8 Most Reliable BMW Models In 2024

8 Most Reliable BMW Models In 2024

BMW are one of the most popular car brands in the UK, they can offer the perfect combination of efficiency, style and comfort that many drivers want. Thankfully they are also generally quite reliable, but which BMW model is the most reliable and which should you buy used? 

We take a look into which BMWs are the most reliable, what to look out for and how much to budget.. 

Most Reliable BMW of All Time 

BMW 3 Series 330D 2002 - 2006

Made from 1998 to 2006, the E46 generation of BMW 3 Series is renowned for its reliability, with a wide range of durable engine and gearbox combinations on offer. We’d suggest the M57 engine, a 3.0-litre diesel.  

If you’re considering an older BMW such as this, then make sure to check thoroughly for rust, as they can become susceptible at this age, particularly on the rear sub-frames.  A good condition E46 330D can be bought for as little as £4,000, so it’s by far the most reliable BMW you can buy for under £5,000. 

Other than corrosion, the E46 generation enjoys a good reputation for reliability including electrical systems, engines and gearboxes. Prioritise service history over low mileage, the 6-cylinder engines are very durable if maintained. 

Most Reliable Used BMW SUVs 

BMW X5 30D 2011- 2013

As one of the first marques to enter the SUV segment, BMW had certainly perfected the formula by 2011, when it released the facelifted E70 X5. We think it offers the best combination of modern styling, reliable engines and price.  

A car with under 100,000 miles can be bought for under £7,000, making it one of the most reliable BMW SUVs for under £10,000. 

For the best reliability, stay away from the 2.0 diesel, which is famous for timing chain failures at this age, instead opt for the 30D, which is the same engine as fitted to the E46 3 series mentioned above. 

If petrol is a necessity, a 3.0 litre inline 6 engine was made, which would be ULEZ exempt so cheaper to drive into London, but will not be cheap to fuel, averaging less than 25 MPG. 

BMW X3 30i 2010 - 2016

As the baby brother to the X5, the X3 is the natural next option, with the X1 being considerably smaller, and the X6 being considerably less practical with its sloping rear end. Whilst the X3 was available with both diesel and petrol engines, we’d suggest going for the 3.0i - the petrol.  

As the car is lighter and smaller than the X5, the fuel economy won't be as bad, but as both of the diesel options suffer the same timing chain mentioned earlier, we’d avoid them. A 2012 30i X3 can be bought for around £15,000.  

Most Reliable Used BMW Hatchback or Estates 

BMW 1 Series 2.0i 2011 - 2013

As BMW’s first hatchback, the 1 series marked a change from previous years for the German manufacturer, whilst reasonably slow to be accepted, the new shape introduced initially in 2004 took off and has been one of BMW’s most popular cars since.  

For a more modern looking car, with a reliable powertrain, we’d recommend the facelifted first generation, made from 2011 to 2013. Under the bonnet opt for the 2.0 or 3.0 petrol, with the latter being a rare sight nowadays. Avoid the 2.0 diesel after 2010.  

£4,000 gets you a tidy example of a 120i, with a manual transmission and an odometer reading less than 100,000. Most came optioned with leather seats, but the iDrive add-on is a nice to have rarity. 

BMW 5 Series 530D Touring 2003 - 2010

Being the largest estate in BMW’s lineup, the 5 series as a good bit larger than the 3 series, so it’s perfect for those needing more boot space, it will also easily carry 4 adults, whereas the 3 series can be cramped for long journeys.  

Similar to the other diesel cars on this list, the engine of choice would be the 3.0 diesel, this era of 5 series usually uses a very robust 6 speed automatic gearbox, that delivers quite impressive smoothness and efficiency.  

For around £4,500 you can bag a 530D with under 125,000 miles and full service history. A lot of car for the money! 

Reliable Used Luxury BMWs 

7 Series 730D 2008 - 2015

Used by everyone from CEOs to heads of state, the 7 series has been the luxury saloon of choice for a number of years. A longer wheelbase option was available that could be fitted from the factory with armour plating.  

The F01 generation launched in 2008 now represents incredible value for money, with 2010 models up for sale for under £6,000. For that price, you get a powerful 3.0 diesel engine, 8-speed automatic gearbox and endless amounts of interior luxury including real wood grain and soft leather.  

Reliable BMW Sports Cars 

BMW 330Ci 2001 - 2006

When launched the 330Ci was often touted as the cheap M3, sharing some of its suspension and chassis components with the ultimate BMW sports car. Now in 2024, the price gap between the E46 330Ci and the E46 M3 is even larger.  

Featuring one of BMW's legendary engines, the buttery smooth straight 6 M54, the 330Ci boasts fairly modest power figures by today's standards, but the overall package of handling, finesse and reliability makes it one of the best choices for a reliable ultimate Driving Machine on the cheap.  

Speaking of cheap, even a nice, low mileage, well-kept 330Ci will only set you back around £4,000.  

BMW Z4 3.0 2003 - 2008

After a string of other 2 door convertible sports cars, including the famous Z8 and Z3, both driven by James Bond throughout the 90’s, the Z4 was a toned-down continuation of the same philosophy.  

In 2003 the Z4 could be bought with the 3.0i M54, giving over 230 bhp in a lightweight roadster. With various creature comforts competitors such as the Audi TT and Mazda Mx-5 did not have, the Z4 is still a great all-round package.  

Today a later 2006 car with under 100,000 can be bought for less than £6,000. We’d suggest the 6-speed manual over the automatic, for both reliability and driving feel. 

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