BMW's least expensive M-badged offering from 2011 has reached a small but significant milestone: It's now worth more than all of the other far costlier like-badged models it once shared showrooms with. Despite being more than $10,000 less expensive than its next-cheapest M sibling, the 2011 1 Series M Coupe commands more on the used market than all other BMW M offerings of its year, including the legendary M3 sports coupe and the much more expensive X5 M and X6 M SUVs.
Among Roundel fans, the 1 Series M Coupe was a model rumored for years: a BMW M-fettled version of the Bavarian automaker's cheapest offering, the 1 Series. Yet when it showed up for the 2011 model year, the upright, broad-shouldered coupe didn't wear a coveted M _[Insert Number Here]_ designation. Produced for just one year, it wore the one-off appellation, "1 Series M Coupe."
Cumbersome nomenclature aside, the 335-horsepower 1M Coupe was widely regarded as the most driver-focused BMW of its day, more entertaining than the larger and more powerful M3. Seemingly in order to stave off any pecking-order arguments within the M lineup, BMW limited the 1 Series M Coupe to just 2,700 units globally, with just 740 of them coming to the US.
That tight initial supply has done more than prop up 1M values. Today, NADA Guides lists clean retail pricing as $49,250 for an example with 60,000 miles (an average of 12K per year), and cursory searches of used-car retailing websites confirm NADA's pricing estimate. Remarkably, that value slightly exceeds the $47,010 base price of the model when new.
Compare that with the 2011 BMW X6 M sport utility vehicle with the same condition parameters, which is now estimated to be worth $43,200 -- just under 49 percent of its original $89,200 MSRP. Today, an M3 Coupe is estimated at $38,400, about 58 percent of its $58,900 base price in 2011.
Cars that manage to retain their original sales values -- or exceed them -- are extremely unusual. On average, after five years, a typical automobile is worth roughly 40 percent of what it cost when new. Some in-demand new cars and trucks can command a premium for a short period of time after launch, but such instances are rare, and generally very short lived. On occasion, six- and seven-figure exotics from companies like Ferrari and Lamborghini manage this feat, but at the BMW's comparatively terrestrial price point, it's all but unprecedented.
The 1M Coupe's status as a blue-chip collectible for the long haul seems all but assured.
Today, the 1M Coupe's high-performance torch is being carried by BMW's M2. Introduced at Detroit's North American International Auto Show in January, its volume isn't expected to be constrained the way the 1 Series M Coupe's was, suggesting it won't enjoy the same stratospheric residuals.