Tips for First-Time BMW Buyers

BMW doesn’t have a special program for first-time buyers, but you can still find ways to save—if you know where to look.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
While there is no official BMW first-time buyer program, some first-time buyers can qualify for special discounts (between $500 and $2,000 off). If you have poor credit or can’t qualify for any special discounts, your local dealership may still have ways for you to save.
  • BMW does not have a special program for first-time buyers.
  • Students and members of the military may qualify for discounts on a leased, certified pre-owned, or new BMW.
  • Local dealerships sometimes offer special incentives.

Is there a BMW first-time buyer program?

No, BMW North America does not offer any specific financing programs for first-time buyers. 
But wait! You may still be able to get a discount on a BMW through another one of the automaker’s programs, or via a first-time buyer program offered by your lender.

Other BMW financing offers for first-time buyers

College graduate

If you are a recent graduate or soon-to-be graduate, you could save $1,000 off a new or certified pre-owned BMW if you finance with BMW Financial Service. To qualify, you must:
  • Have earned an undergraduate, graduate, or associate’s degree from an accredited institution within the past 24 months OR be eligible to graduate within the next 6 months with an offer of employment
  • Have at least six months of credit history with no prior derogatory on any credit lines
  • Have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 20%
You will need to submit a copy of your transcript or diploma to prove your student status. Once you qualify, you can enjoy a nice discount plus a waived security deposit (in most cases).

Military Salute

BMW’s Military Salute program offers a discount between $500 and $2,000 to members of the military on a BMW lease or new vehicle. This deal does not apply to all BMWs, however. 
Reach out to your nearest BMW center to find out what other local incentives might be available to you. There may be some special offers based on zip code, so ask to be connected with the financing team at your local BMW dealer to find out more.
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Tips for low-credit BMW financing

Not every first-time buyer will qualify for any of BMW’s special programs. For instance, if you never went to college—or graduated more than two years ago—then you won’t qualify for their College Graduate program. 
Here are a few tips to help you finance your car if you’re a first-time BMW buyer who does not qualify for special discounts.

Pick a vehicle you can afford

Calculate your car payment for various BMW models to figure out what you can actually afford. You’ll need to enter your income and credit score for the payment calculator to determine your monthly payments.
You can
reduce your car loan cost
even further if you opt for a certified used car instead of a new BMW. Check out your local dealer’s inventory of used vehicles. Certified pre-owned vehicles have been inspected for quality, so you can enjoy a reliable vehicle at a low price (with low mileage, too!).
MORE: BMW buying guide

Compare loan offers from multiple lenders

In-house financing
is really easy—you do it right there at the BMW dealership; however, it’s probably not the cheapest option.
Before you sign any agreements, take a moment to compare
auto loan
offers from multiple lenders. Local
credit unions
tend to offer some of the best interest rates, but your own bank is a good place to start. 
Once you’re pre-approved, you can start shopping with confidence—and you’ll know exactly how much you can spend. 

Get assistance from a co-signer

Not lucky enough to have good credit? No problem! 
Using a co-signer is a great way to qualify for a loan if you don’t have a strong credit history. This person should have better credit than you, but be aware that if you default on the car loan, your cosigner’s credit score will be negatively impacted. 
If you increase your income or credit score after your purchase, you can either remove the co-signer or
refinance your car loan
to unlock a better deal for yourself.
MORE: How to get a cosigner for a bad credit car loan

Wait a bit

If you need a car immediately, you may not be able to wait. But a few extra months could help you build your credit and save more money for your down payment—two things that could unlock a much better deal on a car loan if you’re willing to wait and do the work.
MORE: Car loans for people with no credit history

The best BMW models for first-time car buyers

Whether you’ve had your eye on a 7 Series since you started saving up or you don’t know where to start, we’ve got a few tips for you. 
Although BMW vehicles are really expensive to maintain—and expensive to insure—you can’t achieve luxury without spending a bit of money! So while there’s no such thing as a bad choice in BMW’s lineup, here are a few of our top picks for first-time BMW buyers:
  • BMW 3 Series: This model feels classic yet it’s still a good value for your money, especially if you find a used model. It’s fun to drive and offers enough storage for active young people. It is slightly larger than other BMWs, so you may have to practice parking and turning. You can get a used 3 Series for around $5,000, if you’re willing to buy a pre-2010 model.
  • BMW 2 Series: If you want a sporty driving experience with a low price tag (about $25,000 for a used model less than five years old), then the 2 Series might be perfect. The coupe is an especially fun option for new drivers who want to stand out. 
  • BMW 1 Series: This BMW is the most accessible BMW for new drivers. It’s fun to drive yet humble and affordable. How does $20,000 for a used 2012 Bimmer sound?
Earlier model years might be more affordable, although make sure to research your vehicle’s reliability ratings.
Contact your local BMW dealer to discuss financing options for any of these models, and make sure to ask their finance team about their used inventory to save some extra cash. 
Get pre-approved for a car loan before you head out for a test drive, and you’ll be ready to save and sign in no time!
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