Recently, I’ve looked at two BMW 135i M-Sports. It’s a bit easy to be confused by the monikers of various models over 135i production. All 135i models came with most of the sport features that you’d associate with what BMW traditionally had labeled “M-Sport” models, but in the case of the 135i the actual M-Sport name was only given to models with option code P337A, which gave you Style 261 wheels and an anthracite headliner. Making it even more confusing is that when you decode VINs on non-M-Sport models, the term M-Sport pops up in S704A – the suspension – of all 135is.
Ready to be more confused? For its last model year, the M-Sport was dropped and replaced by this model – the 135is denoted by code P7MFA. The 135is had few changes from previous models; outwardly, they are virtually identical to the prior year’s M-Sport. Or, for that matter, they’re basically identical to any other 135i. There are two ways to identify the 2013 outwardly; one is the single “s” added to the back, and the other is the wheels. Like the M-Sport, one main difference was the new S2NFA M Double Spoke Style 313 wheels shared with the 335is. While they were 19″ on the E9x, they were 18″ on the 1 and carried the same size 215/245 tires as the prior years. Dynamically, there was a small change. Still carrying the N55 single-turbo inline-6, the last model year got the bump in power that was optional on 2012s. The remapped ECU gave you 20 more horsepower and 17 lb.ft of torque – not a big gain, but a gain nonetheless.
So here’s a 135is to consider, and since we’ve looked at Coupe 6-speeds the last few rounds, I went for a E88 Convertible equipped with the 7-speed DCT this time:
Every once in a while, eBay throw you a knuckleball – and this listing is more of a knuckleballer than you might expect. I usually search through chassis listings, and ‘Volkswagen Golf’ is usually on my list. This past week, though, an interesting ‘Golf’ turned up. What I noticed first was the wheels, which appeared to be OEM but of a variety I’m not familiar with. Wheels are something I take pretty seriously, so the wheels alone warranted further investigation. Looking closer, this ‘Golf’ was very strange. And, small.
Glancing from the screen towards my coffee, I needed to check if I was in some altered state. But no, it was the ‘Golf’ that was in an altered state, mostly because it wasn’t a Golf at all. It in fact was a Polo 1.2 TDi Bluemotion, and for some reason which I’m sure makes sense to someone, the seller not only has it listed on eBay as a Golf (probably because the ‘Other’ category is full of duds, mostly) but more perplexing, they’ve actually de-badged the Polo and added a Golf badge. Maybe they were tired of questions at the pump?
Update 11/11/18: Price drop from the original $26,997 asking price by $2,020 to $24,977 today.
I casually mentioned in passing recently that we traded our E61 530xi Sports Wagon for an E82 135i Sport. While production overlapped between the two chassis, they are really polar opposites when it comes to BMWs. The 5-Series was obvious all about comfort and isolation, as well as carrying a huge load of anything you could throw at it through any weather. The 1-Series sought to return BMW to its more affordable small car roots by shrinking the swollen 3-Series down substantially.
What BMW unintentionally did was to create an E46 successor. The E82s are similarly sized, similarly equipped and were similarly priced to the E46. And in its most basic, most sporty form, the early 135i Sport is on paper a close match for the performance of the third generation M3. Okay, there’s no doubt that the 135i isn’t a M3 when you get behind the wheel. But is it a special car? Yes. And does it move? The N54/55 are rated at 300 horsepower – about 10% shy of the S54. But they’ve got 300 lb.ft of torque, almost about 15% more than the M3 had. And because they’re a turbo motor and they were able to tune that torque curve in, it’s about as flat as the Makgadikgadi Pan. That means roll-on performance, and the 135i rewards you any time you want. The strange thing is, it really doesn’t drive like it is a turbo motor. There’s no lag, no flat spots, no real woosh. It just feels like a very strong high-compression inline-6. And though it won’t corner like a E46 M3, it’s not far off in acceleration or driving feel.
The dash changed and some of the operations are different, but the seats and small greenhouse will instantly remind you of the earlier chassis. Ours is about as basic as they came – 6-speed manual, manual seats, no iDrive, but with a sunroof. But probably the ultimate spec is the late N55-equipped M-Sport and ‘is’ models. They’re quite hard to find even though they’re fairly new. Why is that?
Newer cars are, in general, not the subject of this page. I can walk down to any dealership just like anyone else, and provided I have a pulse, probably walk out with financing for most mid-range cars regardless of whether or not I could actually afford them. Indeed, easy credit has led to the proliferation of many of our favorite brands and cars to the point where most don’t feel all that special anymore. That $2,500 Jetta, for example, is much more rare to see today in that condition – or, at all, truthfully – compared to a new M car.
So all modern cars aren’t really all that exciting? That’s far from the truth, too, as there are many special examples that float by our feed. So while the F10 M5 isn’t a model often featured, it’s probably our loss for not doing so. It’s also easy to forget that even though it feels pretty new, the F10 has been out of production for 2 years and the earliest examples are now 7 years old. Plus, as most M5s do, the entry price point on the antiquated models has dropped considerably compared to their original MSRP, while their performance is still contemporaneous to today’s cars.
The S63B44T0 found under the hood of this particular example was good for 550 plus horsepower; not much more than the model it replaced with that wicked V10. But torque? That’s another matter. While the S85 cranked out an impressive 380 lb.ft at 6,100 rpms, the two turbos tacked onto the S63 V8 produced 500 lb.ft of torque with a curve as flat as the Salt Lake from 1,500 rpms through over 5,000. That massive power could be channeled through a manual gearbox, and it could also be outfit from BMW’s Individual arm. These are the most fun to see, albeit very rarely do they come up for sale:
I will admit I have not always been a fan of the 991. The design took me a long time to warm up to even as I looked at the Boxster and Cayman and thought both had improved tremendously. I’ve read some criticisms of Porsche’s designs and their increasing similarity and I don’t entirely disagree with those assessments, but where I think it has improved the look of the Cayman/Boxster I have not been as much a fan of the 911.
Ever so slowly that perception is changing and I have gradually taken to the design – whether because of increased familiarity or something else, I don’t know. A couple of recent examples caught my eye so I thought I would specifically go on the hunt for a nice Carrera S to feature. As I did so I soon realized that it’s really hard to find a 991 with a manual transmission. PDK has seemingly taken over. I do understand why that is to some degree, but some of us still would like the involvement of shifting gears ourselves and I was struck by the relative lack of manuals.
I kept looking and my search did finally pay off: here we have a very subtly pretty paint-to-sample Dark Olive Metallic 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe with just 3K miles on it and that all important manual transmission.
It seems there are so many 911 Club Coupes these days that I can’t even recall which are intended to celebrate which milestone. The one we see here, a 2013 Porsche 911 Club Coupe, was built to celebrate 60 years of Porsche clubs worldwide. It’s a more general celebration than the 2016 Club Coupe (and 2006 Club Coupe before that), which celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Porsche Club of America.
So what distinguishes the 2013 version? Based off of the Carrera S Coupe, it came with a special Brewster Green exterior contrasted with an Espresso interior. The color combination is quite striking though in a much more subdued way than the extremely bright Club Blue of the 2016 version. To bring additional performance the Powerkit was included as standard along with ceramic brakes, Sport Chrono and PASM. Only 13 were built and the lucky buyers were selected by lottery and asked to pay just over $175K. Like with many Porsche special editions you could spec a similar 911 for less money, though you wouldn’t get the special exterior paint.
I don’t usually post newer cars, preferring to write about 80s and 90s machinery instead. That’s because I think many new cars are bloated in looks and overburdened with technologies that blunt the driving experience. But there are a few modern cars for which I’m willing to make an exception, like the E82 135iS. Offered in the US for the 2013 model year only (to make up for the absence of the recently departed, limited edition 1M coupe), the “iS” package added M-sport suspension and bumpers to the 135i, while a tune to the 3.0 liter N55 twin-turbo engine bumped power output to 320 hp (an increase of 20 hp over the standard car). Though some find the E82 a bit stubby, I love the look of the car, with its short wheelbase and squat, compact styling, while the hydraulic steering setup offers a relatively old school, connected driving experience. Sure, it’s not quite the unadulterated formula of BMWs of yore (6 naturally-aspirated cylinders, 5 speeds, 3 pedals) but it comes pretty close, and I think the E82 is a closer spiritual successor to the E30 than any contemporary 3-series.
I sometimes wonder if I’m too neglectful of newer 911s. I rarely post them (and I think this is a general feature of our site), but the reasons for that are pretty natural: finding newer models in good condition isn’t always that difficult. There are abundant options available and most all will serve a driver’s purposes very well. That said, as we all know there can be great benefits to buying a lightly used car since most show initial depreciation that is quite rapid. If you aren’t picky then you can save a good bit of money. What about if you are picky? While newer models do abound on the second-hand market they aren’t always interesting nor come in an interesting spec, so if you’re looking for just the right combination of features along with a better price the search becomes more arduous. I think the car we see here, a GT Silver 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe with Carrera Red interior and 7-speed manual transmission, checks a lot of these boxes and it is just this sort of modern car that is very worth our time here at GCFSB.
We don’t feature a lot of new cars on this site and one reason for this is that Germany is holding back when it comes to some of its newest and most interesting products. It was just announced that VW is pulling the plug on the two-door GTI. Never has there been a better time for Volkswagen to bring back over the Scirocco than now. While the company claimed the Portuguese-built coupe would be too expensive for the market here, another big reason was fear of cannibalizing GTI sales. A sports coupe is what Volkswagen could use right now to rejuvenate its lineup in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal. Will they listen to the enthusiasts cries? Probably not. So in the meantime, have a gander at what we can’t have in the US, this 2013 Scirocco 1.4 TSI 6-speed manual. It might not be the fastest version of the Scirocco, but it’s certainly capable and a good choice for those looking to spice up their daily drive.
Hardly out of production, journalists and enthusiasts alike are already calling the last of the naturally aspirated M3s a classic in the making. Some have even gone so far as to call the E9x M3 the best M product BMW has produced. Certainly it was a screamer, with butch good looks to back up the impressive power chops on tap from the S65 V8. As always, I’m drawn to the more unusual colors offered through BMW’s Individual program and today’s example is a pretty interesting one. Apparently, dissatisfied with the yellow-toned options from BMW’s own color catalogue, the buyer of this particular M3 asked BMW to head to the Black Forest and it came back with Speed Yellow from Zuffenhausen. A vibrant tone more piercing than Dakar but not as orange as Atacama, does this E92 light up your sky?