The strong appreciation and re-valuing of a handful of BMW M cars over the past several years took many of us by surprise. Not so long ago—we were using craigslist, after all—E30 M3s and E28 M5s could be had for a fraction of what clean, sorted, and low-mileage examples go for today. More recently, the E39 M5 and E31 850CSi have risen to prominence, with cream-of-the-crop condition cars changing hands for serious sums of money. In the summer of 2018, an essentially untouched E39 M5 sold for $176,000 at auction, and at least a few 850CSi coupes in immaculate condition have hammered in the six-figure range at auction as well.
But what about the next big thing? We all know it’s virtually impossible to predict, but we’re already seeing the level of interest in other BMW models increase dramatically compared to previous years. The characteristics that make a car a so-called modern classic remain analogous and up for debate, but it definitely has something to do with the driving experience, and the visceral feel modern cars seem to be moving further away from. This might explain the popularity of cars like the 1M, which has demanded a strong valuation from the moment it arrived at dealer showrooms, and it could also explain why people are giving the E46 M3 a second look as well. The E9X generation of the M3 could be primed for a similar reevaluation, given it’s incredible naturally aspirated V8 and direct steering, and we’ve already seen prices for clean E36 M3s increase and hold strong for a few years now, part of which has to do with how many saw daily, unrelenting use until they were put out to pasture.
At this year’s 50th Annual O’Fest held in Greenville, South Carolina back in October, BMW CCA sponsor Hagerty held a panel called Five BMWs To Watch. Hagerty, the authority on classic and enthusiast car valuation, along with four expert panelists—whose credentials you can read about here—fostered a discussion around what BMWs models may be returning to the limelight, and why. Including the question and answer period at the end, the panel discussion went for nearly and hour and a half, but the entire conversation is fascinating, and a BMW for just about everyone comes up.
Check out the video and see if the BMWs of your obsession are mentioned.—Alex Tock
[Photo and video content courtesy BMW AG, Hagerty.]