Top 3 Best BMWs under 10k (with Photos)

If you’re looking for a BMW under 10k, there are some exciting options to consider. BMWs demand high maintenance once they start to age, but with the right treatment, these machines can easily last 200,000 miles.

With a budget of $10,000, don’t expect any head-turner or an exotic BMW. I’d rather have you buy a reliable daily runner that’s economical to maintain and easy to repair, and not so older model.

So, let’s discuss the top 3 best BMWs under 10k and help you finalize your decision.

1. 2009 BMW E90 3 Series

It is a powerful and dependable car which doesn’t break down that often and good examples can be easily found.

The 3 series BMW had always been the top seller in the Bavarian family and there is a solid reason for that, it is reliable and comparatively easier to maintain. The 2009 BMW 3 Series, also known as E90, has been one of the most popular and sought-after BMWs in recent times, and it is a perfect choice to consider under 10k.

The particular trim under consideration here is the 335i sedan, powered by an N54 3.0L twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine with an inline layout. The engine produced a respectable 300 horsepower to compliment the driving pleasure, enhanced by an ever-engaging hydraulic power steering.

It is a fairly practical family sedan that can be used as a daily runner, given that you buy a car with proper maintenance history and no major accidents. 335i offers all the safety and driver convenience tech features that you can hardly find in a car under $10k.

Price: $5000 – $7,500


The 2009 BMW 335i with an N54 engine is considered to be one of the most reliable BMWs. Given that you do not heavily modify the engine or meddle with the electronics, the 335i can easily serve you beyond 100,000 miles without any major trouble or a lengthy stay at workshops.

Based on consumer reports and journalist reviews (long term), the 2009 BMW 335i E90 scores very good in reliability and is still considered one of the most dependable cars in this family.

Edmund’s Reliability: 4.2/5 star

Known Issues and the Cost to get them Fixed

Despite being a highly reliable luxury sedan and positive consumer response, the 2009 BMW 335i also has a list of known issues and manufacturing faults that require fixing and repairs. Let’s have a look at some of the common issues;

1High-pressure fuel pump failure$300
2Turbocharger malfunction$450
3Fuel injector leakage$300
4Air conditioning failure$500
5Water pump failure$700


These prices are inclusive of taxes and labor/service charges and do not panic looking at the total cost. This is the cumulative cost and not everything mentioned above would not go wrong all at once.

Insurance cost: ~ $1,200 (per year)

Ideal Mileage: 70,000 miles should be the figure in your mind while looking for a used BMW 335i, although a 100,000-mile driven car would also be harmless if maintained properly.

Best Engine

The best and the most reliable engine to opt for is the N54, which is a twin-turbocharged inline 6 cylinder formation.

Engine to avoid

You must avoid the N52 engine, it has reportedly major manufacturing faults and breaks down quite often.

Also read: BMW E90: Maintenance Costs (Calculation)

2. 2002 BMW E46 3 Series

Compact in size, superb handling experience, sporty manual gears, and economical in maintenance, the E46 is second on the list

The E46 chassis code is regarded as a legend in the BMW lineup and one of the best cars ever produced, especially by the M division, as the E46 M3. From 1998 to 2004, these models were sold in huge numbers and admired by millions of fans across the world.

The best trim to pick from this generation is the 2002 BMW E46 330i. It is a perfect blend of styling, dynamic driving experience, and suitable power. I would even prefer it over the E90, but being almost half a decade older, the trips to the workshop might bore you out.

The 2002 BMW E46 330i is a compact sedan, powered by the M54 naturally aspirated engine that produced 225 horsepower. It is moderately equipped with safety features, with no fancy entertainment. But the lightweight and compact chassis, with pure handling experience, makes it a great choice for BMW under $10k.

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Price: $4,000 – $7,000


The 2002 E46 3 series does not have much of the fancy tech and electronics that could go wrong and if the mechanical components are looked after routinely, the car would go places with you. Customers and enthusiasts consider the M54 to be one of the most reliable engines produced by BMW, even more than the N54 in the next generation.

The reliability rating of the 2002 BMW E46 330i can be regarded as very good, and some owners report driving their cars past 200,000 miles without having to tow them.

Edmund’s Reliability: 4.5/5 Star

Some Known Issues and Fixing Costs

Despite its good reputation and performance over the years, no car is 100% trouble-free, and the E46 330i also has its list of issues. The legendary M54 is one dependable powerhouse and overall, the vehicle is a pleasure to own. But let’s have a look at some known issues and how much you should set aside for repairs when required;

1Water pump failure$500
2DISA valve malfunction$200
3Suspension issues$400-600
4VANOS seals failure$350


All of these prices are inclusive of taxes and labor charges, and you might pay those charges accumulative in case of a major overhaul.

Insurance cost: ~ $900 per annum

Ideal Mileage

As the 2002 BMW E46 330i would be 2 decades old now, expect to find a clean and working condition vehicle to be driven around 150,000 miles. If you find a car with no major problem, history of accidents, and proper maintenance, it would be an ideal purchase in the given budget.

Best Engine

The best engine in this generation was the M54, a naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine that is known for its solidity and longevity.

Engine to Avoid

Do not go for the S54 engine, the famed powerhouse of the legendary E46 M3. It might look like a good deal, but the mechanical hiccups would keep you on your toes, financially as well as emotionally.

Also read: BMW E46 Maintenance Costs (Calculation)

3. 2005 BMW E83 X3

A powerful, affordable, and all-rounder sport utility vehicle to drive you around in luxury.

Third on the list is a different genre of BMW, a compact SUV, to suffice your cravings for the ongoing trend. The E83 was launched in 2004 and became quite popular among enthusiasts due to its DNA of a legendary automaker and styling that won over the majority of car buyers.

The 2005 BMW E83 X3 was introduced with an all-wheel-drive system and an array of safety and diver convenience features. The legendary kidney-shaped grill was a pure complement to the ever-popular BMW X5, and younger buyers fell in love instantly. Earlier models had an M54 naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine, mated to an automatic transmission. It is a perfect vehicle as a daily runner and offers much utility and comfort. It is a great choice to consider if looking for a BMW under 10k.

Price: $6,000 – 8,000


The 2005 BMW E83 X3 is one of the dependable vehicles produced by the Bavarian automaker and is very popular due to its styling and utility. Consumer reports and long-term expert reviews rate the BMW X3 as a very reliable car, given that the maintenance is done regularly according to the schedule.

Edmund’s reliability: 4.3/5 Star

Known Issues and Fixing Costs

Like every other car on the road, BMW E83 X3 also suffers from various mechanical issues and problems. Although not too common and frequent, these issues would require fixing whenever they pop up, and BMWs are expensive to maintain and repair. Let’s go through some of the known issues in the 2005 BMW X3 and their fixing costs;

1All-wheel-drive issues$1,000-1,200
2Cooling system problems$400
3Oil leakage$300
4Valve timing issues$350-450


All of these costs would include the labor charges and are also inclusive of taxes.

Insurance cost: ~ $1,400 annually

Ideal mileage

While shopping for a 2005 BMW E83 X3, try to find a vehicle with proper maintenance and servicing history, and most importantly the odometer. It would be ideal to have a car driven less than 100,000 miles.

Best Engine

The M54, introduced in the initial years of the BMW X3 is the best engine you can go for. It is highly reliable and has no major manufacturing faults.

Engines to Avoid

It would be ideal to stay away from the N52 engines, as those were not very dependable.