For many, the top dog of the E31 lineup for BMW was the 850CSi. Others will contest that aftermarket tuner Alpina got it just right with their modification of the 850CSi, the B12 5.7 Coupe. Let’s be honest though – great condition examples of those cars are hardly affordable for most, and the exotic performance comes with some potentially costly maintenance on the big V12. But I think our reader John may have spotted the perfect alternative to those cars, and it’s a bit unusual. When BMW launched the 840Ci, I remember initially thinking it was a bit of a letdown. After all, the company was seemingly running away from the signature V12 and replacing it with a smaller and less powerful V8. That, in many ways, doesn’t seem like progress. But the M60 produced 9/10s of the power of the M70, yet was less expensive and got better fuel economy. Of course, unfortunately it was also only available in the U.S. with the 5-speed automatic – and it was a lot less powerful than the CSi model. At least most of them are…
All posts tagged Supercharged
What’s the perfect commuter car? Well, that varies by your definition of commuter, how far you need to drive and how much traffic you encounter, and what your goal is – do you want high mileage, or perhaps you want extreme comfort and isolation. But I’d like to think that a fair amount of our readership would love to have a dual purpose car. It would be something that wouldn’t be a collector-status car, but yet one that was unique and not often seen. It would combine comfort and affordability. While some would opt for automatics, I’m sure a larger percentage would choose to row-their-own boat. Fuel mileage, while gas is cheap now, would probably still be a consideration, as would maintenance. And finally, when the traffic cleared and there was a empty bit of road, most of us like to squeeze the pedal down that bit further and be rewarded by and entertaining push in the back. That’s a difficult grouping of characteristics to achieve in one package, but I’d like to suggest that this 318ti might just be the car.
The Club Sport was the answer to the question that effectively no one was asking in 1995; depending on the source, BMW sold a reported 200-300 of them in 1995 only. What the option 9530 got you was a 318ti hatchback that had been breathed upon by BMW Individual. Added were 16″ sport wheels, M3 front bumper, rocker trim and mirrors and a special rear bumper. But it was more than an appearance package, because it also received a M-tuned suspension, special steering wheel and shift knob and uniquely trimmed Millpoint M-cloth sport seats. The seller of this car has brought the performance up to M levels, though, with the addition of a PSS9 coilover suspension, double spoke M3 wheels and supercharger to the M42 inline-4:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 318ti Club Sport on eBay
Tuned cars from the 1980s were never particularly discrete, nor were they cheap or easy to come by. Tuners like Treser, in an effort to get more power out of the notoriously non-tunable CIS injection system that adorned nearly all German cars in the 1980s, got creative by taking a 928 fuel distributor for the V8 motor and sticking it on the inline-5 turbo unit. Others, like AMG, took the biggest motor they could build and stuck that into a bunch of different cars. Ruf turned up the boost on the 911 range by moving the turbocharged flat-6 into narrow-body cars. But none of this came cheaply, nor were these tuned cars always the most reliable. When it came to the period of electronic fuel injection, though, things started to change. The first chip-tuned cars also had some bad habits; my father’s chipping 944 Turbo, for example, runs quite rich and if you engage the cruise control, the computer believes you want to go 170 m.p.h. and plants the throttle wide open. But they’ve become increasingly reliable and almost a given; plus they’re cheap. On a car like my 1.8T Passat, you can get a reflash of the ECU with programmable modes for around $500; it can be done in just a few moments, and adds somewhere in the vicinity of 50 horsepower and 80 lb.ft of torque. As such, if you really want to go wild in a tuned car these days, simply changing the ECU to a hotter map isn’t enough. No, if you’re someone like Ruf, you’re still pushing the bounds – or, perhaps, compressing them:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ruf Kompressor on eBay
Almost five years on, every time I slip behind the wheel of my 2006 MINI Cooper S, it still puts a smile on my face. I remember the first time I drove one of these supercharged pocket rockets almost a decade ago. I thought to myself “someday, you’ll be mine.” After four years of running a 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230, I finally had enough of the 7-speed automatic AKA the gearbox with a personality disorder. I was lusting after something more fun, and with a manual gearbox. And seeing how much my father enjoyed his 2002 MINI Cooper, I went to work in search of a final year R53 Cooper S. It’s been a fairly trouble free ownership experience and I don’t see myself selling it anytime soon.
Two years before the R53 hardtop disappeared, MINI payed homage to their past with the Cooper S MC40. Dedicated to Mini’s historic win at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, this car was equipped with the Sport Package, driving lights, special interior trim, magnetic body decals and a numbered plaque with Paddy Hopkirk’s signature. One color was offered, Chili Red with a White roof. This MC40 for sale in Florida has just over 60,000 miles. Even with the limitless color and trim combinations MINI offers, this special edition is a good way to stand out from the crowd.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 MINI Cooper S MC40 on eBay
When looking at E36 M3s, there are many different approaches. Do you want the lowest mileage example around in case they go the way of the E30-dodo? Perhaps you’re looking for a driver-quality, mid-mileage example. Is it four-doors or nothing? (For my money it would be!) Or maybe you’re a bit more adventurous and 240hp just won’t do so you’re after some performance mods, maybe even a supercharger?
These are all rational approaches to one of the best performance bargains available today and illustrate what a broad spectrum of driving enthusiasm the E36 M3 can fulfill. For today, however, just one item composed my rubric: WHICH ONE HAS THE BIGGEST WING? Well, folks, I’m confident I’ve found it, and as opposed to the rear-view problems monster wings typically present, this one avoids that problem altogether by just placing the spoiler higher than the roof!
Now, the reason this car has a GT3RS-rivaling spoiler is because it’s been fully outfitted for the track. A supercharger and upgraded exhaust/suspension/brakes combine with a rollcage in the bare interior to make this M3 all about the go, not show. Which rationalizes the wing a bit – sure, it looks silly, but with the S52B30 putting out over 400hp at the crank now, some high-speed stability is a prudent priority. Somehow registered for the street, this complete track build clearly demands a closed course so you can exercise this E36’s full potential instead of garnering Nelson Muntz-ish “Ha Ha!”s from the general public.