A dealer has listed a 153-mile BMW 1M for a sum that could get you one of the finest Porsches on sale. Or even a lightly used Ferrari.
Ohio-based BMW dealer Enthusiast Auto Group has listed a 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe for the eye-watering price of $199,990. Justifying this price tag is its immaculate condition and the odometer reading: a scarcely believable 153 miles.
The car has not simply stood in any old storage unit, having lived in a "climate-controlled facility and never spent a night outside." As such, it is said to be in factory-new condition, with "supple leather, clean carpets, and no visible wear areas." The ad also notes that "intelligent preservation measures have been performed since new." That means we can expect that all fluids have been regularly changed and the tires (and other rubber components) are not cracked and brittle.
But is it worth so much money? Yes. And no. Let's explore both sides of the coin, fully aware that no matter what we say next, somebody out there will probably pay the sky-high price.
By today's standards, the so-called "1M" is vastly underpowered. Its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged N54 engine produces a paltry headline figure of just 335 horsepower - even today's Integra Type S produces 320 ponies, so if you're after maximum bang for your buck, this 1M's price is a scandal. This model is also missing the optional sunroof and appears to have no BMW Performance add-ons.
Then there's the matter of what else you could get for the same money. The first car that comes to mind is the 1M's eventual successor, the G87 BMW M2. That car's 3.0-liter twin-turbo S58 engine generates at least 453 hp, and it starts at a much more reasonable (relatively speaking) $62,200. You could even buy an M2 and an M4 CSL and only break the $200k budget by two grand. When new, this 1M cost under $55,000.
And if you're not brand-biased, there are other German sports cars in the six-figure bracket that are arguably even more exciting and engaging.
A Porsche 911 GT3 starts at $182,900 and like the 1M, a six-cylinder powers the rear wheels. It can also be had with a manual transmission (the only option for the 1 Series M Coupe). The GT3 is quicker, faster, more capable on track, and carries more prestige - all for less money than this particular 1M. Or you could buy a Ferrari Roma for 20 grand more.
Look, we all know that the 1M is a modern classic and, if current trends analyzed in a report from Reuters are anything to go by, rare enthusiast cars will only appreciate as their ilk becomes scarcer.
The 1M's combination - a straight-six engine at the front, a manual gearbox in the middle, and two fat tires being driven at the rear - is unadulterated driving nirvana, particularly for those with a penchant for hooning. And as the owner of an N54-powered 1 Series, this writer spends almost every waking hour wondering if there are 1M sellers who would accept a kidney as payment. But even I can't justify this price fully.
Limited-production Bimmers will always command a premium, particularly when they wear the famed M badge, and there's no denying that modern cars lack the engagement that comes with hydraulic steering, an imperfect gear shift, and little in the way of electronic intervention. The new M2's electrically-assisted steering is positively numb compared to that of the 1M, and its manual transmission appears to be an afterthought as the auto's shorter ratios are a much better dance partner to the S58.
One could also argue that the lower power output of the 1M makes it more approachable and more fun to take risks with. But are you really going to take risks drifting and tracking an immaculate, $200k collector car?
In summary, this 1 Series M Coupe is magnificent and would make a fine addition to any collection. But its price is arguably speculative, not representative of the market. I've watched several sell for a third of this. Someday, the 1M will surely be worth 200 grand, but today, it just denies true enthusiasts the chance to experience a dream car.
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