B Unique: 2005 Alpina B5

In my mind, Alpina’s mystique has dimmed slightly over the past decade. Still capable of producing monsterously powerful luxury machines, the proliferation of options that are also insanely fast and luxurious has meant that the company’s original niche has become substantially more commonplace. And while it’s been awesome that Alpinas started being imported through BMW dealerships in 2007 and now offer several models to U.S. fans who can stomach the serious price tags, it also made them much less exclusive.

While products have widened over the past few years to include the 6-series, most of what Alpina sent to the U.S. market was based on the 7. The supercharged B7 was quite potent, but didn’t solve the problem of the E65’s looks all that much. Arguably, no amount of anything could do that particularly well.

But the B7’s supercharged 4.4 V8 was also available to Europeans in a (slightly) smaller package – the B5. Based on the E60, what would have started as a 330 horsepower 545i was transformed into a 500 horsepower, 500 lb.ft torque weapon. In typical fashion, Alpina revised the wheels and suspension, exhaust and interior, and of course added body kits to the E60. With 133 lb feet more torque than the V10 M5 produced and at a more reasonable 4,000 rpm rather than 6,000, the B5 could actually out-accelerate the M product. 0-62 was tested to arrive in 4.6 seconds, and the fun didn’t run out until you were just 5 mph shy of 200. Best yet, you could have this speed in a wagon!

Unfortunately for U.S. fans, the B5 and even more powerful B5S weren’t imported to the U.S.. Production of the B5 was limited to only 428 sedans, and the quite believable claim is that this is the only one in the United States:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Alpina B5 on eBay

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1999 BMW 540i Touring 6-speed

Back to wagons!

Today’s example is another fan-favorite model, of which it seems surprisingly hard to find a great example. The E39 continued and expanded the 5-series wagon’s popularity by bringing bigger wheels, more power and updated looks to the mid-range Audi-challenger. Like the first generation, these were only available in rear-wheel drive in the U.S., so matching the all-wheel drive variants available from…well, everyone else, required a very good looking and potent package. BMW pulled that off, with the Sport versions of both the 528i and 540i Tourings thoroughly encapsulating the ethos of the great Euro wagons.

But there was a catch.

If you wanted a manual gearbox, you had to select the lower output 528i model. For all its shouty V8-ness, the 282 horsepower 4.4 liter M62-equipped 540i only came with BMW’s Steptronic if you needed to haul ass and a family. Of course, that hasn’t stopped a few enterprising individuals from combining the manual from the sedan with the more desirable wagon:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW 540i Touring 6-speed on eBay

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2001 BMW 540i Sport with 1,890 Miles

Sport, M-Sport, Sport, M-Sport, Sport, M-Sport. Choose your title! More research and some comments from our astute readership seems to confirm that the official title of this car is 540i Sport in the USA, though it includes items labeled as M-Sport within that package. Thanks to everyone for their commentary and following!

Starting in late 1999 for the 2000 model year, BMW replaced the “Sport” package on the E39 with the newly recycled “M-Sport” moniker. Of course, the M-Sport had been seen on the E34 before and carried M-bits over to the normal 540i model. This was much the same for the E39; moving forward, the M-Sport models not only got the upgraded suspension and larger wheels associated with the sport package, but also gained a M-Sport steering wheel, shift knob and door sills. However, it wouldn’t be until the 2003 model year that the M-Sport reached its full potential when BMW slotted the M-Technic bumper covers on to create a ‘M5 light’ once again.

In between, there were minor changes mostly notable for different wheel designs. In 2001, for example, the Style 66 wheels were used. Staggered at 17×8 in front and 17×9 in the rear, the wheels mimicked the design of the Style 65 18″ M5 wheels minus the second set of split-5 spokes inset. These wheels were also coincidentally the optional winter wheel package for the M5. But without the bigger bumpers and M-Parallel wheels associated with the 2003, the 2000-2002 models were much more understated in their approach and to most aren’t quite as desirable as the M-Tech’d models.

Of course, when you find a showroom fresh one with only 1,890 miles, maybe that doesn’t matter?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 540i M-Sport on Phoenix Craigslist

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Tuner Tuesday: 2001 BMW 540i Touring Dinan Supercharged

For generations, we in the United States have been unjustly denied the most versatile of the fast BMWs – the M5 Touring. From its genesis in the E34 Touring through its evolution to V10-powered monster E60, the M5 Touring has remained one of the most desirable unobtainable German cars to U.S. enthusiasts. However, U.S. fans shouldn’t feel too discriminated against, because the fan favorite E28, E39 and even the new F10 have no touring option – anywhere. What is a lover of fast BMWs with 2.2 children and a dog to do? Well, you could take your E39 Touring to Dinan, who would be more than happy to turn the wick up for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 540i Touring Dinan Supercharged on eBay

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10K Friday: Ronin v. The Transporter

On the surface, the themes were very similar; two movies staring action superstars playing above-the-law criminals with an amazing ability to extricate themselves from seemingly impossible conditions against improbable odds driving large, fast executive cars. Despite this, the movies Ronin and The Transporter couldn’t be more different. I watched the former on the edge of my seat, captivated by the mystery, floored by the incredibly filmed stunt scenes, the attention to reality and detail, and the staggeringly awesome lineup of cars. The latter I struggled to get through at all; I managed to make it about half way through before giving up. To this day, I still haven’t seen the ending of the first movie, and nothing more than trailers of the second. Is there a third? I’m sorry, I’m sure it made a gazillion dollars in the box office but frankly when I watched the clip of the Audi A8L W12 corkscrewing through the air to miraculously remove a bomb from the bottom of the car on a perfectly placed scrap-metal magnet hanging in mid-air I lost all interest. I can suspend my belief for a movie like Ronin because there was an air of reality to it; the characters were flawed and mortal. Sure, there were problems with the plot and even some of the stunts – I mean, they don’t show Jean Reno standing in line at the DMV to register the 450SEL 6.9, for example. But in terms of reality, it was on this planet at least, while The Transporter seemed to be set in some alternate Japanese-live-action-anime reality I’m not sure I want to understand. Nevertheless, the central plot to both is about cars and driving (at least a bit), and today you can purchase just about all of the cars featured in these films for around $10,000 – so which would you have? I had to use a bit of creative with some of the versions, so you’ll bear with me I hope – here we go!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL on eBay

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10K Friday: 2001 – An Executive Odyssey – S8 v. 740i Sport

A few weeks ago, Paul wrote up a low mile 1995 740i, always a favorite of ours here at GCFSB. Also a favorite is the D2 S8. Together, they represent in our minds the pinnacle of large executive designs – fast, comfortable, quiet, and with enough presence to draw respectful looks without being overstated, showy or brash. We also think that these two executive sedans are better looking than the multiple generations that have replaced them. While performance and luxury have increased in both BMW and Audi, in our opinion both of these cars are the high-water marks for their respective brands. So, which would you rather have? Let’s start with the S8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on eBay

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10K Friday: The ones everyone wanted! S8 v. 740i Sport v. 560 SEL

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Two weeks ago I wrote up executive showdown which featured an A8L against a 745i and S500. The general consensus was that while most wanted the Audi, the Mercedes-Benz (though maybe not that particular one) was the better long-term purchase. Personally, I think Audis of this generation sometimes get an unwarranted reputation, but regardless few people really wanted any of these cars as almost all found some earlier generation more appealing. So, run the tape again, this time with the “Greatest Hits”! Let’s start with the Audi:

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Year: 2002
Model: S8
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 108,572 mi
Price: $9,950

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S8 on Web2Carz.com

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2002 Audi S8
4dr All-wheel Drive Quattro Sedan 4.2L
(full specs)

Engine:

Type: Premium unleaded..Cylinders: 8..Horse Power: 360..Variable Valve Timing..Max RPM: 7,000..Torque: 317..Max Torque RPM: 3,400..Compression Ratio: 11.00 : 1..Size: 4.2..Valve Gear: DOHC..Total Valves: 40..Engine Configuration: V..Displacement: 255..Vehicle Emissions: Federal
Transmission:

Number of speeds: 5..Manual / automatic: Automatic..Automatic type: Automatic
Fuel Econ:

15/21
Seating:

5
Safety:

Head airbags: Curtain 1st and 2nd row..Passenger Airbag: Yes..Traction control: ABS and driveline..Stability control: Yes..Child safety locks: Yes..Rear center seatbelt: 3-point belt..Seatbelt pretensioners: Front and rear
Convenience:

Cruise control..Power steering: Speed-proportional power steering..Steering wheel: Tilt and telescopic..Audio controls on steering wheel: Audio controls..Cupholders: Front and rear..Remote trunk release: Power..Door pockets: Driver, passenger and rear..Seatback storage: 2..Cargo net..12V DC power outlet: 2..Retained accessory power..Universal remote transmitter

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I can’t deny that I have a serious love affair with the S8. It just looks sooooooo right. This particular example looks splendid in the quite rare Irish Green Pearl and has the preferred look 18″ Avus wheels in good condition from the look of the photos. Interior also looks great, and mileage is low to average for the market. Timing belt service should have been performed so look for that to have been done, and also it appears there is front bumper damage (not uncommon on the low-slung S8), but at below $10,000, this car looks like the best bang for the buck in this group. Older Audis not your thing? How about a classicly styled BMW E38 740i Sport:

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Year: 2001
Model: 740i Sport
Engine: 4.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 111,513 mi
Price: $8,000 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 740i Sport on eBay

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VERY NICE 740I M SERIES

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Not much info, but this car looks splendid in classic black with equally classic M-Parallels. I love the look of these cars, they’re well proportioned and hide their weight cleverly. With around the same mileage of the Audi, this car is a little less complicated overall but consequently also offers less performance. But maybe performance isn’t your thing, and you’d like something a little more “classic” than the BMW? How about the dictator car of choice, a W126 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL?

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Year: 1990
Model: 560 SEL
Engine: 5.6 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 66,897 mi
Price: $7,999 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL on eBay

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This is a very clean 1990 Mercedes Benz 560 SEL sedan with 66890 miles. This Mercedes has been very well treated and maintained. This is a fully original Mercedes including the Becker stereo system. This 560 has front and rear seat heaters, and reclining rear seats, which are working properly.

We performed a road test as well as a safety and maintenance service on this vehicle in preparation for sale. The engine runs well and the automatic transmission shifts very nicely. All of the brake pads are in great shape as well. The oil and filters were just changed. I checked the equipment in this car for proper operation. I can verify that all of the following power equipment is working properly: All power windows, power door-locks, power seats, power sunroof, power mirror and antenna. The air conditioning and heat are working. All of the gauges and instrumentation are functioning properly. There aren’t any service or warning lights on.

The pearl grey paint is glossy and brilliant over the entire body. The exterior of this Mercedes is in very nice condition with only minor imperfections. There are some bumpers rub marks, a few bumps and some small scratches, but this car still looks really great. All of the trim is intact and in excellent condition, and the alloy wheels are clean, look great.

The interior has been very well maintained and is in terrific condition. All of the leather surfaces are soft and supple with very little wear, even on the driver side. The carpeting is clean and fluffy throughout this car. There aren’t any rips, holes or damage on the seats or carpeting in this Mercedes. The dash and door panels are in excellent condition without any cracks,fading or other damage. This was a non-smoker owned vehicle and there aren’t any smoke odors or burn marks inside this car.

The title is clear without any liens or encumbrances and is mileage are original. This is a beautiful 560 SEL in excellent condition. I would feel comfortable getting in and driving this Mercedes anywhere.

This Car has pass california smog inspection with no problem.

This vehicle is offer for sale by Econo Automotive Center Inc. We are a California licensed and bonded dealer. All California buyers must pay sales tax (varies), documentation fee ($60) , and DMV Registration Fee (varies) as well as SMOG check ($60)

All vehicles sold outside of California are exempt from all of the above fees. The buyer is responsible for registering the vehicle in their own state and paying the fees associated with doing so.

Buyers are to pay a $500 deposit within 24 hours of the ending of the auction and full payment due within 7 days.

PLEASE COME SEE THE CAR BEFORE BUYING OR CALL US FOR MOR INFO AT 714-697-6562 THIS CAR IS IN OUR PASADENA LOCATION.

BUYER PAYS FOR SHIPPING AND CARS HAVE TO BE PICKED UP WITH IN 21 DAYS

THIS CAR CAN BE SEEN IN PASADENA CA.

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This 560 looks to be in great shape, and while it’s probably the least exciting of the three there is something that is evergreen about the Mercedes-Benz models from this time period. They still exude luxury and opulence even though many of the features are found on base model Kias now. Truth be told, these cars all are bathed in luxury, and although I’m partial to the Audi, I think all three of these cars are winners and offer their own version of classic German motoring with a healthy dose of luxury on a shoe-string budget.

Which would you prefer?

-Carter

10K Friday: A8L v. 745i v. S500

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Today on 10K Friday we’re going to look at how much luxury you can buy for around $10,000. Unlike last week’s look at two sport sedans, today’s cars are more focused at isolating their drivers from the proletariat. It’s hard for some people to believe that on a Kia hatchback budget you can pick up a top-of-the-line German luxury car. But if you’re a fan of the bigger German cars, it should be no surprise that at around 10 years old, the value on them falls; but it’s a delicate balance between buying one that’s new enough that it won’t be a heap and buying one old enough that you can afford on a budget. Today we’re going to look at one from each marque; a 2004 Audi A8L, a 2004 BMW 745i, and a 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic. We’ll start with the Audi EDIT: it appears the original A8 sold; I have updated the links to a similar 2005 with slightly more miles:

Year: 2004
Model: A8L
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 101,551 mi
Price: $9,990 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A8L on eBay

2004 AUDI A8L AWD Quattro. Beautiful Sparkling green color with tan leather interior. Nice and Sharp Looking loaded with most of the options. Texas Owner. Even with slightly high miles, it runs and drives awesome. Non Smoker. Equipped with Navigation, Heated Seats, Xenon Lights. Engine sounds great and transmission shift swiftly. I personally drove it for over 50 miles and checked the A/C, alignment, and Suspension. NO flood, water. Clean Texas Title with no lien.

I have to say, I really like the light mint green, and that you can get into a D3 for under 10K. The interior on these cars is beautiful and well laid out; on the outside, while the D3 isn’t as pretty to me as the D2 was, it’s still quite a handsome car. I always felt the taillights were too large on this model, but like that this car does have acres of rear leg room. I haven’t heard of D3s suffering the same transmission issues that saddled D2s, and with just over 100,000 miles, there should be plenty of life in this mill. The front bumper shows signs of some curb contact and in typical fashion the dealer has failed to replace a few little things that would dress the car up ($10 centercap, anyone?), but the one item that would concern me is the trunk lid seems out of alignment; these mostly-aluminum A8s need special repairs if they’ve contacted something hard. If the thought of a higher mile Audi scares you too much, perhaps the BMW is for you:

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Year: 2004
Model: 745i
Engine: 4.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 119,140 mi
Price: $10,995 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 745i on eBay

2004 BMW 7 Series 745i
04 745i-119K-SPORT PKG-LUXURY SEATING PKG-XM RADIO-PARKING AID-NAVIGATION

The E65 won’t go down in many people’s books as a great looking car, and few would argue that it’s really good looking; but, it is stately and it’s hard to argue with the combination of a sport and luxury. This particular car was pretty well optioned with the sport package, cold weather package, luxury package, park distance control, and upgraded wheels. Kalahari Beige looks quite nice without dating the car too much. The interior is less well laid out than the Audi but still pretty trick and full of gadgets you can (and will need to) play with all day. Like the Audi, the drivetrains in these cars were pretty tried and true, so with normal maintenance one shouldn’t expect too many issues immediately. Bangle-era BMWs not your thing? Well, how about a Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic:

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Year: 2004
Model: S500 4Matic
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Mileage: 137,339 mi
Price: $8,863 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic on eBay

THIS MERCEDES RUNS,DRIVES AND BRAKES AS IT SHOULD.THIS CAR WAS INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT AND WAS CLAIMED TO BE TOTALED AND THE PREVIOUS CUSTOMER LIKED IT SO MUCH PURCHASED IT BACK FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND HAD IT FIXED AS EVIDENT ON THE AUTOCHECK REPORT.THIS CAR DOES HAVE A SALVAGE TITLE AND IS BEING REPRESENTED THAT WAY….THIS CAR IS BEING SOLD AS-IS NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED.THIS CAR HAS NOT BEEN THRU OUR SHOP AND WE RECOMMEND HAVING IT CHECKED OUT BY AND OUTSIDE GARAGE…..

Although this S-Class is the cheapest car here and sports the largest motor, there are items that give me pause; chief among which is the salvage title. However, repair costs on these cars “by the book” are sometimes so high, it’s not unusual to see totaled cars without tremendous damage. Provided it checks out, I’m not sure the title would scare me away as I don’t think this is a long term keeper anyway. The mileage is also higher than the other two, and like the E65, the W220 isn’t high on the “favorites” list of many enthusiasts. Despite this, they’re pretty solid cars that will quietly whisk you away from your daily grind.

Were it my money, hands down it would be the Audi. More power and lower weight than the Mercedes, less technologically dependent than the BMW, and better looking than both, to me that’s the winner of the group. Which one would you like to show off in?

-Carter