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The BMW Buyer’s Guide

Learn tips for buying a BMW from the dealership in this BMW Buyer's Guide, and the unique options available.


This blog is known for its BMW content, but I’m not just an avid fan. Purchasing my first one over ten years ago, I’ve since owned 4 more, and been involved with ordering many others, so I’ve put together a BMW Buyer’s Guide.

In some ways, purchasing a BMW is like any other car, but they differ in some key areas, and this post will help you navigate POGs, dealers, ordering, and delivery.

Step 1 – Know the POG and PG

Before ever stepping foot in a dealership, you have to decide how you want your BMW optioned, and for that I use the POG (Product ordering guide) and PG (Price Guide). They are always available on BIMMERPOST for each specific model, and they tell you every available package and option, plus the cost.

Going to the “Build Your Own” section on BMW’s website is helpful, but that doesn’t always tell you the entire story, or what might be standard in the car. For instance, in 2019, the X3 had typical black window switches and knobs for the mirrors. In 2020, they switched to a silver, or Galvanic, color, which is reflected in the POG. Things like the Sport Transmission and Sport Seats used to be optional in the previous generation, and now are standard.

Use the PG to help you decide what options you really want and can live without to understand the final cost of the car. Knowledge is power here, and you’ll most likely know more than the typical salesman once you look these over.

Step 2 – Dealer stock vs ordering

Once you know the car you want, you’ve got to find it. BMW dealers mostly stock black, white, or silver cars with the Driver Assistance Package and Convenience Package. If that’s what you want, great.  But know that ordering a car is also a viable option.

The dealer would prefer you take from their stock, but each month they have limited “Allocation” slots. These are spots in the production line that let them spec a car how they want. If you order the car with one of these slots, than you can spec the car to your liking. Slots are limited, and bigger dealerships usually have more available, so if one dealer won’t let you order the car you want, move on to the next. There is usually an 8-10 week turn around time when you order, and you can even track the car as it floats across the ocean on its shipping boat!

If you order, know that you can take delivery at the BMW Performance Center for any model. It’s a free selection, and you only need to pay for your flight to South Carolina. While European delivery was an option, sadly that ended this year.

You also have the option of BMW Individual. This allows you to paint the car in any color, choose any interior trim, and many other choices. But know that BMW must approve every request, and there is a premium for the options.

Step 3 – Negotiating

This wouldn’t be much of a BMW Buyer’s Guide if we didn’t mention price. Many people don’t negotiate the price of a car – you can and should. First, head over to BMW to find out current special offers.

That money comes from BMW themselves, so unless it’s a new or rare model, you should expect up to 10% off the MSRP in addition to incentives.

And don’t be afraid of them! If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. There will always be another BMW waiting. And remember, it might be their time, but it’s your money.

BMW X3 rear
Don’t be afraid to walk away. The right one is out there somewhere.

Step 4 – Delivery options

If this is going to be a special car for you, then consider having the dealer NOT touch it. What do I mean?

BMWs are delivered in white plastic wrapping that the dealer will peel off, then give the car a rather unceremonious wash. It will introduce all kinds of marring and scratching to your brand new unprotected paint. Not ideal.

If you’re taking one off the lot, as I did with my X3, than this is something you can repair yourself or take to a detailer.

However, if the car is one you’ve ordered, specify that you do not want them to clean it upon arrival. Simply leave the white wrapping on it, drive it to your favorite detailer, and have them install PPF (paint protection film) or a coating of your choice.

This BMW Buyer’s Guide is a starting point to help prepare for the dealer. Just make sure you’re excited about the BMW you buy, both today and for years to come! Otherwise, it’s not the right car.

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