If I’m honest, most newer cars bore me. I’m much more excited to see a clean ’85 GTI than I am to see a modern M anything, frankly. I don’t live in the most expensive or opulent area in the world, yet within a shockingly short drive from me there are several new M3s, M4s, M5s and the like being daily driven. It’s not unusual for a Ferrari or Lamborghini to roar by my house. Porsches are downright commonplace. Please understand, this is not intended to elevate my status as a braggart. But when I was a child you just didn’t see these things, and I grew up very close to where I live now. I still remember the excitement of egging my father on as he chased a Ferrari 308 down the highway just so that I could get a closer look. My son doesn’t even turn his head when the multiple 488s cruise by.
I’m not just spouting off a baseless ‘back in my day’ statement as I shake my fist towards the clouds. I was a bit older than my son is now when the E28 M5 launched. 1,340 were shipped to the United States. The same was roughly true of the replacement E34; 1,678 shipped here. Then the markets went wild; 9,992 E39s, 9,491 E60s and 8,088 F10s. While they’ve steadily been losing ground to the growing field of competition and fast SUVs, the fact is they’re far more common than their ancestors. So how do you stand apart from the crowd? Well, BMW’s Individual options are certain to assist:
I’ve recently noticed a large amount of second-hand F10s hitting the market, and what’s been surprising to me is just how cheap they’ve gotten so quickly. Perhaps I just haven’t been paying attention, but suddenly the asking prices on the early F10s are precariously close to $10,000. I suppose it makes sense; the F10 is out of production and no longer the “new thing”, with early examples over 100,000 miles and 8 years old. That’s pretty much a death sentence for a mid-sized executive sedan.
But before you entirely dismiss the F10 line and commence your search for lightly used G30s, there are a few reasons to consider some specific trims in the lineup. For one, the F10 was a lot less controversial of a design than the E60 had been. Second, they seemed to integrate the technology better into the platform, making it a lot less glitch-prone than its predecessor. And, as with all 5-series iterations, power was once again up in the newer models across the board.
But within the F10 lineup for the U.S., there was one particular model which was quite special – what’s listed here as a 550i M-Sport 6-speed. Some 611 550is were equipped with manuals, but of those only 269 were made with the M-Sport package. Today’s example is one of just 16 550i manuals produced in Cashmere Silver Metallic:
Newer cars are, in general, not the subject of this page. I can walk down to any dealership just like anyone else, and provided I have a pulse, probably walk out with financing for most mid-range cars regardless of whether or not I could actually afford them. Indeed, easy credit has led to the proliferation of many of our favorite brands and cars to the point where most don’t feel all that special anymore. That $2,500 Jetta, for example, is much more rare to see today in that condition – or, at all, truthfully – compared to a new M car.
So all modern cars aren’t really all that exciting? That’s far from the truth, too, as there are many special examples that float by our feed. So while the F10 M5 isn’t a model often featured, it’s probably our loss for not doing so. It’s also easy to forget that even though it feels pretty new, the F10 has been out of production for 2 years and the earliest examples are now 7 years old. Plus, as most M5s do, the entry price point on the antiquated models has dropped considerably compared to their original MSRP, while their performance is still contemporaneous to today’s cars.
The S63B44T0 found under the hood of this particular example was good for 550 plus horsepower; not much more than the model it replaced with that wicked V10. But torque? That’s another matter. While the S85 cranked out an impressive 380 lb.ft at 6,100 rpms, the two turbos tacked onto the S63 V8 produced 500 lb.ft of torque with a curve as flat as the Salt Lake from 1,500 rpms through over 5,000. That massive power could be channeled through a manual gearbox, and it could also be outfit from BMW’s Individual arm. These are the most fun to see, albeit very rarely do they come up for sale:
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.
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.
After watching a 2007 Ferrari 599GTB with a 6-speed manual gearbox hammer for almost $700,000 at this year’s Amelia Island RM Sotheby’s auction, I had mixed feelings. Surely that was a princely sum for a relatively new Ferrari, but with only 20 produced with the manual gearbox for the US market, one has to think cars like these with three pedals will continue to increase in value in an era when the shift it your own option seems to be fading away. This 2011 BMW 550i with a 6-speed manual is part of that dying breed for sure, as you can no longer buy a new 550i in the US market with a manual gearbox. Sure, you can opt for the 6-speed manual in some lesser engined variants, but the combination of the lusty turbocharged V8 and joy of rowing your own through what is undoubtedly one of the smoothest gearchanges around certainly has its perks.
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: