Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

I have a bit of an interesting comparison today, and I think in many ways it’s harder than it would first appear to be. If you said to most enthusiasts “Would you rather have a manual or automatic?”, the collective ire of autophiles towards self-controlled cars is akin to suggestion a revision to the 2nd Amendment at a NRA rally. And outwardly, today’s two E39 5-series wagons seem quite similar. But they represent two different directions for BMW and I think it will be interesting to see which foot enthusiasts land on. So, what would it be, then – a 5-speed 528i Sport Touring or a 5-speed (automatic) 540i M-Sport Touring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

2000 Audi A4 2.8 quattro Avant

If yesterday’s mellow yellow 323Ci wasn’t the sunshine you’d like to see, how about something a bit more brilliant in design and presentation? I have to say the fascination with BMW wagons and their ensuing high prices sometimes perplexes me, as Audi offered a sporty, manual, all-wheel drive Avant that is great looking, reliable and long-lived and will make you feel pretty special. That’s especially so when it’s optioned in one of the more rare shades available on the B5; in this case, LY1B Brilliant Yellow. I’m sure there will be claims that, like Pelican Blue and Tropical Green, these Easter colors make the jelly bean shaped A4 a bit too festive, but personally I love the look of this Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi A4 2.8 quattro Avant on eBay

2000 BMW M5

14281632_1
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve featured cars more modern than my predilection for ’80s German metal typically allows. Two were cars I’ve dreamt about owning since they were released, both in gorgeous deep-blue hues: the E39 M5 and MkIV R32. The Le Mans Blue M5 was an excellent, 75k-mile example with the sumptuous Caramel leather but came at a steep price – over $32k. The Deep Blue Pearl R32 had about 100k miles and asked $15k – a far cry from its MSRP and seemingly a good value for the performance. Today’s M5 throws the viability of either of those cars into question, bringing the many impressive strengths of the E39 M5 but at the same price as the R32. BMW maintenance may run more than VW, but it’s not like the MkIV is known for being bulletproof. With Tubi exhaust you’ll even be able to drown out the R32’s VR6 grumble while you enjoy luxury the VW could never match. It’s not the most attractive combo – silver on black/grey pales in comparison to the rich blue/caramel – but it’s a truckload of performance for the money.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

2000 Volkswagen Caravelle TDI Syncro

635794023986583977
If you’ve visited our site in the last year, chances are you’ve seen me go off about wanting some form of T3 Syncro, whether it’s a Westy or Hightop, a DoKa or even a plain tintop. I give double points if it’s diesel powered.

Well today brings something that we’ve never had here on GCFSB and in fact few of us even knew existed: a Syncro diesel Eurovan, here labeled a Caravelle because Canada. Beyond the fancy 4WD and oil burning motor, this van allegedly has every available option including the Business Package, which features a fold-out table, large motorized LCD screen, and 4 rotating leather captain’s chairs. All that, and yet my favorite part (besides the Syncro) is that it has still has a manual!

Click for details: 2000 Volkswagen Caravelle TDI Syncro on Craigslist Vancouver

2000 BMW M Roadster

I’ll just come right out with it: I really don’t like the styling of the Z3. Never have and presumably at this point never will. And it isn’t even something specific, but rather the entire package. So, back in the late ’90s, when BMW announced they would be releasing the Z3-based M Roadster and M Coupe I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect nor whether I’d like it. I did. The M Coupe is a wonderful design in its own ridiculous looking way and the M Roadster seems to fix whatever styling problems I had with the Z3. It’s funny how more power and a better suspension can work its magic, right? They are still peculiar looking cars with odd proportions, but those curvier and more muscular looking lines fill out the body nicely and bring the entire package together. Some designs were just meant to be pushed to their extreme and the Z3 clearly seems like one of those. With better styling also comes better performance and even the early models with their lower-power S52 engine still pack a nice punch. This striking example is a Dakar Yellow 2000 BMW M Roadster, located in California, with just 20,446 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M Roadster on eBay

2000 BMW M5

I think many of us know that in the world of performance coupes the Porsche 996TT is incredibly tough to beat on value. What about sedans? Where does the buyer in need of proper rear seating and a decent trunk look for performance value? The place to start almost certainly is the E39 M5. These also happen to be my personal favorite of the breed. With the E39 you get 400hp mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and a shape that seems almost perfectly proportioned for a sedan. These are aggressive appearing without being comically so and seem to have had all of the extra fat trimmed away. While later M5s would showcase improved performance the design has never appealed to me and the current models seem huge by comparison. Best of all, these days an E39 is about as reasonably priced as they likely will ever get. A really low-mileage example may command a decent premium, but for a driver-quality car they’re darn hard to beat. Here we have just such a driver-quality example: a Black on Black 2000 BMW M5, located in Arizona, with 56,610 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

Convertible Week: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 5-speed manual

It was around my second year in college that the chance arose for me to finally get behind the wheel of the (then) newly introduced Mercedes SLK230. My first impression is that for such a small car, it drove just like a regular Mercedes. Except it was smaller. Up until around 15 years ago, I maintained that you could blindfold me and I could tell you if I was riding in a Mercedes or not. The SLK was no different. Steering with a bit of heft to it, a firm but compliant ride and a smooth automatic gearbox were the order of the day. Some complained about the agricultural nature of the supercharged inline-4, but it offered plenty of power to scoot you around in a hurry.

Mercedes upped the enthusiast ante shortly after the SLK debuted and offered a 5-speed manual gearbox. Not since the 190E had US customers been able to spec a Mercedes with three pedals. To this day, you can still order a new SLK250 with a 6-speed manual, but who knows how long that will last. I tend to think someone at Mercedes-Benz USA forgot this was on the menu. If you don’t want to plunk down the coin for a new SLK, this SLK230 for sale in Pennsylvania gives you the chance to enjoy a lot of fresh air and the freedom to row your own.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

2000 BMW M5

$_57 (6)

However subtle the exterior modifications may be, the E39 M5’s enlarged front aperture and unique wheels still grab my attention from blocks away. As nice examples become the exception, these super sedans are hovering around the bottom of their depreciation curve, no longer going down but not shooting up as quickly as they soon will. With examples between 50-100k miles hovering around $25-30k, this looks like an enthusiast-owned driver that’s very nice but not perfect and being sold at a very reasonable price.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

1967 BMW 2000

Do you want to stand out in the vintage German crowd? There are plenty of expensive ways; drop a couple of million on a barn find 300SL Gullwing and everyone will be talking about you. But, say you don’t have a few million? Well, even for the modest budgeted enthusiast, many of the classics are heading out of reach. In the world of BMWs, vintage 3.0s are heading towards six figures for the best examples and even the 2002 – the car that started the craze of BMW’s sport sedan heritage – can be an expensive proposition for an average enthusiast. If you want a really nice example, you’ll be spending between $25,000 and $30,000 for a good carburetor example. Tiis are even more highly sought, pushing $50,000 for the best examples. Even a top condition lowly Isetta can run over $40,000. That doesn’t mean you’re pushed out of the classic BMW market if you’re not made of money; witness the BMW 2000, the semi-forgotten sports sedan that shared much of its architecture with the 2002 but offers 4-door sports sedan practicality:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 BMW 2000 on eBay