Owning a BMW, whether new or used, has likely crossed everyone’s mind at least one point during their car buying process. And why not? You can currently lease a new 3 series for around $400 a month or get 0.9 percent financing if you qualify. At the risk of sounding like a BMW ad, that’s a really good deal! But alas, we don’t sell BMWs and, in fact, we’re wondering if owning a BMW is actually overrated.
BMWs aren’t exactly known for their reliability
Let’s face it, just about any car is going to have its fair share of issues and BMW is no exception. If you look at Carcomplaints.com, a site where owners of cars can post their related issues with them for the good of would-be buyers, there are many complaints about various BMW models. Granted, a lot of them for the older generations, however, it’s a good indication that you should probably avoid a lot of the 3 Series, X3, and X5 models from the past.
There are many complaints concerning failed water pumps, oil leaks, and even transmission malfunctions for all those models lines. And while we wish we could tell you that those things are easy and cheap to fix, they are not. In fact, a typical oil change at a BMW dealership could cost around $150 to $200 and even tires can cost around $1,000 to replace all four. Possibly, even more, depending on which model you have.
Furthermore, a quick look at Consumer Reports reveals low marks for the current 3 Series model as well as seven listed recalls. Based on their previous data, Consumer Reports rated the 2020 3 Series at a 1 out of 5 on the “predicted reliability” scale, citing the fuel and electrical systems as major pain points. In case you’re wondering, the current X5 scored higher overall, but they still gave it a 1 out of 5 for reliability.
BMW models ride stiffer than the competition
If we were to put the three major German luxury brands on a “comfort scale” – meaning how comfortable their respective cars are – we would likely put Mercedes-Benz on the most comfortable end, Audi in the middle, and BMW on the “less comfortable” end. Why? Because in order to be the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” you apparently need to make all of your cars ride stiff, or “sporty.” We can’t really blame BMW for doing this as sporty driving dynamics are kind of their thing. However, buyers should be aware of that.
After all, when we think of German luxury, we tend to think of a soft, cushy ride and a tomb-like quiet cabin. Any BMW does have the latter quality, however, just know that the ride quality might not be as cloud-like as you might hope.
The BMW stigma
Yes, there is a stigma if you drive a BMW. For those not in the know, BMW drivers tend to drive very aggressively and have little regard, or common sense, for other drivers on the road. While that might sound harsh, there was an actual study done on the driving behaviors of luxury car owners and, lo and behold, the study found that BMW drivers were the worst. Now, we know it’s hard to really gauge something like that, and we’re sure not all BMW drivers are bad. However, just know that if you find yourself behind the wheel of one, the other cars around you are likely judging you without you knowing it.
Are BMWs really overrated?
Given the high cost of entry and ultimate reliability issues of almost any BMW model, we would say that ownership of one is mostly overrated. Don’t get us wrong, BMW is a wonderful car manufacturer that produces high-quality vehicles, however, owning one could come at a high price and an unwanted stigma. You have been warned.