E92 BMW M3 Ownership Might Cost You Less Than You Think

With its high-revving naturally aspirated V8 engine, the E92 M3 remains one of BMW’s hottest cars ever.

It’s easy to drive on a daily basis, it’s quick, reasonably loud and sufficiently practical, both as a Coupe and a Cabriolet. Meanwhile, its V8 produces 420 PS (414 HP) at a whopping 8,300 rpm and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque.

This being an M3, it surely must cost an arm and a leg to maintain. However, on this episode of Road and Race, we get to hear what one E92 M3 owner had to go through one year of ownership, and we must admit, we’re pretty impressed with how low maintenance costs were.

The British owner ended up spending £34 on coolant, £120 on the oil and oil filter, a further £26 on power steering fluid and £10 on a set of leaf grilles. While he did spend way more on brake components, those don’t actually count as maintenance costs. Besides, if you don’t track the car, you’ll save a lot of money on brake and tire wear.

In total, maintenance and repairs over a year came in at just £180 ($254). Not bad at all for an 11-year old 420 PS V8-powered BMW.

So, as long as you find one in good condition and at a reasonable price, you should be good to go, provided that you can also keep up with the fuel and insurance costs, of course. In the States, on Autotrader, it’s not uncommon to find E92 M3’s with under 100,000 miles (160,000 km) on the clock for around $25,000.


  • Bo Hanan

    Don’t believe any BMW M-Car owner who tells you he only spent £120 on the oil and oil filter in a year. They either parked the car for most of the year, neglected the maintenance, or was dumb enough to believe the 15K oil changes bull from BMW. Either way their car is due to have major problems soon enough.

    • smartacus

      i too have heard horror stories
      about M-cars. Just not worth it.

    • Charles Chin

      10k oil change not un-common for bimmers. S65 requires about 9lit fullsyn and the oil filter is like USD26 only.

    • Bo Hanan

      Just wanna add- I own an E39-M5 and a Z3 Coupe. Great cars! Stay on the maintenance and they are good cars. But NOT cheap!
      Additionally, replacing a clutch on the M5 cost as much as replacing the clutch on a Mini Cooper. Same number of labor hours.

  • Six_Tymes

    295 lb-ft of torque? that is surprising, i always thought that had much more.

    • SteersUright

      The BMW n.a. engines were stunning pieces, probably as close to racing engines as anything in any exotics. They truly deserved far lighter chassis to allow them to shine rather than the heavy ones BMW saddled them with. They M team designed them to rev to the sky, react almost telepathically to your right foot, and make top end hp rather than low-end torque. Engines like these still exit such as the magnificent V8 in the Lexus top models and yet AGAIN, even in this application its the wrong engine for a heavy car given the low torque.
      Sorry for the long-winded response and 3 months late apparently!

  • Christian Wimmer

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and attempt to defend these cars.

    Any high-performance car will generally require more maintenance than a standard vehicle.

    Any high-performance car that will be tracked, driven at its limit etc. can be expected to require even more maintenance. Parts will wear out quicker, there’s more abuse and wear and tear etc. There’s no way around it.

    I think many of these cars develop an unfair reputation as “money pits” because some owners don’t maintain them. You see it all the time on how people want an expensive premium performance car, but then state that they don’t want to pay the maintenance costs. Well sh*t. That kind of disgusting attitude tells us all we need to know about their car maintenance history if they were to get a car like this. If you don’t invest in maintaining your car then expect problems.

    Are BMWs expensive? Yes. Is BMW service expensive? Yes. Everyone knows this. So it is baffling to me why someone wants a car like this, but then does not want to pay for servicing and maintenance. These cars should also be worked on my qualified mechanics, no Joe’s Garage around the corner. Joe will potentially cause more damage because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. If these cars are going to be maintained it should be done PROPERLY – by a qualified mechanic.

    What’s that saying that applies to all cars? There’s nothing more expensive than a cheap ______________ [insert brand here]. A neglected and abused car will sell cheaply, but needs repairs all over which accumulates in the $$$ department.

    I used to shoot photos for a performance driving school. Most of the customers were BMW guys who had the usual assortment of M cars and some 135i’s etc. The way these cars were ABUSED on the track, during drifts, slaloms etc. would automatically put me off from ever buying one. Sure, these cars “were meant to be driven like this” but that fun comes at a price which manifests itself in maintenance costs.

    • chuck2

      Iv had 2 N54-e92s since Apr 08, never required any abnormal maint or repairs (one starter – couple of Fuel pumps, and waterpump thermos – all common). But, no I dont beat on it. And yes, it is at least as quick as the m3. OC is at 7K miles and standard fluid changes at 2 yrs for brakes.. But these things are finicky. IT doesnt take much to make it unhappy if its not just right..

      Lots of people keep modding the crap out of them with nonstandard parts also. Nope, few mods for me with good parts and then close the hood/DME.

  • xDRAN0x

    So he got a lucky year

  • nastinupe

    I owned an M E46 for 36 months and it was horrible. So many issues. It was a 2002 and I bought it in 2004. I sold it in 2005 when the differential went out on me. I’ll never buy another BMW again.

  • cdickgo

    I had an 2011 E93 I bought in 2011 with 8k miles. I drove it for 5 years. While under warranty, it’s an awesome car. Once out of warranty it’s an expensive car. $1200 for an electric module to fix erratic windows, $1000 to fix the throttle body controller, it became a money pit. This guy got a lucky year. Hold onto it for 4 more and then come back and add up that total.

  • Ben

    Sergiu, lol wtf

  • Victor Ferreira

    So he didn’t drive the car. Even on my E46, if you drive it like a normal person and do 12-15,000 miles a year, that puts you at way over $250. It’ll cost you two oil changes and a pair of rear tires. Do that math, and you’re at $500 in the best case scenario. And that is assuming NOTHING else goes wrong, and that that mileage did not lead you to an Inspection II. In which case, you’re in for over $1,000 total because of the valve adjustment.

  • SteersUright

    1 year? 1 YEAR?!?! You’re going to assess a car’s reliability and maintenance costs based on 1-owners experience for 1 year??
    What a crap article and worse yet, a potentially misleading one. Own this car out of warranty for 3-5 years, then report back some actual useful information. Every car will have a good year here and there, even a Ferrari. Its the bad years and how big of a dent they cause that people need/want to know about.

  • SteersUright

    Awesome response and thanks for sharing. Im all for M cars if a person has the means or desires to wrench on them themselves.
    However, imagine any of your Mcars weren’t your 2nd car, but your primary daily driver? Just imagine the issues and expense you’d have run into far sooner. BMW offers some stunningly exotic engines (or used to anyway) and when then miles pile up they can get eye-wateringly expensive to keep up with. However, if you love sports cars as you and I clearly do, we’ll make it work! lol.

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