Cheap used BMWs

A sporty drive and premium quality for £160 a month: cheap used BMWs

John Evans
May 14, 2018

Finding a genuinely cheap BMW can be a challenge, as any half-decent example comes with a higher-than-average price.

The blue and white propellor badge; comfortable but sporty performance; and well-finished interior keeps demand - and prices high.

But it’s still possible to find three- to five-year-old BMWs in good condition for under £10,000. Many are surprisingly affordable on finance too, as that demand means that they continue to hold their value well, keeping monthly repayments down.

Click below to search for BMWs available now, or scroll down for four models available for less than £12,000.

BMW 1 Series

Our pick BMW 116i Sport 5dr (2014, 25,000 miles)
Typical price £10,995  Representative finance £179 per month

The 1 Series is the cheapest car that the company makes, but it's a proper BMW. The bold grille at the front and sharply-creased bodywork are BMW trademarks, as is the dashboard that’s angled towards the driver for ease of use. The central screen uses BMW’s superbly straightforward software, called iDrive, which is controlled with a rotary dial, so you can easily change your music, or zoom into the sat-nav map with minimal distraction.

All 1-Series models built after September 2015 come with sat-nav as standard, but the very cheapest cars are a little older than that.  No matter which one you choose, alloy wheels, air conditioning and Bluetooth, for wireless phone pairing, are standard.

Prices for 2014 cars start at less than £10,000, or around £160 per month and these are generally 116d diesel models, or more powerful 118d diesel versions. Petrol-powered 116i cars cost from £10,000 and £11,000, with finance again from around £160 a month. These might be the least-powerful 1 Series models available, but they still feel sporty, thanks to the BMW’s responsive steering and grip, which helps it to change direction sharply, with very little leaning. 

Few diesel-powered 1 Series built before September 2015 meet the latest emissions standards, known as Euro 6 (they comply with earlier emissions limits called Euro 5). As a result, they will be liable for charges in Central London’s ultra low emissions zone from next year, as well as any other clean air zones that are set up.

Older families may find that they would be better off in the BMW 3 Series or BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, as the 1 Series doesn’t have as much space in the back as you’d find in an Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf or Renault Megane.
BMW 1 Series buying guide

Buying a cheap BMW 1 Series for under £12,000
Search for 116i, 118i, 116d and 118d Sport and SE five-door models with around 30,000 miles, registered between 2013 and 2015.



Our pick BMW X1 18d SE xDrive (2013, 50,000 miles)
Typical price £11,199  Representative finance £170

The BMW X1 is a crossover that combines the performance and fuel economy of the 1 Series and 3 Series, with the extra height and rugged design of an off-road car.

The formula has proved extremely successful for BMW, and so there are plenty of examples to choose from, including some for under £12,000, or around £170 a month with representative finance.

These 2013 and 2014 cars are the previous generation of X1, which was replaced with a new version in 2015. Despite their extra height, they drive in a similar way to the 1 Series, feeling agile in corners and easy to manoeuvre into parking spaces.

Its age does show inside, with no dashboard screen fitted to X1s in this price range, although the controls for radio and ventilation are easy to use on the move. The quality of plastics is also a little below modern expectations. Climate control, 17in alloy wheels and rear parking sensors are standard on entry-level SE models, while cars badged xDrive come with four-wheel drive for better grip when accelerating on slippery surfaces.

Most X1s are diesel-powered. An 18d model will offer reasonable fuel economy and performance but cars of this age don’t meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, so you will need to pay to drive into central London from next year. Charges in some other areas may apply too. These charges can be avoided with a petrol X1, but fuel economy does drop noticeably.

Buying a cheap BMW X1 for under £12,000
Look for 18d diesel and 2.0i petrol SE models with up to 60,000 miles, registered between 2013 and 2014.


BMW 3 Series

Our pick BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics (2013, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £11,299  Representative finance £166

The stupendously successful BMW 3 Series offers everything: comfort, luxury, space for the family, and a sporty driving feel. It’s now available for under £12,000, or less than £180 per month.

In this price bracket, you’re likely to be looking at a 2013 or 2014 diesel car, which brings smooth, quiet performance and good fuel economy. EfficientDynamics cars have smaller 16in wheels which improve mpg figures slightly.

Again, these cars don’t comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, so will be subject to penalties for older diesel cars, but these will only affect a minority of drivers in the coming years.

If you can stretch your budget, then look for a car built after May 2015, which will be an updated version, with sat-nav as standard and slight improvements to interior quality. Diesel engines in these cars should meet Euro 6 standards too, but it’s important to double check this.
BMW 3 Series buying guide

Buying a cheap BMW 3 Series for under £12,000
You'll have most luck with 318d and 320d SE and Efficient Dynamics models with around 40,000 miles, registered between 2013 and 2014.


BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Our pick BMW 218i Active Tourer SE (2015, 40,000 miles)
Typical price £11,995  Representative finance £182

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is roughly the same length as a BMW 1 Series but taller, bringing extra interior space.  It’s a similar formula to the BMW X1, but the Active Tourer lacks that car’s rugged design, making it less fashionable.

It’s also more focused on comfort than most other BMWs, which makes for smooth family trips but less agility in corners, where it leans a little more than a lower 1 Series.

There’s not a great deal of choice for under £12,000 a month, or £170 with representative finance, but a 2015 diesel car should be within reach and, in this case, it’s likely to have an engine that does meet current Euro 6 standards, meaning that it’s not affected by many of the diesel penalties currently being proposed. The 218d diesel car is economical and a good choice if you make plenty of long journeys, but it can be noicy when accelerating. The 218i petrol is quieter and smoother but not quite as economical.

Inside, the Active Tourer is classy and well made. It’s spacious but the rear seat is a bench rather than individual seats. An electric bootlid is standard and opens to reveal a decent-sized 468-litre boot.

Buying a cheap BMW 2 Series Active Tourer for under £12,000
Search for 216d SE models with up to 70,000 miles, registered between 2013 and 2015.


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