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  • A buyer paid $84,000 for a 12K mile E46 BMW M3 on Bring a Trailer
  • The 2022 BMW M4 is actually cheaper to buy than this E46 M3
  • BMW’s newest coupe costs $72K, a bargain in comparison

Boy, if you thought new fast BMWs were getting expensive, just wait ’till you hear this. A used E46 BMW M3 has just sold on Bring a Trailer for a shocking $85,000. By our math, that’s, uh, a lot of money. It’s also more than it’ll cost you to head down to John Doe’s BMW of Nowhere and buy a brand new 2022 BMW M4.

A yellow 2022 BMW M4 shot on a rainy day in the German woods
Does the M4’s speed make up for the dental work it needs? | BMW

This E46 BMW M3 sold for $85,000

17 years ago, some dude in San Francisco bought an E46 BMW M3. In 2004, he paid $55,220 for this Imola Red M3. Adjusted for today’s money, that’s $81,500. The 2022 BMW M4 starts at a hair under $72,000. The BMW M4 Competition? That’s $74,700 before options. And trust us, buyers are paying for options at this price point. So, no matter which way you dice it, someone paid more than the cost of a new BMW M4 for a 17-year-old BMW.

To be fair, the E46 BMW M3, and more specifically this E46 BMW M3, isn’t just any used BMW model that’s almost of voting age. The one sold on Bring A Trailer for north of $80K had a measly 12,000 miles on it. More to the point, it’s just about as loaded as you could get back then. Of course, a manual transmission and M-spec limited-slip differential are also included in this iconic sports car.

Is an E46 M3 a good investment?

A silver E46 BMW M3 CSL shot from the front 3/4
We shudder to think what an E46 BMW M3 CSL would sell for stateside | BMW

On the surface, it would seem the E46 BMW M3 is a solid investment. The seller certainly got every last Imola Red cent out of his M3. That said, keep in mind this BAT auction is a high watermark. I mean, how many 0-mile M3s do you see rolling around? Odds are, the last time you saw one, it was on Bring A Trailer. And those are the cars that might be good investments. On the whole, the M3s that you and I can afford simply aren’t.

Even when you take into account the chip shortage and the rise in used car prices, your average E46 M3 simply isn’t going to be a good investment. These are temperamental cars that require constant upkeep and attention. Take it from me, I own and drive an E46 M3 every day. You’d be better off in the stock market.

The 2022 BMW M4 is fast, but that doesn’t matter

A blue 2022 BMW M4 drifts through a turn at sunset
No one can argue with the new M4’s performance | BMW

However, the E46 has something the 2022 BMW M4 just doesn’t. Nostalgia. Well, that and one of the greatest engines ever built. And right now, if a car has a manual transmission and sounds good, people are going to pay serious cash for it. Frankly, we’d take the E46 over the new M4 every day of the week. But that’s a whole other story.


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