Short Answer: To lease a BMW, you’ll generally need to have a minimum credit score of around 670. If your credit score is higher, you’ll likely qualify for better leasing rates. Below, we detail what you need to know about leasing a BMW, including information on credit requirements, mileage, and fees.
Credit Score Needed to Lease a BMW
BMW dealerships are independently owned and operated, according to a representative from BMW of North America. Because of this, each dealership may have different lease requirements, although they are likely to be similar. To get an idea of what you can expect, we contacted BMW dealerships in Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas.
In order to lease a BMW, you’ll likely need a minimum credit score of at least 670. This is the minimum threshold for “good” credit, as defined by Experian. A few customers have reported being approved for leases with slightly lower scores, but most of these approvals were accompanied by a significant down payment.
Additionally, there are financial tiers for BMW leasing and financing, meaning the higher your credit score is, the better your financing rates will be. For example, if you have excellent credit (about 750 or higher), you may qualify for Tier 1, which comes with a lower money factor (i.e., the interest charged on the lease).
Note that there is no minimum income requirement needed to lease a BMW. Instead, dealerships evaluate each lease agreement on a case-by-case basis to determine if you can afford to make the monthly payments. Many BMW dealerships will also offer loyalty discounts for both lease and purchase agreements.
Other Considerations for Leasing a BMW
When you lease a vehicle, you’re essentially renting the vehicle instead of purchasing it. Leases are structured in such a way that you pay for the vehicle’s depreciation and not the market value. Certain factors that are unique to leases include:
You’ll be required to tell the dealership approximately how many miles you plan to drive the vehicle per year. If you estimate 10,000 miles per year, your lease payment will be lower per month than if you were to estimate driving the vehicle 15,000 miles per year. It’s important to be realistic with your mileage estimate; if you go over your mileage allowance, you’ll be required to pay a fee. For BMW lease agreements, the excess mileage fee is typically between $0.20 and $0.25 per mile.
In a lease agreement, the dealership is considered the owner of the vehicle. Because it wants to get the vehicle back in good condition, the dealership will often require a security deposit. This is separate from a down payment, which is typically optional; the security deposit is usually required, and if you return the car at the end of the lease period with no damage, you can get the full amount of the deposit back. If the car needs repairs when you return it, the cost of the repairs will be deducted from your security deposit return. The security deposit for a car lease is typically around the cost of one month’s payment.
If you have excellent credit or you have leased from BMW in the past, you may be able to get your security deposit waived.
Ending the Lease
At the end of your lease, you’ll have the option to return the vehicle, re-lease the vehicle, or buy the vehicle for a previously agreed-upon price, according to BMW’s website. If you decide to purchase the vehicle, you’ll have the option of paying cash or applying for a vehicle loan. The loan will be subject to additional credit requirements.
Keep in mind that the price of the car in your original lease agreement was based on a prediction of what the car would be worth at the end of the lease. It is possible that after the lease period, the car might be worth less than the predicted residual value. In this case, if you choose to buy the vehicle at this price, you may be paying more than it is worth.
In general, the minimum credit score needed to lease a BMW is around 670. Beyond that, each BMW dealership will consider your lease application based on whether it thinks you can afford the monthly payments. Additional leasing costs may include excess mileage fees and a security deposit.
For more information about leasing a car, see our articles about who is responsible for replacing the tires on a leased car and each manufacturer’s policies about tinting windows on a leased car.