BMW has long been held in high regard by the motoring press and the general public alike because it has made some of the sportiest and most desirable cars on the market.
Great handling and high quality engineering made the manufacturer from Munich one of the most envied among rivals.
But in recent years BMW has tried to go more mainstream, and in the process some critics and buyers have argued that the firm has lost the special ingredient that made BMWs so appealing. If you agree – or just want to see what the best BMW rivals are – then check out our list of alternatives for each of the brand’s models.
BMW 1 Series alternatives
BMW’s smallest model handles sweetly but has slightly gawky looks and doesn’t have the biggest interior dimensions. Here are the best alternative cars.
The Audi A3 is the car that originally launched the premium hatchback segment, and it continues to go from strength to strength with the latest version. It shares a lot with the popular Volkswagen Golf, but ramps up the quality factor by a noticeable amount.
The Audi is available with the brand’s quattro all-wheel-drive system, and its excellent MMI infotainment too — so there’s plenty for the discerning customer to appreciate over the BMW. Add in practicality and a relatively comfortable ride and it makes for an excellent choice.
For the current A-Class, Mercedes decided to ditch its previous strategy of offering a mini-MPV style model in favour of a more traditional hatchback. As a result it’s now a much more stylish vehicle, and has benefitted from Mercedes’ recent focus on interior quality.
It drives well enough for most customers’ needs, and will be cheap to run thanks to a range of engines shared with many Nissan models. It’s well worth a look if you want a stylish and economical hatchback.
Make your ideal Mercedes with our Mercedes A-Class configurator.
The stylish Volvo offers a good alternative for buyers looking for something a bit less generic than the BMW. Volvo has given its V40 an almost coupe-like shape, but retains a good proportion of the practicality that has made the brand’s vehicles so popular.
Handsome and economical, the Volvo V40 is a good value choice that still has bags of premium appeal for customers.
View our Volvo V40 configurator to get the best deals.
BMW 2 Series alternatives
The 2 Series is a great handling coupe, but has plenty of talented rivals to contend with, such as…
The latest Audi TT improves on the styling of the previous generation, with a modern new look inspired by the Audi R8 supercar. Inside, there’s a premium looking dashboard with the impressive Audi virtual cockpit system as the centrepiece.
Audi offers engine choices to suit every buyer, so there’s a thrifty diesel or a choice of sporty turbocharged four-cylinders – all are impressive and are shared with other vehicles in the Audi/Volkswagen stable.
Use our Audi TT configurator to see how much you could save on the TT.
The Mercedes SLK has finally shaken off its image as a bit of a hairdresser’s car, and is now a great choice for those looking for a sporty coupe, with the benefit of a folding metal roof for those rare sunshine-filled days.
Admittedly it’s not as practical as the BMW, but looks that ape the stunning Mercedes AMG GT mean that few will care.
Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ
Sure there could be a little more power, but if you’re looking for a low-priced sporty coupe, there’s little better out there.
BMW 3 Series alternatives
One of the best all rounders on sale, the 3 Series has fight on its hands as its competitors are now better than ever.
The latest Audi A4 is much improved over the old version and has some of the best interior quality and technology available in any car. Engine choices are varied and mean that the Audi will be cheap to run for buyers too.
The improvements to the looks are admittedly subtle, but this should mean the A4 will age much better than the slightly chintzy BMW.
Find the best deals for you using our Audi A4 configurator.
The XE has arguably better handling than the BMW, and it’s a compact executive car the British brand can be proud of. Stealthy looks and a classy interior are easy on the eye, and will attract plenty of admiring glances.
The car benefits from Jaguar’s impressive new Ingenium diesel engines too, that mean it can now beat rivals in terms of running costs at long last.
Give our Jaguar XE configurator a go and see what great savings await.
If it’s a fantastic interior you’re after then look no further than the popular Mercedes C-Class, a car that has finally vanquished the mutterings about it being a cut-price S-Class. Of course in many ways that’s true, but more in size than prestige or quality – sit in a C-Class and you’ll feel like you’re in a car costing twice as much.
The Mercedes is a fantastic choice for those looking for a comfortable compact executive car that’ll make you feel like royalty.
Use carwow’s Mercedes C-Class configurator to check out the latest deals.
BMW 4 Series alternatives
The 4 Series was introduced as a replacement for the three-door 3 Series coupe – which means it has some sporty-looking rivals you should consider.
Although we’re due a new Audi A5 in 2016, the current A5 still offers a stylish and high-quality alternative to the BMW. A good range of engines and solid handling make it surprisingly sporty, and there is enough room for four to travel in relative comfort, although rear headroom is slightly restricted by that sporty roofline.
Check out our Audi A5 configurator to view exactly what savings can be had.
Mercedes C-Class Coupe
Stunning is the word most often used to describe the brand-new Mercedes C-Class Coupe. With styling based on the £100,000+ S-Class Coupe, this is a car that oozes premium quality and design, in a more conveniently sized package.
You get the lovely interior of the standard saloon as well, plus its affordable running costs and relatively low price.
Save today with our Mercedes C-Class Coupe configurator.
Want a coupe that’ll never fail to put a smile on your face? Then check out the Nissan 370Z — its striking styling hides a car that’s entertaining to drive, and under the bonnet there is a throaty 3.7-litre V6 engine that gives a real old-school muscle car driving experience.
Interior quality could be improved a little, but equipment levels are high, and there are some fantastic savings to be made. Check out those savings using our Nissan 370Z configurator.
BMW 5 Series alternatives
The 5 Series is nearing replacement, so these alternatives might be a better bet for those looking for a modern executive car.
The stylish Audi A6 is a car that has good looks on its side, despite being a few years old now. Inside you’re greeted with a traditionally high-quality Audi interior, including the excellent MMI infotainment system.
Most A6 models are also available with quattro four-wheel-drive, making them a great choice for anyone worried about handling in snow or wet weather. It’s a great all-rounder.
Use our Audi A6 configurator to see how much you could save with carwow.
A brand-new version of the Jaguar XF was released in 2015, and it shares a lot of its handsome styling with the previous generation. It’s a strong competitor for the BMW, and one that could well rival it for being the best handling car of this size.
The interior is still beautiful, and finally the dated infotainment system has been kicked out and replaced with a much more impressive system — a major attraction for many potential buyers.
Check out the latest savings on the big cat using our Jaguar XF configurator.
Much like the 5 Series, the Mercedes E-Class is ripe for replacement, but the current model still offers a good all-round package that hold up to the variety of tasks this type of vehicle is presented with.
Spacious, cheap to run, and with impressive end-of-the-line offers — the current E-Class is a fantastic choice for those looking to grab a bargain. Look at our Mercedes E-Class configurator to check out those bargains today.
BMW 6 Series alternatives
The current BMW 6 Series is more a grand tourer than sharp-handling coupe, and it’s expensive to boot — here are a variety of cars to consider alongside it.
Audi A7 Sportback
More a competitor to the four-door 6-Series Gran Coupe, the Audi A7 Sportback is a truly stylish large coupe, that offers the practicality of a hatchback and a pair of rear doors too. Based on the A6-platform, it handles well and has a range of powerful engines.
If you’re looking for a distinctive alternative to both the 6-Series and indeed the 5-Series, the Audi is definitely worth a look.
Have a look at the latest deals using our Audi A7 Sportback configurator.
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
From one extreme to the other, the Jaguar F-Type Coupe is a sporty contender to the 6-Series that offers heart-meltingly good looks and engines to knock your socks off. Topped off by a gorgeous interior, it’s unlikely that the Jaguar would fail to put a smile on any owner’s face.
Admittedly there is no diesel option, and the available petrol engines are quite thirsty, but economy is hardly the point with this kind of vehicle is it?
Find your purr-fect Jaguar F-Type Coupe using our configurator.
Mercedes E-Class Coupe
The Mercedes E-Class Coupe is a stylish and more compact rival for the BMW, and one that is sure to provide a relaxing and surprisingly cost-effective ownership experience. There is enough room for four and plenty of equipment too.
It might not be the sharpest car to drive, but powerful engines and a smooth ride make the Mercedes an excellent companion for a road trip.
Make your ideal Mercedes E-Class Coupe with our configurator to see the latest savings.
BMW 7 Series alternatives
BMW released an all-new 7 Series large executive car in 2015, but there are many similarly stylish options out there for customers to choose from.
Heaving with technology, the Audi A8 is a luxury saloon that focuses on offering a comfortable ride with plenty of interior space, but one that is also surprisingly capable when driven fast along twisting back roads.
It’s not bad value either, and although the styling may be a little too discreet for some prospective owners, it offers a luxurious experience for drivers and passengers alike.
Use our Audi A8 configurator to see the savings currently available.
Fancy a bit of Italian exotica instead of the normal German choices? The Quattroporte is a fiery and distinctive alternative and as a bonus can be had with two Ferrari-derived petrol engines, should you fancy. Never fear, there’s a diesel option for those more concerned about running costs, and a long wheelbase version if you need more rear legroom.
But the Maserati‘s real appeal, apart from its badge, is the way it handles like a much more compact sporting car than something this size should — definitely one for those who like to drive themselves from time to time.
Take a look at our Maserati Quatroporte configurator to find out the available savings.
Few will see any other option in this category than the Mercedes S-Class, and it’s not that hard to see why. Imperious styling and a fantastically made (and designed) interior give a real sense of occasion that’s hard for anything to beat this side of a Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
Prices have crept up a little bit compared to the previous S-Class, but in terms of sheer excellence and prestige, there’s little reason to look elsewhere than the Mercedes.
To save on your Mercedes S-Class, use our configurator.