If you buy a convertible E46 M3, be prepared to keep it a while
If you have ever shopped around for an E46 BMW M3, you may have noticed something. Convertible models are far cheaper than their coupe counterparts. On this example, the convertible M3 was much heavier and speed was compromised as a result. For example, the M3 coupe could hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds while the convertible takes about 5.0 seconds flat. This may be why the coupes are more desirable and command higher prices. So, will these "collector's" convertibles ever be worth anything?
If you rewind the clock to the E36 generation M3 you'll see a similar trend. The coupe models were worth more to collectors than the convertibles and even the sedan. However, E36 prices have been on a massive increase recently and even convertible models can command over $20,000 for a low-mileage example. While coupes are still more desirable as of now, you never know what could happen in several years. The demand on old BMW M cars has been fascinating. We recently discussed which M cars will be worth the most money as collectibles in the future. In that piece we advised against convertible M cars. But were we wrong? As of now, no, but that may soon change.
We have been monitoring the prices of older BMW M cars to try and fin an explanation for the price increases. We thought that after the E30 M3 reached insane prices the E36 M3 would also go up. Many people doubted that the E36 would ever be worth any money because it was watered down (in the US) and because BMW built a ton of them. However, prices are now on the rise and clean coupes are becoming harder to find. Once these coupes become unreasonably priced we have no doubt that the convertibles will also rise in value. No one thought that the E36 would ever be looked at as a collector's car, so many of them weren't taken car of. This phenomenon is even worse for convertibles, which had an even greater stigma surrounding them.
So now we move back to the droptop E46 M3, and in essence all BMW M convertibles. This car is a fantastic representation of why convertibles may be a good investment, but one that takes longer to mature. As the E46 M3 coupes with low mileage reach insane prices (some over $70,000), the nicely maintained coupes for sale will dwindle. We will reach the point where the E46 will be too expensive for most people and that's where the convertible comes into the picture. When enthusiasts and collectors want to buy a car that is pure and reminds them of simpler times, they will turn to the E46 M3. With all of the coupes gone, the convertibles will start to become appealing. However, will there even be many left?
If no one wants to pay big money for a convertible E46 M3 now, they may start to disappear. Because no one really wants them, fewer and fewer people will spend the money needed to maintain them. While the classified are currently littered with E46 M4 convertibles, there may come a day when this car is not so easy to find. We are not saying that you should run out an buy an E46 M3 convertible and flip it for a profit. What we are saying is that you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this car (and other M cars like it) as a potential collector's item, especially if you plan to keep it for a very long time.