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Market Reports: BMW 3 Series Infographic

Posted by CarStory on Jan 8, 2015 6:48:49 AM


Since 1975, the BMW 3 Series has been the young, trendy professional’s admission ticket into the automotive elite. It’s the entry-level car every Bimmer owner purchases before splurging on a 5, 6 or 7 Series. Due to its relative affordability, build quality and topnotch engineering, the 3 Series is BMW’s bestselling car, accounting for 30% of the company’s sales (including motorbikes!).

CarStory's BWM 3 Series Supple and Demand Data

BMW designates each generation of its 3 Series with un-alluring, robotized chassis code such as E21, E30 and F31. To evaluate the last decade or so of 3 Series sales, CarStory analyzed supply and demand data beginning with the third generation E36.

BMW Series 3 Infographic CarStory

BMW 3 Series E36 3rd Generation Sales

CarStory found 42 examples of the third generation E36 (1991-1998) for sale on the leading automotive websites. On average, these cars command a price of $4,548, have 167,935 miles on the odometer and a demand rate of .33%. The E36 may now inhabit the sale corral at the local ‘buy here, pay here’ used car lot, but it was a celebrated vehicle during its time. It won rave reviews and even found its way onto Car and Driver Magazine’s “10 Best Cars” list.

BMW 3 Series E46 4th Generation Sales

The year 1999 signifies the dawn of the fourth generation E46 (1998-2006). All-wheel drive became an option for the first time since 1990, meaning that 3 Series owners could once again slip on their Ugg boots and motor off to a swanky ski resort. Carstory found 538 examples of these cars for sale. With an average demand of 2.5%, the E46 is significantly more desirable than its predecessor. In addition, these cars still command an average price of $7,488 with a median 122,039 miles showing on the odometer.

BMW 3 Series E90 5th Generation Sales

Next on the list is the fifth generation E90 (2005-2011). These cars are still highly sought after, especially the performance oriented M variants. A total of 1,947 of these vehicles were found for sale in cyberspace, with an average demand of 10.78%. The average selling price of $17,601 with 69,091 miles on the clock reflects the E90’s ability to hold its value.

BMW 3 Series F30 6th Generation Sales

BMW decided to make a subtle change with the sixth generation 3 Series (2012-2015). For what on the surface appeared to be no apparent reason, BMW traded in the ‘E’ chassis nomenclature and decided to designate the sixth generation 3 Series, the F30. Overall, 628 examples of the current 3 Series were found for sale, with an average demand of 7.9%, a price of $34,829 and an odometer reading of 19,081.

The 3 Series makes the goal of owning “ultimate driving machine” attainable for anyone (well almost anyone). For 2015, the 3 Series starts at $32,950 – not bad for a car with over 40 years of engineering and design excellence under its belt. Here’s to the next 40, Bimmer.

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Topics: CarStory Data, Infographics