It is sort of slow news day today, so I figured I would toy with some numbers and see what the true deals may surface.

My first target was BMW. I scanned the deals and found I can have a base 328i for just $401.00 a month on a 3 year lease, sounds pretty fair but just how does that stack up? I wandered around for a bit on other sites and soon I found myself at Just for giggles I ran a base Camry XLS for the same lease and it came in at $488.00 a month. How can that be? I double checked the figures and found they were correct, so then my wheels got turning.

What if a BMW was cheaper to own than a Toyota? After all Toyota has always been known as the value leader and BMW was known for being expensive. Of course there is more to it than just a payment; there are other factors to consider.

So out came my trusty pen and this is what I found taking a 36 month lease with $2,500 down and 15,000 miles a year:

Round 1: MSRP – Toyota

$28,695 Toyota Camry XLE V6
$33,175 BMW 328i

Round 2: Fuel Cost- Toyota

$5094 over 3 years using regular gas @ $3.00 a gallon averaging 26.5 mpg – Camry XLE
$6429 over 3 years using premium gas @ $3.50 a gallon averaging 24.5 mpg – 328i

Round 3: Insurance – Toyota

$4341 over 3 years - Camry XLE
$5578 over 3 years - 328i

Round 4: Maintenance - BMW

$ 0 (all maintenance is included for 4 years) - 328i
$ 979 Over 3 years - Camry XLE

Round 5: Repairs - BMW

$ 0 – (all repairs are included for 4 years) 328i
$ 141 – Over 3 years Camry XLE

Round 6: Total Expenditure over 3 years – BMW

$28,942.57 (payments + maintenance + repairs + insurance) 328i

$30,623.34 (payments + maintenance + repairs + insurance) Camry XLE

Basically this scenario probably can be done with several makers but in this case the 328i came in with an annual cost of $9647 per year while the Camry totaled to $10,207. A difference of $560 annually.

I know the Toyota fans will correctly point out that the Camry is more reliable, but in this case Toyota ranked 1.79 issues per vehicle while BMW came in with a 2.12 issue rate in the latest JD Power rankings. So in the worse case the BMW may visit the dealer 1 more time over the 3 year span.

I don’t know about you, but considering a savings of almost $1681 over 3 years, I can sit in the waiting room of a BMW dealership for an hour watching their plasma TV, while sipping my complimentary Starbucks, investing that extra cash all on their dime.

Lease payments: and
Round 1: MSRP: and
Round 2: Fuel cost calculated using EPA estimates
Round 3: Yahoo automobiles
Round 4: Yahoo automobiles
Round 5: Yahoo automobile
Round 6: Totals of round 1 through 6 plus monthly lease payment times 36 months

Which is Less Expensive to Own A BMW or Toyota? The Answer May Surprise You

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