The Bid is Right

How much moolah for this 2004 M3?

by Grady Eger
6 May 2022 3 min read
Photo by Bring a Trailer/krellboy

If you’ve been following the auction scene of late, then you’re aware things are kind of nuts right now. Thanks to the continued growth of online selling platforms, classic cars are being bid on at an unprecedented pace. Insider has lots of thoughts about this phenomenon—you can find some here and herebut perhaps the most important one is that it’s fun. Who doesn’t like seeing amazing classics trotted out day in and day out, and who doesn’t like guessing just how much they’ll go for

In the spirit of fun, we’re introducing a new contest. We’re calling it, The Bid is Right. The premise is simple and should be familiar to anyone who has watched daytime TV in the last few decades: The person who guesses closest to the final bid—without going over—wins. 

Oh, and did we mention we’re giving out $500 to the winner? Yes, we take fun pretty seriously. 

With nofurther adieu, we present this week’s contest. Submit your guess in the comments section below no later than May 8th, at 1:50pm EST (24 hours before the auction officially closes—that’s right, no sniping!). 

BMW, caught up in today’s onslaught of crossovers and electron pushers, used to build a very different kind of “Ultimate Driving Machine.” Turn back the clock 20 years, and the Bavarians ruled the luxury performance space. There was the E39 M5 (1998-2003) with its ripping V-8, the beautiful Z3, the muscular M Coupe, and the achingly gorgeous Z8. That era’s best all-around Bimmer, though, was the E46 M3 (2000-06).  

Bring a Trailer/krellboy

The 3.2-liter S54 straight-six and slick 6-speed manual are classic driver’s car ingredients. The styling, which is all about clean proportions and free of flash or flourish, is also classic BMW. It’s one of the last truly analog BMWs, but even two decades after its release it is still a car you can live with every day and its performance is still impressive on road or track. Almost nobody – BMW included – builds a car like the E46 M3 anymore.  

And that brings us to Bring a Trailer’s 2004 M3 Coupe, our featured car this week. The Titanium Silver Metallic over black isn’t the most desirable color combo, but the car is well-optioned and its 18,000 miles seem like the perfect sweet spot for someone who wants an E46 to drive and enjoy. The mileage is low enough that the car has plenty of life left in it and should present as nearly new, but it’s also high enough that it has been driven regularly and high enough that you wouldn’t wince at every digit added to the odometer.  

The window sticker on this M3 reads a total suggested retail price of $56,545, but that was oh so long ago. E46s depreciated for years as most cars do once they fall into the “used” category. Then, more recently, they’ve gained a new following as modern collector cars. Over the past five years, the #2 value has just about doubled in the Hagerty Price Guide. So, where do you think the virtual hammer will fall here? Keep scrolling to the comments below and start guessing. Closest to the magic number wins $500. 

More ground rules:

  • The commenter who guesses closest to the hammer price—without going over—wins. (Hammer price excludes auction house fees).
  • One guess per commenter.
  • If two people guess the same amount (within a dollar) the earlier guess wins.
  • Commenters must provide first and last name in addition to email address.
  • We will close the guessing on Sunday, May 8th at 1:50pm.
  • Your privacy is important to us, and we’ll never sell your information. By providing your email you will receive the weekly Insider newsletter, and you can opt out at any time.
  • You can read the full rules here.
Bring a Trailer/krellboy
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