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Author: Andrew

Coupe Week: 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series

465 lb-ft of torque, that’s a whole lot of twist. It’s stump pulling, Cummins diesel, father in-law impressing amounts of torque. The CLK63 AMG Black Series is more or less a street legal DTM car and it still baffles me that anyone with a valid drivers license and enough money can operate one of these vehicles. I know a couple people who have driven these cars and all of them get this particular look in their eyes when they talk about it, part fear, part respect, part lust. For a vehicle based on the rather bland C209 platform, the Black Series is a striking car that demands attention via its flared fenders and bonkers soundtrack.

Oddly enough the Black Series flies under the radar in the enthusiast community, it rarely comes up in conversation when discussing the most insane cars of the past decade. Perhaps it’s because Mercedes only built it for two years or because it came out around the time of the Audi S5. Though the S5 was much slower, I think it was a whole hell of a-lot better looking and the 8T3 platform interior was far ahead of that of the comparable Mercedes. The ergonomics of all the C209 coupes leave much to be desired, AMG goodies or not. I’ve been baby sitting a CLK 350 for the past couple weeks and the cabin completely disappoints me every time I get in it. The buttons feel cheap, many of them are exactly where I wouldn’t want them to be and the whole package seems to be phoned in overall.  However, I’d be willing to put up with that lackluster interior in exchange for access to 507hp and I’m willing to bet you might be too.

Click for details: 2008 Mercedes Benz CLK63 Black Series On Cars.com

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Feature Listing: 1998 BMW M3 Sedan

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The E36 M3 is the first M car that I can remember obsessing over. Ever since I got a die cast model of an E36 coupe race car in 6th grade, I’ve dreamt of flying around a track in one of these legendary machines, S52 wailing away at the top of the rev range. While it may be a bit longer before I can fully realize that dream, it seems fate decided to throw me a bone because I finally got some seat time in an E36 and it just so happens to be this very car. That’s right, the M3 which you see before you hath been driven by yours truly. The current custodian of this vehicle lives about 5 minutes away from me so naturally I had to lay eyes and hands on this vehicle if I was to write about it.

Honestly I was a little worried that the car wouldn’t live up to my lofty expectations. I have done my best to quiet the inner child in me that sees these vehicles as something extraordinary and instead look at them as the elevated daily driver that they are. After all if you think about the lineage of the M3, it’s kinda crazy that BMW decided to build a 4-door version. Then again, this was the 1990s, a glorious time for sport sedans, when crossovers were but a tickle in a designers finger and car design was, restrained.

Click for details: 1998 BMW M3 on Los Angeles’ Craigslist

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Coupe Week: 1998 BMW 328is

Occasionally I’ll come across a car that at first glance seems dingy and hardly worth my time writing about. Such was the case with this E36 BMW 328is, but upon closer inspection of the photos I thought it worth posting. The rear seats appear to be in fantastic condition, same goes for the front passenger seat. The drivers seat does appear to have a normal amount of wear for the vehicle’s age but no cracks, tears or other egregious blemishes are mentioned. The owner has added sport pedals and an M shift knob which are nice little touches.

If I have one gripe it’s that they didn’t put more time into properly photographing the vehicle. I know not everyone is a master of automotive photography but it’s pretty easy to copy what the professional listers on eBay do and apply it to your own post. Lack of photographs of a car from every angle will only make potential buyers concerned that something is being hidden, though in this particular case I think it’s just laziness.

Click for details: 1998 BMW 328is on eBay

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2006 BMW M Coupe

The E86 Z4 M Coupe is one of those vehicles I never much cared for until very recently. When it debuted in 2006 I remember being aware of its existence and that’s about it. I’d bet I’m not the only one with a story like this either, as the M was always in the shadow of the Cayman S and its design was divisive to say the least.

I think the years have been good to the car and its certainly one of the better designs from the Bangle era. Look at it long enough and lines that at first seem frivolous begin to soften and become pleasing to the eye. The most offensive visual issue I have with the E86 is that it can be kind of dorky looking from a head on perspective. The car appears oddly wide in the front before tapering off in the back. I blame this on the bulging fenders that should have housed wider wheels from the get go. I’ve seen models with staggered setups and meaty tires that properly fill the wheel wells, giving the car a seriously badass, aggressive look. Were I to get one of these getting the stance right would be thing to do right away.

Beyond getting it setup to maximize the curb appeal, there’s not a whole lot you need to do with an M Coupe. The M didn’t suffer from the much criticized electro-mechanical power assist steering like the regular Z4’s and the high revving S54 engine is the stuff of legend. Known for its durability and the noise it can create, the iron block was given one piece aluminum head castings for reduced weight, modified camshafts and 87mm bore cylinders that increased displacement to 3,246cc. Suspension wise these cars were pretty hard edged in stock form and that has always been the major gripe about it in the automotive community. Furthermore, for about the same money you could get a Cayman S, which could be optioned with PASM, allowing you to choose when you wanted to realign you spine and when you wanted a more comfortable ride. Also the Cayman S is in my opinion is a much better looking vehicle but the M Coupe does have the edge on the Cayman in one very important category, the interior.

Having test driven a 2007 Cayman S just this past week I can tell you that the seats and the steering wheel left a lot to be desired, and those things shine on the M Coupe. The wheel in the Cayman was large and thin whereas the wheel in the M Coupe is thick and just about the perfect size. The Cayman I drove did have the sport seats but they sure didn’t feel like it. I’ve only sat in the M Coupe once and boy I tell ya, those seats leave no question as to the sporting intentions of the car. I suppose that makes sense as from what I’ve read, the Cayman S is much more useable as a daily driver than the M Coupe, a conclusion that I find surprising. A Porsche that’s not as hardcore as a BMW? Just sounds wrong but the mid Aughts were a strange time for everyone I suppose.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW M Coupe ON EBAY

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2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat. The E39 BMW 5 series is the best looking sedan ever made. It is the pinnacle of balanced design and it’s beauty is only accentuated by the garish abomination that succeeded it. Show me someone who says they love their “Bangle Butt” 5 series and I’ll show you a person in serious denial. BMW tired to scale back the ugly on the F10 but it’s still a bloated boat compared to the clean, svelte E39.

Growing up I was obsessed with the hottest version of this beautifully thought out machine, the E39 M5. One of my favorite pro skateboarders had two of them and could be seen thoroughly enjoying them in his video parts. At age 15 a blacked out M5 with “peanut butter” interior was THE car and it remains a vehicle that I am still in lust with. However I’m a bit more educated than I was back then and I know that while the M5 is the lead, there is an equally impressive supporting player in the cast, the 540i M-Sport.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Tech on USE

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2007 Porsche Cayman S

I don’t like to make assumptions, especially within the automotive community as doing so is often met skepticism as to your intelligence and overall ability to function as a human being. That being said, I’m going to make two assumptions right now.

One: You were online yesterday and saw the new Porsche Cayman GT4 which you instantly fell in love with.

Two: You cannot afford the Porsche Cayman GT4.

I think these are fair assumptions to make because I’m a German Cars For Sale Blog reader and so are you. I’d love to have the fully clapped out brand new Cayman but given that I’m an automotive blogger, that’s just not in the cards. The first gen Cayman S on the other hand is well within the reach of many an automotive enthusaist and not just the high mileage beater ones either. Many a nicely equipped Cayman S can be found with around 50-80k miles on the clock for a reasonable price. For example, this one down in Dallas, TX has all the options you need and none that you don’t.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Porsche Cayman S on eBay

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1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor

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At age 10 I was really into collecting die-cast models from Maisto and I vividly remember picking up a 1/18 scale version of the car you see above. As a 10 year old a model of a bright yellow roadster with a functional folding top seems pretty damn cool but only a few short years later after seeing a real one I found myself thinking “that car is so lame.” Of course it was completely due to the circumstances in which I saw the car (tacky retirees at the wheel) and the fact that my automotive tastes had begun to shift towards overwrought Japanese vehicles. If only I had realized in my youth what I have realized now, the R170 SLK is a pretty nifty little car and holds an important place in Mercedes Benz history.

With it’s folding steel convertible top the first gen SLK was quite the head turner in it’s debut year. Mercedes sold 55,000 of the retro-futuristic roadsters worldwide and it snagged the title of North American Car of the Year from Car & Driver in 1998. Weighing a respectable 3,036 lbs. and featuring a 185hp supercharged inline-4 engine, the SLK 230 Kompressor moved from naught to 60 in 7.2 seconds which for the olden days of the late ’90s was pretty good. It marked Mercedes’ return to making a light little roadster with a four cylinder engine, something they hadn’t done since the glory days of the 190SL. I think it’s safe to say that had the SLK not been successful, Mercedes may not have figured out that it’s ok to put smaller motors in their cars when it suits the chassis.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 on eBay

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2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Please give a warm welcome to our newest writer at GCFSB, Andrew Maness. Andrew is active with his own page over at Jalopnik, The Road Less Driven. Welcome Andrew!

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For most people owning a 911 falls into the same category as traveling the world on yacht with the Pirelli calendar girls, you’d love for it to happen but it’s highly unlikely. For the briefest of moments some of us regular folks could go out and scoop up a 911 SC or 964 at a relatively reasonable price, but thanks to the internet, that ship has sailed. These days there’s only one generation of 911 left where the cost of admission to the “Stuttgart Originals” club is within reach, the 996.

Mention this particular era 911 to most enthusiasts and you’ll get a mighty big eye roll. Lackluster design, frumpy interior, unreliable components, that’s just some of the shade that get’s thrown at the 911’s built from 1998-2004. While I will agree that the exterior design is not my favorite, it’s still better looking than 90% of the vehicles on the road.

The interior is devoid of all the creature comforts we’ve become accustomed to in today’s cars but is that really such a bad thing? These cars we’re built with the intended purpose of enjoying piloting them, do you really need a vehicle that’ll read your text messages and tell you showtimes for Taken 3?

Click for details: 2004 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S on Cars.com

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2009 Audi TTS

Please give a warm welcome to our newest writer at GCFSB, Andrew Maness. Andrew is active with his own page over at Jalopnik, The Road Less Driven. Welcome Andrew!

Given that I am currently a card carrying member of ACLA (Audi Club Los Angeles) and I am about to put my B7 S4 Avant up for sale, I am frequently asked “well what kind of Audi are you going to get next?”. It’s a bit presumptive on the persons part to assume that just because I’m a club member that I’m going to stick with the brand. True I do have a lot of love for Quattro driven vehicles but since moving to Southern California from Vermont that love has wained a bit over the last 6 years.

I fell in love with Audi because they’re the oddball of the German brands and I like things that are different. These days their vehicles have lost some of that character but I suppose that’s to be expected given how much the brand has grown in the last decade. 2009 marked a turning point for the brand as that’s when they killed off arguably the best body style they ever had (B7 pride!) and dropped their partnership with Recaro. However 2009 wasn’t all bad news as they also offered an S model of the TT coupe for the first time. I’ve always had a soft spot for the TT ever since Tom Cruise spun one off a cliff in MI:2 and the second generation body style is one of my favorite Audi designs. It looks especially good in white but one must resist the urge to “stromtrooper” the vehicle. Black wheels are overrated people, trust me, been there done that. I would however support powder coating the signature TTS gas cap, that’s a tasteful modification.

Click for details: 2009 Audi TTS On Cars.com

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