For many, the E38 represents the zenith of large German executive sedans. It took the best ingredients of the E32 and E34 designs, slimmed them down a touch visually, updated the power plants and equipment, and Voila! Instant classic. It didn’t hurt that the E38 also played a starring role in two pretty popular movies in the period, either – but let’s be honest, you’d have loved it anyway.
As with Audi’s D2, early examples of the E38 were already in production in 1994, but the best of the bunch came towards the end of production. LCI models hit showrooms in 1999, and the refreshed look is what you see here. The long, low package was best expressed with the optional M Parallel wheels, which had carried over from models like the E31 8-Series and E34 M5. It imbued the 7-Series with just enough sport to look purposeful, but not so much as to masquerade as a Porsche. Lightly flared arches cut high in the front fenders were finally filled out, and the refreshed looks worked really well in light colors.
Today’s example is just that – an Alpine White long-wheelbase example. And while some 7s are too used up today, or too far away, or far too expensive if they’re not, this one promised to be the remedy to your problem. With 86,000 miles it’s just getting broken in, and it’s in California. There’s recent maintenance performed, too. But the best part? It’s no reserve:
Looking through today’s BMW lineup, where everything has a million M badges to accompany the gazillion horsepower, I’ll be honest – little excites me. The M2 is pretty awesome, and a properly equipped 4-Series is a nice looker, but most I have trouble distinguishing from the Kia lineup. So it’s nice to head back in time a bit to something that’s both unique and understated at the same time. Of course, you’ll also want rear-drive only, and a singing naturally-aspirated inline-six.
Today’s Z4 has all of those things. In front is the N52 inline-six, here rated at 261 horsepower and 232 lb.ft of torque. For those counting, that’s a bit more horsepower and nearly the same torque as the S52 had only a few years earlier, and N52 has a lighter alloy block. They sound great, too. The E86 was rear-drive only, too. And rare? You better believe it. We’ve all grown accustom to the unique looks of the M Coupe and its resultant low production numbers. But the 3.0si barely sold better. Just over 2,100 were sold here in just two model years, a few hundred more than the M variant. You’re not likely to see them cruising down the road in your commute, in other words. And while the looks are polarizing, I think they’re rather pretty. The best part? They’re also pretty affordable.
The 996 Porsche 911 Targa is a model that sometimes I forget even exists. They always catch me off guard when I see one come up for sale for the pure novelty of them and you paid around $10,000 more when new for a 16-square-foot view of the open sky. It also turned the rear glass into a hatch, which is an interesting configuration given the engine is in the rear too. Now that we are well over a decade into the glass roof Targa cars, many are shying away when purchasing these. Why? Well, the sliding glass roof is a precision instrument to say the least, and those precision instrument break and cost precision instrument money to repair. Seriously, if your power Targa roof stops functioning, you are looking at some invasive procedures by specialists who you should be happy are willing to do the job.
Still, while not fun to maybe buy, they are very fun to look at. Especially when one has 4,600 miles, is finished in paint-to-sample Atlantis Metallic, and even has even rarer Magnolia leather. Get ready to exchange your pile of dollars for some old fashion pounds, because if you want this one, a trip to Nottinghamshire, England is in order.
For as uncommon as the color purple is to see on a car, the Germans weren’t shy about using it. We saw that last week with Carter’s 1995 BMW M3, Volkswagen with Violet Touch Pearl, and Mercedes-Benz with Almandine Black Metallic. Granted those colors are very rare and often by special request, but we are at a place where its so popular that this is a standard color on the GT3 RS. Today, we have a 2002 Carrera 4S in Paint-to-Sample Viola Metallic that, in my opinion, looks amazing. The wide body of the 996 C4S in this color? Sign me up. Although probably not at this price.
Two weeks ago I took a look the W114/115 coupe and explained that while not the pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz at the time, they still had their place at the time as being a fashionable vehicle with above average quality. The same can be said about the sedan compared to the W108/109, but it seems these even take a further back seat given the next generation that went on to become on of the greatest cars of all time, the W123. Still, these little sedans have their place and can be had for not much money at all, just like today’s example, a 1972 220 up for sale in New York. It isn’t a prime example by any means, but still has a good look on a very tight budget.
For some time, I’ve generally ignored the B7 RS4. This probably comes as a surprise, as being an Audi fan it should be a natural favorite of mine. They look good, offered uncompromising performance, and – while expensive when new – in predictable fashion they became much more affordable recently.
But it’s also an expensive car to maintain, and residual values from the first and second crop of owners has dropped down towards the point where third-tier owners are getting into them. The problem is that if you’re thinking about buying one of these long term, you may be better suited buying one before the typical scenario occurs with these cars – prices drop, people that can’t afford to maintain them well buy them, and when you finally get one it’s an uphill battle to try to keep it going.
Recent sales of great condition, lower-mileage RS4s have been trending upwards, with prime examples hitting betweem $35,000 and $45,000 over the past few months. So it’s tempting to consider one with a few more miles than average to save a few dollars. But is it worth it?
No, you’re not reading the headline wrong. But if you’re clever, you know this is special right away. Because the title specifically says ‘Sedan’, and because the M3 Sedan didn’t arrive on these shores until 1997, that must mean one of three things.
- I didn’t have enough coffee when I wrote this
- I got the year wrong
- It’s a European-market example
(please be 3 please be 3 please be 3)
Yep. While it’s true that I most likely have not yet had enough coffee at time of writing, I assure you – this is not a typo. This 1995 M3 Sedan is sitting up in the Great White North, ready for your consumption. But the story on this one doesn’t end with the special motor under the hood. No, this one’s also a very special color combination, too – Daytona Violet over a BMW Individual interior called Saffron with wood trim. Yeah, it’s worth a look!
From time to time I look at cars that you should never buy and feature them more as a warning, rather than something you might consider. Today is something similar, but has to do with the circumstances of this specific vehicle rather than a flaw or problem with the model. Where am I going with this?
Well, this 2005 Mercedes-Benz G500 up for sale in Virginia shows a little under 55,000 miles. Looking at the Carfax, it had 33,000 miles in 2007 then was promptly exported to Finland. In came back to the US in 2018 with 50,250 miles. Why is that a problem? Don’t ever, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who, or who you are with, or where you are going, or where you’ve been, ever, for any reason whatsoever consider buying a vehicle that was exported to Finland then re-imported back to the US. Buckle up, this one is a good read.
Last week I looked at a really exceptional 1997 Mercedes-Benz S500 that looks to have found a new owner at right under $15,000. Probably a fair price for both parties, and I doubt it will lose much as long as the condition stays close to what it is now. Naturally, that got me looking around at other W140s, and wouldn’t you a 1993 600SEL popped up finished in the rare Nautical Blue Metallic. Granted, any color on a W140 that isn’t black, silver, or white is rare, but this one really seems to pop. Match that with the Palomino interior, and this one is well into “classic” status.
The Polo isn’t a model often featured on these pages because 1) they never came to the United States and B) if you’re going through the effort of importing a European car, let’s just say the Polo probably isn’t top of your list. But once in a while a neat example pops up, and that’s the case today.
The fourth generation Polo emerged in the mid-1990s and was heavily based upon the SEAT Ibiza. That car was styled by Giugiaro’s Italdesign, and while arguably not their best work by a country mile, it wasn’t an unattractive small car. It also bore more than a passing similarity to the shape of the Mk.3 Golf, and that was both on purpose and by design – literally – as the Ibiza itself was derived from the Mk.3 chassis.
Introduced with the 6K Polo, as with the Golf, was a five-door Variant model. And as with the European Golf, multiple engines including diesels were available. This particular Polo was optioned with the most trick diesel available in the chassis at the time – the SDI 1.9-liter. And, according to this ad, it was then imported by the US government and now sits in New Hampshire. Huh?