2013 BMW M3 Individual

In my search for a M3, I kept my eye out for Individual shades on the E46 just to keep things interesting. Velvet Blue, for example, was one that caught my eye. I can’t imagine having the fortitude to plunk down the extra 10% premium to order a car that I couldn’t see in the flesh, then to sit for months on end waiting for it to arrive – hoping they painted it the right shade! But thankfully some buyers have the vision and means to provide us with very interesting color choices on these cars. Though they rarely come up for sale in comparison to the sea of black and silver that consumes 90% of the M3’s production, it certainly is awesome to see one in a unique shade such as this E92 specified through Individual in Brewster Green:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW M3 on eBay

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2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan

As I look forward to the next few years and what kind of car I might move into next, the BMW 3 series coupe is always up there on the list. This is a car that seemingly has it all, such as practicality, performance and the availability of a manual gearbox, which, sadly seems to be waning with the newer models. There is also a huge aftermarket for these coupes as well, from mild tunes to wild M3 clone iterations. This 335i Coupe for sale from our friends at EuroWerkz has been treated to some Dinan modifications, inclusive of Stage II software and camber plates.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i Coupe Dinan at EuroWerkz

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Motorsports Monday: M3-off

Last week, I pitted a wickedly turned up 944 Turbo against a much more tame E30 M3. My feeling was that the M3 was overpriced in comparison to the 944 Turbo – especially when you considered the performance envelope the 944 was capable of. That particular example was churning out in excess of twice what the M3 was producing from the legendary S14 – not exactly an apples to apples competition in anything but pricing. To equal the playing field a bit, this week I have two different racing M3s – the first and last of the two door variety. How does a very tuned E30 compare in value to a E92?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 2011 BMW M3

This past weekend, I went out to Coventry Motorcar to sample some of the cars. My wife and I took out a nearly new RS5; it was impressive for sure. Then we took out the twin-turbo V12 CL65 AMG that was chipped; with well over 700 horsepower and enough torque to bump-start a Saturn V rocket, the throttle pedal simple corresponded to a large amount of giggling every time I dipped into it. But the car that we drove that stood out was the less powerful, older BMW M3. It was an E46; getting on a decade older than the RS5 – and obviously the technology has increased in leaps and bounds, as the Audi has near infinite adjustments for every aspect of the car. But driving dynamics? The M3 showed why it was, and still is, the benchmark that all other cars are compared to. It was thoroughly composed down the road, and slipping inside you felt instantly at home. A throaty shout announced each touch of the throttle, growing in vigor to a scream as the motor worked its way up the tach. On the go, it felt more composed than the Audi; amazing as it sounds, the Audi felt like it was trying to convince you it was fast. The BMW felt relaxed and at ease; it was like Usain Bolt showing up at a power walker’s evening workout. It just felt natural. When I got back to the shop, the manager said “if you liked that, wait until you drive the 2011”.

Move up to the E92 chassis, and the lack of technology that the E46 employed was remedied. Check out the option list on this particular example, and you’ll find everything conceivable and probably more than you need. The Premium Package gives you the power to move your seat, open your garage, fold your mirrors in tight spaces, navigate to those spaces thanks to the compass in the mirror, and connect your phone to the car. Premium 2 gives you an even better sound system than standard and Sputnik sending soundwaves to it. Then there’s the Convenience Package, which means you don’t need the keys to start the car, you don’t need to know exactly where the trunk is when you’re backing up, Magellan in your dash so you don’t need to remember how to get anywhere, voice command so you don’t need to use your hands, and traffic warning updates so that you can seek alternate routes. When you start to explore those detours, you’ll find the S65 V8 to be even more useful than normal thanks to the addition of the dual clutch transmission and Competition Package, which upgrades the wheels, suspension, and brakes. It transforms from simply a means of transport to a happiness generator, making you smile with each sweep through a corner and stomp on both the throttle and brakes. And on your mountain excursion to avoid the traffic jam the car alerted you to, it’s got the Cold Weather package as well to make sure you tush stays warm. The only thing this car doesn’t do is wipe your bottom after you go to the bathroom, but head to a race track and it’ll still embarrass supercars with its driving dynamics and otherworldly abilities. It is, quite simply, the best sports coupe you could buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on German Cars For Sale Blog

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Face off: 2012 BMW M3 v. 335i

I’ve covered a series of BMW 3 series Individual cars recently, and I seem to be on a streak of finding neat ones. Today for your consideration are two E92s; one 335i turbo with low miles in a nice color combination compared to a M3 Individual with higher miles. The price is nearly the same between the two examples; which would be the one you’d select?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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Low Mile Dilemma: 1999 BMW M3 v. 2008 BMW M3

In the last few weeks I’ve done a series of posts covering some well priced, good condition E36 M3s. The genesis of those posts came from a low mileage, slightly modified Dakar Yellow M3 which apparently really raised my ire. As with any car, there are opportunity costs for buying an example which is lower miles and near pristine condition; you’re paying not only for the exclusivity of having had someone store and not heavily use the model you’re clearly seeking, but then often you’re also paying extra for what they think it’s worth. In some cases – classic Ferraris, for argument’s sake – that won’t matter to the prospective buyers, whose bank accounts often align with small African nations. In others, the opportunity cost for getting into a low mile older car is that you could have a much newer car, with better features, performance and perhaps reliability. As such, today I’m looking at two very similarly priced M3s; the last of the run E36 versus the first of the run E92. 9 years, 45,000 miles, 2 cylinders and some 174 horsepower separate these black beauties – which is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

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Just Missing the Map: 2011 BMW M3 Individual

While the twin Individual Gran Coupes from this morning were certainly a good start, if I were seriously contemplating special ordering a car and paying extra for it, it would probably be a full-fledged M model. BMW’s obviously made a habit of offering limited-run M models, and it seems – generally – that those models plus the regular run of options resulted in less people turning towards BMW Individual to spec out their cars. But thankfully, some did – and we end up with some pretty cool color combinations, such as the Java Green hued 2013 I looked at last year.

One of my biggest gripes with some special editions is that they don’t seem to be particularly special at all; generally, just a different than normal color combination. All of the manufacturers are guilty of this, not just BMW; but the Lime Rock Park Edition is one that really makes me cross. I’m not even sure why; it is, indeed, a special car – a fully loaded Competition Package car, limited to 200 examples in Fire Orange, with a unique exhaust and a track map indicating the etymology of the name. It was also the end of the legendary 2-door M3 (for now). But since you could special order Fire Orange from BMW’s Individual department and have, theoretically, a 1 of 1 example for about the same money, I just was never sure why the Lime Rock Park Edition was so special. One thing is for certain, though – the color stands out on this exceptional package and if you were clever, you beat BMW to the market:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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Feature Listing: 2012 BMW 335is

Like this past weekend’s 135i, a potential alternative to the M3 that I’ve considered quite a few times is the 335i. Upping the ante a notch, in 2011 BMW introduced the 335is; ostensibly, the spiritual successor to the ZHP package that the E46 had in the 330i. As they had with the 1M, BMW kept the N54 twin-turbo motor in the 335is instead of the usual N55 single turbo that was in the 135i and 335i. Tuned up to a reported 320 horsepower and 332 lb.ft of torque, the N54-equipped 335is also enjoyed a revised short-shift 6-speed gearbox and M-Sport styling outside, bringing it closer visually to the M3 – along with unique split 5-spoke wheels. While the 335is wasn’t much of a match for the high-revving V8 of the M3, in real world conditions it wasn’t much slower – and notably, with a healthy bump in torque over the S54, the 335is matched or bettered the reported E46 M3 acceleration numbers. Having just driven an E46 M3 this past weekend, the soundtrack is great but there’s a notable lack of grunt under 3,000 RPM – certainly to be expected, but when I get into even my considerably less powerful Passat, the fun of the turbo engagement at lower revolutions to provide a healthy kick in the pants – even at partial throttle – is something it’s hard to get out of a normally aspirated car without huge displacement. On top of a bit of extra grunt and some go-faster body kit, this particular 335is was optioned in one of the better blues BMW has offered in recent generations; LeMans Blue Metallic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 335i on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

A truism of motorsport is that to make a small fortune in racing you need to start with a large fortune. Building race cars is very expensive; strange, considering that there is much less of them when you’re done than the road car that was started with. If, for example, you wanted to go racing in the GT3 class, the ostensible car to get would be the multi-class winning Porsche GT3R. Smart choice. Now, fork over your half a million hard-earned trust fund dollars, since before you turn a key the GT3R stickers at 429,000 Euros plus taxes. Run a race weekend, and presuming you don’t crash or have a mechanical, you’ll be several tens of thousands of dollars more in the hole, since race cars consume consumables at an alarming rate. Tires, brake pads, clutches – you name it, it’s expensive if it’s top-tier racing goods. And then come the realities that after a staggeringly short amount of time, you need to completely rebuild your race car. According to the Census Bureau, the average American spends 50 minutes a day commuting in their car. In race car terms, that would mean that after a little over a month you’d have to completely rebuild your car. Nuts, right?

But you still want to do it. Okay, a much more affordable way to go really, really fast is to buy a last generation car. Just past the current vogue, they tend to be considerably more friendly on the wallet. Yet, top tier cars are still very, very expensive to run. Perhaps, then, a smarter choice would be to look at a car based upon more pedestrian internals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 on eBay

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Two Turbos or None? BMW 335i v. M3

A few months ago at a gathering of friends, two BMWs were present – my friend’s E46 M3 and his acquaintance’s E82 135i. A bit under my breath, I mentioned to him that I still couldn’t get over how unattractive the 135i was compared to the M3. I may have said that the E82 looked a bit like a really poor quality bodyshop repaired a E46 that had been both in full frontal and rear crashes – poorly. But my friend countered that if anything, that 135i was faster and more fun to drive than his M3. Looking back, I paused, and thought “Could I?” The answer remains no in my book, but it does raise an interesting question – with E92 335i prices dropping within reach of the higher E46 M3s, which is the better choice?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i on eBay

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