20 December 2004

Getting hold of a BMW M-power car is becoming cheaper than ever, with hot 3- and 5-series models now regularly appearing with four-figure price tags. And if you’re prepared to spend more there’s some spectacular kit on offer.

Halve the cost of a new M5 and you’ll find plenty of second-hand Ms available, including the most popular used M-car of the moment – the previous M5. Spending £30k on an old-model M5 gets you a two-year-old 400bhp car with 35,000 miles under its wheels from a franchised BMW dealer. Look at the earliest S- or T-plate cars on the private market and you could spend as little as £20,000.

The smaller M3 will soon be an even better performance bargain. ‘Once the current M3 reaches the same point in its life cycle as the M5 is now, and dealers begin taking deposits on its replacement, current M3s will be available for under £20,000,’ explained Tony Halse, owner of BMW M-division specialists Munich Legends of Chelwood Gate, East Sussex. ‘Right now, there’s a massive quantity of cars above £25k but, if supply continues like it has, that won’t last.’

Those with £10,000 to £12,000 to spend have the most difficult choice. ‘The best examples of BMW’s 1995 six-cylinder M5 saloons and M3 coupés have settled around this mark,’ Halse said. ‘And BMW purists prefer the six-cylinder power of the earlier M5 to the later V8.’

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But buyers have plenty of options for just £5000. Searching the internet’s classified listings reveals well-kept 1986 M535i saloons for as little as £2500, and left-hand-drive 1989 M3 2.3-litre saloons and early ’90s 3.0-litre M3 saloons and coupés for less than £5k.

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