In a world where the $250,000 E30 M3 (yes, it’s happened more than once) and $92,000 E46 M3 exist, vintage BMW enthusiasts looking for a deal might be struggling to find it. Plus, while most will agree that both the aforementioned BMWs have are timeless and beautiful, they’re undeniably slow. They aren’t the best sounding engines either, with both sometimes sounding more reminiscent of a utensil in a blender than an F1-derived motorsport machine. But, I digress. So one must ask: is the E92 M3 the best bang for your buck when it comes to vintage BMW ownership? With the oldest of these V8-powered superstars going on fifteen years old, it’s certainly starting to look like that.
Modern Performance in a Vintage Package
When the E92 M3 debuted in 2007, it was hot. The high-revving 4.0-liter V8 provided motorsport theater with aplomb, angrily shouting to the world about its 414 horsepower. Which makes perfect sense since it derived some engineering from the iconic S85 V10 engine in the then-new E60 M5. It runs a 4.4-second zero to 60 mph time, which is still quick today. Compared to the older M3 variants, it’s a huge jump: half a second quicker than the E46 M3 and only a tenth or two behind the much more modern F80 M3. But you still got Bluetooth, and, thanks to the over-serious M button, the E92 M3 could still be a gentle (ish) cruiser when riding with passengers.
But the E92 M3 still boasts a lot of the hallmarks that make a vintage M3 so desirable in the first place. It’s the last one that retains vaunted hydraulic power-assisted steering in lieu of a modern EPS system. It’s naturally aspirated with independent throttle bodies, providing a linear powerband with high-RPM drama. And, perhaps most importantly, it remains instantly identifiable as a BMW.
Pricing & Ownership
Here’s where the E92 M3 really becomes a contender as a great value. You can easily score an E92 M3 in questionable condition for anywhere from $18,000 to $22,000. These are usually higher-mile cars or vehicles that were in an accident – not necessarily to be discounted entirely, but tread carefully. The sweet spot for the E92 M3 is in driver-condition cars that can be had for around the mid-$30,000 mark. Some great examples include an Alpine White LCI car that sold in early 2022, and this Space Gray 2010 M3 from August with just 57,700 miles on the clock. Even on the oft-inflated online marketplace, these cars are still attainable and great buys.
Long-term ownership of the E92 M3 isn’t going to be nearly the headache of some of those other models, either. E30 M3 parts are getting harder and harder to source, E36s are becoming scarce and unworthy of their swelling price tags, and E46 M3 ownership is the fastest way to find yourself broken, penniless, and jaded. While the E92 M3 has a few trouble spots, they’re not hard to get taken care of. And did I mention the 8400-rpm V8 engine?
E92 M3 Values Are Increasing
I won’t pretend that the E92 M3 is my favorite M3. But their value is increasing, and rightly so – they’re the last of the old-school M cars. With much lower production volume than the E46 M3 and F80 M3, and the biggest and baddest naturally-aspirated engine ever fitted to an M3, it’s actually pretty surprising that these very special cars haven’t already skyrocketed in value. Maybe I should stop writing and go find an E92 M3 to buy.