Even with the announcement of an upgraded M2 Competition Package with power coming from the M4, some of us long for a simpler time when it comes to BMW’s M cars. No turbos, high revs. Well, now is the time to get on the V8 M3 train before it goes completely off the rails.
The E90/92/93 series M3 wasn’t immediately loved when it first came out. I’ll admit, I thought the styling was a bit off compared to the E46 M3. And cramming a V8 where an inline-six should be? Blasphemy, we screamed!
But even the most hardcore straight-sixer folks eventually came around and while the V8 powered M3 may not look as timeless as the car that came before, it’s the last naturally aspirated M3, and that means it is destined to be a future classic.
According to Autotrader, there are currently over 500 E90/92/93 series M3s for sale, the average price being around $30,000. But narrow the parameters for cars with a manual gearbox and the inventory drops to about 100 cars. Of course, a good chunk of those will be mislabeled as manual cars so be prepared for a world of disappointment when you spot what looks like a steal only to see that metal stub sticking out of the center console. The DCT is pretty good, but you know you want three pedals.
There was a time when you could get these cars fairly cheap. Currently, ultra-low mile examples commanding almost $55,000 and specimens with over 100k miles on the clock going for under $20,000, the best balance of miles and overall condition comes in around $35,000.
As with any high-performance model, beware of cars that are “suspiciously” cheap at dealers that aren’t legit and always get it inspected by a professional that specializes in this kind of hardware before you buy.
While the V8 M3 isn’t quite as maintenance-heavy as the V10 that went in the contemporary M5, it’s worth ponying up a little more for a high-quality example. But even if you pay a premium, these cars will hold their value and you can likely sell it down the road for close to or more than what you bought it for.