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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. 
 
Summary
 
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
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3995 59890 GBP
  • BMW M5

    £33,500 £33,500

    Heads Up Display/HUD, Satellite Navigation, Internet, Bluetooth, BMW Assist, BMW Online, 12 Speakers, Heated Seats, Voice Control, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Parking Camera, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, DAB Digital Radio, Headlamp Jetwash, Sun Protection Glass, BMW Apps Interface, Front Centre Armrest, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, M Sport Bodykit, M Sport Alloys, Sports Seats, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Push Button Start, Metallic Paintwork, I Drive System, Memory Seats, USB Interface, Auto Lighting, Electric Seats, Auxiliary In, Child Locks, Isofix, ABS, Air Bag, Alarm, Radio, Stereo, Immobiliser, Side Air Bags, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Trip Computer, Stability Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Rear Headrests, Automatic Electric Windows, Power Steering, Traction Control, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Colour Coded Body, Remote Alarm, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, 19'' Alloys For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, vehicle documents and the HPI certificate on our web site. Just click on the green 'visit web' site button above. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars.

    • Mileage: 34687 mi
    • Engine size: 4395
    For sale
    Big Motoring World - BMW & Mercedes
  • BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo

    £25,000 £25,000

    ABS, Air Bag, Immobiliser, Alarm, Traction Control, Central Locking, Air Conditioning, Trip Computer, Rear Wash/wipe, Front Fog Lamps, Stability Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Sports Seats, Automatic Electric Windows, Radio, Child Locks, Head Restraints, Isofix, 18'' Alloys 'Guide me home' headlamps, 12V socket in luggage compartment, 12V sockets in front centre console and passenger footwell, 2 bag hooks in luggage compartment, 2 speed adjustable intermittent wipers with wash/wipe function, 2 x folding cupholders in instrument panel above glovebox, 3 point inertia reel seatbelts + pre-tensioners on outer rear seats, 3 rear seat head restraints, 4 foldable grab handles - rear with clothes hook, 4 lashing points to secure luggage, 40/20/40 split folding rear seat, Anti-lock brake system, Automatic dimming rear view mirror, Automatic drive away locking facility, Automatic headlight beam throw control, Automatic interior light soft on/soft off system, Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Automatic tailgate operation, Auxiliary point for auxiliary devices, BBody colour roof mouldings, BMW emergency call, BMW professional radio/CD/MP3, BMW teleservices, Body colour bumpers, Body colour door handles, Body colour door mirrors, Brake pad wear indicator warning light, CBC - (Cornering brake control), Central locking fuel filler cap, Centre lock switch, Check control system, Crash sensor, DAB Digital radio, Dakota leather upholstery, Daytime running lights, Diesel particulate filter, Digital clock, Door sill finishers, Door/boot open warning light, Drive Performance Control, Driver and passenger airbags, Dual zone automatic air conditioning, Dynamic brake control, Dynamic stability control plus, Dynamic Traction Control - DTC, Electric adjustable door mirro

    • Mileage: 14693 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £25,000 £25,000

    Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, BMW Assist, BMW Online, Heated Seats, Voice Control, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, High Beam Assist, DAB Digital Radio, Headlamp Jetwash, Powered Folding Mirrors, BMW Apps Interface, Front Centre Armrest, LED Daytime Running Lights, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, USB Interface, Memory Seats, Electric Seats, Auto Lighting, Brake Assist, Auxiliary In, CD Player, Isofix, ABS, Alarm, Radio, Stereo, Air Bag, Immobiliser, Side Air Bags, Remote Alarm, Traction Control, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Stability Control, Rear Headrests, Automatic Electric Windows, Head Restraints, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Colour Coded Body, Height Adjustable Seat, 18'' Alloys For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, vehicle documents and the HPI certificate on our web site. Just click on the green 'visit web' site button above. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars.

    • Mileage: 20952 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW M5

    £32,000 £32,000

    Heads Up Display/HUD, Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, BMW Assist, BMW Online, Heated Seats, Voice Control, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Front Centre Armrest, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, M Sport Bodykit, M Sport Alloys, Sports Seats, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, I Drive System, DAB Digital Radio, Metallic Paintwork, Memory Seats, USB Interface, Electric Seats, Auto Lighting, Auxiliary In, Child Locks, Isofix, ABS, Radio, Stereo, Alarm, Immobiliser, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Colour Coded Body, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, 19'' Alloys For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, vehicle documents and the HPI certificate on our web site. Just click on the green 'visit web' site button above. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars.

    • Mileage: 32096 mi
    • Engine size: 4395
    For sale
  • BMW 3 SERIES 330I SE 2007

    £6,195 £6,195

    Joseph Sutton Motor Company ltd is very pleased to offer this BMW 330i SE Coupe to the market. Finished in Metallic Space Grey with Black Dakota Leather Trim., Upgrades - Alloy Wheels - 18in Light Star Spoke 189, Electric Drivers Seat with Memory, Driver/Passenger Seat Heating, High Beam Assistant Headlights, Lights Package, Radio BMW Professional, Black High Gloss Interior Trim, 12 months MOT, Last serviced on 15/07/2016 at 103,327 miles, Full service history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Standard Features - Parking Aid (Rear), Air-Conditioning (Automatic), Cruise Control, Heated Front Screen, Rain Sensor, Tyre Pressure Control, Tinted Glass (All Round), Paint Metallic, Seats Electric (Driver/Passenger), Computer (Driver Information System), Electric Windows (Front), In Car Entertainment (Radio/CD). 4 seats, Metallic Grey, low rate finance available with no payment for 2 months. This vehicle can be supplied with the benefit of a 36 month extended warranty, charged at an additional GBP 595. Part exchanges welcome. All weather Indoor Showroom; view this car whatever the weather. Car prices checked daily to insure they are best value for money. Debit/credit cards accepted. For E-Brochure including photos, detailed specification and service history records, please call 01233782784 or email joe@josephsutton.co.uk, GBP 6,195

    • Mileage: 107000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.996
    For sale
  • BMW 3 SERIES 335D XDRIVE M SPORT 2013

    £24,980 £24,980

    1 OWNER FROM NEW, WARRANTED MILES WITH FULL MAIN DEALER HISTORY, JUST HAD SERVICE AND MOT FROM BMW WITH HEALTH CHECK, GREAT SPEC INC PIANO BLACK INLAYS, SAT NAV, BLUETOOTH, FULL BLACK LEATHER, 2 X KEYS, Upgrades - Armrest Front, Sliding, Lumbar Support - Electric Driver/Front Passenger, Piano Black, Speed Limit Display, Adaptive M Sport Suspension, Enhaced Bluetooth Telephone Prep./USB/Voice Ctrl.2, Media Package - BMW Business, M Sport Brakes, BMW Business Navigation, 12 months MOT, Last serviced at 26,480 miles, Full dealership history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Excellent, Four wheel-drive, Standard Features - DAB Tuner, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Automatic Air Conditioning, Two-Zone, Park Distance Control (PDC), Rear, Auto Start-Stop (MSA), Bluetooth Hands-Free Facility with USB Audio Interface, Alarm System (Thatcham 1), BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Capability), Electric Windows - Front and Rear, Rain Sensor, Hill-Start Assistant, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), 18in Light Alloy M Star-Spoke Style 400M with Mixed Tyres, On-Board Computer (OBC), Heat Protection Glazing with Green-Tint, Upholstery - Dakota Leather, Metallic Paintwork. 5 seats, Metallic Silver, 2 X KEYS, HPI CLEAR, DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED,3/6/12/24 MONTHS WARRANTY AVAILABLE, LOW RATE FINANCE AVAILABLE, DRIVEAWAY INSURANCE AVAILABLE, PART EXCHANGES WELCOME, VISIT WWW.AYAANMOTORS.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION AND 24 HR LIVE CHAT FEATURE, 5 STAR RATED AUTOTRADER DEALER, CHECK OUT OUR REVIEWS ON AUTOTRADER, ALL VEHICLES COME WITH A HPI REPORT, FULL MOT AND NATIONWIDE WARRANTY, VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENTS ONLY, CALL 0121 4484554, 07860251554 TO ARRANGE VIEWING, GBP 24,980

    • Mileage: 26500 mi
    • Engine size: 2.993
    For sale
  • BMW M4

    £58,980 £58,980

    Variant name:Convertible ,Derivative:M4 ,Variant: M4 2dr DCT [Competition Pack] BMW M4 M4 2dr DCT [Competition Pack] Seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission Reversing Assist camera Carbon Fibre interior trim with Black Chrome High-beam Assistant Surround-view BMW M Head-up Display Loudspeaker system - harman/kardon surround Speed limit display Convertible Comfort package

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 10 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 3 SERIES 330D AC 2010

    £3,995 £3,995

    2010 59 REG , BMW 330d 3.0d MODEL TURBO DIESEL , AUTO , M SPORT SPEC WHEELS and SUEDE INTERIOR , EX POLICE , REMOTE CENTRAL LOCKING ALARM , ALLOYS , AIR CON , ABS, POWER STEERING , AIRBAGS , FULL SERVICE HISTORY, SUPERBLY MAINTAINED , JUST BEEN SERVICED , 154K MOTORWAY MILES, GOOD CONDITON , RUNS and DRIVES VERY WELL, 12 MTHS MOT , HPI CLEAR REPORT INCLUDED, now reduced for quick sale ...

    • Mileage: 154769 mi
    • Engine size: 2.993
    For sale
  • BMW 3 Series

    £10,950 £10,950

    Service history Anti-Lock Brakes,Automatic Air Conditioning,Alarm,Power-Assisted Steering,Driver, Passenger, Front Side And Front Side Air Bags,17In Alloy Wheels,Cruise Control,Electronic Stability Programme,Rear Parking Aid,Driver Information System,All Round Tinted Glass,Driver/Passenger Electric Seats,Electric/Heated Door Mirrors,Immobiliser,Front Fog Lights,Heated Washer Jets,Rain Sensor,Electric Front/Driver Memory Seat Height Adjustment,Front/Rear Armrest,Front Electric Windows,Remote Central Door Locking,Steering Wheel Leather,Front/Rear Head Restraints,Automatic Dimming Rear View Mirrors Internal,Body Coloured Bumpers,Centre Console,Cup Holder,Electronic Brake Force Distribution,Front/Rear Head Air Bags,Front/Rear Seat Belt Pre-Tensioners, Call us today about the finance options on this vehicle. Part exchanges welcome.

    • Mileage: 66990 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW M3

    £27,950 £27,950

    Air Conditioning, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Colour SatNav, Harman Kardon, CD Player, Radio, Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Multiple Airbags, Xenon Headlamps, Rain-Sensing Wipers, 19'' Alloys, Full main dealer service history STUNNING M3. 2 OWNERS WITH FULL BMW SERVICE HISTORY., THIS VEHICLE IS SUPPLIED WITH A NEW 12 MONTH MOT, PRE DELIVERY INSPECTION, WARRANTY, AND 12 MONTHS FREE AA BREAKDOWN COVER OR AN UPGRADE IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY A MEMBER. GREAT FINANCE PACKAGES INCLUDING LOW CREDIT SCORE AND ZERO DEPOSIT - USUALLY A DECISION IN MINUTES. PAY NOTHING FOR THE FIRST 2 MONTHS. DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED. FAMILY RUN BUSINESS ESTABLISHED FOR OVER 20 YEARS. FREE LOCAL TRAIN STATION PICK UP AND NATIONAL DELIVERY AVAILABLE. CHECK OUT OUR INDEPENDENTLY COLLECTED FEEDBACK - OVER 400 GREAT REVIEWS.

    • Mileage: 41000 mi
    • Engine size: 3999
    For sale
  • BMW 3 Series

    £16,500 £16,500

    Full Leather, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, LED Daytime Running Lights, Front Fog Lamps, Front Centre Armrest, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, Auxiliary In, Isofix, ABS, Air Bag, Immobiliser, Alarm, Traction Control, Central Locking, Trip Computer, Stability Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Automatic Electric Windows, Radio, Child Locks, Head Restraints, Colour Coded Body, CD Player, MP3 Player, Rear Armrest, 18'' Alloys For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, vehicle documents and the HPI certificate on our web site. Just click on the green 'visit web' site button above. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars.

    • Mileage: 25183 mi
    • Engine size: 1997
    For sale
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