Cars you dream of - at prices worth waking up for

At the age of ten, some of BMW’s most iconic cars have become full-on bargains – classy as ever but now at very sensible money, and affordable even at the sort of mileage that means they still have most of their lives ahead of them. Prepare to enter a world of temptation…

5: 5 Series (2004-2010)

Keen, agile, stylish, classy and practical. Five words for the 5 Series, but if you want a sixth you can add ‘cheap.’ This legend among execs is suprisingly economical to run and, so long as you don’t let a valet job blind you to groaning suspension or a ticking bomb of electronics, sturdily reliable. The choice of engines ranges from fuel-sipping to cackle-raising, and if you look after it the blend of top-notch handling and peerless ride will never go off. At ten years old, but without the mileage to match, a 525d need only cost you seven to eight grand.

4: 7 Series (2002-2008)

If low-money luxury motoring is your idea of driving heaven, look no further. The styling on this 7 Series was met by howls of protest, meaning plenty of people who’d otherwise have one in a heartbeat wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole even now. So despite its glorious build, cabin quality and classy drive, this is a car whose residuals are as strong as Aston Villa’s chances of staying up. The fear of what it will cost if the iDrive or climate control go wrong puts people off, too. Take the risk, though, and a 730d Sport showing less that 60k will struggle to make five figures.

3: 1 Series (2004-2011)

If you’re looking for a practical Golf-basher with spacious rear seats… keep looking. But as cool hatchbacks go, the rear-driven 1 Series was a hoot – especially with the 3.0-litre petrol engine, which could crack 0-60 in 6.1 seconds. Manual versions have a reputation for being hard on clutches and transmissions alike, so you need to buy with care, and these are rare cars by hatchback standards – so prices have a hard edge. £6650 might sound okay for an earlyish model with less than 60k on the clock, but compare that with what comes next…

2: 6 Series (2003-2010)

Not everyone likes the way the 6 Series looks, which is good news if you do. Because if not everybody wants one, they don’t cost as much. We spotted a 645Ci auto from 2006 with only about half the expected mileage, and at £7.5k that’s an awful lot of car for your money. The spending won’t stop there, of course, but for what it is the 6 is cheaper to run than people tend to fear.

1: 3 Series (1998-2005)

The most desirable 3 Series there’s been? You don’t have to look far to find proponents for that view. Its styling still looks fresh today, and works particularly well on more sporting models – though all of them from this era had plenty of zest to go with their undoubted agility. Serious trouble is rare, but for a car of this age so are bargains – genuine low-milers still make strong money, though five grand for a 320Ci Sport with less than 50k on its clock sounds tempting to say the least.

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