For years, the BMW 5 Series has served as a textbook example of a sports saloon. While BMW kept perfecting this genre of automobile, Mercedes-Benz spotted an opportunity in the market, developing a whole new vehicle sector: the four-door coupe. The phrase seems an oxymoron but what you are really getting is a four-door vehicle with a much more swept back roofline and four-place seating in most cases. Even Volkswagen muscled their way into this segment with their Passat CC.
Today we’ll take a look at two recent BMW offerings, both with V8 engines mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox: the 550i and the M6 Gran Coupe. We’ll start with this 2012 550i for sale in North Carolina.
Coming from a family with a history of Mercedes-Benz ownership spanning decades, it pains me to admit that few vehicles in the 2015 lineup impress me. Apart from the Geländewagen and AMG GT, the one car which stands out in the lineup is the car we see here: the E63 AMG S-Model Estate. Mercedes is on its third generation of bonkers AMG-tuned wagons, with this latest all-wheel drive beast cranking out 577 horsepower from the twin-turbo V8. That makes this five-door good for a sprint to 60 mph in under four seconds. A bit ridiculous for a family hauler, no? However, if you’re in a real hurry for that quart of milk…
We’re pretty much all big fans of fast wagons at German Cars For Sale Blog, but over the past few years the number of offerings has steadily dried up. We’ve never received the hot versions of the M5 Touring or RS6 Avant, for example, and steadily even the quick versions of the Audi and Volkswagen wagons have left these shores too. That leaves fast wagon fans to look towards only two places in the last few years; Cadillac, oddly, with the CTS-V wagon and the last German holdout, Mercedes-Benz. It’s somewhat odd that Mercedes-Benz has upped the nuttiness in its large E-class wagon too, since it never really took part in the original Wagon Wars between its countrymen. True, there were some limited number AMG conversions done in the late 80s/early 90s, but for the most part Mercedes-Benz had stayed away until recently. Then, a few years ago, it started offering AMG-enhanced versions of the E-Class Estate; first in 55, then later 63 form. If you can get by the strange numbering system that doesn’t correspond to the actual engine under the hood, that leaves you with one of the fastest wagons made out of the box. Walk down to your local Mercedes-Benz dealer and you can order up one of these W212 Estates with a staggering 577 horsepower in “S” form. That was a true supercar number not very long ago, but it comes wrapped in the guise of a sensible wagon with all-wheel drive and a slick 7-speed automatic transmission. Of course, it’s heavy…so it only does 0-60 runs in 3.6 seconds. That means you won’t be able to keep up with your neighbor’s new BMW M6 Gran Coupe, which does the run in 3.1 seconds. Time to hit the Brabus gym, then…
Sometimes a vehicle can be best summed up by numbers. There’s a few to remember with this truck, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6:
6: Number of wheels
37: Tire size in inches
20: Capacity in liters of the four air tanks that inflate aforementioned tires
18: Ground clearance in inches
7.8: 0-60 mph time
561: Number of torques the 5.5 liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces
And most importantly, 9,050. That would be the curb weight of this beast. If any truck was going to make the Lamborghini LM002 look rather pedestrian, this modified G-wagen would be it. From the land that gave us the V8 Supercars race series, those nutters down under were partly responsible for this creation we see before us. Designed for the Australian military, the G-Wagen 6×6 went into low volume production last year, continuing on for 2015. I was well aware of the existence of this 6×6, but didn’t know that any of them have made it over to the US. Amazingly, such a unique automobile has surfaced on Cars.com. Thanks to our reader Walker for passing along the tip!
For German car fans who love racing, it doesn’t get much more exciting than Porsche’s long history of endurance racing. Indeed, Porsche’s venerable 911 seems intrinsically linked with racing – undoubtedly, part of its mystique. However, true factory racing Porsches have always been pretty expensive when new and still are so. Watching yesterday’s coverage of the 24 Hours of Daytona had me cringing as the multi-hundred thousand dollar Le Mans class 991 Porsches took each other out, attacked Opossums and exploded crankcases. It wasn’t a great day for Porsche at a track where the company has had an impressive string of successes. So, today I decided to take a look at two racing Porsches as an homage to their first rate engineering, their enduring appeal and incredible performance:
Certain cars, like the BMW 3 series, have been evolutionary over the years. While they’ve gotten a bit larger over the years and the model has split between the 3er and 4er (sedan and coupe), they are still recognizable as the compact executive machines that endeared them to the upwardly mobile in the 1980s. Then you have cars that are more revolutionary, such as the BMW i3 that you see here, brought to our attention by our reader Tony. I recently came across this glimpse of the future at a BMW dealer outside of Philadelphia. After seeing one in person, I can safely say that pictures don’t do it justice.
There’s a lot of things going on with this vehicle. Let’s break it down. First, the design is what grabs your attention first. It could almost be described as a blend of Picasso and Mondrian elements. The look is funky, but it works. Then you get down to the powertrain, which is an electric motor with the option of a small, two cylinder engine dubbed REx, or range extender. Sure, that’s nothing new but you have to take note when it’s being marketed by the company with the old tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Then, less visible, is the way the i3 is constructed. As automotive manufacturers scramble to meet CAFE requirements in the coming years, BMW is exploring use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic construction in the i3, helping to keep the weight down. Folks, the future is here.
We’ve been accused of preferring older car designs to new ones. Rightly so, a majority of the cars that we feature are at least 10 years old, with a fair chunk now being over 20 years old. Are we out of touch with the market? Well, certainly that could be said – however, I think if you poll all of the authors here (and, a majority of our fans), most people just don’t get as excited about a car that you can pop down to the dealership and buy versus one that’s been well traveled, taken care of, and is hard to find in good shape. It’s the same reason why Antiques Roadshow is so popular; anyone can go buy the popular toy of the day and leave it in its original packing – but find a toy from the 1950s or 1960s in its original package and the pricing will probably surprise you. Heck, even my Transformers from when I was a kid are now quite valuable in good shape.
So we’re only interested in old cars? Well, not so fast – there have been several very exciting and pioneering designs that are quickly transforming the automotive landscape even as I write. The Porsche 918 Spyder, for example, has redefined supercars along with the LaFerrari and P1. They’ve looked at hybrid technology not as the death of performance, but as an opportunity to better exploit it. However, all three of these designs are ultra-limited, ultra-exclusive and ultra-expensive cars, leaving mere mortals without hedge funds to dream of owing them only in passing flights of fancy. However, BMW has taken a very different route with its hybrid technology, offering two platforms that are both brilliant and innovative in their own ways. The admittedly less exciting, more practical application is the i3; a small electric city car. Our editor Paul recently checked one of these out at a dealer and posted it to our Facebook Fanpage; the reaction from enthusiasts was less than, well…enthusiastic. However, I suggested that BMW’s departure into functional, efficient designs was at least innovative and admirable – this is technology that won’t kill cars, but will in fact allow them to thrive and continue for generations to come. Perhaps, then, the more exciting application of BMW’s efficient design “i” branding will sway you – the lightweight, sporty i8:
If I’m brutally honest, I’m not a huge fan of most of the newer BMW designs. As my wife says, I’d be happy if Journey was still on the radio and everyone was walking around with a mullet (that’s only half true…). But that’s not it; as I was saying to her just yesterday, I just don’t get excited about most of the new designs that come out. It wasn’t always this way – I remember eagerly awaiting the next issue of the multiple car magazines I subscribed to so that I could immediately flip to the section I found most exciting – the upcoming cars feature. But that enthusiasm has waned as cars have grown more complex, isolating and expensive. Sure, they’re faster – and even basic models do everything much better than even some “supercars” from the 1980s. But I don’t look at them and get excited like I did when the S4 first launched, for example. But, a thought occurred to me – while I’m not the biggest fan of these cars, proportionate to what you used to receive they’re simply a better value and better cars. We can pontificate about the virtues of the E30 M3 to no end, but the reality is that even around a track, the bone-stock 328i all-wheel drive wagon below would give it a run for its money without much difficulty – and in every other aspect, it’s a better car. We’re really still in the midst of a horsepower revolution, but that power is translated to the ground better than before with more sophisticated transmissions and computer aids along with all-wheel drive available in most packages. But it’s not just speed – not only can these fast cars get you to the Alps, they are like the luxury resorts when you get there, with fine materials and fit and finish that are really top quality. In a word, they’re spectacular at being cars that are much more functional in multiple facets than anything previously. So, here’s a lineup of some neat newer BMWs; while I’m not the biggest fan of all the packages or designs, one thing that I do love is their blues – so here’s a round up of most of them:
I’ve been seeing some insane E63 Wagons around town, and every time it blows my mind that that’s the way that some young families get to soccer practice in the Bay Area. I even saw a matte titanium gray S-edition street-parked in Palo Alto. They’ve been called “überexclusive,” but that doesn’t seem to apply in the land of tech. Over 500 twin-turbocharged horses in a station wagon sounds like a tuner magazine article, but it’s real, warrantied, production car life these days. While the transition to all-wheel drive may have snuffed the burnouts, I’d be dishonoring my nature to think that 0-60 in under 4 seconds in a wagon is anything less than true badassery.
The current generation 911 has been with us now for two model years and the reviews have been generally positive. There have been some gripes about the lack of a manual transmission in the high performance version, the GT3. But with many 991s coming equipped with the PDK transmission, most critics and enthusiasts have begun to accept that these gearboxes are better for performance and fuel economy, if not outright fun. But if you want a bit of old school in your 991 series 911, how about a lightly used 4S such as this one for sale in North Carolina with the 7-speed manual and SportDesign package?