I’ve been doing some math.

After a recent discussion of BMW’s higher 2009 prices with a friend, I wanted to see for myself how expensive the new Bimmers have become.

If you hate numbers, don’t read this.

I own a 2006 330xi. New, “Claus,” as I affectionately call him, stickered for $46,990. He started at $38,500, plus $695 destination. Very few option boxes were left unchecked … Sport Package ($900), Premium Package ($2200), Cold Weather Package ($850), navigation ($2000), satellite radio ($595), iPod and USB adapter ($400), Comfort Access ($500), Park Distance Control ($350), all there. The only significant options not found on Claus’ window sticker were the automatic transmission (if you can drive a 6-speed, buy a 6-speed), 18-inch wheels (I don’t understand an all-wheel-drive car with summer performance tires), and metallic paint (I have a thing for white cars.)

For comparison, on BMWUSA.com, I built a 2009 335i xDrive Sedan, a white one, and selected the same options.

$52,645. I had a mild coronary.

The thought of spending more than $50k on a car, on anything really, scares me a little. It’s kind of a psychological barrier for me. And a 12% price increase over what my car cost in 2006 initially made me think BMW has become a trifle greedy. Then I started really looking at the numbers.

First, the 330xi became the 335xi in 2007 with the addition of the turbocharged, 300-hp engine. That change sparked a $2300 bottom-line bump, taking the base price of the 335xi to $40800. Worth it? Probably.

Destination charges have also increased since 2006, going from $695 on my car, to $825 today. The fuel used to transport BMW’s to dealerships undoubtedly justifies the $130 increase that represents.

The option packages have all gone up in price over the last three years. Premium is up by $450. Sport is up by $450. The equipment in those packages is exactly the same as in 2006. Cold Weather, which now includes a heated steering wheel, is up $150, the cost of the steering wheel as a stand-alone option. That’s $1050 in additional option package costs. Beyond the steering wheel, I’m curious what this increase is paying for?

The Logic7 sound system is now optional on the 2009 335, and adds $875 to the bottom line (which, incidentally, is less than it cost on the 2008 328.)

Park Distance Control, which now protects the front and rear of the car, has doubled in price, now $700. That seems to make sense, there are twice as many sensors. PDC accounts for $350.

Navigation, in addition to all kinds of nifty new functionality and the new iDrive interface, now includes HD radio for 2009 (formerly a $500 option.) The price is $2100, up by $100, but really a better bargain now given the bundled HD radio which my 2006 doesn’t have.

Comfort Access, satellite radio, and the iPod and USB adapter are the same price they were in 2006.

Ok, so far I can see where $4805 of that 12% price increase since 2006 came from.

I’m left with $850 to account for. Given how much of the 2009 335 is new, that small upward tick in price doesn’t seem excessive.

Funny thing about numbers. When they’re big, say $52645, they make me wince. When the big number is broken down into smaller ones, say $350 here, $875 there, even a grand or two, I don’t get as excited.

So, what do you think? Is more than $50,000 too much to pay for a 3-series?