Are BMWs Good Cars?

With high marks for safety and engines packed with power, BMWs are some of the most fun cars you can drive.
Written by Kaitlin May
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Mar 23, 2023
Boasting an average Edmunds rating of 7.7 and an average Car and Driver rating of 8.75, BMWs have earned their namesake as the “ultimate driving machines.” But what makes these Bavarian beauties so top-notch?
A status symbol with sophistication, most buyers turn to BMW for a taste of
luxury
. With one of the top all-wheel-drive systems in the world, it’s no surprise that over two million BMW vehicles were purchased globally in 2021 alone. Each model sports intricate details, high-quality materials, and sleek designs that any car owner could get behind.
Before BMW is stamped with the official badge of approval, we're here to dive into all the makings of BMW models. We’ll break down how 10 BMW models stack up in terms of ratings, reliability, safety, drivability, and other noteworthy features.
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Are BMWs good cars?

BMW, or Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH (roughly translating to the Bavarian Engine Works Company), had a goal of making engines for various applications when it began. BMW hit the scene with an R 32 motorcycle in 1923 and eventually released the company’s first “Dixi” car in 1928 called the BMW 3/15. 
With aircraft engines in BMW’s wheelhouse until the end of the Second World War, the shift in focus to cars picked up steam. BMW’s engines are forces to be reckoned with, and their power was appreciated globally from the start. 
While there are plenty of models in production, these 10 are at the top of the 2022 list: 
Model
Starting price
Years
Vehicle type
Edmunds rating
Car and Driver rating
M3
$70,100
1986 to 2018, 2021 to present
Sedan
N/A
9/10
M4
$72,000
2015 to present
Coupe
7.3/10
9/10
2 Series M240i xDrive
$48,350
2014 to present
Coupe
8.6/10
8.5/10
3 Series 330i xDrive
$43,450
1984 to present
Sedan
7.6/10
9.5/10
i4
$55,400
2021 to present
Coupe
7.9/10
8.5/10
i8
$147,500
2014 to 2017, 2019 to present
Coupe
7.5/10
7/10
X4 M40i
$62,400
2015 to present
Compact SUV
7.5/10
8/10
X5 xDrive50i
$76,150
2013 to present
SUV
7.9/10
9.5/10
X7 xDrive 50i
$92,600
2019 to present
Crossover SUV
7.9/10
9.5/10
Z4 Roadster
$49,700
2003 to present
Sports car
7.5/10
9/10

Are BMWs reliable?

When we look at a car’s reliability, we need to evaluate how sustainable its parts are before maintenance and repairs are needed. Low repair costs, infrequent maintenance issues, and solid warranties all make for a reliable ride.
BMW gets some mixed reviews when it comes to reliability with a 2.5 out of 5.0, noting that you can expect an average of 0.9 visits to a maintenance shop per year and a 15% chance of a repair being detrimental. J.D. Power evaluated BMW cars with 108 problems per 100 vehicles, which means BMW beat out its primary competitors:
Mercedes-Benz
and
Audi
The BMW 2 Series stood out among the pack of small premium cars, earning a Dependability Award from J.D. Power in 2021.

Are BMWs safe?

With driver-assistance features etched into each BMW car, they’ve earned high marks from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Although the NHTSA hasn’t rated some of the more recent models, the
2022 BMW X5
was chosen as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ when outfitted with certain headlights.
Why should you feel reassured in your Beamer? Across the board, models come equipped with the following safety features:
  • 360-degree camera system
  • Self-parking assist
  • Side-impact beam protection
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Childproof lock
  • Airbags for driver and passenger safety
Model
NHTSA rating
Recalls
IIHS rating
2021 M3
N/A
3
Good
2021 M4
N/A
1
N/A
2021 2 Series M240i xDrive
N/A
N/A
N/A
2021 3 Series 330i xDrive
5
5
Good
2021 i3
N/A
0
Good
2021 i8
N/A
N/A
N/A
2021 X4 M40i
N/A
1
Good
2021 X5 xDrive50i
4
0
Good
2021 X7 xDrive 50i
N/A
7
Good
Z4 Roadster
5
5
N/A

Are BMWs expensive to maintain?

With great quality comes great costs. Racking up an average maintenance cost over 10 years of $17,800, BMWs are arguably the most expensive cars on the market to maintain, though some models are
fairly cheap to insure
compared to other luxury cars. The key to scaling back the costs for your BMW is to follow the
recommended maintenance schedule
in your car’s manual.
According to
CarComplaints.com
, BMW has 915 complaints filed by customers. The models that have caused the most issues include the 2013
X3
, 2011
X5
, 2007
335
, 2013 X5, and 2007
328.
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Are BMWs good on gas?

If you’re looking at the ever-popular BMW 2 Series, you’ll get around 35 highway mpg. For more expensive tastes, like the BMW 7 Series, up to 29 highway mpg can keep you cruising on the roads to your heart’s desire. 
Check out the 2021 fuel economy ratings for top BMW models from the EPA:
Model
City
Highway
Combined
M3
16 mpg
23 mpg
19 mpg
M4
16 mpg
23 mpg
19 mpg
2 Series
26 mpg
35 mpg
29 mpg
3 Series
26 mpg
36 mpg
30 mpg
i4
94 mpge
98 mpge
96 mpge
i8
N/A
N/A
64 mpge
X4 M40i
23 mpg
28 mpg
25 mpg
X5 xDrive50i
18 mpg
25 mpg
21 mpg
X7 xDrive 50i
19 mpg
24 mpg
21 mpg
Z4 Roadster
21 mpg
18 mpg
27 mpg
If being kind to the planet is high on your priority list, you’ll be pleased to know that the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
ranked BMW number 7 on its top 20 list of on-site Green Power Partners. With reusable energy and efficient models like the 2022 BMW i4, you can align your environmental values with your driving practices when you choose BMW.

Are BMWs fun to drive?

While BMW cars edge out models from Mercedes-Benz and Audi in reliability, they also boast fierce engine power that makes them a joy to drive. 
Let’s talk about the famous BMW engines. They’re powerful, but they’re light—and fueled by fewer cylinders than the average ride—and they deliver over 100 hp per liter. Power is one thing, but drivability is another, and the M Series packs a punch with lightweight materials like carbon fiber, allowing for increased agility. 
A little bonus tip for those daredevils out there is to use the
M Laptimer app
with GoPro integration whenever you hit the track to get some laps in. The app is designed to evaluate your driving style and give you pointers to improve your speed. Now, that’s fun!

What’s the best BMW?

Whether you’re aiming for power, size, or environmental responsibility, you can find the right BMW for you. Luckily, there’s a range of reasonably-priced BMWs fit for most budgets, although you could spend six figures for a luxury Beamer if you had the funds for it. The best one for you will come down to your preferences, but we’d say a few models are the cream of the crop.
  • BMW X7 XDrive50I
    : BMW’s flagship SUV, the X7, now has electric rear window shades and BMW’s Dynamic Handling Package, which makes it easier to navigate than ever.
  • BMW X5 XDrive50I
    : Ideal for schlepping around the kids, oh—and hitting the race track (not recommended)—the X5 has apt handling that makes it shine as a luxury SUV.
  • BMW i4 M50
    : If you’re looking to go all-electric with your new Beamer, the i4 has an estimated range of up to 300 miles, so you can road trip with the best of ‘em.

How to find affordable BMW car insurance

Although some BMWs are more accessible than others, you’ll most likely need a healthy budget to drive one off the lot. Something else you’ll need before you can call a BMW your own is car insurance. With expensive price tags and high maintenance costs, you’ll want to make sure you spare expenses on your policy, and
Jerry
can help you do just that.
As a
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and licensed broker, Jerry compares plans from over 55 insurance companies to find you the best price for the coverage you need. Jerry can even help you switch to your new policy right from the app.
The best part? Jerry users save over $800 per year on average, which can help you chip away at those maintenance costs!
“Insurance companies originally charged me $189 while driving my BMW 300 miles per year. Thanks to
Jerry
, I only pay $56! I’m so happy.”  —Ray T. 
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