1999 BMW Z3

Just the other day a friend of mine was complaining about the lack of “pure” sport coupes available on the used market for a reasonable price. They aren’t interested at all in roofless options which does eliminate fan favorites like a Mazda Miata, Honda S2000, or Porsche Boxster. I then asked, “well what about a BMW Z3?” and my perfectly reasonable question was met with a chuckle. I don’t know what it is about the Z3 that so many people so dislike but when thinking of driver focused sport coupes, it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. M Coupes are more powerful and aggressive looking, but they’re also highly sought after, therefore the reasonable price part of the equation goes right out the window. I love the odd styling and the wonderfully simple interior. Driver position is amazing in these cars and they’re surprisingly functional as well thanks to the hatch. The Z3 roadster might be what comes to mind when the name is mentioned, but it is the coupe that is the real star.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3

1999 Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG

The breadth of engines offered in the R129 Mercedes-Benz SL is rather remarkable. US customers were limited to the 3.0 (and later 3.2 liter) inline-6, 5.0 liter V8 and 6.0 liter V12. It’s not surprising that other markets had access to other, more special variants. One of the largest displacement engines offered in a Mercedes-Benz in the post-war era found it’s way under the hood of the car we see here, the SL73 AMG. And yes, the number 73 denotes a 7.3 liter V12 resting under the bonnet, capable of 525 horsepower and 558 lb. ft. of torque. This engine would go on to power the dramatic Pagani Zonda S, a supercar capable of almost 200 mph.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL73 on Mobile.de

Feature Listing: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe

I always felt a bit sorry for the BMW Z3 Coupe. It was introduced at a time when an M version arrived alongside of it and not surprisingly, it was the Motorsports version that made the bigger splash in the market. Even that car was at first a bit misunderstood, with some critics deriding the looks but others shining on to the performance it offered. The M Coupe has reached air-cooled 911 levels of popularity at the moment and as such, the Z3 Coupe can only stand to benefit. This early production Z3 2.8 Coupe comes to us from our friends at Sun Valley Auto Club and looks quite attractive in silver over red leather, with the desirable manual gearbox. If the M Coupe is a little bit rich for your blood, try this lite version instead.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe at Sun Valley Auto Club

As Good As New? 1999 BMW M3 with 22,000 Miles

From a string of well priced, overall nice examples of M3s, I’m returning back to a lower mile example – perhaps one of the best condition E36s on the market today. It’s a rare one, too – produced in January 1999, it’s one of the last BG93 E36 M3 coupes produced. Considering I spent some time talking about how the Lime Rock Park Edition E92 is coveted as the end of the run for the M3 Coupe (and E9X), it’s interesting how there seems to be less attention paid to the last of the E36 run. This car popped out at me for a few reasons; I was pondering a low-mile E46 v. E92 post as asking prices on both are nearly identical, but here was a low mile E36 languishing at under $20,000 bidding – less than half the asking price of the super-low mile later models. Unlike the other 26,000 mile Dakar Yellow coupe I looked at, where my big complaint was that I felt the car was overpriced considering the lack of originality, this car has even lower miles and appears completely stock and unmolested. Is this as good as E36s get?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

Über Rarität: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet

When BMW upped its game in the E36 chassis with the introduction of the M3, specialty tuner Alpina answered with the B3 3.0 and later 3.2 in step with BMW. The successor of the slightly less powerful B6 model, the B3 kept many of the same improvements to the E36 chassis – unique stabilizers, springs and shocks, and larger brakes. Inside the B3 received the normal Alpina-style shift knob, steering wheel and seats, and in their typical style Alpina provided unique front and rear spoilers along with their own badging. Of course, the package was rounded out by some of the best looking wheels ever fitted to a BMW. While the B3 was down on power to the European M3 3.2, it wasn’t really much slower – again in typical Alpina fashion, the car was tuned to make the most of the power that was available rather than just provide a shockingly high output number. A reported 1,000 of these ultra-exclusive B3s were produced, with about 2/3rds of those being the earlier 3.0 model. With only 342 of the 3.2 produced, the pool is already very exclusive on these. Add a manual transmission when most are automatic, special order Dakar Yellow paint and a cabriolet model, and this is among the most exclusive Alpinas ever made.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Alpina B3 3.2 Cabriolet on eBay

1999 BMW M Coupe

I know it may seem blasphemous to say, but I get a sense that the new BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe are for those who like to play Madden 2015 in the basement rather than get out on a field and toss the football around on a crisp autumn day. I’m not sure about you readers, but I’m a more tactile person, which makes the original BMW M Coupe the choice for me when it comes to the Ultimate Driving Machine. This Evergreen M Coupe for sale in California is one of under 30 produced and has covered a little over 73,000 miles.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M Coupe on eBay

1999 BMW 318ti M-Sport

BMW’s introduction of the 1 series baffled me a bit. Sure, the idea of a rear-drive hot-hatch is enticing, but then two things happened. First, BMW made the version of the hot-hatch that was actually hot very, very expensive. Then, they didn’t bring it to the U.S., instead sending the 2-door sedan version over. In 1M form it certainly wasn’t bad, but the normal 128i and 135i versions look a bit like E46s that were left in the sun a bit too long after being sandwiched in front and rear collisions. Sound harsh? It is, I know, but I can’t help but see an English bulldog every time I see one of the 1 series cruising towards me. I much prefer the looks of BMW’s second attempt at a hatchback, the 318ti. It was funky, spunky and – especially in M-sport trim – looks exactly like what I’d want in a BMW hatchback. Okay, so there wasn’t the massive performance of the M-versions of the new 1 series or 2 series here, but then there isn’t the massive price, either. For a daily driver with good economy, it’s nice to couple that with good looks in a package that is very different than the norm:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW 318ti M-Sport on eBay

10K Friday Performance Edition: M3 v. 944 Turbo v. CLK500 v. S4 v. GTi

Well, I hope this will stir some interest, as I think this is a bit of an interesting comparison. What level of performance can you buy for $10,000 (give or take) these days? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options – and those options vary pretty seriously in their execution and packages; there’s a wagon and a sports car, two sedan-based coupes and a hatchback. Engines range from a 2 liter turbo to a V8, with a bit of everything in between. Yet, what appears to be a very strange comparison linked only by price is revealed to be much closer when you look at performance figures:

E36 M3: 240 hp, 0-60 6.0 seconds, 3,200 lbs
944 Turbo: 220 hp, 0-60 5.9 seconds, 2,900 lbs
CLK500: 302 hp, 0-60 5.7 seconds, 3,800 lbs
S4 Avant: 250 hp, 0-60 5.6 seconds, 3,700 lbs
GTi: 200 hp, 0-60 6.6 seconds, 3,200 lbs

The range is much closer than you’d expect – especially when you consider that these figures could easily be equaled in margin of error, driver skill and reaction time. In the twisties, the lower powered cars like the GTi catch up to the higher power CLK and S4. All are, in one way or another, practical choices. Some are destined (or already) classics, while others will likely fade away. So what would be your choice? Let’s start with an M3 we’ve already seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

1999 BMW M Coupe

When it comes to the best of the bunch of very memorable M cars, unfortunately the M Coupe doesn’t seem to rank in the top 5. Granted, with the S54 motor fitted to later examples it should, but enthusiasts rightly lump the first series of M cars as likely the best, and for number 5 you’ve got so many great choices; the stellar and understated E34 M5, the brutal but effective E39 M5, the rev-happy E46 M3. Then there are more recent wonders, such as the 1M and V8 M cars, both in turbo and non-turbocharged forms. But in the middle of these cars lay the cool and unique M Coupe. It wasn’t the fastest, most practical or best looking M car made – but it’s a combination of many factors that make it so desirable as a package – plus, it’s still affordable and a reasonable daily driver. Is there a better package for the money right now?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M Coupe on eBay

1999 Audi A4 Avant 1.8T Quattro

The progression of vehicles in my garage may have been solidly German, but I’ve never been beholden to one marque. I went through my BMW phase, Volkswagen phase, Mercedes-Benz phase and now back to a BMW of sorts, with the MINI Cooper S. But other than the elusive Porsche, the one brand that has escaped me has been Audi. However, this could change sooner than later. The styling of both BMW and Mercedes-Benz doesn’t really appeal to me as of late, but for the last decade, Audis have steadily grabbed my attention each time a new model appears. In the future, I hope the company decides to bring back a standard Avant to these shores, sans Allroad trim, such as this 1999 A4 Avant 1.8T Quattro. The B5 A4 Avant styling for me was an exercise in tasteful restraint. Equipped with the 5-speed manual gearbox and Quattro, it would be fairly easy to forget you are driving a family oriented vehicle.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A4 Avant 1.8T on Hemmings Motor News