Debuting at the end of the 1990s, the BMW Z8 arrived during a time when carmakers were exploring the retro styling theme, such as Volkswagen with their New Beetle and Ford with their revived Thunderbird. The Z8 was meant to harken back to the 1950s during the heyday of the 507, a limited production V8 roadster that made an impact with its dramatic styling. Fast forward to 1999 and the Z8 arrived with a V8, this time shared with the E39 M5. The engine was placed aft of the front axle for optimum weight distribution. One innovation the car employed was neon lighting for its tail lamps and turn signals. This was perhaps an answer to what modern day LED lighting can offer. Most Z8s you come across are silver, but this Topaz Blue over red leather example is a real eye-catching combination.
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Here we have a very fine example of a car I still think falls into the drastically underrated category despite its reputation amongst those in the know. The 1 Series is viewed by most as a Bangle era failure to modernize the formula that made BMW famous, a tightly packaged two door with a solid powerplant under the hood. While the 128i is no slouch, the 135i with its 300 hp twin-turbo inline-6 is the only spec I’d consider. Add in the M Sport package which gives the car six piston calipers up front, two piston calipers in the rear, a very nice perforated steering wheel/shift knob and super comfortable sport seats. I’ve sat in one of these cars with and without the M-Sport package and in opinion, the M Sport package is a must. Without it the 1 Series appears rather basic, especially the 2008 to 2010 pre-facelift models. Aside from visual tweaks that really tightened up the overall look of the car, from 2011-on the 135i got the N55 inline-6 which used a single twin-scroll turbocharger to make the same power as the N54 and its two turbochargers. While having a twin-turbo motor sounds cool, it’s really just one extra part to worry about. The N55 has less turbo lag, better low rev torque, lower emissions and is more fuel efficient than its predecessor. I’d call that a no contest victory.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 135i M Sport on AutoTrader
An odd reversal has occurred in the BMW world; go back even five years and the car from the 1980s – outside of the M1 – was the M6. Now, oddly, the M6 may be the best value going in Motorsport BMWs from the 1980s. What caused the turn around? Well, it certainly had little to do with the M6, and probably more to do with the inevitable acknowledgement that the more rare M5 was a great car too, and the E30 has equally gained status as – effectively – a 911 replacement. So the M6, the grandest of BMW’s grand touring lineup, has become relatively affordable for the performance level offered. The extra benefit of it’s high residual price has been that most have been kept in excellent condition overall; while it’s normal to see highly modified or ratty M3s and M5s, finding pristine M6s almost seems cliche; odd, considering the relatively low number produced. Even more affordable than the later M6s was the M6 prototype; the M635CSi. While never imported to the U.S., a fair amount made it here through the grey market long before the M products debuted in this market. With an even more potent version of the inline-6, the M1-detuned M88/3, coupled with lower weight, these early M6s were even more impressive performers than the later cars. However, unlike the later M6s, finding clean and unmolested M635CSis is more difficult as lower residual value on the grey market cars meant they were sometimes neglected or more heavily modified:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW M635CSi on eBay
When it was introduced, the BMW M Roadster quickly caught the attention of those who thought the non-Motorsport variety Z3 Roadster was a bit weak in the knees. Even though the US version was initially short on horsepower versus its Euro market counterpart, 240 horsepower was nothing to sneeze at in such a small package. Then the M Coupe arrived on the scene. Still a two-seater, this sports car with a breadvan profile was a bit misunderstood at first. Now, however, it’s popularity is eclipsing that of the M Roadster, leaving prices for the open roofed version lagging a bit. This M Roadster for sale in Florida is a lower mileage example, wearing the rare Evergreen hue that at times polarizes opinions.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 BMW M Roadster on eBay
The Dakar Yellow BMW M3 Sedan we featured late last year is back on offer. If you need a bit of practicality with your M car serving, there are few better formulas than the E36 M3 sedan.