Feature article

Best BMW Cars Available in NZ: Buying Guide

German luxury car maker, BMW, is a prestige brand that has a large range of cars and SUVs on offer in the NZ market.

Last updated: 14 May 2024

German luxury car maker, BMW, is another prestige brand that has a large range of cars and SUVs on offer in the NZ market.

There are five-door hatches, four door sedans, coupes in both two and four door formats, wagons too and large, ultra-luxury salons like the 7 Series. There is an equally large range of M models, BMW’s high performance machines which make up a disproportionate amount of local sales. And of course, there’s the popular X line-up of SUVs, ranging from compact to the large 7-seater X7. While diesel power is on the outer with these European makers, there are many efficient petrol options and plug-in hybrid choices. BMW is also big on electric cars, its i range with seven models to choose from, with various variants in each line-up.

Like other luxury brands here, BMWs sold new in New Zealand come with three years of scheduled servicing to ensure it stays in top working order.

While many of BMW’s models are in the $100,000 plus bracket, there are few that manage to deliver BMW’s best attributes for a sum under that mark.

BMW 3 Series, still the one

The 3 Series range has plug-in options, wagons and fire breathing M variants with supercar rivalling performance. And yet the entry level 320i is the pick of them. This starts at $89,900, which gets you a sedan with a turbopetrol engine producing 135kW. While in years past the diesel models were preferable, the 320i’s 300Nm of torque means you won't miss the old oiler. And with a combined consumption figure of 6.5L/100km, it’s rather economical too.

Ultimately, the 3 Series is still a great car to drive with excellent steering, great road holding and a real driver connection missing from its rivals. Yet it’s still a refined machine with many driver aids and safety features. It's connected in all manner of ways too. It’s a sizeable sedan now at 4.7 m long; it’s not much smaller than an old 5 Series from a few years back. That gives it genuinely useful interior space, particularly for those in the rear, while there's 480L of cargo holding ability in the boot.

Read the 3 Series review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: BMW 320i

X1 - compact and well formed

While BMW has a line-up of X machines ranging in size from big to bigger, don't underestimate the smallest offering, the X1. Compared with those others, this is relatively good value starting at $72,500 for the sDrive18i. This is the only ‘conventional’ model in the range, its torquey little 1.5 turbopetrol delivering good urge without much effort. Paired with a seven-speed twin-clutch, it’s a solid performer and it drives well too. Expect consumption around the 7.5L/100km mark.

There are powertrain choices within the X1 range including a plug-in hybrid with up to 80km of EV range and there are a couple of electric models too, although each carries a premium with their electric credentials.

The sDrive 18i is well kitted out with no real need to order extras. It's a city-friendly SUV, the easy steering, good turnaround and clear surround view camera eases parking. The modern interior has a floating console with good storage while the drive controls are situated together for ease of use. Most interior aspects are controlled via the touchscreen while the voice control is a smart operator.

The assisted drive mode for the active cruise is helpful on the motorway and we like the reverse assistant too; the car backing you out of tight places automatically.

While it might be a compact SUV at 4.5m long, it's well packaged with 540L of boot space and good room in the rear seat too. It can even tow up to 1700kg.

Read the X1 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: BMW X1

i4 - the electric choice

BMW is big on electric drive now with a varied range of electric machines though we like the i4. Perhaps not when viewed from the front though; the grille treatment can be polarising, but everything else we like. Especially the way this i4 drives, it’s a rare EV in the way it’s enjoyable to steer when you feel like it, but also relaxed and refined when you just want to get places.

The entry level i35 just sneaks in under the $100k mark at $98,900, which gets you up to 430km of electric range from its 67kWh battery. It has a handy 210kW and 400Nm of torque. As an entry level model to the i4 range, it's well specified with electric, heated leather seats, comfort access, active cruise control, connected services and a long list of safety features.

For a bit more ($115,000) you can go for the i40 model with more power (250kW) and a longer 535km range from its larger battery. And it's sportier drive with its M treatments. From there you go up to the M50 with 400kW of power from its dual motor arrangement, costing $144k.

Though BMW calls it a Gran coupe, the i4 is still a reasonably practical five-seater, the cabin dominated by BMW's curved display, which includes the 15-in control panel. With its hatch-like fifth door, there’s some 470L of boot space, which expands to 1290L by folding the rear seat.

Read the i4 review

View listings on Trade Me Motors: BMW i4


Kyle Cassidy
Kyle Cassidy
Editor NZ Autocar magazine - autocar.co.nz

Kyle has been reviewing cars since starting at NZ Autocar magazine in 2003 and has been editor since 2009. In that time he’s become an expert on what makes for a good vehicle while also gaining insights into the local automotive industry.