Like Porsche and Audi, BMW is a successful and well-known German automotive brand. This company’s success is attributable to several factors, as BMW vehicles (commonly called “beemers”) tend to be reliable and luxurious. But these cars can also be incredibly costly.
The most expensive BMW ever sold is a 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car once owned by famous British racecar driver John Surtees (CBE). In fact, Surtees was the only owner of this car before it sold for $5 million at a Bonhams auction in 2018. Only about 200 BMW 507s exist today.
If you’d like to add a top-notch BMW to your garage or want to learn more about this brand’s priciest vehicles, you’ll want to explore this ranking. So without further ado, let’s discuss the most expensive BMWs ever sold!
Here Are the Top 10 Most Expensive BMWs Ever Sold:
- 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car – $5 million
- 1958 BMW 507 Series II – $2.4 million
- 1980 BMW M1 Procar – $913,000
- 2014 BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition – $825,000
- 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Sportscar – $825,000
- 1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA – $731,000
- 2014 BMW M5 “30 Years Of M5” Limited Edition – $700,000
- 1981 BMW M1 – $577,500
- 1939 BMW 328 – $550,000
- 2003 BMW Alpina V8 – $401,000
10. 2003 BMW Alpina V8 – $401,000
The 2003 BMW Alpina V8 is one of the newest BMWs included in this ranking, but it’s also one of the priciest BMW vehicles ever sold. When this sporty two-door coupe went to auction in 2018, potential buyers began a bidding frenzy that resulted in a $401,000 sales price.
Of course, it only takes one look at this distinctly European coupe to understand why it’s so expensive. It exudes style and speed, with two bright red racing-style seats that beg drivers to test their limits. It’s also one of only 555 Alpina V8 models released that year, making it comparatively rare.
For the price of this car, you could afford to stay at the most expensive hotels in Las Vegas for several nights!
Why It’s Expensive
There are a few reasons behind this car’s incredible price. But the most significant include scarcity, condition, and demand. In addition to being one of less than 600 produced, this car had only 736 miles on its odometer when it sold in 2018.
Considering its age, this mileage is astoundingly low, making it far more valuable than BMWs with thousands of miles on their odometer.
9. 1939 BMW 328 – $550,000
This antique BMW vehicle dates back to the months before World War II, making it one of the few BMW cars from that time to survive this period. It’s also been superbly maintained, looking like it was magically transported from the 1930s to the current day.
The elongated front end and single-passenger cabin might not suit all drivers. Still, the long vertical grille, buggy-like headlights, and low-slung doors will enchant anyone with an eye for historical German automobiles.
Why It’s Expensive
Only 464 models of the 1939 BMW 328 were produced, so finding one in such fantastic condition is rare. Its historical significance, scarcity, and resplendent condition helped boost its value to $550,000, the price paid for it when it went to auction in 2016.
8. 1981 BMW M1 – $577,500
This orange-red 1981 BMW M1’s sharp angles and finned sides (and hood) make it an iconic relic from the 1980s. But this vehicle was also one of the first mass-produced BMW supercars, earning it a place in automotive history.
The BMW M1 that sold at auction in 2016 had only 12,838 kilometers (7977 miles) on its odometer, despite being more than three decades old. It also sold in excellent condition, which isn’t often seen with cars dating back to the early 1980s.
Why It’s Expensive
The 1981 BMW M1 is one of the most prized BMW models from the 1980s, and many wealthy car collectors would love to add one to their garage. But sadly, many of these cars show signs of wear and tear due to multiple drivers, excessive use, and the passage of time.
But the 1981 BMW M1 that sold in 2016 was in excellent condition, with comparatively few miles on its odometer. These factors allowed it to outsell other 1981 BMW M1 vehicles for sale.
7. 2014 BMW M5 “30 Years Of M5” Limited Edition – $700,000
The BMW M5 is one of the most sought-after German-made sedans in the world, though its design and components have changed a lot since its 1984 debut. In 2014, BMW celebrated the evolution and popularity of its M5 model by producing 300 limited edition versions, one of which sold for an astounding $700,000.
This commemorative vehicle was one of only 30 imported to the United States, making it a unique find. Though it’s not as technologically advanced as many of the models released today, this sedan’s limited release and top-of-the-line components (for its day) help make it one of the costliest BMWs ever sold.
Why It’s Expensive
It’s not challenging to understand why this BMW fetched $700,000 when it went to auction. After all, it was one of only 300 limited edition versions released worldwide and one of only 30 exported to the United States.
These qualities make it one of the rarest BMW models ever produced, increasing prices as demand remains consistent. Still, as you’ll soon see, this isn’t the most valuable BMW released in 2014.
6. 1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA – $731,000
Not all of the costliest BMWs are sedans or sporty coupes. Some are racecars, like the 1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA. And the vehicle that sold in 2019 for $731,000 was one of only three promoted by BMW North America during the late 1970s.
Even more fascinating is that this racecar was one of only five produced in 1978, making it exceptionally rare. But this car’s true claim to fame is its multiple competition wins, including the 1979 Road America 500.
Why It’s Expensive
The 1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA sold for more than half a million dollars thanks to its illustrious racing career and rarity. Buyers with a passion for BMW racecars are often willing to spend hundreds of thousands on vintage vehicles with notable competition wins, including this car.
5. 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Sportscar – $825,000
Though the 1939 BMW 328 is a splendid representation of pre-war BMW automotive excellence, it’s not the most expensive vehicle that dates back to this time. Instead, that honor belongs to the 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Sportscar, an Art Deco-inspired sports car that exudes turn-of-the-century luxury.
The classic white exterior (with green decals) and forest-green interior are complemented by small chrome accents and a distinctly angled two-pane windshield. But this car’s decadence doesn’t mean it isn’t capable.
The 1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Sportscar raced during the 1949 24 Hours of Spa competition, making it one of the classiest BMW vehicles to hit the track. When it sold in 2017, it managed to fetch $825,000.
Why It’s Expensive
This car has a lot going for it. It’s an antique, has a racing competition history, and is in top-notch condition. These qualities make it more valuable than other BMWs, especially those released within the last few years.
4. 2014 BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition – $825,000
2014 was an important year for BMW, and it was also a profitable one. In addition to releasing their celebratory “30 Years of M5” limited edition vehicle, they also released the BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition.
The latter of these cars was a sleek hybrid sedan packing 362 horsepower beneath its hood. It was the only one of its kind, making it far more valuable than the average BMW. This rarity was one of the primary reasons it sold for $825,000 in 2014.
Why It’s Expensive
The 2014 BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition is a one-of-a-kind vehicle that exudes futuristic charm. Because the i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition was created in celebration of the US arrival of the BMW i8, a unique paint scheme and interior treatment as well as other features make it naturally more valuable than mass-produced models.
3. 1980 BMW M1 Procar – $913,000
The most expensive BMW racecar ever sold is the 1980 BMW M1 Procar, which sold at auction in 2020 for $913,000. This red racecar (with blue and white stripes) is one of less than 500 ever produced, and it has raced in several competition events, including the 1981 IMSA GTO Championship and the 1984 Can-Am Challenge Cup.
Despite its age, this car looks brand-new due to a full restoration completed in 2009. Its racing history and superb condition make it a racecar collector’s dream come true.
Why It’s Expensive
The 1980 BMW M1 Procar wasn’t widely produced, making this top-selling example a rare find. However, this particular vehicle also has an extensive racing history, making it more valuable than other BMW racecars that only saw one or two competition events.
2. 1958 BMW 507 Series II – $2.4 Million
The 1958 BMW 507 Series II is a roadster that looks ideal for cruises around California cliffs or sandy beaches. Still, with a $2.4 million sales price, you might want to keep this vehicle snug in a temperature-controlled garage instead!
After all, this two-door coupe convertible has its original engine, a feature you won’t find with most antique cars. However, it’s important to note that this engine was rebuilt to ensure optimal functionality.
But apart from the rebuilt engine, this multi-million-dollar BMW is essentially the same car it was when it was released in 1958. Its superior condition naturally makes it a treasure for car collectors worldwide.
Why It’s Expensive
The BMW Series II helped make the BMW brand popular throughout the United States. Without it, the German automaker may have struggled for several more years (or decades) to get a foothold in the North American automobile business.
This stunning vehicle is one of the few remaining models from the 1950s, and it might be in better condition than any other 1958 BMW 507 Series II. Its plethora of original parts is also notable, as most antique vehicles are recreations of the real deal.
These qualities make it incredibly valuable, as the 1958 BMW 507 Series II is a driveable piece of automotive history and an attractive antique BMW convertible.
1. 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car – $5 Million
The most expensive BMW ever sold is the 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car, a sleek mid-century coupe once owned by British racecar driver John Surtees. Still, looking at it, you wouldn’t know that this baby-blue vehicle is more than 60 years old.
That’s because John Surtees (the only vehicle owner up until its auction) took excellent care of this vehicle. It was a gift from BMW to commemorate Surtees’ win of the 1956 Motorcycle World Championship, so he likely treasured it for the remainder of his life.
Sturees’ 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car sold at Bonhams auction for $5 million in 2018. This makes it just as valuable as some of the most expensive Porsche cars!
Why It’s Expensive
Only 252 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car models were released in 1957, and most are in poor shape nowadays. But John Surtees maintained his BMW, keeping it in near-pristine condition.
As such, a combination of rarity, condition, and famous ownership have made this vehicle a one-of-a-kind (and expensive) commodity.
Why Are Some BMWs So Expensive?
As this ranking shows, some BMWs cost millions. In fact, all the vehicles included in this ranking are pricier than the average home in the United States! But why are some BMWs so expensive?
The BMWs that have fetched the highest prices tend to be:
- Antique or vintage vehicles
- In excellent condition
- Comparatively rare
- Prized by wealthy international buyers
However, the reputation of the BMW brand also influences prices. Let’s explore these factors in greater detail to ensure you choose a BMW that matches your preferences and budget.
Age and Condition
Though it might seem counterintuitive, many of the costliest BMWs ever sold are antiques. Though the average car depreciates in value over time (especially as it gains miles on its odometer), an antique car can reach staggering prices, especially if it’s in excellent condition.
After all, the longer a car exists, the more its components oxidize, rust, and fall to pieces. Even if a vehicle remains undriven, sitting untouched in a garage, it can begin to show signs of degradation.
But a handful of vintage BMWs have remained in near-flawless condition, despite the passage of time. These cars are naturally worth more than others due to their superior state.
Additionally, antique BMWs are rare, as many have suffered notable damage due to everyday use and decades of poor maintenance. The law of supply and demand informs us that the scarcer a commodity is, the more valuable it is.
Scarcity and Demand
Several of the most expensive BMWs are in short supply. This is either because they’re limited edition vehicles released in comparatively small amounts or antique cars that have been painstakingly maintained and restored.
In either case, the scarcity of specific models can significantly increase their value. After all, the BMW brand is known worldwide, so the pool of potential buyers is more than one billion! When only a few hundred of a particular model are available, these buyers can compete monetarily for the chance to own one of these rare cars.
In short, all the costliest BMWs ever sold were auctioned off to the highest bidder, allowing their prices to skyrocket in line with buyer demand.
The BMW brand (originally called Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG) was founded in 1916, in the middle of World War I. Their first products were airplane engines.
But the company began creating motorcycle engines after rebranding to Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Work) in 1922. Not long after, BMW started making motorcycles, cars, and luxury vehicles. Though initially isolated to German buyers, BMW would eventually become internationally recognized as one of the premium automobile manufacturers in the world.
By the 1950s, exported BMW luxury roadsters and speedsters were prized possessions belonging to only the wealthiest drivers. However, by the 1960s, the BMW 02 Series would take the United States by storm, becoming one of the most popular cars sold that decade.
All-in-all, BMW’s reputation for high-quality manufacturing and unbeatable luxury has helped to make them the giant they are today. This stellar reputation also helps boost the value of their cars, as only the most affluent and successful individuals can afford to own and maintain a BMW.
Though this company produces and sells budget-friendly versions of its high-end vehicles (some of which feature an MSRP of only $36,000), most BMW sedans and SUVs are pricier than the average car.
But, of course, this higher-than-average pricing is true of other German automakers, which you’ll notice while exploring the most expensive Audi cars.
What Is the Most Expensive BMW You Can Buy Today?
There’s something undeniably satisfying about buying a brand-new car. The scent of fresh upholstery and unused components can appeal to your sense of adventure and fill you with a sense of fulfillment. But many of the priciest BMWs ever sold are used vehicles.
If you’d rather invest your money into a never-been-driver BMW, you might want to check out the 2023 BMW i7. This luxury sedan is one of the costliest in the current BMW vehicle lineup—for several reasons.
For example, the BMW i7 is this notable German automaker’s first completely electric sedan. As such, it’s one of the quietest BMW vehicles ever released. It’s also one of the most luxurious.
Drivers fortunate enough to acquire one of these stunning sedans will find a spacious interior outfitted with high-quality materials and top-of-the-line technology. The infotainment system looks more like a small LED television than an awkward built-in monitor (found in most budget-friendly sedans), and the dashboard is entirely digital.
The starting MSRP for this sleek and stylish sedan is just under $120,000. However, that price will surely rise after adding sumptuous packages like Luxury Rear Seating and Active Driving Assistant Pro.
What Is the Most Expensive BMW Ever Sold?
The most expensive BMW ever sold is John Surtees’ (CBE) 1957 BMW 507 Touring Sports Car. This antique coupe sold for $5 million, making it nearly twice as costly as the second-most expensive BMW, a 1958 BMW 507 Series II.
Besides being a prized possession belonging to one of Britain’s most notable racecar drivers, the costliest 1957 BMW 507 was in near-pristine condition. Its condition (in addition to its remarkable ownership history) is the primary reason behind its incredible auction price.
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