News broke this morning that the brand new RS4 Avant is unsurprisingly not coming to the United States. While this is no doubt disappointing to the twelve people who actually would have bought it and the 1.8 million who claim on the internet they would if given the option, it follows a long tradition in German motoring of leaving the best of the breed in the homeland. When it came to the GTI, not only did we have to wait several years before we got the hot Golf, but indeed it was a bit watered down and heavier when it did arrive. The same continued in the next two generations; more weight, less power. Both in the second and third generations we also lost out on supercharging, all-wheel drive and special body kits available in the European market.
Once again in 2001, a neat Golf was launched that – of course – wasn’t coming to the United States. But of all of the special editions that weren’t sold here, perhaps this one made the most sense to be excluded. It was called the 25th Anniversary Edition and you didn’t need to be good at math to realize that there was no GTI sold here 25 years before 2001. Since the “18 year Anniversary Edition” didn’t make much sense from a marketing perspective even in spite of Volkswagen’s continual spotty judgement in that regard, it was no surprise that it wasn’t offered. That was too bad, as it had a lowered suspension, better brakes, a bit more power, fantastic Recaro seats and the best looking BBS wheels fit to any Volkswagen, ever. Volkswagen enthusiasts in America drool inwardly and shouted openly, so in 2002 Volkswagen finally did bring the special edition here. Again, since “19th Anniversary” didn’t make any sense, we instead got the “337” Edition.…
There are a few select automotive tuners who can take an impressive package and refine it into an even better entity. That group includes legends such as AMG, Alpina and Ruf – all of which are staples of this segment.
Yet they are far from alone. Given the task of improving on what is generally considered to be one of the greatest sedans ever made is no small feat, but if there was one group up to it, it was Steve Dinan’s eponymous company in California.
While just about anyone can take a turbocharged engine and crank up the boost, slap a few stickers on it and call it done, the E39 M5 didn’t come with forced induction. On top of that, it was a motor which wasn’t exactly underdeveloped before it went into production. Nor were the brakes, suspension, or any other aspect of the third gen M5. But Dinan thought they could improve upon them, and with a tremendous amount of work, did.
Dinan went to town on the S62 from start to end. Out came the factory air boxes, air meters and velocity stacks, replaced by Dinan units of larger diameter and better flow qualities, along with larger throttle bodies bored out by the company. This necessitated reprogramming of the computer controls for the engine to match the new flow characteristics. To help the exhaust side of the motor, unique tubular headers were fit to a free-flowing, lightweight exhaust system. While this sounds a bit like old-school engineering, it was successful; the result was an additional 76 horsepower and 51 lb.ft of torque – basically, this was like adding a 1980 Rabbit’s worth of power to an already powerful car.
Dinan coupled the engine mods with a shorter final drive and higher rev-limiter to reach fantastic speeds. The S2 was capable of 0-60 runs around 4 seconds flat and, in unrestricted mode, geared out around 190 mph in 6th.…
I’m sticking with my two running themes here: yellow, in this case another example of the very vibrant Speed Yellow, and value 911s. As I’m sure you can guess I love Speed Yellow. If you’re still reading this I’d guess you’re at least somewhat a fan because with yellow cars in general they’re usually love/hate. For me, part of what makes Speed Yellow work is because it is so bright. I suppose I figure if you’re going to go with a bright exterior color there’s no reason to go half way. Own that brightness and enjoy every minute of it.
Here it looks quite stunning on this 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe, located in Virginia, with 57,900 miles on it. It looks to be in pretty good condition and it’s up for auction with no reserve. So if you’re in the market for a more budget-friendly 911 and you happen to like bright colors this one should be worth checking out.
The Audi S8. Still, this car ranks as one of my favorite automotive designs from the company, from the 1990s and 2000s – heck, maybe even overall. While I’m not a huge sedan fan in general, there was just something so right about the proportions and presence of the D2 S8. Did it help that it was in a movie I also loved? Sure, without a doubt. But even without that aspect I think this car, and specifically the 2003 model year, are my favorite U.S. bound Audi.
I especially like the 2003 model year because of the limited Audi Exclusive package. Special colors and interiors were fit to the car, along with updated “RS” design wheels. Limited to only 100 copies each. my favorite for the past decade and a half has been the Avus Silver Pearl with Burgundy interior and I think I’ve pointed that out…well, more than a few times. However, at nearly 15 years old, these cars are far from new and we’re deep into a territory were plenty of neglected examples are coming to market. As a result, rather than just find one in the color you want, with the D2 S8 in today’s market condition and history needs to trump other considerations like location and color.
For fans of the GTI, the 4th generation offered a few “greatest hits” editions for the model. The first to launch was the 2001 “25th Anniversary Edition”, built to commemorate a quarter century of hot Volkswagen hatches – in Europe, at least. Since the GTI wasn’t launched in the U.S. until 1983, a “18th” anniversary wouldn’t have made much sense here. However, what was basically the 25th Anniversary Edition was brought here in 2002. The “337” Edition ran in 2002 with Votex bodywork and great BBS RC wheels, along with a cozy set of Recaro seats. Only 1,250 were sold out fairly quickly, so in 2003 Volkswagen continued the greatest hits parade with the release of the nearly identical 20th Anniversary Edition. Each was numbered and a total of 4,200 were made, each now available in three colors and with OZ-made Aristo wheels in place of the BBSs as well as different interior fabric over the same Recaro seats. They were popular new and have remained the Mk.4 to get outside of the R for the past 15 years:
For those who may be speculating on the 996TT market we have another example that should provide more insight into whether we can expect much collector interest to arise for what are typically our go-to-examples of performance value. Here we have a Seal Grey Metallic 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo with only 12,017 miles on it and, crucially, the factory X50 performance package. These very low mileage Turbos optioned with the X50 package, along with the very similar 2005 911 Turbo S, tend to draw a good bit of attention when they come on the market and the question as always is where we should value them. We aren’t told much about this particular Turbo, but the overall condition looks excellent so we at least have a nice place to begin further inquiries.
Model: 911 Turbo
Engine: 3.6 liter twin-turbocharged flat-6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 12,017 mi
Price: Reserve Auction
Stunning 2003 996 Turbo Coupe X50 Package – 3 Owners – 12,017 Miles – 100% Original Example.
2003 Porsche 911 Turbo X50 2-Door Coupe
A while back I featured an even lower mileage (~4,500 miles) X50-equipped 996TT that came up around the same time as a couple examples of the Turbo S. The X50 car originally was priced at $72.5K before coming down to just below $70K where it eventually sold. The two Turbo S I featured provided further data points. One had very similar mileage to the car we see here and was priced at $76.5K. It sold, though whether that was for the full asking price, we aren’t sure. The other had higher mileage (~48K miles) and bidding ended just shy of $60K.
So, where does that leave us here? As noted above we need more information on this Turbo’s history, but assuming there aren’t any problems lurking I’d guess high-$60Ks is probably the ballpark.…
“Too expensive” shouted a few Facebook comments on yesterday’s 330xi Feature Listing. “It’s 11 years old with 130K. WTF!”
He wasn’t alone, and I find that strange. Because, well, here’s a 14 year old 325xi. It’s got 159,000 miles. And, the asking price is a latte away from $8,000. There’s no maintenance disclosed, nor the careful care shown to our Feature Listing car, either.
But my guess is no one will be complaining that this particular all-wheel drive BMW is overpriced. That is simply because of the configuration in this case. While it’s certainly very rare to come across the E90 sedan in the specification of the Feature Listing from yesterday, I’ve never seen an E46 in this spec – nor are you likely to see another. That’s because this particular car is claimed to be one of one – the sole BMW Individual spec’d Dakar Yellow 325xi Touring 5-speed Sport Package.
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.
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?
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).