How Long Do BMWs Last?

On average, BMWs can last about 200,000 miles, or 15 years—and the compact, affordable 2 Series might just be the most reliable BMW out there.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
BMW, maker of the “ultimate driving machine,” is consistently rated among the most reliable luxury car brands. In general, you can expect a BMW to last at least 150,000 miles and 10 years.
In J.D. Power’s 2020 vehicle dependability study, BMW ranked 8th—ahead of both the industry average and competitors like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Honda. 
But not all Bimmers are created equal.
Car insurance
comparison super app
Jerry
has run all the numbers and created a guide to BMW longevity: which models last the longest, which give up the ghost too early, and how you can make sure your BMW stands the test of time. Plus stick around for advice on how to lower your
BMW car insurance costs
.
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Are BMWs reliable? 

The short answer: Yes
Ten years ago, that question might have had a different answer. The brand’s reputation faltered in recent decades, but since 2016 BMW has gotten consistently high marks for dependability from J.D. Power and other automotive experts. Quality German manufacturing and a low rate of recalls make BMWs a decent choice for reliable driving machines. 
Of course, buying a luxury means signing on for high maintenance costs. If you’re willing to put the money and time in, though, a BMW can last longer than the average car. 

How many miles can a BMW last? 

On average, BMWs have a lifespan of about 200,000 miles. 
In general, BMW drivers report that their cars last between 150,000 and 250,000 miles. Don’t look at that second number as a firm deadline, though. With diligent maintenance, it’s not unheard of for a BMW to last well past the 300,000 mile mark.  

How many years can a BMW last? 

The average lifespan of a BMW is between 10 and 15 years. Compare that to the industry average of 11 years, and BMW stacks up pretty well against its competitors. 
As luxury cars, BMWs are also better-positioned for extended longevity than some other makes. Compared to mass-market brands, it’s not uncommon to see a BMW from the 80s or earlier on the road today. If you give your Bimmer proper maintenance, you could be driving it for 20 years or more. 
Key Takeaway Depending on your vehicle’s model, age, and maintenance, your BMW could last as long as 250,000 miles or 20 years—or even longer! 
MORE: BMW car-buying guide 

The most reliable BMW models

On average, BMWs just edge out competitors in terms of reliability, sitting comfortably above the industry average for longevity. But out of BMW’s sizable fleet, which are the most reliable vehicles? 
A car’s reliability depends on: 
  • Its rate of recalls
  • Mechanical issues
  • And maintenance costs
Based on that metric, we’re using J.D. Power’s Quality & Reliability ratings, along with Edmunds.com’s True Cost to Own® estimates, to evaluate each BMW’s overall reliability and cost of ownership. Let’s take a look at the breakdown. 

2 Series 

2021 starting price: $37,345
True cost to own (5 years): $54,453
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Score: 83/100
Available as either a coupe or a convertible, the compact 2 Series is the affordable entry point of BMW ownership. It also happens to be the brand’s most reliable vehicle—the 2 Series won J.D. Power Dependability Awards in 2021 and 2020. In 2021, it also made the top ten on U.S. News’ list of most reliable luxury cars

4 Series 

2021 starting price: $46,795
True cost to own (5 years): $58,639
2021 J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Score: 87/100
The 4 Series is slightly larger than the 2 Series and sports a little more exterior character (whether that’s a point for or against it depends on who you ask). It’s available as a coupe or a convertible, with a choice between two turbocharged engines. The 4 series was in J.D. Power’s top three models for the compact premium car class in 2021 and 2020. 

X3

2021 starting price: $44,695
True cost to own (5 years): $60,496
2021 J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Score: 86/100
BMW isn’t necessarily known for its SUVs, but when it comes to reliability, the
BMW X3
stands out from the class. In 2019, it won the J.D. Power Dependability Award for the premium compact SUV segment.
MORE: The 5 characteristics of a reliable car insurance company

The least reliable BMW models

Unfortunately, not every BMW will last as long as a 2 Series. When it comes to BMW’s less reliable models, the X5 SUV and the M3 sedan stand out from the pack. 

X5

2021 starting price: $61,595
True cost to own (5 years): $94,331
2021 J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Score: 77/100
The
BMW X5
SUV has generated more recalls than any other BMW vehicle—a total of 133, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Among the most serious problems seen in X5s are fuel system issues, which could cause leaks, overheating, and engine fires. 

M3

2021 starting price: $71,095
True cost to own (5 years): $73,807
2021 J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Score: N/A
The
BMW M3
is a true car lover’s car—but it’s also prone to recalls. In its three decades, the M3’s seen 86 recalls from issues ranging from electrical issues and visibility problems to
powertrain malfunctions
.   
Key Takeaway The 2 Series coupe might be the most reliable Bimmer, but the X5 SUV and M3 sedan come with more frequent recalls than any other BMW models. 

How to make your BMW last longer

In the end, the biggest determinant of how long any car will last is its owner. If you’ve got the money, time, and dedication, you can make your BMW outlive the average car by following these tips:
  • Follow the
    routine maintenance schedule
    outlined in your owner’s manual
  • Only use original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts
  • Schedule inspections in between services to catch any unexpected issues 
  • Keep the vehicle clean to decrease wear and tear caused by the elements
  • Drive carefully to avoid accidents that could shorten your car’s lifespan
MORE: How to make your car last longer

How to find affordable BMW insurance

Insurance plays an important role in protecting your car—but it also drives up the total cost of ownership, especially for luxury cars like BMWs. Luckily, car insurance comparison genius Jerry can help you locate the most cost-effective BMW insurance policies in seconds!  
All you need to do is download the app and enter your information—Jerry takes it from there! As a licensed broker,
Jerry
will connect you instantly with quotes from 50+ top insurance companies and help you pick the right coverage for your BMW. (Pro tip: add-ons like OEM coverage and
towing and labor coverage
could help you extend your car’s life!). 
Once you’ve found the right policy for you, Jerry’s team of experts will walk you through the sign-up process and even help you cancel your old policy. But you won’t just get end-to-end support and best-in-class customer service: as the No. 1 rated insurance app, Jerry saves users an average of $887 a year on car insurance! 
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FAQs

Although BMWs can last well past 200,000 miles with proper care, most dealers will consider any car with over 100,000 miles a “high-mileage” BMW. Of course, that’s not a hard and fast rule: in some cases, mileages as low as 75,000 could be considered high.
Like any luxury car, a BMW comes with high routine maintenance costs. If you buy a BMW, you can expect to pay close to $1,000 a year on maintenance alone—not taking into account repairs, insurance, and other costs of ownership.
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