Don’t Get a Cheap New Car. Buy a Used BMW Instead

You can get a BMW with a stick (and some warranty left) for the price of a soul-crushing econobox.

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Car manufacturers offer a wide variety of cheap new cars for less than $25,000. And while cheap cars of old may have left you wishing you’d gone back to business school even though you know you’d have hated it, not all affordable rides these days are dreadful econoboxes that kill a bit of your soul every day you drive them. Well-equipped models of two of the three World Car of the Year finalists — the Mazda3 and the Mazda CX-30 — can be had in that price range, as can the delightful Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

If you’re buying new in that range, however, you’re making some sort of sacrifice. It could be the engine’s power output; it could be luxury, comfort, or the latest technology. Maybe it’s just sheer space. There’s something you want in that new car that you’re giving up for cost purposes.

Even if you’re on a budget, there’s no reason you should do without. A BMW, for example, offers the ultimate driving experience, and you can find a wide variety of used BMWs for the same price as a cheap new car. And we’re not talking derelict beaters that are going to rack up expensive repairs on day 1; these are lightly used BMWs, some still under factory warranty.

We’ve provided some examples of used BMWs below. All are listed for less than $25,000. All have fewer than 35,000 miles. And, unlike some of the new models, all have reasonably proportioned kidney grilles.

So you want a classic, manual-transmission Bimmer…

Here’s a silver 2017 BMW 330i sedan. It’s rear-wheel-drive with a six-speed manual. It only has 32,750 miles. Its factory warranty remains valid until just after Christmas 2020. You can toss in some M Sport wheels and still come in under $25,000.

BUY NOW: $23,950

So you want a practical crossover…

Say hi to this black-on-black 2017 BMW X3 xDrive28i. It has 248 horsepower, all-wheel-drive, the cold weather package — and a little over 23,000 miles.

BUY NOW: $24,423

So you want a convertible…

Here’s a black 2016 BMW M235i convertible. It has a 3.0-liter inline-six engine, a six-speed manual gearbox and a little less than 35,000 miles. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is still valid through July.

BUY NOW: $23,999

So you want an M3…

Here’s a white 2008 E93-generation BMW M3 Convertible, with its late-2000s-spec V8 engine and a manual transmission. It’s a California car with only 34,000 miles.

BUY NOW: $20,000

So you need a family wagon…

Check out this silver 2014 BMW 328i xDrive wagon. It may have a slushbox, but it also has several M Sport options and all-wheel-drive, and gets more than 30 mpg on the highway. Plus, the odometer boasts only a little more than 31,000 miles.

BUY NOW: $21,794

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