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BMW: Classic and performance range review

BMW: Classic and performance range review Classic and Performance Car
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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  • BMW 3 Series

    £23,450 £23,450

    Variant name:330D M SPORT ,Derivative:330D M SPORT ,Variant: 3.0TD (258bhp) 330d M Sport

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 15939 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    William Morgan Group-BMW North Oxford
  • BMW 330d M Sport Touring

    £5,000 £5,000

    We have decided to sell this BMW (my wife's car) as parking where we live is at a premium and often due to its size we find it difficult to park. We are now in ownership of a Mini so this car, as nice as it is, needs to go. It has only 107,000 miles and we have owned it for the last 4 years covering just 20,000 miles in that period of time. It has a Full Service History and numerous receipts of work carried out (since we've owned it most of the work has been carried out at Munich Legends). The car has a leather interior, rear parking sensors, panoramic roof and electric windows/mirrors to name just a few and the performance when required is breathtaking. Unfortunately due to our parking situation the car has a scrape down one side (please see pictures) which I have been quoted £600 to rectify. Also the rear wiper does not currently work. Due to this I am prepared to sell this car for £5000 ono. If you have any additional questions then please message me or I can be contacted on 07899 586055.      

    • Mileage: 107000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • 1970 BMW 2800CS

    $29,500(£23,071.95) $29,500(£23,071.95)

    1970 BMW 2800CS 1970 BMW 2800CS in light blue with tan interior. Gorgeous color combination. Comes equipped with an automatic transmission, power windows, air conditioning, sunroof, dual head rests and small chrome bumpers. Also includes the jack and spare tire. Excellent original California car. Mechanically sound. For $29,500 If you have any additional questions Please call 310-975-0272 or email with any questions! We also welcome all international buyers. We can help with shipping quotes and arrangements.

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • BMW 4 Series

    £28,495 £28,495

    One Owner From New 435 D X-Drive Finished In Sapphire Black Metallic And Is Complimented By Heated-Memory Black Dakota Leather Sports Seats, This Must Have Colour Combination Not Only Has Full Bmw Service History And A 5yr Service Plan And Just Serviced, But Also Has A Must Have Specification Including; Head-Up Display, Pro Navigation, Dab Radio With Harmon/Kardon Sound Package, M Sports Package, Aluminium Interior Pack With Piano Black Finish, Connected Drive Services, Real Time Traffic Information, Bluetooth Connectivity, Park Distance Control, Xenon Headlights, M Performance Body Styling With Front Splitter Rear Spoiler And Side M Performance Decals, 19 '' Double M Spoke Alloy Wheels.

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 4 Series

    £26,900 £26,900

    COMPETITIVE NO DEPOSIT 5.9 % APR ON REQUEST, 50 % OFF 3 YEAR PREMIUM WARRANTY OFFER, 3YR WARRANTY IS AVAILABLE NORMALLY £1795, A 50% DEALER CONTRIBUTION LEAVING £895 TO PAY, WEAR & TEAR ''INCLUDING WORN PARTS'', PARTS & LABOUR, NO EXCESS, UPTO CURRENT MARKET VALUE, NATIONWIDE COVER, COURTESY CAR, PRICE MATCH GUARANTEED ON LIKE FOR LIKE VEHICLES, LATE NIGHT VIEWINGS BY APPOINTMENT, ALL OUR VEHICLES ARE HPI AND MILEAGE VERIFIED Here We Have A One Owner From New 435 D X-Drive With M Performance Body Styling Finished In Mineral Grey Metallic And Is Complimented By Heated-Memory Black Dakota Leather Sports Seats, This Must Have Colour Combination Not Only Has Full Bmw Service History And 5yr Service Plan But Also Boasts A Must Have Specification Including; Head-Up Display, Pro Nav, Dab Radio, M Sports Package, Aluminium Interior With Piano Black Finish, Connected Drive Services, Real Time Traffic Information, Bluetooth Connectivity, Park Distance Control, Reversing Camera, Xenon Headlights, M Performance Body Styling With Front Splitter Rear Spoiler And Side M Performance Decals, 19 '' Double M Spoke Alloy Wheels.

    • Mileage: 26000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
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