Peak BMW?

It’s considered by many to be peak BMW 3 series and in its day the E46 was highly regarded. With the E30 well and truly in classic territory, with prices to match, maybe the E46 will be the next classic 3 series, especially if it’s a wagon with a big 6 under the bonnet (*of course the M3 is already a classic). Like this Kiwi new 328i Touring with a temptingly low auction estimate. Read on...

The BMW E46 3 series was launched in 1997 and was a big leap up from the preceding E36 in almost every sense. From the handsome Chris Bangle design to the excellent build quality and the great handling the E46 was a winner, and it sold really well. But maybe due to its popularity when new it’s largely ignored as a potential future classic today. Some models, chiefly the M3, are already highly desirable classics, but the standard models have probably never been cheaper.

If we take the BMW E30 as a bench mark, and in particular the Touring, or wagon variant, we can see that prices have gone through a period of solid appreciation to the point where a good one with a six cylinder engine will sell for well into the $20,000+ range. So if you were to take a punt on a future classic then a good E46 Touring would be a good place to start looking as prices are very low.

This E46 328i Touring was sold new in NZ in 2000 and has had just 2 private owners and travelled a low 177,000kms. It looks like it has had a nice life and is shod in decent quality tyres (always a good sign). The auction estimate is a very tempting $1500 - $2500. Now, I fully expect it’ll exceed that range but even at double the top estimate it would seem like good buying.

It’s probably the lowest that prices are likely to get for BMW’s peak 3 series. Don’t wait. This example is being auctioned at Turners Hamilton on 7th May. More details here.

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