What is happening with BMW ‘E30’ M3 prices?


BMW E30 M3 prices have rocketed. However, some are still much cheaper than others.

The most iconic car of the 1980s? The first iteration of the BMW M3 certainly has a decent claim. As prices for more sought after ‘modern classics’ continue to see good growth, we take a look at how the ‘E30’ M3 is performing at UK auctions.

The second generation BMW 3 Series, or chassis code ‘E30’ to fans, is an iconic BMW in its own right. It was the 3 series that first conquered the world, seeing strong sales in markets the Bavarian firm had previously struggled to get a toe in.

The car combined solid build quality and reliability with a traditional sporting layout. Powered by a front mounted inline six or four, driving the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual (autos also available), the E30 wasn’t the most innovative car. It was just, in typical German fashion, executed crushingly well.

The handling of the standard car was fantastic as it was. Indeed the car’s balanced, lightweight and oversteer-biased handling has made cheaper models of the E30 a drifter’s favourite. The M3 however, took things to another level in 1985.

Being a homologation model, the E30 was fitted with a detuned version of the S14 four-cylinder as found in the motorsport versions of the car. As a touring car, and to a lesser extent, rally car, the E30 proved one of the ‘winningest’ chassis of all time. Tweaks to the suspension, aerodynamics and of course the new engine saw the E30 pick up countless trophies.

The BMW E30 M3 is signifcantly different from the standard car both inside and out.

M3’s can be distinguished, among other features, by their boot spoiler, flared wheel arches and front spoiler.

But back to the road car. As the first M3 – now BMW’s most famous model – the E30 M3 is one of BMW’s most collectable cars and prices have reflected this. Indeed M3s are easily worth ten times their standard E30 3 series stablemates.

As we can see from the auction result data, prices of this BMW have truly rocketed in the past four or so years. We’ve seen the most desirable and best condition cars now fetch over £75,000 and a sub £25,000 car seems firmly behind us, at least in roadworthy condition.

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For prospective buyers however, it is interesting to note the variation of prices these cars are fetching. In 2016 alone, some E30 M3s were selling for almost half the value of the most expensive models. This is highly suggestive of a collector market, where cars of the best condition, highest spec and detailed provenance are being inflated beyond their objective worth.

If you’re looking to buy a BMW E30 M3 as an enthusiast in today’s market, these cars are probably best avoided, given they’re not ‘twice the car’.

If you’ve bought one five or more years ago however, well done!

4 comments

  • you have to understand the detail behind these numbers, the various limited edition models Evo1, Evo 2 and Sport Evo will make straight comparisons very difficult as these models and indeed perfect collector cars do attract a significant premium. Sport Evos are heading towards £100k

  • In my experience (very long one at that) I won’t let the various iterations be the guide to going for these cars, I see a lot of new low mileage cars all of a sudden now, wonder if they may have been clocked and then cleaned up and painted. If I were to go buying today. I will look for a one owner car, that can be verified, with history and not restored. I will sooner buy basic 2.3 version than go for a restored Sports Evo. These cars a pure race cars and pretty much all would have been driven very very hard as they are difficult cars to drive slow. Most don’t have original engines as well and or new engines. A non restored, 1-2 owner car with original everything will be the real gem and I suspect maybe like looking for hence tooth. I owned a Ceccotto model as well as Evo and driven near 30 of these cars so know well and what to look for. Peace.

  • Yemi, if you really want one of these my husband bought one new and has driven it carefully. Apart from part of the exhaust and I think the top of the gear leaver, it is all original, even the paint. He is showing it in Kearny NE today. Look for it in Omaha. What is a hence tooth?

  • You mean hen’s tooth. As rare as hens teeth is an English expression which is self explanatory. Hope that helps.!!!
    Just looking in as an interested E30 owner.

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