loading Loading please wait....

BMW: Classic and performance range review

BMW badge A history of BMW M Cars BMW BMW M3 GTS BMW BMW Isetta bubble car BMW 2002 Turbo BMW
With a deserved reputation for producing some of the greatest performance cars of all time, BMW has produced a diverse range of sporting machinery thoughout its history, and today most are considered highly desirable and collectable machinery.
From its initial role as an aviation engine manufacturer during the First World War, BMW later moved on to motorcycle production. It wasn’t until 1928, when it acquired the Automobilwerk Eisenach firm, that BMW produced its first car: the Austin 7-derived Dixi 3/15PS. In the following 90 years, the firm has produced a wealth of fascinating models - many which have helped BMW develop a reputation for producing some magnificent performance models.
It isn’t just out-and-out sports cars which fill its back catalogue though – as BMW celebrates its 100th birthday in 2016, there’s an enormously varied history to the Munich-based marque.
Buying a classic BMW
BMW’s extensive and diverse background means that classic models range in value from the entirely affordable to beyond the reach of all but the most wealthy collectors. 
Modern classics like the E30 3 Series can be bagged for just a couple of grand, and well-looked after examples should present a reasonably safe investment. The distinctive shark-nosed 6 Series perhaps typifies the Eighties BMW better than any other, and high-milers are generally offered for between £10-£15,000. The Z1 roadster, thanks to its angular styling, low production numbers and unique touches like doors which electrically recede into the sills, is a guaranteed future classic. Aside from one or two unique parts (such as the door mechanisms and the exhaust back box) many components are derived from the E30 325i, so spares are readily available.
Moving further into BMW’s past, the Isetta microcar offers a quirky yet utterly charming way into classic ownership. Prices range from £15-£30,000 depending on condition, while running costs, thanks to the motorcycle-derived 250cc four-stroke single, are as miniscule as the car itself.
It’s two of BMW’s rarest and most beautiful open top models which are among the most valuable today. The pre-war 328 Roadster fetches well into six figures on the rare occasions that one of the 464 examples appear for sale, while the two-seater 507 attracts the greater numbers still. At a January 2015 auction held by Gooding and Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, a 1959 example of the two-seater fetched £1.2million. A more modern roadster, the Z8, is perhaps best known for its appearance as a Bond car in the movie The World is Not Enough. Sales were slow on its 1999 release thanks to high prices, but today values have risen well above the original asking price.
Two iconic performance sedans, the 2002 Turbo and the 3.0 CSL, set the tone for small performance BMWs for decades to come. Their great significance in influencing the future direction of the brand means that the best examples of the former are nudging towards £100,000, while the CSL has long since passed that mark.
Buying a performance BMW
While the 2002 Turbo hinted at future sporting BMWs, it was the M1 supercar that really kicked the firm's modern performance car reputation into action – the most driver-focussed BMWs have carried the Motorsport badge ever since. The 272bhp produced by the M1’s 3.5-litre straight-six eclipsed the 252bhp output of its contemporary Ferrari rival, the 308 GTB, endowing the M1 with genuine supercar pace. Only 399 road-going variants of the mid-engined coupe were produced, and the finest examples carry guide prices as high as £700,000 at auction.
The M1 spawned performance variants of more mainstream models, with a variation of its M88 engine finding its way into the first BMW M5. Further pumped up executive saloons followed, with the 4.0-litre V8 of the E39 and the sublime 500bhp V10 of the E60 particular highlights. The current M5 is running a twin-turbo V8, and is a seriously fast machine. While it’s reaching the end of its life, it still represents one of the most driver-oriented super saloons, and is in many ways one of the easiest to live with M cars. 
It’s the smaller M3, however, which frequently gains the limelight in BMW’s history. To date, the badge has appeared on five generations of the 3 Series, with the original E30 the most sought-after by collectors. Its motorsport heritage is impeccable, with the M3 scooping two BTCC titles, two DTM championship victories, a World Touring car crown, and multiple victories at the Spa and Nurburgring 24 Hour events. Even high mileage examples command values of £30,000 today, with the best worth three times as much. The values of later M3s are sure to follow the rise of the E30, particularly limited-run models like the E46 CSL and the E92 GTS. 
The current M3 is offered in saloon form only, and represents a return to straight-six power – albeit with forced induction. For two doors, you’ll have to look at the M4. In what some would call a marketing exercise, the 3 Series Coupe of old was given an all-new 4 Series tag, filling the numerical gap in BMW’s range. Under the skin, the M4 is largely the same as the M3.
More recently, BMW has been praised for the return to its small sporting saloon roots, offering the M135i and M235i. These two entry-level performance offerings are actually hugely capable, fun as well as very affordable. Sitting above this in the current range is the new M2, which is a serious little performance machine. It’s the spiritual successor to the much more limited production 1M Coupe, and its wide-arched, short wheelbase styling is seriously purposeful. 
Beyond the usual classic car checkpoints, there are one or two BMW specifics to look out for depending on the era in which it was built. Check out the individual buying guides for more specific details. Many nineties models, for example, are prone to rust, and many six-cylinder units are blighted by faulty mass airflow sensors, resulting in lumpy running and a restricted ability to breathe at high revs. Early-2000s models are known to suffer from electrical faults, too. Beyond those minor niggles, engines and transmissions tend to be bulletproof, as long as they’re maintained correctly.
BMW badge A history of BMW M Cars BMW BMW M3 GTS BMW BMW Isetta bubble car BMW 2002 Turbo BMW
Last updated: 27th Jul 2016
collapse this

BMW cars for sale

1469 Search results
2250 70000 GBP
  • BMW 5-Series (e34)

    £2,250 £2,250

    Travel back in time to the days of sophisticated luxury motoring with this stunning time warp car. The BMW E34 5-Series combines the classic late 80s design of the E30 with the comfort of a long wheelbase saloon. Equipped with the smooth and economical M50 engine, a 24-valve inline six, the post-1992 BMW E34 was truly worthy of its slogan… “the ultimate driving machine”. This particular E34 is a 1993 520i SE automatic with the vehicle registration number K621 FHV. It was supplied by First Front Motors of Kennington (London) to its original owner of 23 years. Having been kept by the same owner throughout its entire life, this car has extensive main dealer history and is generally very well looked after. It has covered a mere 67 thousand miles from new and is completely damage and rust free. The most exciting selling point of this car is its originality. Although relatively low spec as a 520 SE model, this only furthers its appeal as a period-accurate modern classic. For example, the car is fitted with recently refurbished classic 15“ turbine-style wheel trims as opposed to the more common alloy wheels. The original owners manual, service book, sales prospectus and warranty information are with the car; as are a total of three keys including the small “garage key” which is usually lost. We are currently in the process of recovering even more history (incl. the original sales invoice) from the vehicle’s original keeper. We have spared no expense to ensure this car is ready to go for its deserving new owner. The car has recently been serviced, detailed and passed its MOT (08/2017) with no advisories! Moreover, the car has been fitted with Michelin snow tyres and a new battery with warranty to ensure that this modern classic is ready to be enjoyed even during the cold season. For more information on this car or the company, be sure to follow the link to our website by clicking the logo on the right. Alternatively, give us a call if you have any questions or reasonable offers! £2250 ONO, item sold as seen.

    • Year: pre 1900
    • Mileage: 67000 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    PV Imports Ltd
    02075169047 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW Z4M

    £17,450 £17,450

    Climate Control, Bluetooth, Heated Seats, Electric Seats, Memory Seats, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Powered Folding Mirrors, Auto Lights, Isofix, Xenon Headlamps, Sun Protection Glass, Park Distance Control, ABS, Traction Control, Power Steering, Remote Central Locking, Electric Windows, Multiple Airbags, CD Player, Aux - in Imola Red Nappa Leather, Professional Navigation, 18 Inch M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels Style-224, The All Important Running In Service Done At 889 Miles, Stunning Car, Rare Appreciating Classic, Full Service History

    • Mileage: 68000 mi
    • Engine size: 3246
    For sale

    £7,695 £7,695

    PIONEER SAT NAV, H/SEATS, M/FUNCTION S/WHEEL, P/SENSORS, E/FOLD MIRRORS, JUST SERVICED + FRESH MOT;;******Just arrived into stock is this gorgeous 2006/56 BMW Z4 2.5i Sport Manual Roadster finished in stunning metallic montego blue with full black leather sports seating. Purchased directly from its last keeper who owned for 2 years and in beautiful order throughout. Fully refurbished alloy wheels by Platinum Alloys of Swindon. Fully inspected and prepared in our BMW Specialist Workshop (please see our website for reviews - ranked 2nd out of over 3,500 dealers!). Just serviced as well as new brake discs and pads fitted along with a fresh MOT included. Very high spec example with heated leather sports seats, multifunction steering wheel, reverse parking sensors, e/fold mirrors, aftermarket Pioneer Flip Out Stereo with Sat Nav, Bluetooth Phone and Bluetooth Audio, Rain Sensing Wipers and more! Service History with 4 stamps in book. Also full VOSA MOT History print out validating genuine mileage and fully checked with Experian and BMW UK. HPI Clear. Warranty available at additional cost. Without question one of the nicest examples around!;;Upgrades - Multi-Function For Steering Wheel, Exterior Mirror Package, Automatic Dimming Rear View, Storage Compartment Package, Front Seats Heated, PDC Park Distance Control, Rain Sensor, On Board Computer, M Sports Suspension, M Sports Seats, Leather Steering Wheel, Pioneer Flip Out Stereo with Navigation and DVD / Multimedia support, Black Full leather interior, , Metallic Montego Blue, ;;Standard Features - Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Alarm, Alloy Wheels (18in), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD/MP3), Electric Windows (Front/Rear), Computer (Driver Information System), Upholstery Cloth/Leather, Facelift lights, Traction control, Airbags, Electric door mirrors, Front Fog Lights, Remote central locking, Electric Roof. 2 seats

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.497
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £26,500 £26,500

    ABS, Air Bag, Side Air Bags, Immobiliser, Alarm, Remote Alarm, Traction Control, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Air Conditioning, CD Player, Front Fog Lamps, Stability Control, Brake Assist, Rear Headrests, Automatic Electric Windows, Radio, Head Restraints, Isofix, 19'' Alloys 4 Zone automatic air conditioning, Advanced Head Protection System front + rear, Ambient interior lighting, Anthracite Velour floor mats, Anti-lock Brake System + Electronic Brakeforce Distribution + Brake assist, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Auxiliary point for auxiliary devices, BMW apps interface, BMW ConnectedDrive - Assist, BMW ConnectedDrive - Online, BMW professional radio, Body colour bumpers, Body colour roof rain channels, CD player, Central locking fuel filler cap, Colour information display, Comfort exit stepless door brake, Cornering brake control, Crash Sensor - activates hazard/interior lighting + unlocks doors, Cup holders, DAB Digital radio, Diesel particulate filter, Driver and passenger airbags, DSC-Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic brake control, Dynamic Drive, Dynamic safety, Dynamic Traction Control - DTC, Electric folding and auto dimming door mirrors, Electric front and rear windows with fingertip open/close + anti-trap all round, Electrically heated door mirrors, Electromechanical parking brake + automatic hold function, Emergency boot release, Enhanced bluetooth telephone functionality with telematics, USB audio interface + voice control, Follow me home headlights, Footwell lights at rear, Front fog lights, Front footwell lights, Front head restraints, Front passenger airbag deactivation, Front reading lights, Front seatbelt force limiters, Front/rear centre armrests, Front/rear Parking distance control, Fuel cut off safety device, Headlight w

    • Mileage: 17055 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 4 Series

    £26,999 £26,999

    Variant name:420d (190) xDrive M Sport 5dr Auto (Prof Media) ,Variant: 420d (190) xDrive M Sport 5dr Auto (Prof Media) 5 Star NCAP Rating,6 Speed Gearbox,ABS,Air Conditioning,Alloy Wheels,Anti Theft System,Automatic Gearbox,Automatic Headlights,Automatic Wipers,CD Player,Climate Control,Electric Front Seats,Electric Mirrors,Electric Windows,Engine Immobiliser,ESP,Four Wheel Drive,Front Fog Lights,Full Service History,Heated Mirrors,Heated Seats,Isofix Seats,Keyless Entry,Leather Steering Wheel,Leather Upholstery,Manufacturer Warranty,MP3 Connectivity,Multiple Airbags,Onboard Computer,Parking Distance Control,Power Steering

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 9800 mi
    For sale
  • BMW 7 SERIES 3.0 730D SE 4d 242 BHP

    £15,995 £15,995

    Full Service History With 4 Stamps, Done At 16k, 32k, 39k, 43k. The Specification Includes: 18" Alloys, Front And Rear Parking Sensors, Xenon Headlights, Privacy Glass, Black Leather, Heated Front Seats, Electric Front Seats With Driver And Passenger Memory, Sat Nav, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Audio, AUX Input, Front And Rear Climate Control, Auto Lights, Auto Wipers, Powerfolding Mirrors, Cruise Control, Multifunction Steering Wheel, I-Drive Computer. The BMW Comes With 2 Keys, 3 Months Gold Cover Warranty Which Can Be Extended From £299. Low Rate Finance And Part Exchange Available.

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 49000 mi
    For sale
  • BMW E60 M5 with BMW Warranty

    £26,750 £26,750

    BMW E60 M5 with BMW Warranty This two owner from new E60 M5 is fitted with the 5.0L S85 V10 powerplant, twinned with a 7-speed sequential M gearbox that was designed specifically to go with it. Rated at 507 hp (DIN) / 500 hp (SAE) @ 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque @ 6,100 rpm this powerhouse pulls with some serious muscle, with the added fun of the center console “Power” button offering the driver 3 modes: P400 limits engine power to 400hp with standard throttle response; P500 unleashes the full effect of that impressive V10 with quickened throttle response; while P500 sport increases that throttle response even further for the bravest amongst us. The E60 is also fitted with the Launch Control function that can be activated giving maximum traction for the best possible standing start. With the E60 growing exponentially in popularity, this car is certain to attract a lot of attention, so it you require any further information, or wish to book a viewing / test drive (by appointment only), then please contact the sales team on 01825 740456, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Factory Equipment: SERVOTRONIC ALARM SYS

    • Year: 2006
    • Mileage: 24600 mi
    For sale
  • 2002 BMW Z3


    - Entered from a private collection - 4 Registered keepers from new - Service history, last service at 36,050 miles costing _331.35. Offered with MoT until September 2017

    • Year: 2002
    For sale
  • 2000 BMW Alpina B3 3.3


    - Entered from a private collection - Extensive service history with 9 service stamps, last serviced at 72,676 miles - Supplied with 4 keys, history file and MoT until September 2017

    • Year: 2000
    For sale
  • 2002 BMW Z3 3.0i


    - Entered from a private collection - 5 Registered keepers from new - Service history, last service at 35,950 miles. Offered with MoT until September 2017 and complete with all historic MoT certificates

    • Year: 2002
    For sale
  • BMW M4

    £47,490 £47,490

    Harman Kardon, Parking Camera, Parking Sensors, Heated Steering Wheel, Xenon Headlamps, Electric Seats, Sports Seats, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Start/Stop, Satellite Navigation, Main Beam Assist, Driver Memory, DAB Radio, Bluetooth Media, Adaptive Headlamps BMW M4 Convertible 3.0 Turbo 7 Speed DCT Automatic registered May 2015 finished in Silverstone II Metallic with Full Black Extended Merino Leather and Carbon Fibre Interior Trim, Exterior Carbon Trim, Adaptive M Sport Suspension, 19 Inch M Double Spoke Style 437M Alloys, Reversing Camera Assist with Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Heated Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel, Adaptive Xenon Headlamps with High Beam Assistant and Heated Washers, Electric Heated Front Seats with Air Collar; Driver Memory and Lumbar Support, BMW Professional Satellite Navigation, Harman Kardon Surround System, Backrest Width Adjustment, Automatic Headlights and Wipers Sensors, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Extended Interior Light Package, Automatic Climate Control, DAB Radio, Enhanced Bluetooth Telephone with USB and Voice Control, Start/Stop. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Mileage: 15800 mi
    • Engine size: 2979
    For sale
Related Specification
Related content