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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1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

Update 12/17/19: It appears this listing was fraudulent – sometimes if it looks to good to be true…

Last week I checked back in on the Mercedes-Benz 190SL with the craziest engine swap I’ve ever seen in W121, a Toyota 1UZ-FE. Despite it being a very nice and exceptionally clean build, the new $160,000 price tag still has it for sale with no takers yet. It is one thing to convince someone to spend $160,000 and a whole other thing to convince them to spend it on a 1962 Mercedes convertible with a Toyota engine. Naturally, I wanted to flip it 180 degrees and look at a totally stock 190SL and a much more reasonable price tag. This 1960 up for sale in Massachusetts is actually a really nice example for 133,000 miles and has an even better price tag. How much?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL on eBay

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5-Speed

For every Craiglist-special Mercedes-Benz R107 out there with its average condition and crazy price, there is one R107 that is actually worth the money. You wouldn’t believe the number of 450SLs and 380SLs I dig through day after day with phrases like ”Great condition” and ”A real peach” only to see they have tires on them from 1996 and the canvas top is full of mold. I chalk it up to nearly two-thirds of the 300,000 R/C107s built ending up in North America over the unheard of 18 year production run. Combine that with their durability and most people treating them like some sort of investment, and you now have a market flooded with R107s. As the baby boomers hit retirement and their three-bedroom ranch house has a for sale in the front yard, so does the SL in the garage. The overwheling majority of the time they are over priced (in my eyes) and there just aren’t many buyers out there for them. The W113 Pagoda is a much more attractive car and the R129 is a much more livable car with its modern amenities. You are left with the R107 right in the middle with its giant bumpers, four eye head lights and underwhelming performance numbers. However, there is a beacon of light for the R107. This car is none other than the 280SL 5-speed.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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1988 BMW 325i Convertible

The beautiful M3 Convertible I looked at yesterday was a reminder that I often skimp on drop-tops entirely. On top of that, I’ve been ignoring one of the most popular options in the classic German car market – the E30.

Introduced midway through E30 production, the Convertible you see here was the first factory BMW convertible since the 1950s. It showed in the execution; BMW’s slick top folded neatly away under a hard cover, in stark contrast to Volkswagen’s Cabriolet which looked like it was sporting a neck support pillow in back. Little trunk space was lost in the execution, meaning you had a fully functional 4-seat convertible replete with storage for the weekend. Base price was nearly $29,000 in 1987, but that included leather sport seats, electric windows, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and an on-board computer. For the U.S. market, there was only one engine option, too – the M20 2.5 liter inline-6, meaning no “E” model and plenty of spin on the tach, along with 168 horsepower. This helped make up for some additional weight from the top mechanism and structural strengthening, resulting in around 3,000 lbs of curb weight. But while the E30 was the benchmark as a driver’s car, many more of these were used in a relaxed manner; top-down luxury cruisers to enjoy the sun:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325i Convertible on San Francisco Craigslist

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2003 BMW M3 Convertible

Update 10/15/18: This M3 Convertible sold for $22,100.

Like yesterday’s base 944, the M3 Convertible isn’t a car I spend a lot of time on. However, the recipe is hard to argue with; you get the beautiful lines of the E46 mated to the sonorous S54 with limitless sky over your head at the touch of a button. When this car was new, it was the fastest production 4-seat convertible available, though at nearly $60,000 it was hardly cheap. Fast forward to today, and it’s generally become the cheapest way to experience BMW’s gem of a motor in the ultimate development of the naturally aspirated inline-6.

Though I don’t write of them often, I do keep my eye on them from time to time. And today’s particular 2003 is a very special package. Presented in 400 Steel Gray Metallic over N5ZM Cinnamon leather, visually this car is quite a looker. Inside you’ll find a 6-speed manual, too, and a scant 34,866 miles on the odometer. Oh, and the auction is no reserve, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW M3 Convertible on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio

The prospect sounded promising, but I was left feeling lackluster at best about the 750 mile 2001 BMW 330Ci I wrote up a few weeks ago. Sure, it was nice and that interior certainly was to die for; so, too, was the basically as-new condition. But the 5-speed automatic transmission, coupled with the outrageous $32,000 asking price, had me thinking there were better options out there. So if I was in the $30K range for an E46, what are my options?

Well, obviously there are plenty of M3s to check out any day of the week, and I’ll be looking at one soon enough. But when our reader John sent through this seriously impressive Alpina, I couldn’t help but take a look. The B3 isn’t a model we often look at; in fact, I’ve only reviewed on prior, and it was a E36 chassis. The E46 took an unusual route for Alpinas; rather than a blank-slate motor, the Buchloe company selected the S52B32 from the U.S. spec E36 M3 for their basis. It was bored and stroked to 3.3 liters, netting 280 horsepower. In 2002, the “S” version of the B3 was released, with a bit more bore and a revised engine management and exhaust system. This brought the power to 305, 0-60 plummeted to 5 seconds and with a 6-speed manual you could come close to hanging with the M3. Why buy one, then? Well, the looks were a bit more discrete overall, and you could buy not only a sedan and Touring version, but an all-wheel drive one as well. Today, though, we have a lovely Cabrio with the 6-speed manual to check out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Alpina B3S Cabrio on Autoscout24

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1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL

Fall is officially here, so that means in roughly 11 days, we’ll be looking at about four feet of snow. (Florida and California residents excluded.) While there are still some sunny days left, why not enjoy them in none other than a V12 convertible from Mercedes-Benz. Truth be told, if you forced me to go buy a V12 Mercedes-Benz convertible, it wouldn’t take me any time at all the settle on the R129 with the M120 because that is the V12 that wouldn’t have me sleeping inside it because of how unreliable and costly it is. Granted, the M120 still isn’t an inexpensive engine to live with in the grand scheme of things, but compared to the M275 or god-forsaken M137, it is a far easier pill to swallow. Today, I wanted to check out a really tidy 1993 600SL up for sale in New York that has all the little goodies that makes it stand out from what you usually see from these early R129s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL on eBay

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Around five years ago the values of the W113 Mercedes-Benz Padoga spiked pretty hard and kept climbing year after year. I totally get it because these roadsters are as classic as it gets and will never go out of style. The price for a really nice 280SL hovers around that $100,000 mark and can reach almost $260,000 for a perfect example while the lesser 230SL and 250SL can be had for a much more reasonable $50,000 if you so chose. This leads me to today’s car, a 1970 280SL up for sale in New Hampshire. This Pagoda is equipped not only with the rare factory air conditioning, but a 4-speed manual transmission. While all that is nice, why I really wanted to look at this 280SL is the price. No, it is not extremely high, but actually quite the opposite.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

If I had a dollar for every time I see the terms ”like-new”, ”showroom condition” or even worse, ”restored” when looking at a used car ad, I’d have a lot more cars. The overwhelming majority of the time these terms don’t apply to the car listed for sale and are just used by overzealous sellers just trying to drum up interest. I fight every urge to send them a sarcastic message saying that I didn’t know Mercedes sold new cars on the showroom floor with cracked dashes and stains on the carpets, but I resist. Either way, it ruins the term in my eyes because of how loosely it gets tossed around. Today, one of those cars actually deserves all those marketing terms because it is actually true. This 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL for sale in Texas was restored, is like-new and is certainly in showroom condition. However, if you want to own this car, I hope your net worth is in seven-figures. It is that expensive.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500

I’ve been really itching for a convertible of late and specifically a Mercedes-Benz SL. Maybe it is just the nice weather or the want to start another project, but I always seem to be digging around for a R129, R107 or even if I’m lucky, a Pagoda. During my digging, I came across today’s car which would be perfect for a summer daily driver but believe it or not, I actually want it because of what it does with the top on. Yes, that means this 2000 SL500 has the panoramic hardtop option that turns the normal boring hardtop into a full glass roof that still people go nuts for. Myself included.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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