What used BMW 3 Series saloon will I get for my budget?
You’ll need a budget of around £5000 for a sixth-generation 3 Series and for this you’ll be looking at cars that are either repaired write-offs, high-milers, or both.
A petrol model with less than 100,000 miles on the clock can be picked up for around £6000. Increasing the budget to around £7500 or more to get you a 320d variant that’s averaged a reasonable number of miles per year.
Spend between £10,000 and £12,000 on a good 2015 or 2016 example of the facelifted car. You'll need between £19,000 to £22,000 for the last of the sixth-gen 2019 cars.
The plug-in 330e version makes sense if it fits your lifestyle, but you'll need around £13,000 to buy one with an average mileage.
Meanwhile, if you want a used 3 Series with a six-cylinder engine – and we can understand why you might – expect to pay a minimum of around £11,000 for one with an average mileage.
How much does it cost to run a BMW 3 Series saloon?
The cheapest 3 Series to run is the 320d in ED form, which is good for an impressive official economy figure of 72.4mpg. The popular 318d and 320d achieve combined economy figures of 67.3mpg and 60.1mpg, respectively. The bigger, six-cylinder diesels aren't far off the smaller engines, though, with the 330d rated at 55.4mpg and the 335d at 51.4mpg.
Going for a smaller petrol shouldn't cripple you financially on fuel; the 318i has a combined economy figure of 52.3mpg. The more potent 320i, 328i and 330i models drop down into the mid-40s, though, while the older six-cylinder 335i achieves as little as 34.9mpg.
The plug-in hybrid 330e has an on-paper claimed average fuel consumption of a startling 134.5mpg. As is the case with most plug-in hybrids, you're unlikely to see anywhere near this figure in the real world, unless your journeys are short and you have access to a charging point at either end.
Some of the petrol engines emit an awful lot more CO2 than the diesels, particularly the 335i with 189g/km. The more sensible 318i, though, coughs out 122g/km. The popular 320d diesel emits 124g/km (102g/km in EfficientDynamics form), while the 318d has a figure of 111g/km. Even the six-cylinder diesels are quite affordable to tax; the powerful 335d's 145g/km is quite impressive given the performance it offers. Choose the 330e and you'll make it into the free tax band because emissions are only 49g/km.
Car tax (VED)
Tax for all models registered before 1 April 2017 will vary depending upon the emissions the engine produces (see paragraph above for more information) while examples registered after this date will render owners liable to pay a flat rate fee. There are two of these; a lower rate for cars that cost less than £40,000 when new, but any example that cost more than that will incur an additional fee. However, this surcharge only applies on the first five occasions that the vehicle is taxed, not including initial registration. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here.
BMW offers a five-year fixed-price servicing package on its new cars, so it’s worth checking to see if you’re still covered by this when buying a used one. Servicing isn’t too pricey, however, and you’ll pay from roughly £200 at a BMW main dealer for simple service on a four-cylinder diesel, up to around £500 for a six-cylinder petrol that needs all of its filters and spark plugs changing. Inspections are due every two years or 15,000 miles.
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