Fairly often I feature special cars that have low miles on them. That’s to be expected because sometimes when people buy a car that isn’t run-of-the-mill, they don’t use it as a daily driver and try to keep the miles low. In turn, that theoretically should keep the value high when it comes to sell or maybe just to have the satisfaction of having a low mileage car. What I don’t see too often are cars that are ordinary in every way and meant to be used and thrown away that have really low miles on them. You can see where I’m going with this.
What I have today is a 2002 Mercedes-Benz E320 up for sale in Virginia with just 18,200 miles on it. This W210 is as bland and disposable as modern Mercedes come and this car doesn’t even have any special options or unique features. In fact, this E320 doesn’t even have heated seats. It’s painted in a bland color with a bland interior that blends in with the crowd with the best of them. You’d think the 18,200 miles would mean this car is pristine, but thanks to some typical W210 problems, time waits for no one. Not even cars that sit in garages for 15 years.
Audi’s interesting sales plan of S-cars in the early 2000s was, for U.S. fans, both good and disappointing at the same time. Mega models like the RS4 continued to be withheld from this side of the Atlantic just as the S2, RS2 and S6 Plus had been. The new generation of V8 powered S cars had yet to arrive, too; movies teased us of the slithering, nitrous oxide-boosted battering ram S8, and though the C5 chassis now sported the V8 in 2000, we had yet to see the S6.
But there were bright points. The B5 S4 was available as a sedan or Avant here, for the first time, in 2001 the flagship S8 arrived and after a wait until 2002, the S6 arrived in Avant form. And, only in Avant form, and only in automatic. You could complain about that for sure, but then the introduction at long last of an RS model – the twin-turbocharged RS6 – assuaged the loss of the regular S6 sedan for nearly everyone.
Once in a while, though, a S6 sedan pops up on this side of the Atlantic:
Last week I checked out a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E550 Coupe and broke down how even though Mercedes calls it an E-Class Coupe, it was about 80% W204 C-Class and 20% W212 E-Class. This isn’t a new thing as Mercedes has been doing this for a few generations now and today we have another example of this in a 2002 CLK55 AMG up for sale in South Carolina. This W208 looks like a W210 E-Class cosmetically, but under that metal is actually the chassis of the W202 C-Class. Inside, you have a small handful of parts from the W203 C-Class and many more parts unique just to the CLK55 and not from the brother of this car, the W210 E55 AMG. Once again, buyers of this car probably had no idea of all this and probably didn’t care all that much either. C’est la vie.
Do you really want a Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² but short about $200,000? Well, I have a solution for you. This is a 2002 G500 up for bid in New Jersey that has been jacked up thanks to a suspension lift and 40 inches. Not to end it there, the body work has been added to mimic a 4×4² thanks to the W463 literally staying the same for the past 15 years. All this sounds pretty good in theory, but put in practice like we see here, I think it’s a disaster. Let me tell you why.
So you want an affordable, distinctive yet practical car for your daily commute? Yesterday I suggested there might be more fun to be had for less money than the Golf Harlequin. Well, here it is: the Z3 3.0i Coupe. While the ‘clownshoe’ isn’t quite as spacious as the Golf, it does add a dose of practicality to a fun-to-drive and very unusual package. But while the market focuses on the M products, the more rare to find Z3 3.0i is an affordable option that will help you stand apart from the crowd.
Produced in Spartanburg in February 2002, this Topaz Blue Metallic example has seen better days, it’s got quite a few miles, and it’s an automatic. But that means it’ll be about as cheap as a clownshoe comes. Is it worth the price of admission – or, at the very least, is it worth the savings over a M?
Here we have a car engaged in a little bit of an identity crisis. I find it a little perplexing, but let me get to that later because beyond that disjunction it’s actually a rather interesting 911 Turbo. This is an Orient Red Metallic 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe with 53,795 miles on it. It’s fitted with the Turbo Aerokit along with a pronounced front lip spoiler, factory options that are kind of divisive in their appeal, but nonetheless are fairly rare. The interior also has a wide array of maple wood accents and leather fittings. Those options bring with them a level of elegance that seems somewhat at odds with the exterior options. It’s all very much racer on the outside and grand tourer on the inside. But which does it want to be?
Back to wagons!
One of the more
captivating baffling options in the used performance wagon market must surely be the C5 Audi. Despite the reputation for 100% metaphysical certitude that they’ll fail – probably catastrophically, they’re fan favorites. Often as a retort to internet commentaries that they’re not reliable, actual owners will chime in, demanding respect and steadfastly assuring the audience that the Allroad’s reputation is undeserved.
‘It’s been 100% reliable!’ they’ll insist.
Of course, the recipe to actually make it reliable involves major reworking of the engine and suspension. And, sometimes the electronics, too. On top of that, it turns out that various people’s definition of ‘reliable’ varies greatly – especially for Audi owners. Basically, to be deemed ‘unreliable’, an Audi must first assassinate a major public figure, then make a Star Wars reboot featuring only Jar-Jar Binks, then kneel during the National Anthem (easy to do, as most have failed suspension on at least one corner), and finally when you turn the key the engine does the action sequence out of a Michael Bay Transformer movie. If, and only if, those conditions are met will fanatics finally fail to reply to the assertion that the Allroad just isn’t a reliable car.
But, it’s cool. And so you probably want one, even though you know it’ll bankrupt you. So the smart way to buy an Allroad is to not buy an Allroad:
If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.
And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:
Update 2/16/18: After showing as sold in November for $14,900, the mega-cool Ruf Bug is back again for the same $14,900 ask.
This is a car which has haunted these pages since we first began writing up German cars, if you can believe it. Originally, Aaron wrote this car up nearly 6 years ago to the day – November 8, 2011. Back then, the seller was asking an incredibly steep $60,000. Three years later in 2014, Paul spotted it again and revisited the concept. It was then up for sale for a scarcely more reasonable $50,000. In both cases, it was really hard to justify the substantial premium even if it was a neat looking car.
Fast forward to today, and we’re finally getting somewhere. Although the car appears to have changed little since 2014, the asking price is now $14,900. Mileage is far below average at only 51,722 and condition generally looks very good. It has only accrued 10,000 miles in the last three years. Although this car lacks true RUF credentials, the general concept pulls together pretty well and the execution looks nice. Is this the one to have? It’s certainly a lot more compelling than a standard Beetle in many ways and has big dollar mods, but do those mods justify a $11,000 premium over a standard Turbo S?
The below post originally appeared on our site November 9, 2011:
The Mercedes-Benz C32 AMG falls into that category of ”Oh yeah, they made those” probably because of a few reasons. The first one being it wasn’t particularly good or impressive at any one thing. It’s extremely bland, even by conservative Mercedes standards, and you’d be hard-pressed to pick this out of a lineup to recognize it as an AMG car. Aside from some slightly different bumpers and some split spoke AMG wheels, the C32 looked just like every other pre-facelift W203 out there. The power part for this car isn’t anything to write home about with a supercharged M112 V6 that was then shared with the Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6. It did make a respectable 349 horsepower but torque was down with only 322. I think the biggest reason these things are often shoved aside and not really desirable is because the car that replaced it, the W203 C55 AMG, fixed everything that was wrong with this car. The C55 got the big V8 that made almost 400 lb·ft of torque and had a bunch cosmetic updates that made it look different from every other W203 out there. So now that these C32s are 15 years-old, where do they stand?