2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE

I don’t like this car. Volkswagen just had to go ahead and build a fat Passat for US customers, instead of carrying on with the existing European Passat, didn’t they? There are two things, however, that I like about this 2015 Passat we see here. First, it’s a diesel. Second, it’s equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Turns out a visit to VW.com revealed that you can’t specify a manual gearbox in a new Passat anymore. In the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, you can’t opt for a diesel engine, either. So thanks loads again, Volkswagen, for neutering your product range even further for 2016. If it’s a diesel Passat you want, at least there are a few more leftovers hanging around out there, such as this one for sale in Pennsylvania.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI SE on eBay

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2015 Porsche 918 Spyder – Riviera Blue

Since its debut the 918 Spyder has made frequent appearances in the classifieds, a not uncommon occurrence with these limited edition cars. I’ve bookmarked a few that caught my attention, but never really got around to posting them. This one I could not let pass by. Riviera Blue became one of the iconic Porsche colors with the introduction of the 993 and though the color was only officially made available for a short time we still see it pop up as a paint-to-sample option now and again. Porsche has long been known for its pastel colors and Riviera Blue fits well within that sphere. On the 918 it is stunning. There is something about the length of the car that seems to exaggerate the brightness of this color. While it could be a function of lighting and photography these pictures really jump off the page in a way that other Riveria Blue Porsches have failed to do. The owner of the Aranacio Borealis Carrera GT we featured on Sunday suggested that a potential buyer might consider pairing that audacious machine with a 918 Spyder as the showcases of a Porsche collection. Well, here you go. I can think of no better partner to that Carrera GT than this Riviera Blue 918.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder on eBay

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Nogoff 2: 2014 Audi S4 v. 2015 Audi S4

A good friend of mine rolled up for a visit yesterday in her B8 Audi S4. So much attention has been focused on the launch of the turbocharged M3/M4 that it’s easy to forget that the S4 is still a very good choice in the sport sedan market. If you believe that all Audis drive the same with terminal understeer, you haven’t been behind the wheel of the most recent generations from the four rings, whose clever computers, suspension and differentials have left them turning as well as they go. And they look as good as they go too, with signature top-tier interiors and lovely details. Audi recently offered a brief run of classic Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect on the S4 too, with a special edition that bathed the S4 in the purpley-blue. Today I have two such colored examples to look at – which is the one you’d nog off to?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Audi S4 on eBay

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2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD

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Starting with the 2015 model year, Mercedes-Benz started producing the Sprinter van with four-wheel drive for the US market. While the Sprinter has been one of the ideal, cost-is-no-object adventure vans for a while, the relative lack of 4WD left Ford Sportsvans and Syncro Westies as the true kings of the go-anywhere home on wheels class. Well, that’s all fixed now, and you can spend scores of thousands of dollars on a Mercedes-built, diesel-powered, all-wheels-driving box. This particular 2015 model is the specification I’d want – the 144-inch wheelbase is more manageable in the real world compared to the 170, while the High Roof makes standing up a reality and storage options plentiful. This couple bought it to install a wheelchair lift (available for extra money if you want it) for their son and drive to the mountains, but the high-top wasn’t the right fit for them so they’re selling it with just 2k miles on it.

Click for details: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD on eBay

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2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 Diesel

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I’ve written plenty about the allure of the Volkswagen unicorns, the Syncro vans and trucks from the T3 generation. Ranging from high $40ks to over $100k(!!!), they are not to be trifled with. But as my brother points out any time I write one up: “Why not just get a Sprinter van?” In my mind they occupy a slightly different echelon, although that last Vanagon proves that there is plenty of overlap in price. Up until now, you could argue that Syncro brought a different level of capability, but Mercedes-Benz has released the Sprinter 4×4 with a 3.0-liter diesel V6. The auto gods are still there, van fans, and have bestowed upon us a modernized, go-anywhere van ready for any adventure.

This example has the high-roof option, a huge boon for vanliving when you’re over 6 feet, but is pretty basic other than that. It provides a great blank canvas, and the cabin looks functional though work-truck austere. Same goes for the exterior with black on black on black on black on black, but the black wheels and flat plastic bumpers look purposeful and perfect for the GoPro generation. I’ve driven an older diesel Sprinter quite a bit for work, and despite being abused and simple, they were surprisingly fun. I can only imagine what a significantly improved diesel engine and 4WD do to the experience. Sure, it may not have the every-option-possible approach of the white Syncro, but the $40k you’d have left over would allow you to take it in just about any direction you could dream up.

Click for details: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 on eBay

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2015 BMW M5 30 Jahre Edition

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At this point we’re all familiar with the ridiculous investment opportunity the BMW E30 M3 has been recently. According to Hagerty, average values held steady around $15k from 2007 to 2012, and they were even lower before then. Today, Hagerty estimates the average E30 M3 value is $48k, an easy $30k if you picked one up just 5 years ago.

In these days of “unicorn” start-ups and (allegedly) ridiculous easy riches, 5 years is a pretty long horizon for the make-money-now bunch. In that case, they should have grabbed one of the 30 BMW M5 “30 Jahre Editions” released in the US last year, a 10% share of worldwide production of the ultimate F10 M5 celebrating 30 years of the M5 supersedan. With power bumped to 600hp and a special Frozen Dark Silver that puts most of today’s fancy satin/matte finishes to shame, it is definitely more than just a badge exercise (although there are plenty of self-important badges). Initially sold for $138k, a nice $34k premium over the M5’s MSRP, just one year later you could have triple the profit of that 5-year E30 M3 investment.

Despite the piped-in sound silliness, I do like the F10 M5 and BMW’s modern styling. Though a little overcomplicated, it’s growing on me and vastly preferable to the days of the Bangle Butt. It toes the line between aggressive and subtle while packing a nuclear punch that will keep up with most supercars. Turn all that up to 11 along with an extra dose of rare, and you’ve got the 30 Jahre Edition.

Click for details: 2015 BMW M5 30 Jahre Edition on eBay

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2015 BMW M235i

I spent a week up in New Jersey last week for a meeting with the folks at my day job and one colleague mentioned he just purchased a new BMW 228i. To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to the 2 series of late, but after revisiting this new model, I’m liking it more and more. A big part of the attraction is that it is one of the last BMWs you can purchase new with a manual gearbox. Second, I like the size of this two-door. The 4 series, while well proportioned, has gotten a bit large for my tastes. The 1 series coupe was a bit too small to pull off the coupe look. The 2 series sits in between these cars in size and looks just right.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 BMW M235i on eBay

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2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

I don’t feature very many modern 911s and especially not the 991. On those occasions when I have written about them those cars tended to fall into one of two categories: either a motorsport special like the GT2/GT3/GT3RS or the 996TT, which we write about fairly frequently due to the massive amount of performance value those machines possess. Given the high number of newer 911s we come across to feature one of the standard cars requires that it possess a variety of attributes to help it stand out. I think this one does just that. First, I’m just happy this model even exists because it is a Targa and I am fan of the Targa in general. That said, I am a fan of the original design, which Porsche went away from beginning with the 993 and it is only with the 991 that the design has been returned to its original form. Second, this Targa has both the 7-speed manual transmission and also the S Powerkit, raising power from 400hp to 430hp. Last, it was finished with a nice combination of options and a color scheme that set it apart. What we end up with is this: a Dark Blue Metallic 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, located in Houston, with contrasting Black and Garnet Red interior, 7-speed manual transmission, and the Carrera S Powerkit all with just 1,574 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Porsche 911 Targa 4S on eBay

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Wagon Week: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive

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I’m not a huge fan of buying new cars – my brain just doesn’t see the logic in accepting instant depreciation as the price for being the very first person to own a car. I clearly lean towards well-used classics anyway, but at the very least a certified pre-owned car seems like the way to go if you want something modern. I have to make an exception here because somewhere along the line of bloating and modernization, BMW decided to make a car that seemed as likely as an albino unicorn not long ago – a turbodiesel, all-wheel drive, M-packaged station wagon. I’m getting used to the newer BMW styling and almost liking it, especially here on a white longroof spiffed up with black M accents and two-tone 20-spoke wheels reminiscent of the E39 M5’s all-time-great rims. Too bad that it doesn’t have a manual, but these 8-speed autos are supposed to be excellent. Overall, it’s pretty epic as far as new cars go, but then again so is its price.

Click for details: 2015 BMW 328d xDrive on eBay

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Convertible Week: 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Edition

When most people think about hybrid vehicles, images of haphazardly placed Greenpeace bumper stickers on oddly shaped compact sedans come to mind. Today its a different story, with hybrid emblems gracing small Toyotas right on up to the flagship of the Porsche range, this 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder took over as the cost-no-object sports car in the lineup, but it was so much more than the Carrera GT. Unlike the Carrera GT, however, the 918 Spyder was a leap forward in terms of technology. With a 4.6 liter V8 and twin electric motors front and rear, this car puts down a total of 887 horsepower to the pavement. For those well heeled enthusiasts who missed out on procuring one new, this 2015 918 Spyder Weissach Edition for sale in New York City offers up a second chance at this state of the art supercar.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder on JamesEdition

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