Price Fixing? BMW 1M Roundup

BMW followed the age old recipe for the 1M and enthusiasts responded. Put a big engine in a small car, flare the arches a bit and slip on some wide rubber but keep the price in the range of mere mortals. What’s not to like about the 1M then? Well, they didn’t make many – 740 were imported, making it more rare than the previously rare E28 and E24 M models. That created an artificial demand right out of the box, and unfortunately these cars hit the market at the same point that the European collector car market really started taking off. That means that these cars have suffered effectively zero depreciation since new – rare for any car, but especially for the small sport sedan market. In fact, not only have they not depreciated, you could have bought one of these cars new in 2011, drove it moderately for the past 3 years, and you could have sold it for a profit today. The 1M, in all of its 335 horsepower twin-turbocharged goodness, hit the market at around $47,000 in 2011 – add a few options in and you were around $50,000 for most. Available in only three colors, these limited production cars have a cornered market and are piggybacking on the value increase of the 1980s M-cars – the spiritual predecessors of this car. Today, there are no less than 7 1Ms on Ebay, mostly in the $57,000 range. It seems almost like price fixing – we often see a wide spread of values even on very similar cars, but these 1Ms are all around the same price regardless of color, miles or number of owners. Which is the one you’d want?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay


Year: 2011
Model: 1M
Engine: 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 33,500 mi
Price: $57,000 Buy It Now

Car is in excellent condition. All services up to date. Comes with every option except Sat Radio. Has BMW carbon fiber mirror caps and deck lid spoiler. Also has 3M protective film on front bumper, part of hood, parts of front and rear fenders. Comes with Berk Technology mid-pipe and OEM mid-pipe.

Valencia Orange is certainly the signature color for this model and looks great on it. What’s surprising about this model is that in the 3 years since it was new it’s had 3 different owners. Perhaps it’s people trying to get in and out of the ownership experience without taking a depreciation hit, but at 33,500 miles this car has the most in this roundup. Service is claimed up to date but honestly on such a new car there shouldn’t have had to be much done. I do like that this hit the exposed areas with 3M protective wrap – a good security blanket for the next owner to be able to add to the miles while maintaining the value of that signature paint.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay


Year: 2011
Model: 1M
Engine: 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 7,000 mi
Price: $57,000 Buy It Now

Excellent, like-new condition 1M recently imported to California from IL.

Clean title, been kept in a tempered garage and seriously cared for. One of only ~740 “1M”s produced for the US.

A couple of subjective things I like about this car:

• It’s like a bulldog with more power than you’d expect — tremendous torque.
• Fantastic smooth transmission shifter with a short throw and satisfying mechanical “clicks.”
• Surprisingly roomy — easily fits four people with plenty of legroom.
• Keyless entry makes things convenient — just keep the key in your pocket and use the touch-sensitive door handles to open, unlock and lock the car, including the trunk.
• Compact size, similar to the original M3, makes it a very agile driving experience with great visibility.

Available for inspection and test drives in San Francisco, CA by appointment.

Full service performed by authorized BMW service shop (BMW San Francisco) on July 9 — no remarks, replaced microfilters, new brake fluid, coolant, etc.

Non smoker
Clean CA title
Good tires
No modifications (according to recent BMW service)
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! I’ll gladly answer.

Here’s another example of multiple owners, but this time the mileage is much lower. Alpine White looks good and classic for a M car, and the condition is certainly impressive and original. It’s nice that the car has been to the dealer, but again not much was needed on this basically new car. The price? Identical at $57,000 to the Valencia Orange example above. I like the orange, but this one looks like the better car at that price.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay


Year: 2011
Model: 1M
Engine: 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 19,531 mi
Price: $57,950 Buy It Now

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe

1 SERIES M CPE! 19K MI! 1 OF 983 PREMPCKG HKSND HTDSTS 1OWNR BLK/BLK

Absolutely gorgeous & incredibly rare 1 Owner 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe with just 19531 miles. Black Sapphire Metallic (1 of 222) on Black Boston Leather with Contrasting Orange Stitching & Alcantara on the Instrument & Door Panels, it is the rarest of the exteriors colors available. The paint is in excellent condition and it is apparent that this car was garaged and meticulously-maintained.

The interior of this vehicle is virtually flawless. This vehicle is well equipped including Premium Package, Harman Kardon Surround Sound, Heated Seats, Ipod Adaptor, Bluetooth, Power Seats w/3-Position Memory & Lumbar, Universal Garage Door Opener, Power Folding Mirrors, Auto Dimming Mirrors Bi-Xenon Headlights, 6 Speed Manual Transmission as well as extensive additional equipment.

Finally, the third color was Sapphire Black Metallic that is shown on this example. While it’s claimed to be the rarest, it’s only just if 222 examples were made out of 740…that’s effectively nearly exactly 1/3 of the total production. It looks great and the miles fall in the middle of the other two models. This example, equipped with the premium package, again falls nearly exactly at the same price point of $57K.

Which is the car to buy? In this case, I’d probably stick with the lowest miles since that will likely be the key to retaining their value in the future; however, it’s sad that these cars aren’t being driven and instead are being treated like investments. So, the reality is that with some aftermarket tuning you can get a 135i to perform like these 1Ms for half the price but equal condition. Here’s a pretty good example (click here to take you to the auction):

If you’re a driver, that’s where to look if you’d like the experience of the 1M without the sticker shock.

-Carter

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11 Comments

  1. I like the 1-series, but not at this price point.
    Dare I say that a 2015 Mustang V8 premium, 6 speed, with IRS for $34K to $42K brand new is sounding pretty Uber.

  2. I remember when these were scheduled to come out…everyone hailed them as this generations E30 M3…..they are indeed a blast to drive..short wheel base w/340hp…they look like little bulldogs…
    and the new M3/M4 have practically the same styling cues front & rear valences..
    that said…1M with under 10k are trading for 60k here on the east coast….some even higher…
    polarizing car…from lost of angles

  3. ConservativesDefeated

    I would like one of these but a couple of facts seem to weigh against purchasing one. They’re being sold by dealers. Number One rule in life is Never Buy A Car From A Dealer. Number Two Rule of life is , keep everything in perspective. Even to a person with a million dollars a year in income, that 1/2 of one percents, spending $60,000 on a DEPRECIATING asset like a car is just plain nuts. But yhey sure are fun cars

  4. @ConservativesDefeated With income like that I don’t think it’s nuts if that’s what “you” are into. No use making that kind of money and not enjoying it within reason.

  5. @conservatives… Agreed but – the whole point of this post by @Carter is to say “look at this odd ball exception to the rule…”

    When I was in high school in the ’90s it was the GMC Typhoon – you could buy one, drive it, sell it in a few years and break even or make money. Intersting counterpoint from same time – everyone said 94-96 Impala SS would be a collectible, now there is a flood of garage kept low mile ones, literally a flood. Every decade it happens a few times, unpredictability. Certainly one of those “limited” jeeps will finally hit! 🙂

  6. Pretty much, Ry – I remember the exact same thing. There are really only a handful of cars in history that have managed to appreciate immediately. Granted, I don’t think that the 1M can maintain this trajectory – at some point, the pull and appeal of this model will be replaced by the reality, such as what MDriver mentioned – you can get a brand new M for about the same amount with better performance (but not limited production). Obviously, a lot of it depends on the market conditions but it’s only once in a generation or two that a car comes along that manages to pull off this appreciation feat, and they’re usually very pricey examples (288GTO comes to mind, even the F40s and 959s depreciated immediately).

  7. @Carter – very true…and one thing guys kind of in the 20-40ish age range don’t have a great awareness of (I fall in that group…) is that “investment/Supercar” prices are very much linked to the global economy. I read a great book once about the development and sales of the Jag XJ220 and how it really fell apart for many reasons, a huge one being there was a bit of global recession going on in the early to mid ’90s and even other supercars, like the 959 & F40 you wisely mentioned, weren’t exactly hot sellers and could be bought at a discount for a few years.

    Very intersting podcast recommendation: “how stuff works: car stuff” – XJ220 episode. Actually that podcast (and its bscj catalog) are a great listen for probably a lot of this blog’s readers. Enjoy!

  8. @Ry…don;t take offense but an SS Impala from 94/95 was an inverted bathtub looking to trade on the “Super Sport” tag that made the bow-tie famous….in fact I would say that the SS moniker suffered quite a bit through the late 80’s early 90’s….they slapped those 2 letters on almost anything….
    the 1M is a completely different animal in 2 main points.
    1. Limited run, 1 year & set amount (740 units in the USA) total in North America was less than 1000.
    2. Def. MUCH more performance oriented
    this is NOT a Super Car…I do get it…while my screen name may scream fan-boy for BMW I’ll be the first to call BS on them LOL
    but given the limited supply…demand will dictate price…

  9. @Mdriver – your point is well taken, and my choice of examples in the heat of the moment of trying to be salient while commenting probably wasn’t the greatest…I was just kind of trying to show how look at a (relatively) dull company, in a dull time – even they can have surprise hits like the Syclone & Typhoon (also the Turbo TA comes to mind, from a bit earlier), and yes they can also produce mediocre mainstream “cult” cars whose exclusivity and value have no connection to the mystique with which they are marketed and sold.

    I agree with you on the “SS” moniker almost entirely, like 3/5 SS vehicles are junk from 1974-current. However….I kinda like the 94-96 Impala SS, and bought one when I was 17…and went to the GM plant in TX where they were made for a national Impala rally. ;). We will have to discuss its merits and GM’s performance cars in a more suitable forum perhaps where I won’t be mocked so much for my foolish youthful ways. lol.

    Long story short – IMHO, flip your 1Ms while you can b/c I too don’t think this level will be sustained with all the new M-hardware that’s out or soon will be…I think the 5 door hatch was the best looking M anyway, damn you BMW of NA! The 2 door is 20% too small for me to fit my idea of how big I am into anyway. I don’t want to have subcompact shoulders! Ha

  10. What’s interesting to me is the timetable with which the 1M has managed to remain above it’s MSRP. There have been a bunch of blips on the radar; a great example was the launch of the Miata, for example, and even other cases where dealers were asking above MSRP even for demo examples or used examples. But generally those cases don’t seem to last much more than a year – I think I’m right in saying cars like the Syclone fall into that group. Demand falls off as soon as something new comes along. Well, we’re heading into year 4 since the 1M launched with prices still above MSRP and several new models having been launched. Indeed, you can stroll down to your BMW dealer today and walk out with a brand new M235i with similar performance for nearly $20,000 less than the asking price of some of the 1Ms, replete with warranty and choice of 6 colors. Granted, it’s not the same car – but it will be interesting to see where the values level out on 1Ms and start heading down. It certainly appears to be a very artificial bubble.

  11. *earlier I meant the 5-door 1er is my favorite body style, not my favorite “M body style” since there wasn’t a 5-door 1er M.

    @Carter – you’re exactly right, the timing of these “super-demand” (??) periods is the impossible (for me) part to figure out. I’d say another historic example, again from the GM universe, might be the Buick Grand National GNX model. Though the regular GN has held its value a lot better than most other G-body GMs of that era the GNX was $29k new in 1987 and mint ones have appreciated better than US inflation from that date (today going for over $100k).

    The 4 Japanese Kings of the early-mid ’90s: Supra TT, 3000GT VR4, 300ZX TT, & RX-7 – all were in a bit of a bubble for quite awhile, like a decade or more. . .the Supra & RX-7 are still in semi-rarified air, especially given the fact that so many commonplace cars today will smoke them. Maybe nostalgia/new interest in “fast & furious”/drifiting culture has something to do with it for those kind of cars.

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