Would you pay $250,000 for a 32-year-old car?

A few days ago we reported about a pristine 1988 BMW M3 being auctioned off by Bring a Trailer. With just 8,000 miles on the odometer, the almost new M3 had a $120,000 bid and seemed to be on its way to setting a new record for the E30-generation model. Five days later, the classic sports coupe found anew owner for a whopping $250,000.

Is $250,000 for a 1988 BMW M3 Really worth It?


$250,000 is almost two times the price of a brand spanking new BMW M8 Coupe and more than any other modern BMW available in showrooms right now.

Heck, you could even buy a McLaren 720S with that kind of cash or go with a variety of high-performance sports cars and still have some cash in your pocket. While I was expecting this car to hit close to $200,000, I must admit I’m surprised that it actually made it to $250,000.

That's significantly more than any other E30-generation M3, including the model owned by Paul Walker, which sold for $150,000.
That Super Clean, 8K-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Just Sold for a Ridiculous Amount of Money Exterior
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But at the end of the day, we’re talking about a pristine example that looks like it just left a BMW dealership, so maybe $250K is not as ludicrous as it may seem at first glance. This auction could also mean that the E30-generation M3 is gaining value and becoming a prized classic, despite being only three decades old.

That Super Clean, 8K-Mile 1988 BMW M3 Just Sold for a Ridiculous Amount of Money Exterior
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As a brief reminder, the first-generation M3 broke cover in 1986, four years after the 3 Series debuted. The M3 was decidedly more aggressive than the regular 3 Series on the outside, featuring race-inspired bumpers and a rear wing. U.S. models were rated at 192 horsepower, but in countries where catalytic converters weren’t mandatory, the 2.3-liter four-cylinder came with 197 horsepower. In 1989, Euro-spec M3 models were upgraded to 212 horsepower. BMW also built three special edition models. There were the Evolution models with 217 horsepower (505 units), the Sport Evolution with a larger 2.5-liter engine rated at 235 horses (600 units), and the Cecotto and Ravaglia editions, named after BMW’s DTM racing drivers. The Cecotto was built in 560 units, while the Ravaglia was limited to only 25. BMW built a total of 17,970 E30 M3s, including 876 convertibles.


Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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