2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50

2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50

I’ve featured a decent number of 996TTs lately, but they’ve all been of a different sort than what is typical for us. They’ve all been shifted toward the pricier end of the spectrum and more collector quality for those who want to speculate on the possibility of that market moving upward. In most cases these have been the one-year-only Turbo S. Here I’m going to hope to move back toward the performance value side of the equation. This is the reason we’re typically here in the first place after all. But that movement toward value doesn’t mean we have to make sacrifices in performance. While the Turbo S may wear a different moniker and command more attention and value it’s not really fundamentally different from a standard Turbo equipped with the X50 performance package. And what do you know, look what we have here: a Midnight Blue Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo, located in Knoxville, with Cinnamon leather interior, 79,700 miles on it, and that highly desirable X50 package. It is the higher mileage that will keep this Turbo’s price in reasonable territory, but the condition shows us a very nice 911 that could compete with those lower-mileage examples and their higher prices.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50 on eBay

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG

Last week I looked at a very low mileage 2001 SL500 and today’s car is another SL, although a little newer and with a lot more power. The R230 SL55 AMG was the exactly what you would expect from a mid-2000s AMG car: a supercharged V8 that makes almost 500 horsepower and just as much torque. Now 13 years and well over $100,000 worth of depreciation later, these top down monster have become very cheap. But is it worth it?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG on eBay

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Touring

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Touring

I’m not really sure where the “wagons are cool” craze comes from. Back in Europe, estates tend to be regarded as a bit boring. But the longer I’ve lived in America, the more I can relate. Camping trips, afternoons spent chasing down furniture on Craigslist, and weekends spent helping friends move apartments in the city have all led me to appreciate the appeal of a good wagon.The highly competent 540i sedan is already well loved, combining a well-balanced chassis with a torquey 4.4 liter V8 that puts out about 290 hp. The Touring version offers all of this plus a load space nearly on par with that of a small pickup, once the seats are folded down. What’s even better than a 540i Touring? A 540i Touring M-Sport, which adds more aggressively styled, M5-like bumpers, firmer sport suspension, sport seats and shadowline trim (sedans also received M-Parallel wheels, although Tourings did not).

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i Touring M-Sport on Portland, OR Craigslist

Roll the dice? 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 with 318,000 miles

Roll the dice? 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 with 318,000 miles

I have an affinity for vehicles that have hit the moon milestone (238,900 miles) while looking like they’ve done so with relative ease. For this 2003 G500, it has already hit the moon and is halfway home on the return trip. I think people have an irrational fear of higher mileage vehicles because they’ve either been with been with cars that didn’t age well or they’ve been told that higher mileage automatically means “bad”. There is some merit in that the more miles a vehicle has, the greater the risk of things failing, but I believe that you get out cars what you put in them — which a few exceptions, of course.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz G500 on Los Angeles Craigslist

2003 Audi S6 Avant

2003 Audi S6 Avant

The C5 platform S6 Avant offered a considerable amount more power and performance than the A6 on which it was based. Packing a 4.2 liter, 40v all-aluminum V8 that developed a meaty 335 hp and a hefty 310 ft-lb of torque, the S6 was capable of sprinting to 60 in around 6 seconds. Those numbers might not seem as impressive as they once did, but back in the late 90s/early 00s that was no mean feat for a healthily sized family hauler that tipped the scales at just over 2 tons. To keep the tires firmly planted on the road, the S6 utilized a Torsen-based Quattro system that split power evenly between the front and rear wheels. Unlike the Allroad, these steel-suspended Avants ran the 1BE sport suspension, while aluminum body bits helped (marginally) to keep weight in check. Exterior styling cues separating the car from its more humble siblings were kept rather subtle, limited to slightly wider fender flares, chunky S6 specific Avus alloys, door blades, a slightly redesigned bumper and aluminum caps on the wing mirrors. This was a car that might go unnoticed in the school parking lot, but could hit (a limited) 155 MPH on the highway on the way home.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

Feature Listing: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

Feature Listing: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG

The W124 500E/E500 was a tough act to follow, but Mercedes-Benz stepped up to the plate well with the new AMG collaboration W210 E55 AMG. The M113 power plant generated an impressive 350 horsepower and 391 lb.ft of torque – more than had graced that legendary W124. In its own way, the E55 AMG became a legend, too – subtle looks offering a velvet wrapper on one hefty hammer. So when it came to replacing it again in the new W211, AMG was forced to turn the dial up a few more notches. It was forced because the market had moved on, and the W210’s power output was no longer competitive in the early 2000s. So forced it was, as in forced induction. The M113 now featured an IHI supercharger, and power increased dramatically. This was no small step for man, this was a giant leap for Mercedes kind. The W211 E55’s power output leaped to 469 hp and it now 520 lb.ft of torque. Of course, it needed those numbers because the competition from Audi in the 450 horsepower twin-turbocharged RS6 and the outgoing benchmark BMW M5’s 400 horsepower S62 V8. Going nuclear on the power level meant AMG needed to upgrade the rest of the hardware, as well. Airmatic adjustable suspension with sport tuning gave the hefty E55 poise in the bends, while 14.2″, 8 piston calipers hidden behind huge split 5-spoke AMG wheels with 245 and 265 section tires kept grip and speed in check. The results were palpable: in a 2003 Car and Driver comparison against its nearest rivals, the new E55 AMG simply outpaced everything in a straight line. 0-60 was dispatched in just 4.3 seconds. 100 came only 5 and a half seconds later. The quarter mile was done in 12.5 seconds. Forget sedans, those were numbers that challenged the Corvette Z06 at the same time, and close to a decade and a half later are still very impressive:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG on eBay

2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG with 400,000 miles

2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG with 400,000 miles

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I usually don’t think twice when I see a Mercedes with a ton of miles on it. But I started thinking a lot more than twice when I saw a W211 E55 AMG with over 400,000 miles for sale. As I started digger deeper into this wunderkind, the story got even wilder. This E55 had a single owner its entire 400,000 mile life and managed to get into two accidents in that time with one severe enough to deploy the airbags. So obviously this W211 for sale outside of Chicago deserves a deeper look, so let’s try to make sense of this one.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG with 400,000 miles on Cars.com

Almost S: 2001 and 2003 Audi A6 4.2 quattros

Almost S: 2001 and 2003 Audi A6 4.2 quattros

After the legendary run of turbocharged inline-5 motors ended for U.S. customers in 1995, Audi would not deliver another S6 to these shores until 2002. When it arrived, it came in only one form – the popular Avant package. While many rejoiced that this was at the very least an option, it was still pretty expensive and not everyone loves the fast five doors (crazy though it may seem!). But Audi came very close to offering S performance in the special package which was the A6 4.2 quattro. There were many variants of the C5, and ostensibly the 6-speed manual 2.7T was the “sport” option for the chassis. But the top of the heap 4.2 40V offered you the ART/AWN V8’s torque and 300 horsepower with instant throttle response starting in 2000. Underneath the 4.2 carried a special aluminum subframe. Additionally, the all-aluminum engine was joined by specially flared fenders and hood in aluminum, “door blades” that would later be seen on S models, plus optional 17″ x 8″ Speedline (later changed to forged and polished “Fat Fives”) wheels and upgraded brakes and pads. Suspension was lowered and stiffened with the 1BE sport springs and struts in the optional Sport Package; a 20mm drop was accompanied by 30% stiffer springs, 40% stiffer shocks and larger sway bars. The combination gave a menacing appearance to the C5 that wasn’t really present in the narrow-body 2.7T. Today, the argument over which is the better chassis still rages in multiple fora, and while tuners usually love the twin turbo manual option, many others prefer the velvet hammer 4.2 which really was a defacto S6 sedan Audi never brought here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A6 4.2 quattro on eBay

2003 BMW M5

2003 BMW M5

3The E39 M5 is an everyday supercar whose restrained exterior belies the power that comes from the monster lurking underneath its skin, a 4.9 liter V8 that makes 394 hp and will scream its way up to a 7,000 RPM redline. There’s something very pure and unadulterated about this car, and this gives it a special place in the heart of most M-enthusiasts. That purity comes from the application of a very simple (and by now seemingly old-fashioned) formula: take a big, naturally aspirated motor and add 3 pedals, 6 gears and only subtle exterior modifications to the already quite conservatively styled 5-series body shape. The product is a practical, four door sedan that you can use to pick up your groceries and drive your family to the mall. Or, blitz around the track.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW M5 on eBay

2003 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG

2003 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG

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The Mercedes-Benz C215 chassis had the task of carrying on the pillar-less coupe legacy that Mercedes was known for. But seeing as this car is basically an 8-inch shorter W220 S-Class minus two doors, you can probably guess how this turned out. It departed the majority of its design language from the prior C140 and went with a much more modern smooth design both inside and out. Much like when the W220 was launched and these cars were brand new, you had no reason to think the result would end up being so poor. So let’s take a look at this 2006 CL55 AMG in Florida to see if a C215 is worth considering.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG on eBay

2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50

2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50

Typically, when we look at a 996TT for sale our focus falls largely on its performance value. They are capable of providing supercar levels of performance all for the price of a nice family sedan. However, with only 4,556 miles on the clock this 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo equipped with the X50 powerkit will follow a different tack. The potential buyer of this Turbo is likely banking on the potential collectibility of the model and given the sometimes significant correlation between mileage and value that means this Turbo won’t be seeing much time on the street. Thus, performance value isn’t really what we’re after here. This one is all about speculation. That it has the powerkit is key and I’m seeing fewer such examples coming around. I’m not sure if that’s because owners are holding on to them more so now than in the past or whether this is just a blip. But those searching for a factory-equipped example certainly will be hard pressed to find a lower-mileage 996TT on the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50 on eBay

2003 BMW 330i ZHP

2003 BMW 330i ZHP

1In the UK, where I grew up, the E46 3-series was available with a Sport package from 2001 onwards. This added M-Tech suspension, an M-Tech II bodykit, sport seats, steering wheel and “M V-Spoke” Style 72 alloys (later replaced by style 135s). The revised bumpers and spoilers definitely lent the car a more aggressive, sporting edge and considerably enhanced the overall look of the car. The package, officially renamed from “Sport” to “M Sport” in 2005, proved immensely popular throughout the E46 production run. As a result, the UK used market is filled with relatively cheap examples. Not so in the US. When I moved here, I soon discovered that the American E46 did not receive the same package until 2003, and only then on the 330i/330ci models. Known here as the ZHP or “Performance Package,” this added all of the aforementioned upgrades plus redesigned camshafts and a remapped engine computer, supposedly bringing power to 235 hp (10 hp more than standard models). Ticking this option box added nearly $4,000 to the cost of the car, making ZHP-equipped models relatively uncommon. As a result, when used examples do crop up they seem to command a considerable price premium.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 330i ZHP on eBay

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

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Yesterday Paul wrote up a 530i Sport noting that for many, the styling of the E39 5-series is vastly preferable to the E60 that came afterward, burdened as it is with awkward creases and controversial styling courtesy of BMW design guru Chris Bangle. I tend to agree, although I also think the E60, especially in sport specification, will probably become better appreciated as it ages. While yesterday’s 530i with an autobox represents, as Paul put it, the “bread and butter” of the range, this particular car is a bit more special. The standard 540i, powered by a torquey 4.4 liter V8 making nearly 300 hp, is already a very capable sport sedan in its own right. The M-sport package however, which adds M-sport exterior styling, suspension and wheels, brings the car within firing range of the M5.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on Bimmerforums

Tuner Tuesday: 2003 BMW Z4 Alpina Roadster S Tribute

Tuner Tuesday: 2003 BMW Z4 Alpina Roadster S Tribute

If the B10 3.5/1 from earlier was overshadowed by the more powerful headline-grabbing BiTurbo, the Roadster S barely emerged from under the positively giant amount of shade cast by the Roadster V8. So outraged was the enthusiast world that Alpina would yank the S62 V8 and 6-speed out to be replaced by a 540 motor and automatic that you could easily have missed the lesser Roadster on offer from Buchloe. Indeed, far fewer of the Roadster S were produced than the Roadster V8; a scant 370 are reported to have been made. In typical Alpina fashion, the S model featured engine, suspension, interior and exterior upgrades. The N52 magnesium block engine was dropped in favor of the M52 punched out to 3.4 liters, with a resulting 300 horsepower and 5 second 0-60 times. 19″ Alpina Dynamic wheels – the same ones fit to its more famous brother – filled out the wheel wells, while Alpina’s unique front and rear spoilers helped to individualize the hunkered down attitude of the E85. Replete with unique interiors and the all-important enthusiast’s requisite manual, it was surprising that more attention wasn’t levied upon them, but such was the effect of the Roadster V8. Someone was paying attention, though, because they went to great lengths to copy the S design. This is not one of the 370 original cars, but it’d be hard for most to tell:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW Z4 Alpina Roadster S Tribute on eBay

2003 Audi RS6 with 11,000 Miles

2003 Audi RS6 with 11,000 Miles

Outside of some with virtually limitless resources, you can’t go back in time when it comes to cars. Many enthusiasts try, and a few really devoted individuals succeed, in recreating the youth of a car’s life. But to do so, especially on newer cars, is pretty hard. Outside of the material costs of paint, leather and in some cases wood replacement parts, there is the Achilles’ heel of our modern society in general – plastics. New cars have become so heavily reliant on plastics because they’re strong, easily formed to special shapes, and lightweight relative to other products. But, as with the rest of the car, they get old; wear items in the interior of the car are often the most recognizable signs of use and time, but under the hood there’s a plethora of plastic heating up and cooling down. Top that with modern motors with turbochargers and extreme heat load as well as the increasing amount of refinement (read: sound deadening) buyers demand, and the time bomb of slowly decomposing plastic in your super sedan means that reconstructing a heavily used example may ultimately be impossible, but is certainly at least improbable.

That means that if you want what was a top-flight super sedan from a generation ago, you’d be looking for the lightest use possible. And when considering an Audi RS6, few if any come to the market with less use in miles than this one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay