Calculating the Value of a Modded E61 BMW 5 Series

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E61 BMW 5 Series Touring

Trying to squeeze maximum value out of your modified ride? Here’s how the pros do it.

There comes a time in any enthusiast’s life where they’re faced with tough decisions. Among the toughest? Deciding whether you want to sink more money into your existing car, or spend that cash on something new or different. No matter how much you love your ride, the evil temptress of the unknown  always pulls at you, after all. And it sure was tugging at the heartstrings of 5Series member E61FUN recently while he mulled upgrading his existing E61 BMW. So the OP did the reasonable thing and headed to the forums for some advice on what his car might be worth.

“I have been seriously considering drivetrain updates, such as rebuilding the engine and updating the turbos and converting to RWD. Or swapping in a 550i V8 drivetrain or an M5 S85 V10 drivetrain. I even recently snapped up an E60 M5 sedan to contemplate the latter. 

But now I need to reevaluate because a couple of folks have made offers on my wagon. With what may be fair offers, objectively, but then I am entirely too subjective!So I thought I would put the value question to you fellow E61’ers.”


Having other people offer you money for your ride doesn’t make keeping it any easier, of course. But when you’re dealing with a modified E61 BMW, pegging a correct value can be difficult.

“It is easy to run price comps on a stock, unmodified E61 of similar mileage and condition. This car is not that. And while I could return the car back to essentially OEM status and part out the fun bits, both of the buyers are interested in the car for what it is: a highly-modified E61.

The car started out as a 2010 535 Xdrive E61 with factory M-Sport package. It was first sold in California and registered in a ‘corporate fleet’ and then sold after six months to a female executive back in PA, who drove it to just over 100k miles. I purchased the car and shipped it back out to CA. It has many, but not all options: navigation, Logic 7 audio, front and rear seat heaters, rear side door window shades. No HUD or forward sensor or lane assist.

It currently has 120k miles, original engine/trans/turbos still running strong. All service is up-to-date, all fluids have been changed/flushed (coolant, brake, power steering, transmission, transfer case, differentials, engine oil, A/C refrigerant). The intake has been walnut blasted.”


It’s an intriguing question, and often modifications don’t even begin to recoup their original investment. But as BostonJon points out, that can depend on the buyer and the market.

“It would be easy for people to speculate a value based on a ‘base’ E61 + options + modifications. But like anything, the value is ultimately going to be a function of what the market will bear at the time you choose to sell the car. For some people, the modifications may actually detract from the value of the car. For no other reason than they don’t match the personal preference of the prospective buyer. Unless you have someone with a concrete offer in front of you.”


But then again, DaHose has a reasonable method for calculating the value of a modded car.

“Assuming the inside of the car looks as good as the outside, my ‘sort of’ rule of thumb is to look at any upgrades and halve the cost of them. High blue book (in excellent condition) is $10.5K on the base car. So add up everything you spent on the upgrades. Then, tack 1/2 of that amount on to get a reasonable sale price. Then shoot for as much as you can get. The real truth is that something is worth whatever you can get paid for it. If you find the right buyer, at the right moment, you might get more than expected.”

All of which is excellent advice. But we’re curious to know what you think! Head over here and catch up on this fascinating discussion, then add your thoughts on the matter. Who knows, you might just help the OP squeeze a few extra bucks in profit out of his E61!

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