Luxury carmaker BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) is world-renowned for crafting luxury vehicles, each of which, according to its advertising slogan is “the ultimate driving machine.” With a roster of distinctive wagons, sedans, coupes, sports cars and SUVs, it’s hard to pick the best – that all depends on taste, and how deep your pockets are. Still, when looking for a used BMW, here are three potential choices.

In making the selection, several criteria were considered. First, how good does it look? Second, how well does it perform? And third, what do automotive experts say about it? Here, then, are our Best BMW Cars to consider when buying used.

  • BMW 7-Series (2009) – Redesigned in 2009, reviewers find the fifth-generation rear-wheel drive (RWD) BMW bmw_7series7-Series, available in 750i and long wheelbase 750li, the automaker’s new flagship, a “super-luxury car for those who love to drive,” and “the best of a very fine class of automobile” (U.S. News & World Report). With its stunning and rich styling, 7-Series has power aplenty, thanks to its advanced 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine cranking out 400 horsepower, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Edmunds calls the 7-Series powerplant “a remarkable engine,” and says “the vehicle’s handling remains a class benchmark.”  Edmunds’ editors knock “high-tech features that may overwhelm” and “ride on the firm side for some.”  Popular Mechanics says 7-Series “boast more electronic advancements – not to mention outright luxury – than any BMW ever” and “if there’s money in the bank for a luxury car, this may be the best way to spend it.”
  • BMW Z4 (2009) – With competitors like Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class, Porsche Boxster and Chevrolet Corvette, the BMW Z4 luxury sports car, redesigned in 2009 offers a “combination of sophistication, luxury and performance [that] makes it a compelling new entrant in this entertaining segment,” according to Edmunds. The snazzy convertible comes with a quick-folding retractable hardtop and is offered in base 30i with 255-hp 3.0-liter inline-6 or 35i with 300-hp twin-turbo inline-6. Zero to 60 in the twin turbo is 5 seconds flat. Consumer Guide calls Z4 “a reasonably practical daily driver convertible, and a capable two-seat sports car for enthusiasts,” but “pricey.”  Automobile says the Z4 roadster “finally passed through its awkward adolescence and has filled out into a curvaceous hardtop roadster.”
  • BMW X3 (2007-2009) – Refreshed in 2007, the BMW X3 luxury compact SUV has “new styling, a better interior, a six-speed automatic transmission and more power…a sharp driver among small SUVs,” according to Car and Driver. Edmunds calls X3 “an ideal choice for someone who wants a small crossover SUV that behaves like a sports sedan,” but it also has “relatively stiff ride, priced higher than most competitors.” With standard all-wheel drive (AWD), X3 is powered by a 260-hp 3.0-liter inline-6 mated to either 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with manual shift control. says X3 “is hard to beat for people who want BMW’s heritage, looks, powertrain and packaging.”

By Suzanne Kane

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