BMW 1 Series M Coupe now worth more than other models that were nearly twice as expensive new

BMW's rare, high-performance 1M Coupe is actually worth more now than it was when new, an unprecedented feat.

Josh Miller/CNET

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.

One of just 740 BMW 1 Series M Coupes imported to the US.

Josh Miller/Roadshow

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.

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