Let’s start with the ubiquitous E92 M3, defined by its high-revving, naturally aspirated V8. Prices for early, high-mileage coupes are now comfortably into the teens, and there are plenty on the market. These cars may one day be classics, even if prices are expected to slide further in the short term. Really nice cars start at around £20,000, and even the best are only in the £30,000 bracket. Watch out for failing throttle bodies and noisy differentials, but they’re generally tough cars. Very few experts rate the portly E93 Convertible, so we’ll gloss over it here.
The 1M has achieved something of modern-classic status, with values holding; low-mileage cars exceed £40,000. Dan Norris (see below) believes this buoyancy is largely led by the trade, and doesn’t necessarily see them as a long-term investment, while specialist Birds cautions that the forthcoming M2 might affect the market.
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And what of the mighty V10s? They’re a high-risk purchase, and this page could easily be filled four times over with buying advice, but the core message is: research your purchase thoroughly. Some cars still have a BMW warranty, which is a comforting thought. A £15,000 E60 M5 is a gamble, £17,500 is fair, and £20,000 secures a good one. Nice M6s are worth a bit more, and Norris tips those as a much better investment bet.
Then there’s the Z4 M. A cult car in coupe form, and somewhat forgotten as a roadster, this flawed but individual BMW won’t be to all tastes. Currently in the high teens, it’s easy to see them rising.
Birds & Munich Legends
There’s a marked difference of opinion between our experts on the V10-engined BMW M5 and M6 models. Birds (birdsauto.com) won’t retail them as a rule due to ‘long-term mechanical issues and running costs’. Munich Legends (munichlegends.co.uk) sells plenty, but is under no illusions that they’re a special purchase requiring plenty of forethought and homework. ‘There are some issues you should think about before you even think about buying one,’ says Legends’ Dan Norris, citing clutch and gearbox wear and fuel consumption. ‘Allow your prejudices to have free rein, and get it inspected,’ he urges.
The Z4 M, particularly in Coupe guise, has always been a car to split opinion, and while Norris diplomatically admits that it’s a cult car, at Birds they love them.
Both are big fans of the V8 M3s though, although Birds prefers the manual cars while Munich Legends leans towards the DCT versions. Both agree that getting the right spec on the car is important, with EDC damping a must. Norris has even used an M3 saloon as his daily driver for the past four years, and loves it dearly. These are still not cars to purchase lightly, however. ‘Anything that makes you raise an eyebrow about the car, just walk away,’ Birds advises.
Fergus Calder got hooked on the M doctrine driving his father’s E46 M3, and years later realised the dream by acquiring an E92 M3 Coupe himself.
‘I averaged 12-13mpg. At best I got 18mpg. The fuel costs were mental, and were one of the reasons I got rid of it. It does take its toll on your wallet. Even so, I’d have another one.’
Calder replaced the much-loved M3 with a 1M in Valencia Orange. ‘It felt smaller than the M3. It was nice to have something more intimate. There was no messing about with it, but once you’d learnt how it worked, it never scared you. And it always wanted to go sideways – in a good way.
‘I put a Larini exhaust on it as it was way too quiet after the V8 M3. I had it for 16 months. I actually sold it for more than I paid for it, and given that it had the service pack, it only cost me fuel and tyres. I’d find any excuse to get in and go for a drive.
‘I might get an E39 M5 next. After all, it’s not about lap times; it’s how it makes you feel. The 1M didn’t have all those silly electronic aids, and the E39 is the same sort of thing.’