Rewind to December 2010 while everyone is searching for the perfect Christmas present, BMW had a little gift of their own, specifically for the petrolheads. A press release regarding a new M division compact coupe, a new M3? No that has been putting on weight for years now, this new car is more akin to the original E30 M3 in size and weight.
A meatier, wider, faster and more stylish 1 series coupe with a BMW M engine sounds fantastic.. well that is not quite right. If you are familiar with BMW engine codes (Who isn’t) you will know that standard engines begin with either ‘M’ or ‘N’ and the M division engines start with a ‘S’. The 1M had a re-tuned N54 as found in the E9X 335i, producing 340hp.
That aside it is still the BMW I wish I bought, and I suspect a few others especially those who opted for an Audi S3 instead will too. The reason being is residual values, when the car went on sale in 2011 at £40,000 plus options (circa £45,000) not many were expecting what happened over the next few years.
By ticking the boxes that gave the original M3 a cult following, along with a ‘limited run’ (was later extended globally, only 450 units came to the UK) they became a bit of a collectors magnet. Due to the high demand and limited availability the car never depreciated much, and has since appreciated.
Now imagine you had bought one on some sort of finance deal, over the initial period you would of paid around half the value and have half to pay. Owners were paying off their balloon payments and selling the car on not soon after and getting nearly all their money back, talk about free motoring.
Now for myself as a BMW enthusiast a short term gain is nice, but the reason I regret not buying one is simple. There is not a lot of cars you genuinely like that will not drain your wallet, had I purchased one I would no doubt still have it now, to enjoy all the while appreciating.
What is clear is whether you are an investor who collects and stores, or an enthusiast who likes to use their cars you can both enjoy this modern classic without fear of losing money.