Wagon Week: 1995 BMW 530i Touring

Yesterday I wrote up a very clean ’94 525i Touring for sale here in California with only 76,000 miles on the clock. Right after I save that piece I ran another search for E34 wagons and came across this example for sale in Waco, Texas. Though it is the same color, it differs in a number of ways from the first car and I thought it would make for an interesting would you rather sort of question to round out my Wagon Week posts.

More often than not I have trouble deciding between two cars that are very similar vs. ones that are very different. Throughout the course of my recent car shopping adventures I’ve looked at everything from the new M235i to a 911 SC Targa, the latter mostly just out of pure curiosity, lord knows I can’t afford one. However now that I’ve narrowed my search down to 5 different cars, all from the same manufacturer and all sharing design traits, I’m finding it even more difficult to make a decision. I think choosing between an old Porsche and a new BMW would have been far easier than choosing either an E34 or E39 5 Series. Harder still would be to choose between the car you see here and the 525i Touring I posted yesterday.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 530iT

1990 BMW 318i Touring

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As we round out Wagon Week, let’s take a trip to Deutschland to look at one of the cleanest, most compact longroofs around. The E30 Touring is just now importable to the US but is still quite a rarity on these shores. In Europe you can find them in all varieties and in all sorts of condition, but today’s little 318i is quite a gem. Having covered less than 50k miles in its quarter century, it looks stunning inside and out, especially with the always-excellent Shadowline trim option. The grey cloth looks clean as new and I much prefer it in these cars to the ubiquitous leather we get in Bimmers here; it’s a nice reminder that, while very cool, this is also a utilitarian, base-model little wagon. These days we Americans are starting to have access to some great E30 Tourings including the beefy 325ix, but it’s hard to beat this red 318i for good-looking simplicity and value.

Click for details: 1990 BMW 318i Touring on Mobile.de

Wagon Week: 1964 Volkswagen Type 3 Variant

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We’ve seen a fair number of Type 3 Volkswagens recently here at GCFSB, notably a rather tasty Type 3 Notchback show up in our Feature Listings earlier this week. However, since we are wrapping up another successful Wagon Week, let’s take a look at the long roof version of the Type 3, the Variant. Known to those stateside as the Squareback, the Variant was a two-door estate model with the familiar “pancake” rear-mounted air-cooled flat four engine. Today we’ll travel across the pond and take a look at a Variant for sale in Lisbon, Portugal.

Click for details: 1964 Volkswagen Type 3 Variant on Mobile.de

Wagon Week: 1994 BMW 525i Touring

 

When I come across clean E34 wagons like this one I always wonder what kind of life it has lived, what allowed it go all these years unscathed when so many of its siblings get destroyed by time. At 21 years old this 525iT has fewer miles on it than the majority of used cars from the past decade that we regularly feature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no garage queen. 72,600 on the clock is a fair amount but compared to the majority of examples out there with more than double that figure under their belt, this is a very low mile car indeed. Aside from the attractive odometer reading the car appears to be in fantastic cosmetic condition inside and out. The Iceland Green Metallic paint over Parchment Leather is as classy as can be and quickly becoming my favorite combo for old Bimmers. Whomever this thing belonged to, they certainly babied it because the front seats show no sign of stress or wear. The rear seats and cargo area look like they’ve barely been used which is particularly unusual for these cars. I keep going back and clicking through all the pictures over and over again thinking I’m going to find something I missed. A tear in the carpet, a stain, a rip in the headliner, something that indicates that this car was used as intended over the past two decades. However there’s nothing there, no red flags, no catch. Just a damn fine example of a wonderfully designed wagon that is ready to serve for many years to come.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 525iT on AutoTrader

Wagon Week: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI

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When I think roadtrip vehicle, my mind immediately goes to the frugal and capable Jetta TDI. When driven carefully, they can far exceed their standard MPG ratings while swallowing tons of gear. All this with class-leading comfort and style in the interior. My main gripe is the unattractive front end, but in my dreams I just throw a TDI Cup front end on it, creating a seriously good-looking wagon. This 2009 Sportwagen has a lot of positives – low mileage, 6-speed manual, panoramic roof and premium sound are all boxes I’d want ticked. The glaring downside is the rebuilt title, which we know is always a big liability. A full inspection could suss out if the driver’s-side collision really was minor and if everything is good to go. Rebuilt titles mean low resale values – maybe not ideal if you sell it in the future, but if everything checks out it creates an insane deal on an ultimate roadtrip machine.

Click for details: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI on eBay

Wagon Week: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate

When I think German station wagon, one thing comes to mind for yours truly. Mercedes-Benz. Specifically, the E-class T-modell, as it is known in its native Germany. In the late 1970s, the W123 T-modell would be the first factory produced five-door and would prove to be a popular hauler stateside, with production lasting into 1985 and many of these cars still roaming the streets to this day. The W124 300 series would then succeed the W123, which would later be renamed the E-class for the 1994 model year. Thankfully, the E-class estate is still with us to this day in the US marketplace, available either in E350 4Matic form or in bonkersE63 AMG trim like the one we featured on Monday. So if an SUV doesn’t float your boat, then you still have the option of going with a good, old-fashioned wagon. Provided you have the funds. If not, this 1995 E320 estate for sale in Quebec might be more up your alley. Originally a US car, this E320 was imported to Canada three years ago. Sure, it has 150,000 miles on the odometer, but this well-kept example has a lot more life left to give.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz E320 Estate on eBay

Wagon Week: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive

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I’m not a huge fan of buying new cars – my brain just doesn’t see the logic in accepting instant depreciation as the price for being the very first person to own a car. I clearly lean towards well-used classics anyway, but at the very least a certified pre-owned car seems like the way to go if you want something modern. I have to make an exception here because somewhere along the line of bloating and modernization, BMW decided to make a car that seemed as likely as an albino unicorn not long ago – a turbodiesel, all-wheel drive, M-packaged station wagon. I’m getting used to the newer BMW styling and almost liking it, especially here on a white longroof spiffed up with black M accents and two-tone 20-spoke wheels reminiscent of the E39 M5’s all-time-great rims. Too bad that it doesn’t have a manual, but these 8-speed autos are supposed to be excellent. Overall, it’s pretty epic as far as new cars go, but then again so is its price.

Click for details: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive on eBay

Wagon Week: 2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring

I’ll be the first to admit that I was very late to the E91 touring party. When it debuted, I was still far more interested in the Audi S4 and Subaru Legacy Turbo. In fact, up until I began to take a healthier interest in the world of BMWs, I didn’t associate the brand with AWD long roofs at all even though they have a storied history within the segment. When I thought of BMW wagons I thought of a ’91 525i that belonged to some friends of my parents. At the time that car seemed like nothing special but oh if I could turn back the clock and get my hands on it now I’d be a happy man. Dark green with a brown leather interior, M Parallel wheels, let me tell you, that thing was gorgeous. The idea that BMW made a nice wagon began to percolate and it wasn’t long before I found myself adding the E91 to my regular internet searches.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 328i xDrive Estate On AutoTrader

Wagon Week: 2008 BMW 328xi Touring

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While we certainly all love the idea of the pavement-stomping, Bahn-burner muscle wagons, sometimes that just isn’t practical. Yes, I dream of RS6 Avants, smile at the many E63 Wagons in my area and fanboyishly took tons of iPhone pictures when I saw an M5 Touring (with foreign plates), but those crazy longroofs are as expensive and rare as they are awesome. For the family-man enthusiast, a spruced-up standard model can be a more achievable dream. Today’s E91 fits that bill perfectly, accentuating the sharp, long lines of this generation of 3-series wagons with an M3 front bumper and very low coilovers. The OEM+ look is continued with 19″ Style 95 wheels off a 7-series, while the car also comes with blacked-out 5-series rims as well as the originals. The clean look is continued inside with a gorgeous brown leather interior. It may not be the craziest performer, but it’s a beautiful and useful wagon that will make trips to school, the grocery store, and sports practices a little more special.

Click for details: 2008 BMW 328xi Touring on eBay

Wagon Week: 1996 Volkswagen Passat TDi Variant

There are plenty of popular Volkswagens that demand premiums, sometimes inexplicably. These special models have a draw and demand money that makes people laugh. Sure, in the car world, it’s become accepted that vehicles like the 21 window Samba are now $100,000 plus fully restored; however, tell that to my father-in-law, who grew up driving them, and you’ll get nothing but boisterous laughs. Other Volkswagens exhibit charm or were class leaders; the GTi, the Vanagon Westy, the Corrado – stylish in their own ways, with charm to match. Then there’s the Passat. Despite the serious popularity of the B5 and B5.5 chassis, I still feel like I need to explain to people that they’re really quite nice cars. Do you know why? Mostly it’s because of the reputation of the B3 and B4 Passats. Poor build quality coupled with an unerring tendency of early 90s Volkswagens to rust heavily meant they’re an odd choice for the Volkswagen fan. And when I consider the B4 Passat, all I can think is that it’s arguably the most vanilla Volkswagen ever produced. I praised Volkswagen when they launched the B3; smooth, aerodynamic with a distinctive wedge shape, it looked very different than any other sedan on sale at the time. Most of that distinction came down to the grill-less front end, but regardless it was cool. It was so cool, in fact, that no one got it. Of course, it didn’t help that it was pretty expensive and not particularly reliable in the best trend of early 90s VWs. So it probably came as no surprise when the revised B4 Passat in 1995 when more mainstream. New wheels, mostly new body panels and some minor interior changes signaled its introduction, but that’s not what people sought. No, the big news was under the hood; Volkswagen moved the 1Z 1.9 TDi into the Passat – and behind the headlines of the Vans, Corrados and GTis, it’s probably the most sought 1990s Volkswagen – especially in 5-speed Variant form.…