We’ve written extensively about several BMWs, their capabilities, and their features on this blog. Today, we’re going to look at the brand as a whole and answer a question that many North American consumers seem to be confused about. Let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, BMW sold in the United States are 7.27% cheaper than BMW sold in Germany. BMW are more expensive in Germany because the VAT or sales tax on new car sales is much higher in Germany (19%) than in the United States (0 – 7% depending on the state).
However, that certainly doesn’t tell you the full story. Below, we first gathered a bunch of information about the retail prices of the 17 most popular BMW models in the United States and compared them to the retail prices in Germany. After that, we’ll explain in detail why the prices between the countries can be so different. Finally, we’ll discuss the cheapest BMW that you can get in the United States and if it’s worth checking out. Read on!
Retail Comparison Between The United States And Germany
Let’s start with making a fair comparison between the prices of BMW in both Germany and the United States. For this, we went to Autotrader.com and selected the most sold BMW models in the United States. For this reason, we weren’t able to compare the BMW 1-Series and 6-Series. These series are still sold in Germany but are discontinued in the United States.
Then, we took the most recent model years of these cars. For some, this meant the 2023 version; for others, the 2022 version. We then took the lowest possible retail price for cars within a specific model. So, for example, there are multiple versions of the 2-Series depending on what you’re looking for. However, we only included the lowest possible retail price we found on the websites of our sources.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that German prices were listed in euros. We transferred these numbers to dollars. As of the writing of this article, 1 EUR = 1,09 USD.
Finally, we calculated the percentual differences between the USA MSRP and the German MSRP. A ‘+’ indicates that the BMW is more expensive in the USA, a ‘-‘ means that the BMW is more affordable in the USA.
|Model||Model Year||MSRP USA||MSRP Germany||Difference %|
|2 Series||2022||$ 37,345||$ 33,804||+10.47%|
|3 Series||2022||$ 42,445||$ 43,017||-1.33%|
|4 Series||2022||$ 46,795||$ 50,367||-7.09%|
|5 Series||2022||$ 55,195||$ 53,693||+2.80%|
|7 Series||2022||$ 87,795||$ 97,008||-9.50%|
|8 Series||2023||$ 85,995||$ 105,725||-18.66%|
|X1||2022||$ 36,395||$ 35,371||+2.90%|
|X2||2023||$ 37,595||$ 34,367||+9.39%|
|X3||2022||$ 44,695||$ 51,110||-12.55%|
|X4||2022||$ 52,795||$ 59,840||-11.77%|
|X5||2022||$ 61,595||$ 75,167||-18.06%|
|X6||2022||$ 68,345||$ 96,165||-28.93%|
|X7||2022||$ 75,895||$ 103,739||-26.84%|
|M3||2022||$ 71,095||$ 72,703||-2.21%|
|M4||2022||$ 72,995||$ 72,812||+0.25%|
|M5||2022||$ 105,695||$ 101,043||+4.60%|
|iX||2023||$ 106,095||$ 88,170||+20.33%|
After crunching the numbers, we came to a surprising conclusion. That conclusion is that BMW are more expensive in Germany than they are in the United States. Of course, this also depends on what specific model you opt to go for.
Interesting outliers are the 2-Series (+10.47%) and the iX (+20.33%), which are much more expensive in the USA than Germany. On the other hand, the 8-series (-18.66%), X3, X4, X5, X7 (all between -11.77% -and -28.93%) are much cheaper than the ones sold in Germany.
So, What’s The Average Cost Of A BMW In Germany?
Based on our research, a BMW in Germany (across all BMW models) would be approximately €66,248 or $72,432.25 (assuming €1 is roughly equivalent to $1.09 which can change, obviously).
Of course, this “average” number can vary quite a bit based on the specific trim level, optional packages, and features chosen by the buyer. Also, taxes, dealership fees, and other costs associated with purchasing a vehicle can vary and are typically not included in the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).
It’s also important to point out that BMW, being a German brand, often has a different set of standard and optional features for its home market, which can also affect the price.
Why Are BMW In The USA Cheaper Than In Germany?
Now, let us discuss the two factors that have the most significant influence on the price differences between the United States and Germany.
Higher Sales Tax
One of the most critical factors that play a role here is the higher sales tax (or VAT, as they call it in Germany) that Germany puts on the sales of goods. In Germany, a 19% sales tax is added to the sale of new goods, including cars. In the United States, sales tax ends up somewhere between 0-7% depending on the state that you live in.
As a result, BMW can drop the price of their cars in the United States by 12 – 19%, depending on the state. However, other factors come into play here as well.
For example, BMW doesn’t make the 2- to 8-series in the United States, which means they must be imported. This adds 2.5% to the price in duty. Furthermore, shipping cars from Germany to the United States also increases costs by a few thousand. However, in most cases, it still ends up being slightly cheaper than the sales tax they charge in Germany.
On the other hand, the complete X line-up of BMW is made in Spartanburg, South Carolina (BMW has its own factory there). This explains essentially why a large portion of the X line-up is so much cheaper than the ones sold in Germany. They don’t have to add a hefty sales tax, they don’t have to pay the duty, and there are no shipping costs.
Finally, it’s important to note that a slight price difference may also exist because of the popularity of BMW in Germany compared to the United States. In the United States, BMW has a market share of 1.79%, whereas they have a market share of 7.9% in Germany.
They also have the same awesome commercials that you’d expect to see here too. Just with an awesome German voiceover:
This also means that BMW has to fight less hard for market share in Germany, which means they won’t have to price their cars as competitively as they will have to do in the United States. Less competition simply means less pressure on the sales price.
What Is The Cheapest BMW You Can Get In The United States?
As you saw earlier in this post, the BMW X1 is the cheapest BMW you can get in the United States. Specifically, we’re talking about the 2022 front-wheel-drive sDrive28i with an MSRP of $36.395. The car has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder connected to an automatic 8-speed transmission, giving you 228 horsepower.
In another blog post about the potential mileage a BMW can get, we learned that BMW X1 would last between 160,000 – 180,000 miles, which is decent. Furthermore, the car has a reliability rating of 3.5/5, needs to go to the garage for unexpected maintenance around 0.67 times per year, and you’ll have an 8% chance of having a severe problem (which is relatively low).
Furthermore, we know that the BMW X1 is also an excellent car in the snow. It has excellent traction (mainly because of its great weight distribution and the many electronic systems that help it stay on the road). Also, it has a high ground clearance of 7.2 inches, which is helpful if you live in regions where you expected quite some snow. Overall, the BMW X1 seems a car that’s well worth checking out.
Wrapping up, it’s clear that BMW prices vary across the U.S. and Germany due to factors like VAT and local market dynamics.
Our detailed comparison and research across 17 popular models give a snapshot of these disparities. While BMWs are generally cheaper in the U.S., understanding the full picture is crucial. And if you’re eyeing the cheapest BMW on the U.S. market, remember – value is about more than just the sticker price!
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!