A BMW for every budget: M Roadster Roundup

The E36/7 M Roadster remains an interesting microcosm of not only BMW, but more specifically BMW M, products. Similar to the SLK and Boxster, the Roadster offers you a unique experience and expression of your favorite brand. But because “true enthusiasts” don’t value you them as much, these models often come to market below the value of similar models. While the E36 M3 Coupe is enjoying an uptick in value and the E36/8 M Coupe has been more highly prized, it’s possible to get a lower mileage and great condition Roadster for less money still though the experience is quite similar.

Today I’ve stitched together three interesting examples – one for every budget. From a very inexpensive example through an unusual low-mileage collector, which one grabs your eye?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M Roadster on eBay

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Roll the Dice? 2004 BMW M3

So guess what caught my eye here? No surprise, if it’s a yellow M3, I’ll bite. This one grabbed my attention first because of the hue, then the price – just under $14,000 on a no reserve auction? Well, it must have a million miles rig….nope, not here. So it MUST be an SMG then, right? NO ONE wants a SMG because the moment you buy one they will murder you in your sleep and kick your dog and shut down the government (*according to actual internet comments I’ve seen). But nope, it’s a 6-speed manual.

But the more I looked at it, the more questions were raised. Why was no one bidding on this slick E46?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW M3 on eBay

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1 of 1: Dakar Yellow 2003 BMW 325xi Touring Individual

“Too expensive” shouted a few Facebook comments on yesterday’s 330xi Feature Listing. “It’s 11 years old with 130K. WTF!”

He wasn’t alone, and I find that strange. Because, well, here’s a 14 year old 325xi. It’s got 159,000 miles. And, the asking price is a latte away from $8,000. There’s no maintenance disclosed, nor the careful care shown to our Feature Listing car, either.

But my guess is no one will be complaining that this particular all-wheel drive BMW is overpriced. That is simply because of the configuration in this case. While it’s certainly very rare to come across the E90 sedan in the specification of the Feature Listing from yesterday, I’ve never seen an E46 in this spec – nor are you likely to see another. That’s because this particular car is claimed to be one of one – the sole BMW Individual spec’d Dakar Yellow 325xi Touring 5-speed Sport Package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 325xi Touring on 1023 Motors

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2011 BMW 1M Coupe

I’ve been on a bit of a yellow kick as of late, but even I was surprised when I came upon this BMW 1M. To date, I had not seen a BMW Individual painted 1M Coupe and to spy one in Dakar Yellow seemed especially amazing. Even more amazing was the price; despite only 35,000 miles on the clock, this E87 seemed priced to move at only $50,000 – some $20,000 less than other examples on the market. It was clearly worth a bit of further investigation…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M Coupe on eBay

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1995 BMW M3

A little over a year ago, I took a bit of a gamble and plunged into M3 ownership. At the time, I was reasoning that the E46 market wasn’t likely to dip much lower in the immediate future, as the E36 market was already trending upwards. As a result, I paid (what I felt was) a reasonable premium for a low mileage, excellent original condition example in a very rare color. At least on the surface, it would seem that my decision was correct; since purchasing that car, some E36 sales have gone through the roof as documented on these pages. Further, E46 sales of clean, original examples (especially 6-speeds) appear also to be heading upwards, as witness by the 2003 currently on Bring A Trailer. With a few days to go, bidding is past $25,000 – money that until now was considered reserved only for the Competition Package cars.

But back to the E36 market and this particular example. The cars that have pulled really strong numbers in the second generation M3 are the European specification models or the super-limited Lightweight edition. Still, that doesn’t mean that a clean normal U.S. specification M3 also isn’t heading upwards. Take this early ’95, for example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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Northern Exposure: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition

I promise that it was not my original intent to run a Canadian market car this today, but it’s pretty apropos for this morning’s coffee intake. The Canadian Edition M3 is no stranger on these pages; I’ve written up two of the original 45 in the past few months. First was the Mugello Red car which had undergone some changes for stock.. Second was the staggering Individual Giallo example which set what I believe may be a record price for a non-Lightweight car. Today #40 has come up for sale and seems to lie between the condition of the two cars. Presented in fetching Dakar Yellow, where will the price of this E36 end up?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW M3 Canadian Edition on eBay

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1997 BMW M3 Coupe with 45,000 Miles

The value of E36 M3s has been much debated over the past few years, with detractors snickering and deriding every asking price and speculators suggesting their worth is many times the average selling price. While it’s true you can find cheap E36 M3s, the question remains – where is the market going on these cars? The result of their relatively low value for such a protracted period means that today there just aren’t the glut of good examples that there once were, so when a really nice one comes along, now too do the bids. Case in point – today’s 1997 Coupe. A quick search of my local Craigslist ads suggests I can buy one of these for $6,500. No, actually, I can buy four of them, all for $6,500 (or less). So why would I pay more for this one?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay

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Face off: 2012 BMW M3 v. 335i

I’ve covered a series of BMW 3 series Individual cars recently, and I seem to be on a streak of finding neat ones. Today for your consideration are two E92s; one 335i turbo with low miles in a nice color combination compared to a M3 Individual with higher miles. The price is nearly the same between the two examples; which would be the one you’d select?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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2015 BMW M3 Individual

While purists in part decried the death of the naturally aspirated M3 at the same time that the new nomenclature for the coupe lineup was launched, I personally wasn’t too offended – in fact, I was a little excited. First off, being an Audi fan I was used to name changes – Audi redefined its market lingo three times in just a few years with the change from the 5000 to 200, then again to S4, and once more S6 between 1989 and 1995. So while I thought it was a bit silly that BMW had to introduce a new number lineup for it’s coupe 3 (which, incidentally isn’t always a coupe…), I’m not going to fault BMW for choosing a new market strategy. But the real reasons I was impressed were the changes to the drivetrain and, I suppose it should come as no surprise, the colors offered. The change to the twin-turbocharged S55 didn’t produced much more horsepower than the S65 V8, but it did produce a lot more torque – something BMW was happy to showcase with a series of advertisements showing the new F82 sliding around a series of parked classic M3s. That forced induction was good for a 110 lb.ft boost over the naturally aspirated V8, starting below 2,000 rpms. You could go on and on about the technology that’s been incorporated into this engine – all of which is cutting edge and really impressive – but the chart that I find really amazing is to compare the relative power output versus efficiency of the S55 to the previous generation M3s. What’s staggering is that not only is this car the most powerful, it’s nearly able to match the fuel consumption and emissions of the 2.3 liter inline-4 from the E30. It produces well over double the horsepower and torque of the S14. That’s technology working on your side, and that’s amazing to consider. We really are living through a very special period of automobile performance if you’re able to partake; here’s a car that puts out numbers close to a legendary 427 Cobra in terms not only of power output, but acceleration as well; but it stops and turns better, too, can carry 4 (maybe 4.5?) adults in comfort, gets better fuel mileage, is better for the environment, works in all conditions and guess which one you’d rather be in a crash in.

Getting back to my original point, though, the F8x also introduced a few new colors that look amazing on the new BMWs; continuing with the theme of track-named colors, Yas Marina Blue is gorgeous, Sakhir Orange Metallic is pretty vivid, but the introduction of Austin Yellow Metallic is the one that got me. It looked an awful lot like my favorite E46 tone, Phoenix Yellow, and really makes the new M3/4 a knockout. Of course, for some those color options weren’t enough, so continuing in the theme of the last few BMWs I’ve written up, here’s one that and individual turned over to Individual:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 BMW M3 on eBay

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Teens Well Spent 3: 1995 and 1996 M3s

In my recent posts Teens Well Spent, I’ve tried to compared some good value M3s to the high-dollar, low mile example we looked at a while back. That particular example was Dakar Yellow with only 26,000 miles, but an asking price to match each one of those miles. It wasn’t stock, and I was a bit dour in my evaluation of what you were getting for your money. Again, I’ve rounded up three coupes as an alternative to that example; two 1995s and one ’96, two with lower miles and one budget coupe. They’re flying the colors of the German flag appropriately, so you also have your choice of shade that you’d like. Which is the winner for your M budget?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 on eBay

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