Are BMW expensive to own?

Did you know that, on average, we spend £168,880 on our cars in our lifetime? When you are looking at a new car, there are many different costs that you need to think about.

Of course, there is the initial purchase of the car (or lease), but there are also running costs, insurance, tax…the list goes on. 

These further costs can make some cars considerably more expensive than others. A car that doesn’t cost much initially could cost a lot in running or repair costs. So it’s important that you think about all of these things before you decide which car you buy.

And on that note, one of the questions we get a lot at here at OSV is ‘are BMW cars expensive to own?’ and it’s a very valid question.

So in this article, we are going to look at what sort of costs you might run into when looking at a BMW, and how expensive they are to own.

Are BMW’s expensive to insure?

One of your first thoughts is probably going to be about insurance. Do BMW’s cost a lot to insure?

Well, Forbes has named the BMW 750i as one of the most expensive cars to insure  in their list back in 2011 and while not all BMW’s will make that list, there are some things you should take into consideration.While BMW cars are luxury, high-performance cars, they are not as expensive as the likes of Aston Martin or Ferrari. This means that while they are more expensive to insure compared to a more affordable brand, they are not as expensive as some of their competitors. They are going to cost above average to insure, but it won’t break the bank. This is because of the high-performance and the fact that BMW’s are more expensive, and therefore more to insure. That said, BMW’s also come with a lot of safety features these days, which will in turn, lower the insurance. So they sit comfortably in the mid-to-high range for insurance. However, we cannot tell you how much specifically it will cost to insure your BMW. This is simply because there are so many factors that contribute to the cost of insurance. These include;

  • The type of model
    • There are so many different types of BMW models and each of those have a number of derivatives. One model could span several insurance groups.
    • For example, the BMW 3 Series Coupe spans insurance groups 21-42. So you need to be wary of this when you are looking at different derivatives of the same model
    • This includes different engines and different specifications
  • How old the car is
    • An older BMW might be cheaper initially, but it could cost more to insure if it doesn’t have the same safety features as the latest models
  • The cost of the car
    • The more expensive the car is, the more the insurance will be. This includes if you are going to add extras to the car.
    • That said, adding a safety pack could help keep the insurance down

And there are other external factors that affect insurance as well. These include; 

  • Your age
  • How long you have been driving for
  • Where you live
  • Criminal convictions
  • Driving convictions
  • Penalty points
  • If you have any extra driving qualifications

All of those factors can impact how much your insurance will cost.

As we said, BMW’s will cost more to insure than a more affordable city car. This is because they are considered high-end, high-performance cars that will cost more money. And this naturally translates into higher insurance. The extra safety features on BMW’s nowadays help bring the insurance down, but there are also external factors that affect insurance as well. You should expect that many BMW’s will sit in the mid-high range of the insurance groups, but it depends which model you go for. You can read more about insurance do’s and dont’s here.

Is a BMW expensive to maintain?

Maintenance is another thing that will be on your mind when it comes to owning a BMW. Maintaining your car is a key part of owning it. It means that you won’t have to fork out so much for repairs and will help maintain a good resale value should you decide to sell the car on.

But how much does a BMW cost to maintain? rank BMW as the top for most costly car brand to maintain. They estimate that over 10 years, someone will spend $17,800 on maintaining their BMW. It should be noted that this has been done in the United States, but there isn’t too much difference.

BMW’s are naturally going to cost more to maintain than, say, a Nissan, because they cost more initially. Their parts are more expensive and they might be more complicated to repair. This can bump the price of maintenance up.

ReliabilityIndex give you average repair costs for many makes and models, so let’s have a look at how the BMW models stack up;

  • BMW 1 Series
    • The average repair cost is £511.23
  • BMW 3 Series
    • Slightly more expensive with repair costs of £531.59
  • BMW 7 Series
    • It costs a lot to insure, but isn’t too bad with repair costs. This model is coming in at an average of £608
  • BMW M3
    • More expensive than the 7 Series at £655.47 on average for repair costs
  • BMW X5
    • The large SUV will set you back £615.05 to repair on average

What we can establish is that BMW’s are quite expensive to maintain. But, that’s because they are expensive cars. The parts are more expensive, the labour is probably more expensive, particularly if you need someone to repair your performance M3.

BMW vs. Mercedes vs. Audi; Which is more expensive to maintain?

Interestingly, there has already been an investigation into which of the Big Three is more expensive to maintain. And, the results were…Audi. Audi’s cost 19% more to maintain and repair than BMW.

They also found that the younger the Audi, the more expensive it was to repair and that BMW’s were most likely to be repaired around the 7 years mark.

However, Mercedes came out on top in terms of lower maintenance and repair costs, with 31% lower costs than Audi. They also found that the most repairs carried out in Mercedes were around 11-years old, so they also go on for longer.

How can I lower maintenance costs on a car?

There are ways that you can lower your maintenance costs, and much of that is simply maintaining your car yourself. We have a number of articles on maintaining your car including; General maintenance

Advanced maintenance 

How to prepare your car for a long journey

Maintaining your car in extreme weather conditions

By ensuring your car is in tip top shape at all times, you will lower your maintenance and repair costs.

How expensive are BMW’s to tax?

Like it or not, you have to pay tax on your car. But, how expensive are BMW’s to tax?

Again, it really depends. There are a few factors that influence how much you will have to pay in road tax. And, this has recently changed.

As of April 1st 2017, the amount you pay in car tax, or vehicle excise duty (VED) depends on the fuel type and your car’s new list price (if over £40,000). This means that several derivatives of the same model could cost a different amount to tax. For example;

A BMW 1 Series Hatchback 11d ES (Business Media) 3dr will cost you £20 a year in road tax. But, the BMW 1 Series Hatchback 116i (2.0) Performance Edition 3dr will cost you £150 a year to tax. The same model, but a different type and two very different tax costs. It should be noted this is correct as of August 2017 and could be subject to change. Therefore, BMW’s could cost a lot to tax, or they could cost very little. This genuinely depends on what type of BMW you get. You can read more on VED changes here, or work out how much you will be paying in car tax here.

Are BMW’s expensive to lease?

A common misconception about luxury cars is that they cost a lot to lease. When actually, this is often not the case.

One of the factors that influence how much a lease contract will be is how much value the car will lose during the lease contract. A car that loses a lot of its value, will cost more. BMW’s have high residual values, which means they are worth more than many other manufacturers after a long period of time. This means that they can be less to lease than people think.

Of course, there are other elements to lease prices (which you can read about here), but depreciation does play a big part in the price. BMW’s depreciate slower, making them less to lease. That’s why the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi are all so popular to lease, because they are actually very affordable.

There are other factors that can increase and decrease lease price, but BMW’s probably aren’t as expensive to lease as you think they are.

In conclusion, are BMW’s expensive to own?

It really depends. BMW are a luxury brand, therefore their cars are going to cost more to own than more affordable models. But, you probably already expected that. In terms of maintenance, the prices aren’t as much as more luxurious brands, but the repair costs are quite expensive on average. However, you can help offset the price by doing as much maintenance as you can at home to avoid any unnecessary trips to the garage. In terms of insurance, it depends on what model you go for. Some BMW’s cost considerably more to insure than others and this can include the same models. So it’s important that you look at how much it will cost to insure your BMW before you make a decision. If you were to lease, then a BMW probably isn’t as expensive as you might think. Their low depreciation rates make them attractive lease cars, as this seriously brings down the monthly payments. Again, it does depend what model you get, but we’re sure that it will cost less to lease than you might think.

Hopefully this has given you some idea of how expensive, or affordable, it is to own a BMW.

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