to axles and electrics. You should also listen out for clonks, bumps or strange noises from the suspension during a test drive.
A 525d M Sport typifies this all-rounder’s ability, and a 2006 model with less than 60,000 miles is about £7500.