Certified pre-owned vehicles, or CPOs, are just the thing for the tightwad car buyer: You sidestep the hit from the initial depreciation and still get a thoroughly checked-over car, backed by the automaker. So it’s no wonder that even though new-car sales have cratered of late, CPO sales have been rising. It’s a great way to get into some exciting cars for a lower initial outlay.
Car and Driver will be looking at all sorts of desirable CPO cars in the months to come. First up is the BMW 3-series, in part because no other car has impressed and seduced the staff more consistently over the years and partly because this writer recently needed to buy a practical daily driver.
But BMWs have never been bargains. As an inveterate cheapskate, I decided to investigate a certified pre-owned BMW. BMW started its CPO program in 1996. To qualify as a CPO car, a BMW cannot be more than five years old, have more than 60,000 miles on the odo, and cannot have been seriously crashed. It also must pass a thorough inspection at a BMW dealership. If the tires or the brakes are more than half-worn, they are replaced. A CPO car is supposed to perform, if not look, like a brand-new BMW.
A BMW CPO’s warranty takes over when the new car’s four-year/ 50,000-mile coverage ends, continuing for two more years and raising the mileage limit to 100,000. In January, I bought a 2007 BMW 335i sedan with 23,421 miles on it, so I wound up with a warranty for four years and two months, or 76,500 miles. That’s longer coverage than the original buyer received.