BMW M cars, particularly those of the modern classic type, meaning that they’re not exactly old, but you can’t get anything else like them anymore, are continuing to reach new heights in 2022 in terms of auction sale prices. The two most recent examples were both sold as part of PCarMarket’s M Madness auction, and their prices represent new records for the model as a whole and their particular specifications.
BMW CCA sponsor and valuation authority Hagerty doesn’t include the E92 (or any body-style of the fourth-generation) M3 in its price guide yet, but after the action this year, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it added in the next update. The increase in value of the fourth-generation M3 follows that of the E46 M3, which has witnessed a substantial appreciation over the last few years. More recently, it seems people have given the E36 M3 another look as well, but the ones that are really gaining steam as of late are the E90 and E92 M3, and it’s not hard to see why. The fourth generation of the M3 came with BMW’s final normally-aspirated V8, and it just so happens to be one of BMW’s most captivating engines. Both the dimensions and styling of the E90 sedan and E92 coupe have aged well, particularly when compared with what BMW is selling these days, and the fourth-generation M3 also has a more connected driving experience than what’s available in modern cars.
2012 BMW M3 CRT
This 2012 BMW M3 CRT with just 700 miles met a hammer price of $174,500, or $179,500 including the buyer’s premium when it was auctioned by PCarMarket as part of the website’s M Madness sale, which focused on the fourth-generation M3. The M3 CRT in question is the 24th of 67 produced, and is the same one that we first noted as coming up for sale during October of 2020. Back then, the car was described as being federalized at a cost of $40,000, but was listed without a price.
BMW produced 67 examples of the M3 CRT, which stands for carbon racing technology. When it was announced in 2011, the special edition M3 represented the worldwide debut of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the automotive industry, a method of construction that has since found its way onto a number of other important BMW models. The M3 CRT was only offered in sedan form, and weighs 150 pounds less than its conventional stablemate according to BMW. That weight savings is achieved thanks to items such as the hood and front seats being replaced with carbon-fiber designs, while regular four-liter S65 V8 is replaced by a 4.4-liter unit developing 444 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, netting faster acceleration time.
The M3 CRT was not available to the U.S. market when new, and only two (including this one) have been sold at auction according to data going back to 2014. This example previously failed to meet reserve when it was auctioned by two other websites in 2021, but its most recent hammer price of $174,500 makes it not only the most expensive M3 CRT sold, but also the second-most expensive fourth-generation M3 of any variation sold at auction, just behind a 2011 M3 GTS sold in 2020. Up until this M3 CRT sold, the second-most expensive fourth-generation M3 sold at auction was a 2013 Lime Rock Park Edition which held the spot for a total of twenty days.
Speed Yellow 2013 BMW M3 ZCP Six-Speed
This 2013 M3 coupe now owns the distinction of being the most expensive conventional model (meaning not one of the various special editions) to be sold at auction thanks to a hammer price of $145,000. Factors that likely weighed heavily into its valuation include an odometer reading of less than 7,000 miles, options that include the competition package and BMW Individual Porsche Speed Yellow paint, and equipment such a six-speed manual transmission and carbon-fiber roof. In other words, this M3 coupe has everything going for it in terms of ideal specification, and is about as good as you can get without opting for something like a Lime Rock Part Edition or the more exotic and less attainable (and less usable) GTS.
This M3’s hammer price of $145,000 is a lot for any fourth-generation M3. Indeed, it’s well above the average auction sale price of approximately $37,000 according to data from Classic.com, and not far off from the new record sale of $174,500 set by the aforementioned M3 CRT. It’s also more than double the next-most expensive six-speed E92 M3 ZCP auctioned, a 21,000-mile Atlantis Blue example that hammered for $68,500 last April.
BMW Individual paint doesn’t come cheap, but even with the expensive finish, the original sticker price of this M3 was nowhere near what it just sold for. When looking at the bigger picture, and considering other auction results from this year, one has to wonder if these are actually the new accepted valuations for these cars, or if they are instead outliers that may ultimately be proven so when the bubble we’re in eventually bursts. You tell me, but first you might want to look at what some of the other M3s in the M Madness auction sold for.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG, PCar Market.]