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BMW M3 a used-car bargain over C63 S and RS4

By Daniel DeGasperi, 26 Mar 2018 News

BMW M3 a used car bargain

As leases expire, bag a three-year-old F80-gen M3 for about $85K…

If you bought a new-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 S three years ago, you’re likely to have $15,000 extra in your back pocket compared with someone who bought an F80-gen BMW M3 and $10,000 or more to spare over the owner of a B8-gen Audi RS4 Avant.

So listen up, those who want to buy used as the first owner’s lease expires, because a resale comparison between old- and new-gen is important for used car buyers.

Rivalry between the German sports sedan (and wagon) triumvirate has been raging for years now, but in the latest round of competition the C63 S is holding up well for resale, the M3 has dropped back from where the last-gen E90 was, and the RS4 Avant is holding steady.

So let’s start way back in time, firstly.

Comparison: RS4 Avant v C63 507 Estate

A last-of-the-line 2011-built E90 M3, with 60,000km on the clock, can ask a maximum of $56,100 according to resale guide Redbook, but the price ranges from $55,000 to $90,000 in the classifieds. The same age and kilometres for a W204 C63 can fetch a maximum $60,600 according to Redbook, but in retail land it exactly mirrors the BMW’s range.

Unfortunately there’s no exact comparison with the B7 RS4 there, as it was out of production.

Take one generational leap forward for all three, however, and a 2012 B8-gen RS4 Avant is asking a similar maximum of $67,800 with around 60,000km, while a 2014 F80-gen M3 is at $80,500 and a 2015 W204-gen C63 S is at $102,700 with 30,000km – according to Redbook.

Given each launched in a different year, though, we’ve chosen 2015 to compare all three in the market. The cheapest retail C63 S we could find from that year was $112,000, while an RS4 Avant was $122,000 (but there was a reasonable drop to $78,500 for a 2014) followed by the F80 M3 asking $84,990 for a 2014 but only $86-100K for several 2015-built models.

No doubt the F80 M3 has been an enormous seller for BMW compared with more boutique previous models, but last year’s epic price drops for the series probably didn’t aid the fortunes of those who got in early with the BMW – though they have clearly helped buyers.

Three years ago an M3 auto cost $156,040 in base form compared with $154,510 for a C63 S. Today, a base M3 Pure asks $139,900 versus $157,211 for a C63 S. And the market does all the pushing downwards from there...