As the months, and now years, go on, we wait to see if the prices of 981 Porsche Cayman GT4 will finally start dropping. The 718 GT4 has been out for about six months now and judging by how many are sitting at dealers, both new and used, finding one is not difficult. So what gives? Inventory goes up, prices go down. That’s the law of supply and demand, right? Apparently Porsche GT prices apparently didn’t take that class in school.
Truth told the E91 isn’t a particularly rare car. There are plenty up for sale every day of the week, and of those that you can find for sale today, the all-wheel drive 328i xDrive isn’t particularly rare, either. But what is not seen very often is the combination of those two factors plus a stick in the center console which can be articulated in 7 different positions. That’s right, we have a unicorn manual! Such is the frequency with which these are referred to by the mythological term, you’d be forgiven for thinking that BMW dealers had a special option box that you could select for your unicorn badge.
Salesman: Now that you’ve selected all your other options, I’m going to tell you about one final “dealer special” option we can offer you – but it’s only for select, and discerning customers!
Rich Plebian: Uh, okay, what is it?
S: It’s the not offered to public “Unicorn” option
RP: “Unicorn”? Like, horned mythological beast?
S: Yes, exactly. The Unicorn Package is option code 785.
RP: Okay, what does it get me?
S: You get to tell everyone how unique your mass produced car is.
RP: Wait, it gives me special powers?
S: No, you just get to say that your car is more special than the other cars that are exactly like it.
RP: Well, people have always told me how special I am, so sign me up!
Thus, when it comes time to sell your unicorn package car, you too can tell everyone that this was the only one that’s like it! Except for the other ones that are like it. But don’t mind them. Let’s look at this one!
Speaking of new(er) cars we don’t cover much on these pages, how about the Panamera? By my reckoning, we’ve never covered one here. They seem quite new, but in reality they’re now over a decade old in the market place, and a funny (and quite predictable) thing happened – they’re now very, very inexpensive. Of course, this is a relative scale, but we’ll get there in a minute.
The Panamera S grabbed the 4.8 V8 from the Cayenne, which was good for 400 horsepower, and stuck it into Porsche’s first attempt at a four-door sedan. Yeah, I’m discounting their involvement in the W124 500E, the RS2, and the Volvo 850, because those were not sold in their dealerships. So we got a hatchback design that sorta looked like a 911 imagined as an ex-collegiate swimmer, and you could have it in typical Porsche style – a ton of configurations and with multiple engine choices. Bottom of the barrel was the V6, top-tier was the twin-turbo V8, with all-wheel drive optional between. Dynamically, these were regarded as good driving cars if not great to look at. And Porsche-quick they were – 0-60 for the S was 4.8 seconds, and the quarter mile was disposed of in 13.3 seconds. Of course you got tons of tech, and in also typical for Porsche-style optional equipment would push the S’s $91,000 base price up towards six-figure territory quickly. But today? Not so much:
Often we ignore really modern cars on these pages. It’s not necessarily that they’re not exciting – often it’s quite the opposite. For me, it’s just that they’re not exciting to see for sale because they’re still effectively cars that you can walk into a dealership and buy. And I’m sorry, while they can thoroughly out-perform older cars in virtually every way, you can’t just walk into an Audi dealer and buy a brand new Quattro, can you?
But impressive these cars are, and if you can look down the road so to speak at having one as a potential special car in the future, you can balance a hefty discount from new with near-new status and have quite a savings over stock, too. When the F8x BMW M3 and M4 launched, they were loud, proud, and…well, large. Park an M4 next to an original M3, and you can nearly hide the entire older model behind the silhouette of the new one. But when the G80 was launched recently, well…suddenly meet the new boss had me looking at the old boss in a new light. And the S55 is still good for 425 horsepower – and it’ll still rip your face off. 0-60 is gone in 4 seconds and it’ll demolish the older generations in a straight line. So let’s check out the signature tone with unique interiors in two very different configurations:
Ahhhhh, the 80s. Tuners in the 80s were pushing the limits of their crafts, redefining performance and styling with cutting-edge technology. Of course, when I say ‘cutting edge’, I literally mean cutting. Take Walter Treser, for example. He not only lopped the top off of a Quattro to create his ‘Roadster’, but he also had at the roofline of the Type 44 to create the hatchback ‘Liner’ model. While Audi was busy sawing Quattros in half and removing about a foot to create their Sport Quattro, Treser went in a different direction. As in, the complete opposite. Apparently not satisfied that the Roadster and Liner were crazy enough, Treser chopped a 200 clean in half, stitched 12.6 inches into the middle of it, and created the ‘Largo’. I presume that the pronunciation is akin to the current President’s (for today, anyway) residence of choice, but all I can see is “Large-Oh”. And large it is. Audi themselves would later create their own Lang version of the V8, but Treser’s version appeared over half a decade earlier. To say they are rare is an understatement of…well, long proportions. But one can by yours today in Florida, if you’re up for a project:
I’ve seen some pretty odd and particular special editions over the years. Most of the time it is a cash grab by manufactures during the end of a generation to clear out stock and move aging units before a fresh new model comes. Other times its anniversary editions that make sense, but lots of times are clearly just mailing it in. Today, I have one of these strangest special editions I’ve ever seen.
This is the 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL320 Edition. Not Special Edition, not Anniversary Edition, just Edition. They literally just called it the “Edition.” Why? I have no idea. The even more bizarre thing is there was another special edition 2000 SL320 in the Mille Miglia edition. That car looks exactly the same as this one except for the badges. Someone help me here.
Two decades in, is it finally time for the 996 Porsche 911? Personally, I think so. Our negative feelings on things generally seem to wane over time, and after 20 years, that seems to be the case for the 996.1. Are we looking at 964 and 993 levels of appreciation? Of course not. But I do think that these will slowly become less of a black sheep of the 911 family and more of just an entry-level into the 911 family.
Today’s car, a 1999 up for sale Nebraska, looks most certainly to be one the prime examples to snatch up. It’s classic Arctic Silver Metallic over a Boxster Red special leather interior, and just to top it all off, it has just 29,000 miles. This one will be a fight.
As I get older, the less and less I want to deal with cars that aren’t comfortable. I adore my 1983 240D with nearly 300,000 miles on it, but when its 22 degrees out and I’m de-icing locks, barely getting any heat out of the vents, and woefully accelerating, I’m not all that happy. Every time I’m in this situation, I yearn for a car I get in, turn on, and drive away in total comfort. Not necessarily a soulless appliance, but a car that satisfies my inner needs for a machine that is “special.” What car could do that job exceptionally well? The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, of course. But not just any S-Class. An S-Class with a designo interior just to be extra “special.”
The legend of the 911 Turbo continues virtually unabated, with the most recent edition of the Turbo S bullying top-tier sport bikes in acceleration duels. Seriously, it does 0-30 in .9 seconds and hits 60 in a touch over 2 seconds. Two. I remember when breaking 5 seconds in the dash was a serious feat. The Turbo is is far from a one-trick pony, though, as it continues to demolish numbers – 100 in 5.3 seconds, the quarter mile in 10.1 at 137. It will hit 180 mph in 21.4 seconds, which is about the same time that it takes a VW T2 to hit highway speed. Of course, there’s also a price to pay…in this case, you’ll be out over $200,000 to leave the dealership in one. But it’s not like earlier generations of 911 Turbo are exactly pokey, right? Take the 2001 911 Turbo. That car disposed of 60 mph in 3.9 seconds with a manual, 12.3 seconds through the quarter mile, and it’ll ‘only’ do 150 mph in 21.6 seconds. Virtually stationary. On the plus side, they’re a whole lot cheaper than the newer 911 Turbos, to the point where people without trust funds could consider purchasing one. And this one certainly seems to fit that bill:
Following in the footsteps of the Z4 sDrive28i I just talked about, let’s check out the changes from the 1-Series to the 2-Series. As with the Z4, turbo inline-six power continued in the M235i, which was effectively a restyled 135i with a N55 with a touch more twist and more weight. Purists may decry that an M badge crept into the lineup but the reality is that if you drive one of these turbocharged small BMWs, and I own a 135i Sport, they’re worthy of the letter. Whether you agree or not doesn’t change the fact that one thing was notably absent from the revised 2-series – the normally aspirated N52 was dropped in favor of the N20 in the ’28’ model. So they were cheaper, right? Well, yes and no. This 2016 228i Coupe we’re looking at today stickered at just shy of $33,000; hardly cheap, but one of the cheaper BMWs you could buy in 2016. However, this particular 228i didn’t leave the dealership in the 30s, thanks to a healthy dose of optional equipment that has left it one of the more unique configurations I’ve seen. Let’s take a look: