The 12 Most Reliable BMW Models and Years

The 12 Most Reliable BMW Models and Years

Most people know that BMWs are exceptional in terms of performance, but how often do they have problems?

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “There’s so much talk about BMW’s reliability!”

Yep, we know.

That’s why we’re about to cut through the noise and give you our list of the 12 most reliable BMW models and years!

List of the 12 most reliable BMW models and years

So, where did we get our info?

  • Real-world experiences & owner reviews: There’s nothing quite like hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. BMW owners aren’t shy about sharing their love (and sometimes frustrations) with their cars. So, we’ve read forums, scanned reviews, and even had a few coffee talks.
  • Reliability studies: We analyzed reliability studies from industry giants like J.D. PoweriSeeCarsCarComplaints, and RepairPal.

With that out of the way, let’s start!

12. G05 BMW X5 (2019-present)

G05 BMW X5 - blue - rear exterior
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 80 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 5

The G05 BMW X5 is a recent favorite in the BMW lineup.

It’s a bit like that school athlete who’s also a straight-A student. It’s got a rep for performing on the road while looking great in the driveway.

We’ve heard many owners praise the G05 BMW X5 for the impeccable driving experience it offers.

If you’ve seen it, you know it’s a stunner. And guess what? It has the reliability to match those good looks!

Plus, it has similar specs to a Porsche Cayenne, just at a lower price!

Fun fact: Did you know the G05 BMW X5 was one of the first cars that allowed drivers to use their phone as a car key?

The most reliable engine on the G05 BMW X5

  • xDrive40i (B58): This engine, a 3.0-liter turbo inline-6, is the golden child of the X5 lineup. It offers a brilliant blend of performance and stability and has earned a great reputation for being dependable.
  • xDrive30i (B48): This is a 2.0-liter turbo inline-4 engine, which is basically the B58 with two fewer cylinders. Therefore, it has proven to be very reliable.

Note: Avoid the N57 diesel engine on the BMW X5, as it frequently has timing chain issues.

Common issues on the G05 BMW X5

  • Faulty gearbox: Some owners found the gearbox acting a bit… quirky. Think unexpected jerks or hesitant shifts. It’s not universal, but it’s something to be aware of.
  • Failing steering column motors: Yep, that’s a mouthful. But in simpler terms? Some X5s might give you a bit of drama regarding the steering adjustment system. So, it’s worth testing this before you make a purchase.
  • Leather wrinkles: Picture this: You hop into your luxurious BMW, glance around, and…wait, is that a wrinkle on the leather? It doesn’t affect performance, but it might be a worry for the perfectionists among us.

11. E90 BMW 3 Series (2006-2011)

E90 BMW 3 Series - black -exterior front
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 77 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 46

The E90 BMW 3 Series is like that classic novel that never truly goes out of style.

It’s been lauded for its balanced handling, its exquisite ride quality, and its ability to make even the most mundane commutes feel thrilling.

The most reliable engine on the E90 BMW 3 Series

  • 323i, 325i, or 330i (N52): This straight-six engine has been the heart and soul of many 3 Series models and is arguably one of the best BMW engines ever made. Efficient, robust, and delightfully responsive, this engine made the E90 models an absolute joy to drive.

Common issues on the E90 BMW 3 Series

  • Rust on the rear subframe and wheel arches: Some owners found these rust spots appearing slightly earlier than they’d have liked.
  • Failed or stuck cup holders: You’d think for a car of this caliber, holding onto a latte would be a breeze. That is not always the case. Some of these cup holders seemed to have a mind of their own, either getting stuck or not doing their job correctly.
  • Door grab handles get sticky: It’s a bit baffling. You’re in a premium car, and the door handles feel like they’ve had a run-in with honey.
  • Prematurely failed rear shocks: For a car so renowned for its ride quality, having rear shocks that failed too early was a blemish on an otherwise stellar report card.

Learn more: BMW 3 Series: 16 Most Common Problems To Check Before Buying

10. G01 BMW X3 (2017-present)

G01 BMW X3 - exterior - rear - grey
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 82 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 18

Okay, let’s go back into the SUV territory with the G01 BMW X3.

This is the SUV that manages to be sporty, luxurious, and functional all at once.

The G01 BMW X3 has been a favorite of many since its launch, especially among those who wanted an SUV that didn’t feel like driving a behemoth.

The most reliable engines on the G01 BMW X3

  • xDrive20i & xDrive30i (B48): You’ve probably noticed that the B48 engine keeps popping up, and for good reason!
  • M40i (B58): For those looking for a bit more power, the B58 in the M40i is your go-to. It’s become somewhat of an icon in the BMW engine lineup, and if engines had Hall of Fames, this one would be in it.

Common issues on the G01 BMW X3

  • Moonroof rattles: Imagine driving down a quiet road and then… rattle, rattle, rattle. Some owners have noticed this sound coming from the moonroof. It’s not the kind of ambient noise one hopes for.
  • Front seat base squeaks: Remember those old-school chairs that squeaked every time you shifted? The G01 X3’s front seat base sometimes takes us on that nostalgic journey.

9. F25 BMW X3 (2015-2017)

F25 BMW X3 - white - rear exterior
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 82 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 18

We’re rolling back the years a bit to talk about the F25 BMW X3.

It’s been celebrated as a game changer. Not too big, not too small.

And with its sporty dynamism paired with its robust stance, it was clear BMW had struck gold.

The most reliable engine on the F25 BMW X3

  • xDrive35i (N55): The N55! Think of it as the older cousin of the B58. This turbocharged inline-six engine was not just efficient but brought excitement to the driving experience.

Common issues on the F25 BMW X3

  • Sunroof leaks: The sunroof seems to be the Achilles heel of the F25 BMW X3. Some owners did an unexpected rain dance inside, courtesy of a leaky sunroof. Definitely not on the feature list!
  • Failed starter motor: A handful of these X3s had starter motors that decided to retire a tad early.

Learn more: Why Your BMW Won’t Start: 6 Common Causes (& Solutions!)

  • Steering rack clunking noise: Cruising down a boulevard, you’d occasionally hear a clunk that wasn’t your music.

8. F30 BMW 3 Series (2016-2018)

F30 LCI BMW 3 Series 340i
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 80 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 3

The F30 3 Series was BMW’s attempt to blend tradition with innovation. And boy, did they get it right… mostly.

Still, it was an absolute hit. Lauded for its agility, handling, and undeniable “BMW-ness”, it won over purists and newbies alike.

Did you know the F30 was the first 3 Series to have electric power steering? Quite the departure from the earlier hydraulic systems, and back in the days, it certainly stirred up some chatter!

Related article: BMW 3 Series: Which Years To Avoid & To Buy? (2024 Guide)

The most reliable engines on the F30 BMW 3 Series

  • 330i (B48): The B48 strikes again. Much like an Oscar-winning actor, this engine seemed to be everywhere during these years.
  • 340i (B58): If the B48 was the reliable actor, the B58 was the rockstar. Powerful, thrilling, and always ready.

Common issues on the F30 BMW 3 Series

  • Worn timing chain mechanism: A few of these F30 models quit thanks to a worn-out timing chain mechanism. This happened especially on earlier models with the N20 engine.
  • Failed thermostat or water pump: Heat issues in a car as cool as this? Ironic, right? Some F30s faced the issue of either a thermostat or a water pump that decided to go on vacation.

7. F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé (2020-present)

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe F44
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 81 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

Next is one of the newest kids on the block – the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé.

The Gran Coupé is BMW’s answer to those who want compact luxury with a hint of sportiness.

The F44 has, in many ways, redefined what a compact luxury car can be. Sporty, sophisticated, and filled with technology.

Oh, and it’s BMW’s first front-wheel-drive-based sedan for the global market. Quite the leap from their rear-wheel-drive pedigree, huh?

The most reliable engine on the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé

  • 228i (B48): Once again, the B48 engine comes into play. In the 228i, it brings reliability and performance to the table.

Common issues on the F44 BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé

  • Sunroof rattles: Deja vu, anyone? Just like its X3 sibling, the Gran Coupé sometimes has issues with sunroof rattles.
  • Failed harman/kardon speaker: A few Gran Coupé owners have had this exact hiccup with their harman/kardon systems.

6. E83 BMW X3 (2006-2010)

E83 BMW X3
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 80 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 18

The E83 marked BMW’s entry into the compact luxury SUV market.

It was a practical yet fun SUV, and most people praise it for its bulletproof reliability.

Did you know the E83 BMW X3 was one of the few luxury SUVs at that time that genuinely seemed to enjoy being hustled along a winding road?

Well, it was the Ultimate Driving Machine for a reason!

The most reliable engine on the E83 BMW X3

  • 3.0Si/xDrive30i (N52): This 3.0-liter naturally-aspirated six-cylinder combines power, refinement, and reliability in a manner that just makes you nod in approval every time you push the pedal.

Common issues on the E83 BMW X3

  • Transfer case actuator gear: Some E83 X3s experience a failed transfer case actuator gear, leading to drivetrain vibrations or noises.
  • Degrading plastic in the interior: Remember how your favorite 2000s toy eventually showed wear and tear? Due to its age, the E83 has similar issues, with some interior plastics aging faster than others.

5. F48 BMW X1 (2019-2022)

F48 BMW X1 driving off road
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 81 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

The F48 BMW X1 is what happens when BMW decides to encapsulate all its brilliance into a more urban-friendly package.

Be it a weekend getaway or a quick spin around the city, this compact SUV is always eager. Most users have loved its blend of practicality, performance, and poshness.

But, despite its compact appearance, the F48 BMW X1 offers one of the roomiest interiors in its class.

Who said you can’t have your coffee and drink it too?

The most reliable engine on the F48 BMW X1

  • xDrive28i (B48): If there’s one thing you’ve picked up by now, it’s the excellent reliability of the B48 engine. Once again, in the X1, it’s the star performer.

Common issues on the F48 BMW X1

  • Oil leaks: While uncommon, a few X1 owners have faced issues with oil leaks.
  • Worn engine mounts: Occasionally, the X1’s engine mounts wear prematurely, causing unnecessary vibrations.

4. G30 BMW 5 Series (2017-2024)

G30 BMW 5 Series Sedan
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 84 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

Let’s roll out the red carpet for the incredibly reliable G30 BMW 5 Series.

The G30 is that perfect blend of tradition and innovation.

While it stays true to BMW’s traditional design language, it brings a few technical innovations. For instance, the G30 introduced BMW’s gesture control feature, where a simple hand movement could control various features.

The most reliable engines on the G30 BMW 5 Series

  • 530i (B48): By now, our trusty B48 engine feels like a dear friend, doesn’t it?
  • 540i (B58): The B58 gives the 540i more power and, unsurprisingly, a track record of reliability.

Note: Be careful; the N63 V8 engine is a bit more prone to timing chain issues.

Common issues on the G30 BMW 5 Series

  • Minor rattling noises: Some owners have pointed out these mysterious rattles, often leaving them playing detective in their own cars.
  • Reversing camera not working: Picture this: You’re about to reverse, expecting the camera to help you out, and then…nada. A few G30s had moments when the reversing camera decided to take an unscheduled coffee break.

Learn more: Used BMW 5 Series: A Guide To Finding The Best Value

3. F22 BMW 2 Series (2016-2021)

F22 BMW 2 Series Coupe - M240i
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 82 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

Grab your sunglasses because the F22 BMW 2 Series is shining bright!

This is the modern compact sports coupe that is both stylish and reliable.

The F22’s playful nature and sharp handling have made it a favorite among those who value driving pleasure over all else.

The majority of its owners will happily talk your ear off about its dynamic performance!

The most reliable engines on the F22 BMW 2 Series

  • 230i (B48): Ah, our good ol’ B48. In the 230i, it shines yet again, combining peppy performance and rock-solid reliability.
  • M240i (B58): This powerhouse found in the M240i offers a mix of raw power and surprising dependability.

Common issues on the F22 BMW 2 Series

  • Cracking rims on potholes: You know that feeling when your favorite song skips a beat? The F22’s rims sometimes did just that, especially when encountering nasty potholes.
  • EGR cooler issues: The EGR cooler in some of the F22 models fails occasionally, leading to engine warning lights or, in rare cases, a necessary replacement.

2. G20 BMW 3 Series (2019-present)

BMW 3 Series 330i G20 M Sport
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 81 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

The 3 Series has always been the poster child for BMW, representing a perfect blend of luxury, performance, and everyday usability.

The G20 doubles down on this by marrying tradition with cutting-edge tech. It has been in production for a few years now, and it appears to be one of the most reliable models BMW has ever produced!

The most reliable engines on the G20 BMW 3 Series

  • 330i (B48): Surprise, surprise! Our trusty B48 engine retakes center stage in the 330i.
  • M340i (B58): When you need that extra kick, the B58 in the M340i is an excellent engine.

Common issues on the G20 BMW 3 Series

  • Glitching BMW Digital Key: Some G20 owners have faced moments when the Digital Key decides to have a mind of its own.
  • Failed mirror motors: Occasionally, the side mirrors on the G20 fail.

1. G29 BMW Z4 (2019-present)

G29 BMW Z4 roadster - grey - exterior front
  • J.D. Power reliability score: 78 out of 100
  • Number of complaints: 0

Coming in as the most reliable BMW is the G29 Z4, the roadster that makes you feel like you’re in a blockbuster action movie every time you hit the open road.

This roadster is more than just a pretty face. It scores an impressive 9.2/10 on iSeeCars’ Reliability Rating and is as dependable as a golden retriever.

And guess what? The G29 BMW Z4 and the Toyota Supra share the same platform (and engines), so if even Toyota makes this choice, it has to be reliable!

The most reliable engines on the G29 BMW Z4

  • sDrive30i (B48): The B48 engine, by now our recurring superstar, steals the spotlight again in the sDrive30i.
  • M40i (B58): Like the B48, the larger B58 delivers a heart-thumping performance, all while staying in tune for the most part.

Common issues on the G29 BMW Z4

  • Noise from plastic interior trim pieces. Some owners noticed some noise from the Z4’s plastic trim. It’s minor, but when it happens, it can occasionally break the immersion.

Learn more: 6 Best BMW Z4 Models (+ Most Reliable & Years To Avoid!)

How reliable are BMW cars?

So, you’ve got one burning question: ‘Is BMW reliable?’

Well, let’s cut to the chase:

While some industry rankings give it a thumbs up, others aren’t as generous.

For example, J.D. Power’s report shows BMW sitting pretty close to the industry average, with 184 problems per 100 vehicles.

Meanwhile, RepairPal gives it a modest 2.5/5.0, and iSeeCars rates it a solid 7.5/10.

The WarrantyWise ranking places BMW slightly lower, at 29th out of 36 car brands, with a score of 69/100.

However, when we look at surveys from actual BMW owners, the brand’s reliability score sees a sharp uptick.

Consumer Reports ranks BMW as the third most reliable car brand, just behind Lexus:

BMW's reliability score according to Consumer Reports

What’s the bottom line?

BMW’s reliability is subjective. It isn’t bulletproof, but it’s by no means a lemon. The real-world reliability depends mainly on factors like maintenance, driving habits, and the quality of parts used.

If you’re willing to look after it, a BMW can be as reliable as any other car!

If you want to learn more, you can find our BMW reliability study here!

Conclusion

BMW cars?

Most of the time, they’re fantastic.

Sometimes, there might be a small issue, but that’s okay.

Everything has its quirks, right?

If you’re thinking about buying a BMW, remember it’s more than just a car.

It’s a feeling. It’s the excitement when you turn on the engine. It’s the comfort when you’re on a long drive.

But, like with all things, it’s good to know what you’re getting into.

Do your homework. Know the pros, and be aware of the cons.

To all the (future) BMW owners: Enjoy every ride, stay informed, and always drive safely!

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