Why Should You Buy a BMW?


BMW 3.0CSL racing car

BMW's have always been a driver's car and always will be.

The Driving Experience

Compromise isn't always a good thing, but that's exactly what a BMW is and that's why BMWs work so well. You see, what we'd all like is a car that's practical for every day use, has plenty of room for passengers and luggage yet drives like a Porsche. Most BMW's don't drive as well as a Porsche, some drive better. But all BMWs are easier to live with, cheaper to own and can still put a stupid grin on your face in every corner.

When I was a young man there were far fewer BMWs to choose from, a two door three series was the object of my desire and still is. Now there's far more choice than I'd ever have thought possible, but all hold true to certain core values. They still drive better than most of the competition. I remember getting a new Mercedes E class hire car a few years ago, even in sport mode the suspension was dreadful. It wallowed and just didn't want to be hurried. Compared to a normal non-sport five series it wasn't even in the same ball park, I hated it.

The driving experience is not just about raw speed it's about how the car goes around corners, how stable it is and how well it stops. The car has to feel right at any speed, you have to feel in control of the car instead of the car being in control of you. It's about how the package works. The first time I drove my 1990 E30 318iS I knew this was a car that was more than the sum of it's parts, it all just came together perfectly. BMW still do that today.

Most BMWs are rear wheel drive, most competitors aren't. This really does make a difference in the way you drive the car into corners. It's often said that with rear wheel drive you corner the car as much with the throttle as the steering wheel and that's perfectly true. Rear wheel drive cars are more entertaining, once you've mastered them you'll never go back.

The driving experience is down to one thing, is the car fun to drive? Is it enjoyable? Most cars these days are fairly reliable, the reason you should opt for a BMW is that it's a pleasure to drive it regardless of which engine it has.

BMW E46 325ti compact cut away drawing

BMWs have always had design in depth.

The Build Quality

BMWs have far better build quality than most other cars and that's why you see so many old ones on the roads. People look after old BMWs more than any other brand. Why?

One reason is that so long as you don't neglect regular maintenance a BMW will last. The components are often over engineered and a great deal more thought is put into the design. Some parts have had the same basic design for decades because there's no need to change something if it works, pretty much every BMW since the 70s has used the same rear wheel bearings and handbrake mechanism for example. I once had an exhaust last 200,000 miles and 20 years because it was double skinned.

When I was buying my first BMW in 1992 (an E30 316) the salesman asked me to push as hard as I liked on the door and see if it flexed, it didn't despite this being a two door E30 with very long doors. He then asked me to try the same thing with a Ford Granada, a German made car which was well put together for the time, the difference was clear. The BMW used thicker steel and a better grade, this is even more true today when compared to almost any other brand. It's things like using bolts of a decent grade, they're less likely to rust and be hard to remove years later. One of BMW's biggest parts suppliers is Bosch, when you compare their work to cheaper substitutes the differences are clear. This is one reason why you need to ensure the same grade of parts are used when you repair your BMW.

Why does build quality matter? Partly it's about safety, it's not only safer in a crash but more able to avoid one in the first place. It saves money as parts last longer and (with a few notable exceptions) they're not hard cars to work on.

Mercedes used to have similar or better build quality than BMW. But they actively decided to reduce it in order to increase profits about 15 years ago and despite recent improvements it's just not what it used to be.

Financial Considerations

Because BMW use the same well engineered parts for extended periods (decades in many cases) there's a good supply of OEM parts at sensible prices. BMW parts are only expensive if you get them at the dealer, you'd be amazed how cheap good quality parts can be from the likes of Euro Car Parts (UK) or Bavarian Autosport (USA). I've often seen BMW parts cost less than parts for Japanese cars. Lower quality parts for those on a budget can be a good buy at times, a genuine BMW front wing might cost 400 quid but a pattern part could be as little as 25! Only snag is that to enjoy some of these savings it helps if you can do your own work. There's loads of help on the internet and if you're at all mechanically inclined there's no need to be scared of working on even the newest BMWs.

If you buy a BMW when it's done most of it's heavy depreciation from new then you really do get a good deal. That's partly true of any car, the difference with a BMW is that's because it's well made it'll last well and still feel like a new car. I have a 1990 E30 318iS, when I was a young man I had the same model but it only had 5000 miles when I bought it and was almost new. 25 years on the interior looks just as good as I remember and it certainly drives just as well as my original car. Only difference is that it turns even more heads these days.


BMW M1 and i8

35 years apart but with the same DNA.

The History

BMWs have what antique collectors call provenance. They stand alone as a product but are also part of a continuum going back nearly 100 years and that will likely last another 100.

Every new generation of BMW brings new things to the brand; new technology, new style, new features. We can look back on these and see a brand evolve over time. But in the main it's a brand that creates automotive trends and fashions more than it follow them. Each generation has something special to endear it to future owners. That's why older BMWs aren't left to rot, that's why parts for the older cars are still being made today. BMW has a division called Mobile Tradition specifically to ensure the older cars can be kept on the road and that parts are available.

Of course other marques do similar things, buy not as many as you'd think. A good number of manufacturers produce cars purely for the moment, they don't have any concept of long term support and consider anything over three years old as being past it. But they'll still sell cars that on paper at least try to compete with BMW. Don't be fooled.


BMW E30 M3 red

You deserve nothing less, why settle for mediocrity?

You Deserve It!

Go first class. You only get one shot at life, you owe it to yourself to have something nice in return for all your hard work five days a week. That doesn't mean spending a fortune, the right used BMW can appear far more expensive than it really is because most folk don't have a clue how little they can cost. I once bought a truly immaculate E46 325Ci coupe for 1400 pounds, honestly there wasn't a mark on this car inside or out. Full service history and low miles. Anyone who wasn't in on the secret would have thought it was worth three or four times that. How do you get bargains like this? Keep reading the buyer's guides.