This is the first article in our Car Buying Guide series:
- How to pick your BMW, what options should you choose?
- BMW special programs that can save you big dollars
- How to negotiate a good price?
- How to financing your purchase?
- Why leasing a BMW maybe better?
- Leasing process fully explained
- Dealer tricks and pitfalls
Unlike some other auto makers, who prefer consumers to buy cars directly from dealership’s existing inventory, BMW somehow encourages you to make your own selection and place a factory order through your local dealership.
Buying your made-to-order BMW gives you the maximum freedom in obtaining a car which exactly matches your personal preferences, and without any other redundant features.
However the downside is, when you place a factory order, there is not as much room for price negotiation as directly buying off the dealer lot, because dealership is not willing to make a transaction that does not earn profit, or earn slim profit. So this is a tradeoff.
Regardless whether you are doing a factory order, or just buying from the existing inventory, below are some generic personal advices specific to BMW vehicles.
If You Just Want to Buy a BMW
You simply want to buy a car with the BMW logo, and you do not care about luxury/performance/handling etc., then the best way is to select the most base trim for the model you are interested in, without any other extra options and packages. For example you want to buy a sedan, then picking the base 320i is a good choice: with some negotiation you can easily get it for less than $30k before tax and title, this is a good deal – think about this: you get a BMW with less than $30k!
Bimmer fans, please do not laugh at consumers who are buying such “naked” base models. Everyone has his/her own personal tastes and needs, what you consider valuable may not be important in other people’s minds. And frankly speaking, most consumers are not car enthusiast, they may even not be able to distinguish the 320i and the 335i. So unless you really needs those extra options/features, a fully load BMW will probably unlikely to get more admiration from your friends or other bystanders.
If You Want Luxury
You want to buying a luxury car, and making a choice within “major luxury brands” such as Mercedes/BMW/Audi/Lexus/Infiniti/Acura/Volvo etc; you do not care too much about sports car handling, high speed cornering etc. In this case, my suggestion:
- No need to select any packages/options that are related to performance and handling, for example the Sports Package (or M Sports Pkg), Active Steering
- Comfort related options can be selected if you want to spend that extra money and feel it is worthy, this is very personal and subjective
- No need to choose a larger wheel rim size: the larger the rim, the lower the tire wall, which means a stiffer ride. Again, this is just my opinion, if you prefer the appearance of a big wheel rim, feel free to proceed
If You Want a Sporty BMW
- The Sport Package (or M Sport Package) is a must-have
- On some higher-end models, there is a multi-contour seats option available, you should get it
- A trim with more powerful engine will cost you more, but the higher premium is not so exaggerated, consider it when your budget is flexible
- Other performance related options – you need to go for a test drive to make sure whether you want it or not. For example some buyers do not like how the Active Steering mechanism behaves
Some Generic Facts
Despite your needs in buying a new BMW, below are some rules of thumb you need to keep in mind:
- Unless you are leasing, extra options/packages on BMW worth significantly less value when you want to sell your BMW later on. For example, LED lights on the 2015 550i worth $1,900 when new; however, a pre-owned 550i with LED lights may highly possible be sold at very similar (even identical) price in the second-hand car market as another 550i without such feature. This means when it is the time you need to trade-in your car, the extra option may not give you any meaningful advantages over other less-equipped cars
- However, some options/packages will get higher pre-owned appraisal value, for example: different engine, transmission, navigation; sometimes sport package may also be desired for a pre-owned BMW
- BMW vehicles are not good at reliability, a lot of people will try to get rid of it before the factory warranty expires; therefore, unless you are an experienced DIYer or has the mighty faith that own only one car during your whole life, I do not suggest you to keep the BMW for a long time. Your ownership period of every new BMW will probably last for 3 – 4 years
- Engineers working in BMW are trying very hard day and night, to make sure you will feel your current new BMW to be quite boring and out-dated after 4 years, so I bet most of you will switch to a newer BMW 3- 4 years later, anyway.
There are lots of details that we can talk about BMW cars for a whole day, you can do some online search to get a more thorough idea of this field. Now I will leave you with some useful information that are on our website, for example even the leather on BMW has some interesting stories:
See more articles about BMW, click here.
In the next section, I will show you how to take advantage of some BMW special programs that can save you big dollars.