Undoubtedly, BMW is one of the world’s most famous luxury auto brands, but is it as reliable as its Japanese and Korean rivals? Well, traditionally, vehicle magazines and surveys have been ranking BMW cars as average or below average, but this has changed recently. The Consumer Reports reliability study ranks BMW in the top 3, and the latest models have also scored exceptionally ‘Great’ in the J.D. Power Quality and Reliability study. So, which ones are the most reliable BMW models? Before we reveal them, let’s determine how we gauge quality and dependability.
How do Researchers Measure Quality and Reliability?
Every research organization has its own ways of measuring a vehicle’s quality and dependability. For instance, Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey collects details from vehicle owners every year about issues they encountered with their cars in the past year. The CR team analyzes problem areas and makes an overall reliability ranking for every model year.
On the other hand, the J.D. Power team analyzes the degree of flaws, faults, and design errors faced by vehicle owners (3-year-old vehicles over a year). The rating covers the complete car from powerplant to infotainment system. The higher the score on J.D. Power, the more reliable it is. J.D. Power ranks problems per 100 vehicles for each brand. J.D Power rates 91-100 score as ‘Best,’ 81-90 as ‘Great,’ 70 to 80 as ‘Average,’ and 0 to 69 as ‘Fair.’
We will primarily consider J.D. Power’s reliability ranking and U.S. New’s overall score for our list of most reliable BMW cars.
Are BMW Cars Reliable?
Generally, BMW cars are dependable. Their low-reliability rating in most studies is primarily due to the extensive list of advanced technologies they use in their vehicles that often pose issues. These cars can easily last over the 100,000-mile mark, but you need to stay current on routine maintenance, use BMW genuine parts, and do your own inspection time by time.
Are BMW Cars Good To Buy As Used?
Yes, BMW cars are quite remarkable to buy as used. They come loaded with the latest tech and safety features and offer peppy drive and superb handling. The two biggest downsides are their higher price tag (even in used condition) and pricier repair and maintenance compared to mass-market brands.
6 Most Reliable BMW Models
2021 BMW 2-Series
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 83/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.4/10
Available in coupe, convertible, and sedan (Gran coupe) body styles, the 2021 BMW 2-Series is one of the most reliable BMW models in the German automaker’s lineup. Its main strengths are five powerful engines, lively handling, an upmarket cabin, and a wide range of standard features. Go for the coupe or convertible for the driving fun and M models for the worthwhile driving experience.
The solid safety rating, as well as the ‘Great’ reliability score, round out this small premium car’s impressive strong points. Up to 15.1 cubic feet of cargo hold further adds to its merits (Gran Coupe).
The engine choices start with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, offering 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. There are four other options with a power output ranging from 228 horsepower to 405 horsepower for different models, mating to a standard rear-wheel-drive or available all-wheel drive. The fuel consumption differs for different mills, with the most efficient one delivering 25/32 mpg city/highway and the thirstiest M2 Competition returning 18/24 mpg.
With a focus on performance, the 2-Series offers quick acceleration, with the least speedier being the 228i xDrive Gran Coupe (0 to 60 in six seconds) and the quickest M2 Competition running to 60 mph in only 4.0 seconds.
The standard facilities include a 6.5-inch display with Apple CarPlay, a seven-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and automatic climate control. The higher trim levels come with a 10.25-inch infotainment display, a 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, navigation, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, and wireless device charging.
In the safety department, the 2021 2-Series coupe reigns supreme with the top score of ‘Good’ in five crash examinations done by IIHS. Besides, there is a long list of standard amenities (like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking) and available driver assistance features (such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, head-up display, etc.).
2021 BMW 4-Series
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 87/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.2/10
With a ‘Great’ predicted reliability rating, completely new design, fun-to-drive nature, robust mills, and luxury interior, this most reliable used car is hard to beat in its segment.
The second-generation 4-Series is available in a coupe and convertible body styles and robust turbocharged engines. The reliable engine lineup starts with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, generating 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (1 pound-feet less for convertibles). The turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder comes in three power tunes: 382 horsepower and 369 pound-feet, 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, and 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
While it is fun to drive with its sharp steering and nimble handling, you can still improve the ride by opting for the Performance packages. It is quick on its toes, and the fastest in the lot (M4 Competition) does a 0 to 60 mph run in just 3.8 seconds and tops out at 155 mph (up to 180 mph is optional).
The 26/34 mpg city/highway fuel economy for the entry-level 430i is above-average in the compact premium car segment.
While the 12 cubic feet of cargo room is not adequate, an 8.0 touch screen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (optional), a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system (optional), wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot are some of the features you would highly appreciate.
Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) didn’t test the 2021 4-Series. However, you should feel safe with the long and advanced driver assistance features. The driver drowsiness monitoring, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, active protection system, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, etc., are part of the standard package.
2022 BMW 7-Series
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 85/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.0/10
The German automaker’s first large luxury car on our list is the epitome of power and luxury. A V6 engine, two V8s, a V12, and a plug-in hybrid, means there is a 7-series for every type of customer, especially with a J.D. Power predicted reliability rating of 85 out of 100.
The interior is incredibly good-looking yet underwhelming compared to its rivals, but you cannot help but admire the standard feature list. It starts with a 10.2-inch touch screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, voice and gesture recognition, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Additionally, there is a long list of standard driver assistance features such as driver drowsiness monitoring, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, surround-view parking camera, crash protection system, and so on.
The optional amenities are aplenty as well and so are the engine choices starting with a 335-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder, two twin-turbocharged V8s with 523 and 600 horsepower, and a 600-horsepower V12.
We consider the 22/29 mpg city/highway rating as ‘Good’ in its class, while the PHEV delivers 56 MPG-equivalent in combined city/highway driving.
2022 BMW X1
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 86/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.4/10
Apart from an excellent reliability rating of 86 from J.D. Power, ample cargo space, straightforward infotainment controls, a peppy engine, sporty handling, and impressive fuel economy, the 2022 X1 also finds a place at the top of U.S. News’ luxury subcompact SUV ranking. It hasn’t changed much during the last few years, so you can easily save money on the older models. The best part; it has just one trim level with a choice of front or all-wheel drive.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mill creating 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque is peppy and fun-to-drive, returning 24/33 mpg city/highway (FWD) and 23/31 mpg (xDrive).
The overall safety rating of Five Stars from NHTSA and ‘Good’ score from the IIHS in all six crash tests make it one of the safest compact crossovers in the segment.
Other highly desirable features comprise an 8.8-inch touch screen with iDrive infotainment, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, a navigation system, up to 58.7 cubic feet cargo hold, and the BMW’s Active Driving Assistant with a pre-crash alert and braking system and lane departure alert.
2022 BMW X3
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 85/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.4/10
What does a luxury compact SUV with a predicted reliability score of 85 sound like? Well, J.D. Power says it is ‘Great,’ and U.S. News seconds it with an overall rating of 8.4/10. Nothing changes for the 2023 model year, so you are better off opting for the 2022 X3 that came with a refreshed styling, keeping its all-around quality.
The main highlights of this compact SUV are its solid powertrains, fun-to-drive nature, excellent gas mileage, smooth ride, spacious cabin, and superb safety ratings.
While the cabin doesn’t feel as luxurious as its rivals, there is nothing to complain about when you see a 10.25-inch touch screen featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, navigation, a 12-speaker stereo, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. If that’s not enough, you can upgrade to enjoy a 16-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, satellite radio, a panoramic moonroof, and wireless device charging.
Three powerplant choices are accessible, and all of them are quite solid:
- A 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 23/29 mpg city/highway
- A 382-horsepower turbocharged six-cylinder with 21/26 mpg city/highway.
- Two twin-turbo inline-six, creating 473 and 503 horsepower with 15/20 mpg city/highway.
The above-average 62.7 cubic feet cargo hold, 4,400 pounds towing capability, Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS, and a wide array of driver assistance facilities make the X3 one of the best SUVs in the compact luxury SUV segment.
2021 BMW X7
J.D. Power Quality & Reliability Rating: 83/100 | U.S. News Rating: 8.1/10
Last but not least, we have a large premium SUV for big families with a seating capacity of seven and a standard all-wheel drivetrain.
Apart from its three robust turbocharged mills, nicely stable ride & handling, comfortable drive, and a vast list of standard features, the 2021 model year debuts the high-performance Alpina XB7, and standard Android Auto, remote start, heated front armrests, and a heated steering wheel.
The 12.8 cubic feet of boot space (after the rear seats) isn’t commendable in the large SUV class, but the interior feel is outstanding. BMW’s iDrive infotainment system with a 12.3-inch touch screen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a panoramic moonroof, quad-zone automatic climate control, remote start, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, and a 10-speaker stereo are part of the standard package.
The engine lineup starts with a silent 335-horsepower turbocharged inline-six-cylinder, which you can upgrade to a 523-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 engine, offering a zero-to-60 run in 4.5 seconds. The Alpina’s model pumps out 612 horsepower and goes from 0 to 60 in just 4.0 seconds, but as understandable, its fuel economy is least efficient at 15/21 mpg city/highway. The base model delivers 19/24 mpg city/highway.
Besides its 7,500 pounds towing capability and advanced driver assistance features, BMW offers several packages to boost the vehicle’s potential. The only downsides for the X7 are its cramped third-row seating and small cargo hold.
These are our top 6 most reliable BMW models according to the J.D. Power Quality & Dependability rating. A few models recently joined the German automaker’s lineup, such as the i7 and Xi, with the potential to blow your mind. Some other vehicles in the lineup also offer outstanding reliability, but we leave this discussion for another time.