1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V with 23,000 Miles

1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V with 23,000 Miles

As I covered in my last 90 quattro 20V post, while the sedan version of the small chassis mated with the 7A dual-cam EFI inline-5 may not have looked quite as sexy and evocative as the Coupe version, it was a bit quicker and more rare. That’s carried over to today; with such a small pool to begin with at only around an estimate of 1,000 imported here over the short 2-year production cycle, it bears to reason 25 plus years later there won’t be many in good shape. Factor in the typical Audi depreciation and lack of careful ownership downstream, and coming across a 90 quattro 20V like today’s 23,000 mile example is just to the left of impossible:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V on eBay

1 of 1: Dakar Yellow 2003 BMW 325xi Touring Individual

1 of 1: Dakar Yellow 2003 BMW 325xi Touring Individual

“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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 325xi Touring on 1023 Motors

1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.

And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.

Car and Driver immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.

Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, while ’98 gave us the Avant and more potent 30V V6. Okay, it didn’t pack a knockout punch, but new wheels and a sport package, along with a subtle refresh to the tail lights, gave the model a more sporty look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

Time does funny things to how you view cars. In 2001, I couldn’t have been less excited to see an A4 1.8T, especially in Tiptronic form. It was the car that finally made Audi solvent, granted – and as an Audi enthusiast, that should have made me happy. But it also brought a group of Johnny-come-latelys to the brand, steering BMW 3-Series buyers away from their tried and trusted steeds. I don’t know why this should have bothered me, but it did.

As a result, I sort of swore off the A4 for a long time. It was too heavy, too underpowered, too round. The 1.8T, even rated at an upgraded 170 horsepower later in the run, felt pretty underwhelming to drive even compared to the glacier-slow inline-5s I grew up with. The seats and interior felt cheap even though they looked more modern than the E36 and certainly more so than the B4 and B3 generation. In short, the A4 felt like a gimmick, and while the market bought it, I didn’t.

Fast forward now 21 years since the launch of the B5, and I have a much greater appreciation for the model. It’s on the verge of being vintage in some states (or already may be, depending on your local laws) which is about as boggling to the mind as considering a billionaire a “populist”. The popularity of the A4 led it to be the first “disposable” Audi, so finding a clean and lower mile A4 has become difficult. But they’re out there if you look, and even the ‘lowly’ 1.8T model has its appeal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on eBay

2001 BMW 530i

2001 BMW 530i

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It’s been more than a decade since the E60 BMW 5 series debuted and most will agree that time hasn’t been too kind to that design. Too often, what is radical and forward thinking at a certain time becomes another man’s dated design a few years down the road. For many, however, the E39 5 series was the watershed for BMW’s mid-sized sedan. It brought us one of the most beloved M5s of all, packing a 4.9 liter V8 mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Offered in both sedan and Touring format with a wide range of engines, the bread and butter model would be the 530i, which could be optioned with a Sport Package for those looking to tart up their ride with some M bits, tighter suspension and more aggressive wheel and tire package. This 530i for sale in Arizona looks sharp in monochromatic Royal Red with the Style 66 alloy wheels.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 530i on eBay

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant

On paper, the Passat W8 4Motion Variant like the one I wrote up early in August was the enthusiast with a family’s dream; an understated, all-wheel drive eight cylinder wagon with BBS wheels, smart styling and a not-outrageous asking price. I mean, it wasn’t cheap, but it wasn’t RS7 money. You could even get a manual. But it was complicated, and ultimately, it was still a $40,000 Passat. The W8, while silky smooth, also was a bit underwhelming in the power department. Out of 4 liters, despite all the engine trickery, it produced only 270 horsepower – only 20 more than its contemporary 2.7 V6 twin-turbo sibling S4/Allroad/A6s could. In many ways, while the model that replaced it seemed a bit more tame in the headline department, it’s actually the one to get:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion Variant on eBay

Mystic Fiver: 2006 BMW 530xi Touring

Mystic Fiver: 2006 BMW 530xi Touring

Well, it’s been a few weeks so I suppose that it’s time to introduce the newest addition to the GCFSB fleet. My wife and I spent months searching for a potential replacement to her Subaru Outback. She had bought the Subbie new in 2006, and under warranty it had been a great car. However, once out of warranty it had been problematic; unable to go much more than 10,000 miles without eating a wheel bearing, dumping oil all over the exhaust or any other number of various maladies. The “big one” was the timing belt service at 103,500 miles; already pricey on Subarus, it became obvious as we got close that the 2.5 liter boxer was suffering from the notorious head gasket failure. A $800 job soon became a $2,800 job. As my wife pointed out, those are the types of repairs you’d expect on a nicer German car, but not ones you’d associate with the stars of Pleiades. How Subaru has managed to maintain a reputation for quality is beyond me, and with prices of new Outbacks well into the $30,000 range, suddenly the gap to some of the German cars wasn’t so outrageous.…

Rare Air: 2004 BMW 330Ci

Rare Air: 2004 BMW 330Ci

If the R107 560SL was the expression of luxurious drop-top motoring in the late 1980s, the BMW 3-series convertible became a fixture of summer homes, sun-up top-down motoring along the coast, and adding a touch of sport to 4-seat open air drives thereafter. They’re intensely popular; I don’t live in the most convertible friendly area of the country by any means, but you can’t go much more than a few miles without seeing at least one convertible 3-series around me. They typically come in two flavors around here; look at me M3s and base model 325 or 328 models. But the E46 330 struck a balance between the two, offering a fair bit of sport without the bills associated with the M badge. Powered by the M54 to the tune of nearly 230 horsepower (even more in the ZHP package cars), the 330Ci was also a great looking car especially when equipped with the Sport Package. However, this particular example has some really specially selected options that make it one of the prettiest E46 convertibles I’ve seen in a while:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330Ci on eBay

2000 BMW 323Ci

2000 BMW 323Ci

Sometimes it’s not the performance of a car that catches my eye; case in point, today’s bottom-of-the-E46 range for the U.S. market 323Ci. The budget entry, these often seemed to be snapped up by junior executive types that wanted to say they owned a brand new BMW, but couldn’t actually afford a brand new BMW. Yet that’s not the car’s fault, and it’s a lovely design. For a budget coupe with a fair amount of practicality and a special feel, the 323Ci works just fine. This particular car is presented in rarely seen Light Yellow Metallic and is interestingly optioned with Sport Package and little else:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 323Ci on eBay

2000 BMW 528i Touring

2000 BMW 528i Touring

Recently my wife and I have been discussing getting a new wagon down the road, and while for some time it seemed like Audi would be the natural choice, the dearth of recent Audi wagons has had us looking other places. BMW? Sure, the new 328 Sport Wagons in either turbocharged inline-4 or diesel configuration are nice, but have you checked out the prices? Staring at $42,000 for the cheapest, it’s not hard to brush up against $60,000 – for a 3-series. It certainly makes options like the awesomely better looking new Volvo V60 look much more appealing. But I’ve also looked backwards a bit, to see if there’s something older that could suit the needs. I’m putting together a wagon roundup of some options I’ve come across for later this week, but this particular example was too good to pass up. From the great looking E39 chassis, this 528i Touring also features the Sport Package and a manual transmission. Granted, this isn’t the speed freak’s weapon of choice, but a clean example of a very nice classic design:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special.…

1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro

1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro

The models of the B5 chassis A4 seemed to bring changes nearly every year. 1996 was the launch year for the mostly new but evolutionary A4; it was, for most intents, quite similar mechanically to the outgoing 90 quattro, which itself seemed to receive upgrades nearly every year. 1997 brought some major changes though; the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged motor into the lineup signaled the first time the small chassis Audi had forced induction outside of diesel motors. To celebrate, Audi offered the turbo 4 in some exclusive colors called “Cool Shades”. These were, in fact, part of the earlier “Lifestyle” colors that had been available on the B4 chassis; Brilliant Yellow, Tropical Green, and Aquarel Green were offered alongside Pelican Blue (which replaced the earlier and quite similar Kingfisher Blue) were exclusive colors to the 1.8T in 1997. Select the sport package, and you’d also get the Jacquard Satin cloth along with the 16″ 5-spoke wheels shared with the 2.8 models and a 3-spoke sport steering wheel. Though 1.8T A4s are a dime a dozen, with these options selected they’re quite rare – and of those Cool Shade exterior colors, Aquarel Green Metallic might be the rarest:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

2003 BMW 525i 5-speed manual

2003 BMW 525i 5-speed manual

It’s human nature to aspire after things that may seem out of reach in life. Such is the case with automobiles, as many of us can relate who read this site daily. Sure, we’d love to bomb around in high powered German vehicles but in practice, it is less than practical at times. So a car like this 2003 BMW 525i with the Sport Package for sale in Philadelphia could be an ideal compromise for those lusting after an M5 but who may not have an M5-sized budget. Equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, it will help make the most of the 184 horsepower produced by the 2.5 liter inline-6 under the hood.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 525i on eBay

2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring 6-speed manual

2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring 6-speed manual

If there’s one type of car that has a rabid following amongst enthusiasts it is wagons with a manual gearbox. The number of new cars available in this form is few. Good used examples are fast disappearing, with the folks who own and love them hanging on to them like the coin of the realm. The 2007 BMW 328xi Touring we featured early this month sold in short order to another enthusiast who contacted us directly seeking more information. Hopefully, we’ll soon have a recap of that story. In the meantime, if you missed the 2007 E91 Touring, here’s one of the last E91 Tourings for sale in Massachusetts sent to us by our reader Adam, painted in a lesser seen shade of Vermilion Red.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 328 xDrive Touring 6-speed manual at Topsfield Motor Company