What is the most expensive BMW? BMW has been evolving into a more and more premium brand as it has grown, and with the added performance, luxury, and technology that its cars offer, the asking price swells. That got us thinking: What is the most expensive BMW ever sold, and which are the most expensive BMW models currently on sale?
What is the most expensive BMW?
As you can imagine, it was a long and challenging process filled with difficulties, recessions and at least one world war. But also with intelligent decisions, risk-taking and holding on to what they do best – build special cars with recognizable styling and quality mechanics, proven on the Autobahn and the race tracks.
Cars like BMW M3 E30 became the winningest touring car ever, or the gorgeous BMW 507 with a limited production run but A-list celebrities as its owners. Or maybe the influential BMW X5, which redefined what SUV is. All of those cars helped BMW become what it is today.
So what is the most expensive BMW ever built amongst all those legendary machines? Here is the selection of the rarest and most sought-after Bavarian classics.
10. 1957 BMW 503 Cabriolet – $583,000
In the late fifties, BMW so impressed the rich and famous that Elvis Presley bought two 507 Roadsters. But maybe he should have bought only one and rather acquired one of these – a 503.
The lesser-known Bimmer drop-top of the era, the 503 had coachwork by Bertone and looked more Italian than German – no bad thing. According to the listing by Bonhams (the house that sold this example at the Quail Lodge Auction in 2017), this is believed to be one of only 13 examples that found a home on US soil. No wonder it sold for $583,000.
Unlike its distant relation above, this car had more than six cylinders, with motivation courtesy of a 3.2-liter V8 with two Zenith carburetors. With a four-speed manual gearbox, 140 hp sounds like plenty of fun.
9. Paul Walker’s BMW M1 AHG Studie – $648,500
The M1 is already an icon of BMW’s prolific past, but add in tuning upgrades from a storied German outfit, combine that with celebrity ownership, and you have a $648,500 legend.
This record-breaking M1 AHG Studie example is believed to be one of roughly 10 M1 road cars that German dealership AHG modified back in the day, which explains why Paul Walker and his business partner Roger Rodas were convinced that it was worth owning.
At the time of listing, this example, with its one-off livery, Procar-inspired bodywork, three-piece BBS wheels, and full leather seating, had only 6,821 kilometers on the clock, or 4,238 miles.
According to the sale listing, which was handled by RM Sotheby’s late last year, the M88-102 engine was uprated to the region of 350 hp.
8. BMW M5 30 Jahre – $700,000
The second V8 and joint-tied for the newest car on our list, the BMW M5 30 Jahre was a special edition that BMW only produced 300 examples of. If so many (relatively speaking) were made, why did this one sell for close to three-quarters of a million bucks? Well, it’s one of only 30 imported to the US and the very last new 30th Anniversary Edition available.
This example also had only delivery miles, and when Barrett-Jackson offered it to support the Tire Rack Teen Street Survival Program and the BMW CCA Foundation in 2015, famed NASCAR team owner (and BMW dealer) Rick Hendrick decided to keep bidding until he took it home. $700,000 is a lot of money for an M5, but at least that cash went to a good cause.
Like other BMW M5 models of the era, the 30 Jahre was powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 600 ponies. At the time, it was the most powerful series-production car built by BMW M.
7. 1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA – $731,000
Back to the classic stuff, and the seventh most expensive BMW on our list is a 1978 320i Turbo IMSA. Based on the E21 320i, this was a momentous project for BMW as it began to explore turbocharging in earnest.
In fact, the 320i Turbo IMSA was created with the hidden agenda of developing a turbocharged engine for future use in Formula 1. Two cars were built by BMW Motorsport for the factory IMSA team, but after Porsche decimated the field through 1977, more work was needed. Thus, chassis no. 003 was born as a lightweight version, shedding some 300 pounds.
The car you see here is that very first and only lightweight 320i Turbo, and its fiberglass body got a one-piece hood with integrated fenders, a front splitter, and a wider rear end. Only two more examples of the 320i Turbo were ever made.
Sadly, once BMW got what it wanted from engine development, it canceled the 320i Turbo program, which team and crew members felt was still brimming with potential. As a truly unique racecar, this sold for an eye-watering $731,000 at RM Sotheby’s 2018 Monterey auction.
With McLaren’s help, the M12/9 2.0-liter four-pot fitted here produced north of 600 hp, but future F1 engines based on it could more than double that. Easily.
6. BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition – $825,000
The BMW i8 was hardly the most desirable Bimmer ever made, nor was it the most powerful. But with the right special-edition touches, it was apparently capable of selling for six figures.
In 2014, BMW and Gooding & Company offered the 2014 i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition at Pebble Beach without reserve, with the special model finished in Frozen Grey Metallic paint with Pure Impulse Tera World (blue) interior accents offset by Dalbergia Brown leather.
That’s a bit of a missed opportunity, considering how many other stunning colors were available, but the rarity factor (this was a one-of-one) made up for it. Still, $825,000 is a lot to pay for a limited edition that was produced simply to inaugurate the US arrival of BMW’s first hybrid sports car.
The BMW i8 was powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine driving the rear wheels and an electric motor driving the front for a combined output of 369 hp. At least it had butterfly doors to help justify that supercar price.
5. 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Roadster – $846,743
A 1937 example of the BMW 328 was offered by Gooding & Company at its 2020 Scottsdale auction, where it fetched an impressive $830,000. That’s a real eyebrow-raiser, as the auction house’s estimate was only $350,000-$450,000.
But even that figure was relatively low, as Bonhams sold an example (chassis no. 85411) in London at the Bond Street Sale for £644,583, which translated to $846,743 at the time. While the white-and-red color scheme is a real drawcard, the fact that this example was eligible for classic races like the Mille Miglia and Le Mans Historic made it all the more charming.
If you’re wondering about that prefix, it comes from the fact that, of the more than 400 examples of the 328 that BMW produced, 42 were imported into the UK by local manufacturer Frazer Nash, fitted with steering wheels on the righthand side, and bedazzled with Frazer Nash-BMW badges.
This car was powered by a 2.0-liter straight-six with three Solex carburetors that made for a mighty 80 horsepower.
4. 1980 BMW M1 Procar – $913,000
The second real racecar here is a 1980 BMW M1 Procar sold by RM Sotheby’s at Monterey in 2020, with the hammer falling at $913,000. This was number 36 of the 54 Procars produced and was raced in the 1981 IMSA GTO Championship, where it scored eight podium finishes.
In 2009, it had a comprehensive three-year restoration. In 2018, the FIA (motorsport’s governing body) issued the car with a Historic Technical Passport, thereby making it eligible for vintage racing events like Le Mans Classic.
As a racecar, the M1 Procar improved on the road version’s 273 hp, putting out a fiery 470 ponies from the 3.5-liter six-cylinder.
3. 1958 BMW 507 Series II – $1,820,000
The entire podium is filled by a single model, but can you blame auctiongoers? The 507 is simply magnificent. Arguably the most beautiful BMW ever made, it can win awards based on its looks alone.
Series II models got more passenger room than early models, along with a spruced-up interior, front disc brakes, and a few other upgrades that would today form part of a mid-life Life Cycle Impulse, or facelift, and this example has been well-kept, with past owners including respected collectors Oscar Davis and Tony Wang.
At Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island auction in 2023, this Series II example fetched $1,820,000. And that’s despite a full restoration that removed the rare Papyrus White paint to replace it with a dark-blue-over-red color scheme. The interior has since been changed to a classy beige.
2. 1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II – $2,420,000
If you thought $1.8 million was a lot, brace yourself. Back in 2014, at the Amelia Island auction, RM Sotheby’s dropped the hammer on a 1958 BMW 507 Roadster Series II after bidding reached $2,420,000.
It had just two owners from new and was offered with factory Rudge wheels, a Becker Mexico radio, and the scarce factory hardtop. With original whitewall tires, stunningly maintained brightwork, and a near-perfect body, this is a classic roadster that deserves to be photographed as much as it wants to be driven.
A 3.2-liter V8 with dual carbs was connected to a four-speed manual and was good enough for 145 hp.
1. John Surtees’ 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car – $5,000,000
Much like the example above, this 507 was offered with the factory hardtop. But unlike the above version, this was owned by motorsports legend John Surtees.
According to lore, it was a gift from MV Augusta to commemorate his win of the 1956 Motorcycle World Championship on that brand’s entrant, and he treasured the 507 until his last breath, maintaining it in immaculate condition.
When it was finally sold by the Surtees family through Bonhams in July 2018, it fetched a whopping £3,809,500, or a touch over $5 million at the time of sale. This is the highest-end of BMW classic car sales, but if this particular example ever hits the market again, expect the tables to be reset.
As above, the 507 was powered by a 3.2-liter V8, but Surtees’ car had a unique specification, bumping power to around 165 ponies.
What is the most expensive BMW 2023?
The new XM is the most powerful and expensive SUV in BMW’s lineup, sporting a base price of $159,995. Motivating the XM is a plug-in-hybrid powertrain that combines a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with an electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the eight-speed automatic transmission.
Which series of BMW is luxury?
7 Series. The 7 Series is BMW’s flagship full-size luxury sedan, the competitor for cars like the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. BMW unveiled an all-new 7 Series for the 2023 model year.
What is the fastest BMW?
The BMW M5 Competition model is currently the fastest production car in the BMW lineup, going from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. From coupes all the way up to SUV Sport Activity Vehicles, BMW even offers a wide range of some of the fastest cars under $100k.
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