Wagon Week: 2011 Saab 9-3X

They say, sometimes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Such is the case with Saab. As I was walking to work the other day, a 2011 9-5 sedan passed me on the street and I thought “my what a pretty car.” Sad then, that this car lasted but one model year before the company wound down operations. Even more depressing was that the Sport Combi, or wagon, version of this sedan didn’t make it into production. I’ve seen some pretty wagons over time, but this one just took the cake. A few prototypes and pre-production examples were produced, enough to tease us with a taste of what might have been.

A shame then, that Saab is no longer with us. But what about the company’s other offerings at the end? The 9-3 was almost a decade old by the time Saab called it quits, but it still looked fairly fresh, given a 2008 facelift. The 9-3X was launched in 2009 as an all-wheel drive crossover variant of the 9-3 Sport Combi. Having lived in New England for a time and knowing that Saabs were popular there, I thought, wow, this will be everyone’s dream car up there – a Saab crossover. Who could ask for anything more?

As you all know, we here at GCFSB like to feature the odd Swedish car or two, mainly because they share a lot of the qualities we admire about German vehicles. This 9-3X for sale in Kentucky is as-new, with only 6 miles on the clock. Technically, you could consider it German, since it shares its architecture with the Opel Vectra.

Year: 2011
Model: 9-3X
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged inline four cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 6 miles
Price: $33,900

2011 Saab 9-3X on AutoTrader

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Warranty (5 year or 60K extended service included in this price).

2011 BMW 1M Coupe

While the BMW 1M may not quite be the E30 M3 people were hoping for, it is certainly one of the more exciting offerings from BMW’s M-division in some time. It does rock the fattest fenders since the E30 which, combined with the modern BMW style of complex curves and cuts, gives a decidedly over-muscled bulldog stance. Known for a pants-crappingly short wheelbase and a stronger (if parts-bin sourced) N54 twin-turbo, this 1M also benefits from a Dinan software package resulting in almost 40 additional horses. 380hp in an essentially cubic sports car sounds hilarious and scary.

Year: 2011
Model: 1M Coupe
Engine: S54 twin-turbo inline six, Dinan Software (~380hp)
Transmission: 6-speed manual (hallelujah!)
Mileage: 18,300
Price: $59,800

2011 BMW 1M for sale on eBay

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2011 BMW 1 Series M 1M Coupe Dinan Stage 3
* Stunning 1 Series M Coupe Alpine White on Black Boston Seats with Maintenance Plan from BMW until 05/08 17 or 100K miles!
* 1 Owner Local Trade In!
* Dinan Stage 3 Engine Software! (Does NOT void warranty! Link below)
* Safety Car Front Spoiler!
* Convenience Package!
* Premium Package!
* Black 19″ Wheels!
* Harman/Kardon surround sound!
* Heated front seats!
* Satellite radio!
* BMW Apps!
* Voice-command!
* Smartphone Integration!
* Automatic climate control!
* Xenon Headlamps!

* Convenience Package:
– Navigation system
– Comfort Access keyless entry
– Park distance control (rear)

* Premium Package:
– Power seats
– Autodimming mirrors
– Power folding mirrors
– Universal garage door opener!

Dinan Stage 3 Software Details: http://dinancars.com/shop/D900-30TM-Stage-2-Performance-Engine-Software-Boost-Upgrade-1-Series-M.aspx#page=1

I’ve seen this before, but it never makes sense why the ad says Dinan Stage 3 when it clearly links to Stage 2 and there is no Stage 3 to be found on Dinan’s website. Regardless, Stage 2 is plenty of extra beast in an already intimidating car.…

Theme Week: 2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG Designo

No 1% household is complete without the obligatory SUV. Most opt for the Range Rover; actually I think they are mandatory in certain neighborhoods. In a sea of generic luxury SUVs, how does one stand out with the valet at the yacht club? Enter the solution: the G55 AMG.

Normally I’d be tempted to discuss the 504 bhp supercharged AMG V8, or the G55’s off-road prowess, but these things are inconsequential to the 1%. Rather I feel the need to point out the “look at me” AMG styling that will turn heads all over town, the plush Nappa leather, and the navigation system that offers Zagat ratings for restaurants…you know the important things.

This arctic white G-Wagen for sale in Chicago, IL, is a god among men in the SUV market.

 

2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG Designo on eBay

The G-Class is powered by a 382-horsepower, 5.5L V8, while the high-performance G55 AMG gets a supercharged version good for 500 hp. The G55 can dash to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. Fuel economy isn’t stellar, but it’s reasonable considering what the G-Class was built for: 12 mpg city and 15 highway. The AMG version achieves 11 city and 13 highway. Thanks to a serious mechanical 4-wheel-drive system, complemented by modern electronics, the G-Class has the goods for serious off-roading as well as simply taking on slippery road conditions. The system comes with three differential locks to distribute power in whatever way is best for the conditions. On- or off-road, traction is aided by the electronic stability control system, which also helps distribute power left to right. The G-Class is an old-style, truck-like SUV in look and feel, yet its interior is appointed with top-notch luxury materials, including premium leather, burl walnut trim and wood and leather trim elsewhere.

Theme Week: 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Supercars are great to look at, but let’s face it, how easy are they to live with? It’s not surprising that many of these cars have low mileage, because who would want to put up with a cantakerous engine, poor visibility and the inevitable reliability issues that come along with a high strung motor during your everyday travels? Back in the early 1990s, Honda came along and changed people’s ideas of how livable a supercar could be. The all-aluminum NSX was a legend in its time and is still missed by many, after it’s 15 year production run ended in 2005.

While Acura is readying a second generation NSX, I would argue that Audi picked up where Acura left off in 2008 with the R8. Based around the Lamborghini Gallardo platform and built by quattro GmbH, the R8 Coupe and Spyder has been raking in the accolades on the road and track. Looking through the classifieds, it is apparent that many owners have been successful in racking up higher mileage than your run of the mill supercar. While I’m partial to the hardtop, this V10 Spyder looks resplendent in Teak Brown and skips the R tronic gearbox for the 6-speed manual.

2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder on eBay

This one owner supercar is in Teak Metallic over Nougat Brown leather interior. Loaded with options including navigation, rear back-up camera, front and rear parking sensors, 6-speed manual transmission, enhanced leather package, carbon fiber Sigma interior trim, illuminated door sills, Bang & Olufsen sound with iPod integration, blue tooth hands free, LED headlights and LED running lights, power top, dual heated power front seats with driver’s memory feature, Homelink universal garage door opener and more. With an MSRP of $172,775. This R8 is super fast and in great shape in and out. Comes with all original books, keys, window sticker and Audi Care Program which includes all maintenance and extended warranty.

2011 TH Automobile Volkswagen T5 Transporter

The Volkswagen Transporter has long been a commercial workhorse the world over. But that hasn’t stopped tuners from having a crack at this rather pedestrian looking box. Back in the 1980s, Porsche built a T3 Transporter based “B32,” essentially a Volkswagen Transporter with a 3.2 liter flat six engine from the 911 Carrera at the time. More than just a prototype, Porsche built 11 of these vans as support vehicles for the newly developed Group B 959 which was competing in the Paris Dakkar Rally.

Fast forward two generations later, and the formula for putting a Porsche mill in the back of a Transporter still seems attractive. A company called TH Automobile has undertaken a monumental task in turning the front-wheel drive T5 Transporter into a rear engined beast, replete with the 3.6 liter, twin turbocharged flat six from the Porsche 911 produced between 2004 and 2008. With 480 horsepower on tap, 60 mph arrives in under five seconds with a top speed of over 170 mph. Impressive numbers for what is not the most aerodynamic vehicle out there.

While we as Americans won’t have much of a chance importing a stealth van like this anytime soon, it’s nice to occasionally look across the pond and see what forbidden fruit is out there.

2011 TH Automobile Volkswagen T5 Transporter on Mobile.de

The TH2 is made ​​by hand. The TH Automobile Company is a well known car factory in Berlin. Here was manufactured, among other things, the fastest bus in the world (311 km/h). This car is built forge T5 Bus with Porsche Turbo technology for true individualists. The motor is always in the back of the T5! Driving pleasure is guaranteed. This has everything: luxury, space, athleticism, speed and on request relaxed driving. Add to that a very good quality. Since the list is very long, please call with any questions or simply browse on www.thautomobile.de.

Theme Week: 2011 Audi A3 TDI

An old coworker recently reached out as he’s in the market for a car that’s useful, fun to drive, city-sized and efficient. His shortlist included the usual suspects who make up this thriving segment: Mini, Audi A3, BMW 1-series, etc. To me, there’s no better compromise than the A3 TDI. It’s the best-looking, most efficient and most useful of the bunch, with plenty of luxury and tuneability. After witnessing my brother’s recent 50+ mpg road trip in a Jetta TDI, I could see going back to a long commute if I got to have an A3/Golf TDI with a chip.

2011 Audi A3 TDI w/ DSG for sale on eBay


Disclaimer: I plan to only own stick-shift manual cars forever. However, while I haven’t yet driven DSG myself, in a tech-laden young urban professional machine like this, it makes sense for efficiency, ease of use in the city, and even fun. My dream A3 would be a nice brown, but white will do. Fierce bidding has turned off the reserve at a low $18k, well below the asking price of $26k. Even into the low-20s, this is a great all-arounder that could still be plenty of fun.

-NR…

2011 CTF/R4R Porsche “Rennsport Edition” Cayman S Interseries Racecar For Charity

I was served an ad for this vehicle in my searching of the inter-webs.  How did they know?  You have to love re marketing technology, I remember the good old days when I had to search for those things I desire instead of having them find me.

Anyhow…

This Cayman was built by Porsche Napleton of Westmont to celebrate the Rennsport Reunion IV event.  100% of the proceeds from this auction will benefit Children’s Tumor Foundation.

A one of a kind tribute with proceeds going to charity, I am all in.

2011 Porsche Cayman S Rennsport Edition:

From the seller –

“Unveiled October 14, 2011, the Porsche “Rennsport Edition” Cayman S Cayman Interseries founders  Porsche Napleton of Westmont built specifically to commemorate the Rennsport Reunion IV event. The car was formally unveiled in the Cayman Interseries paddock area by Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Gill Campbell, CEO and General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Ed Napleton, President of the Napleton Auto Group, Ron Barnaba, Napleton Porsche of Westmont General Manager, Porsche racing legend Hurley Haywood and Donohue, a Rolex 24 at Daytona winning Porsche driver.

The one-off “Rennsport Edition” design pays tribute to Porsche’s famous race cars and drivers and the equally iconic circuits on which they raced and won. The entire top of the Rennsport Edition Cayman S features “ghost” images of legendary race tracks from around the world, the stripe on the hood has a list of Porsche factory drivers and other notables from over the years while the roof stripe has a list of all of the factory race cars ever produced. The commemorative No. 4 Cayman was driven throughout Rennsport weekend by Jack Baldwin.

About Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV: Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will be the world’s greatest gathering of Porsche race cars and the drivers that drove them to victory, held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from October 14 to 16, 2011.

2011 Mercedes Brabus SLS

Reader Nik spotted this one a little while back and I had been keeping an eye on it. It has been listed a couple times and not generated any serious buyer. The seller is claiming it of 1 of 2 Brabus SLS cars in the states.

We all know Brabus has a history of taking Benz models, everything from the really expensive top of line cars,  down to the tiny compact models and even Benz vans, and making them loud, fast, and aggressive. This SLS is not an exception. The addition of exterior Brabus parts are a little more subdued on the SLS, mostly because one expects the SLS to look exotic. Those who are familiar note the Brabus wheels and carbon fiber accents and aero kit. The Brabus exhaust most certainly adds even more V8 growl. What is pretty slick is like the suspension, the exhaust can be set to a sport mode using the Brabus buttons in the center console. The sport button electronically activates valves in the exhaust to provide more noise. This is a really old trick, though typically I associate exhaust dumps that  bypass mufflers on cars that are a little less sophisticated, not that this is a bad thing. It doesn’t look like there is any Brabus work under the hood, other than programming, as the typical red Brabus accents are not seen. The interior however comes in bright red to contrast the smoke exterior.

This car has covered a mere 3,300 miles. The ask price on this uber-exclusive beast is just under $350,000. This is twice the price you would pay if you were bargain hunting an SLS so there is a fairly big premium placed on the Brabus package. From a purely horsepower standpoint that 611 horespower, up from 563 stock makes for some awfully expensive individual ponies.…

2011 Opel Insignia

Even though it’s a brand of which most Americans are unaware, Opel has had a long history in the United States. First being sold under their own badge through Buick dealers in the 1960s and 1970s, Cadillac tried their hand at rebadging the Opel Omega as their compact executive entry, the Catera. While the Catera was a huge improvement over Cadillac’s last attempt at a small car, the Cimarron, fewer than 100,000 were produced during its lifespan from 1997 through 2001.

Saturn was the next division to grab the Opel torch, offering the L series, followed by the Aura, midsized sedans based on the Opel Vectra chassis. It also offered rebadged versions of the GT (Sky) and Astra, before the divisions untimely demise in 2010. Now Opel products have found their way back stateside by Buick dealers yet again, as the Regal has returned, this time a rebadged Insignia, which was the Vectra’s replacement.

I’ve always wondered how hard it would be to simply rebadge the Regal back to its Opel roots. Apparently some industrious owner went ahead and answered that question outside of Chicago, offering up the remainder of their lease on a 2011 Regal (Insignia).

2011 Opel Insignia on eBay

The owner is going back to Europe, and no longer needs it. Very unique car -over $15,000 invested, including suspension and wheels.

The car gets endless attention, as it is the only one like it in America. Winning bidder must have good credit and is responsible for arranging swap thru ALLY. Lease transfer can be done only after this auction is paid for in full. This car has everything including Bluetooth, XM, DVD player, etc. Gets 30MPG on regural unleaded. Payment $440/month with $14k buyout in 08/14.

I’ve driven the new Regal with the 2.4 non turbo engine and the 6 speed automatic, which is what powers this car.…