BMW M3 (E90) | Spotted

The M3 that nobody bought now looks the most desirable of the lot

By Matt Bird / Thursday, October 28, 2021 / Loading comments

If the scrapping of a fuel duty raise was the final barrier to E90 M3 ownership, then bad news – they’re appreciating. And not just in the way that anything with four wheels and a power source has gone up in value of late, either. It feels like it is on top of a rise that we all knew was coming for the last naturally aspirated M3. As recently as May 2020, the cheapest E92 on PH was £12,495; now a similar car – a 120,000-mile coupe – is £5k more expensive. That can’t all be explained away by the recent panic; the M3’s slow-but-certain walk to classic status is seemingly now well on the way.

Using the c-word for a car so readily available seems daft, of course, but if the appeal of a classic car is as a reminder of a bygone motoring age then an M3 like this certainly qualifies. We won’t see a manual, naturally aspirated M3 again; given how stringent current regulation is – and how good the current G80 M3 is despite those rules – it would be churlish to complain. Let’s not forget that people didn’t buy M3s and M4s with manual gearboxes, either, so BMW stopped making them. When new, the very good autos and DCTs BMW has made complemented the M car package better – but as a 10-year-old used purchase, the prospect of an 8,500rpm V8 with six manually selectable gears is a hugely alluring one. The world is contrary like that sometimes.

As a collector’s item, or merely as one for the M3 die-hards, this E90 surely ticks an awful lot of boxes. The four-door saloon was the least popular bodystyle in the UK, the manual gearbox the rarer transmission, and there are precious few of the four-door ‘LCI’ cars – BMW’s mid-life facelift, with the all-red rear lights – around as well. This one has the added bonus of small 18-inch wheels instead of the 19s so often optioned on, and a deletion of the M3 badge for full stealth appeal. It isn’t quite standard – that stance is helped by AST coilovers, and an Eventuri carbon airbox is fitted – but it would presumably be very hard to return an M3 that looks (and must sound) as good as this to standard. The original air box is there if you really, really have to…

As an LCI car, this M3 also benefits from the updated iDrive that will still look fairly familiar to a BMW driver. Only it sits alongside three pedals, a gearstick and a 9,000rpm rev counter, which most certainly won’t. It’s a remarkably sombre interior, in fact, with blank buttons throughout, but not enough chintz is certainly better than too much.

Having covered just 24,000 miles since 2010, the car looks fit for many more years use yet, with a recent service from Birds and a MOT stretching comfortably into 2022. The E9x generation is hardly free from issues, so it’s always worth researching a prospective purchase thoroughly (and keeping a healthy contingency fund) but it isn’t hard to see why so many continue to take a punt on an M3 with the V8 in. Precisely because it’s an M3 with a V8 in.

This one is for sale at £32,950, a far cry from that Brave Pill of just a year and a half ago. Truth be told it looks quite a lot in the current climate – this coupe is BMW Approved and three years newer for just a few hundred quid more – but then everybody has an M3 coupe. Or so it can seem. As the rarer, subtler option, the saloon has always held a special appeal, never more so than with a manual gearbox and with this car’s unique spec. Warts and all, the M3 promises to be a spectacular super saloon experience. And don’t be surprised if someone wants it when the time comes to sell, whatever the price. They really don’t make them like this anymore.


SPECIFICATION | BMW M3 (E90)

Engine: 3,999cc, V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],400rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],900rpm
MPG: 22.8
CO2: 290g/km
First registered: 2010
Recorded mileage: 24,484
Price new: £51,440 (2008)
Yours for: £32,950

See the original advert here

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