2006 BMW 550i

While there wasn’t much of a contest between the E28 M5 and E34 535i, by the end of the E34 run the 540i M Sport was – for all intents and purposes – a M5 without the S38. BMW upped the ante to 400 horsepower in the new E39 M5, once again widening the gap to the 540i model. But the successor E60 545i offered 330 horsepower with matching torque in 2003 alongside the outgoing E39 and once again the gap in performance became much smaller. That gap was made almost impercievable in 2005, when BMW revised the E60 with the increased displacement in the N62 motor. Now sporting 4.8 liters from the N62B48, the new “550i” now had 360 horsepower and 361 lb.ft of torque – a much better match for the S62. What was perhaps more amazing was that the new N62 also nearly matched the torque of the new E60 M5’s S85 V10. But while that screaming V10 produced far more horsepower, the peak torque was reached only at 6,100 revolutions – hardly practical in your daily commute. In comparison, peak twist on the N62 came at a much more realistic 3,400 r.p.m.s, and on the fly these 550is were – and still are – seriously quick sedans. They also introduced the next generation of design language and computer technology into the 5-series. Some love the look while others lambaste the design. While it’s certainly not my favorite 5, at least it’s distinctive and different in a world full of cookie-cutter designs and dare I say I think it may look better today than it did new – perhaps a testament to its avant garde lines. While the lust-worthy V10 captures the imagination of enthusiasts, day to day the 550i is likely as fast 95% of the time and much cheaper to get into and run. The thing is, is this the one to get?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW 550i on eBay

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2013 BMW 135is Convertible

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW 135is Convertible on eBay

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Price Fixing? BMW 1M Roundup

BMW followed the age old recipe for the 1M and enthusiasts responded. Put a big engine in a small car, flare the arches a bit and slip on some wide rubber but keep the price in the range of mere mortals. What’s not to like about the 1M then? Well, they didn’t make many – 740 were imported, making it more rare than the previously rare E28 and E24 M models. That created an artificial demand right out of the box, and unfortunately these cars hit the market at the same point that the European collector car market really started taking off. That means that these cars have suffered effectively zero depreciation since new – rare for any car, but especially for the small sport sedan market. In fact, not only have they not depreciated, you could have bought one of these cars new in 2011, drove it moderately for the past 3 years, and you could have sold it for a profit today. The 1M, in all of its 335 horsepower twin-turbocharged goodness, hit the market at around $47,000 in 2011 – add a few options in and you were around $50,000 for most. Available in only three colors, these limited production cars have a cornered market and are piggybacking on the value increase of the 1980s M-cars – the spiritual predecessors of this car. Today, there are no less than 7 1Ms on Ebay, mostly in the $57,000 range. It seems almost like price fixing – we often see a wide spread of values even on very similar cars, but these 1Ms are all around the same price regardless of color, miles or number of owners. Which is the one you’d want?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M on eBay

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