Feature Listing: 2012 BMW M3 Competition Package

Update 5/7/19: This beautiful low-option E92 is on to a new owner!

While there’s no doubt that the E9x M3 was instantly recognizable as the replacement for the outgoing E46 model, there was an inconvenient truth that had snuck into the lineup: weight. Part of what had made the E30 such a curb-hopping maniac was that lack of heft even with all the accoutrements. By the time the E92 launched, the M3 had put on nearly 800 lbs of weight.

To motivate it the extra mass, BMW did effectively what it had done with the S14; it took its top-tier motor in the S85 V10 and removed two cylinders. The result was the S65 V8, and 414 horsepower was on tap for your right foot’s pleasure. That was a monumental leap from the E46; when the E46 launched with 93 horsepower more than the prior generation, I thought there was no way BMW could do it again. But they did, tacking on 81 horsepower to the prior generation’s total without forced induction. BMW topped the E46’s specific output per liter, too, besting 103 in the E9x – in a package which was 40 lbs lighter despite two more cylinders. Impressive, indeed.

Granted, if you were plunking down $60,000-odd worth of your hard earned credit, you’d want amenities like power seats, a nice radio, air conditioning – the normals that made it a better road car to live with day-to-day. But if you were clever in the boxes you ticked, you could still get the essence of what made the M3 the greatest car in its segment without a lot of frills. First would be the Competition Package, which gave you more variability on the suspension and more sideways action from the dynamic stability control. You got bigger wheels and stickier, wider tires to make use of that harder suspension.

Tick the 7-speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission, and that track-readiness was taken to the next level. Then, you’d want to stop right about there. Of course, few people selected such a targeted, bare-bones performance oriented M3 out of the gate, which makes finding one today difficult:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW M3 Competition Package on M3 Post

Continue reading

1991 BMW M5

The E28 M5 that Carter wrote up the other day was a nice piece of kit. But the E34 remains my favorite version of the M-powered 5-series. Sure, it was heavier than it’s predecessor. But even with the additional heft, the dynamic chassis and dialled-in suspension setup meant it was still a spritely, potent car. It was also subtle, distinguished from lower models only by a few, discreet M-badges, restyled lower valances and unique alloys. That’s no bad thing. Super sedans should be understated, in my view, and the conservatively styled E34 was handsome then and remains so now. That understated exterior conceals a glorious, screaming 3.6 liter inline six, replete with six individual throttle bodies, a motor that was good for just over 300 hp when new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

Continue reading

2004 BMW 330i ZHP


In stock form the E46 330i sedan was already a brisk, practical and rewarding car to drive. A capable sport sedan for grown ups, if you will. But when specified with the $4,000 ZHP “Performance Package,” the 330i could be given a slightly harder edge that helped to make up for the lack of a four-door M3 in the E46 range (at least, a bit). Offering a mixture of cosmetic upgrades (M-Sport bodykit, 18″ M-Sport wheels and splashes of alcantara interior trim) and some mechanical reworking  – firmer suspension, a remapped ECU and upgraded cams bringing power from the smooth 3.0 liter M54 engine to about 235 hp – ZHP equipped cars remain favorites among enthusiasts and tend to command strong money when they show up on the used market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP on Bimmerforums

Continue reading

1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution

There is nothing that I can say here that will matter at all. I won’t convince you that the E30 M3 is overpriced – maybe, compared to some of the other limited run homologation vehicles like the Sport Quattro and even the asking price on Paul’s 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II two weeks ago this Sport Evolution is downright cheap. Despite that, I could tell you that for the for the asking price of this car you could have a whole fleet of very interesting cars. Heck, you could buy a lesser E30 M3 and still have a huge chunk of change left over to buy many other vehicles and even maintain them. Some houses are less expensive than this car. College for most is less expensive than this car. The average worker at Walmart won’t make in a decade what the asking price is here. But none of that matters, because if you’re even still reading I’m just making you tread water until you can see more photos and drown in the eye-watering price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution on eBay

Continue reading

Feature Listing: 1991 BMW M5

It is always a bit of a treat to look back at some alumni of the GCFSB pages, especially so when it’s a lovely example of a special car that was snapped up by one of our enthusiast readership. For years we’ve banged on about the E34 M5, a conundrum of the M lineup. It’s got all the right DNA to be a classic, yet like the similar 944 Turbo has generally languished in value compared to similar products. That may sound like a broken record on these pages, but it’s a tune which is both catchy and sweet-sounding for BMW fans because it means they’re getting more car for their money. Recent market activity in 2015 has started to remix the tune, though, and E34s have been on the rise. Hagerty currently places top value on 1991 M5s at $42,000 – steep sounding given what they’ve traded for over the last few years, but perhaps more in line with their legendary build quality and performance especially when considering their siblings. But in terms of overall value, let’s consider today’s Jet Black 1991. It is nearly 100% original, fully documented, accident free and has under 100,000 miles on the clock – and currently represents the best value of the original M-car experience:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

Continue reading

How ///Mportant is the badge? 1995 850CSi v. 1991 850i 6-speed

The question of badges, badge engineering and car’s values are always interesting to me. Obvious car values vary considerably, but some times enthusiasts really gravitate towards one particular year or sub-model within a lineup and choose that model for value. Yesterday’s 1995 M3 raised that point; while it was a neat color and lower mileage with good overall condition, it was the OBD1 status that had some claiming that it should be worth more than later models. In the case of the E31, it’s obviously the big-dog 850CSi that stands out with its BMW Motorsport heritage and build. But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there was arguably a nicer example of the lesser 850i 6-speed with some light modifications available at the same time – is the M badge that important?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 850CSI on eBay

Continue reading

Fast Fives: 1991 BMW M5 v. 2002 BMW M5 v. 2006 BMW M5

As has happened with other series of cars, such as Audi S4s, there are currently several generations of BMW M5s that are converging on value, leaving you with some hard decisions as to which you’d prefer. Indeed, from their start through the E60 M5, the sports sedan got larger and heavier, but gained 2 cylinders per generation and corresponding power levels. The E34 BMW M5 was a refinement and softening of the E28 original design but kept the race-bred S38 inline-6. Purists eyebrows raised when the new E39 M5 launched with a 5 liter V8, but the 400 horsepower soundtrack has subsequently has become a serious legend and fan favorite. Purists once again held their breath as the E60 M5 launched, now with a 5 liter V10 – a high revving, howling banshee of a motor. All of them are serious forms of motivation, and the value of the first 4 generations are all coming into line. While I wasn’t able to find a good example of an E28 M5 for this writeup, I have the subsequent three generations to check out – which would you choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

Continue reading

BMW M5 Double Take: “New” v. “Old” – 2001 or 1988?

Well, this one has been brewing for a bit in my head. As I’ve watched E28 and E34 M5 prices climbing and the plateau after falling of E39 prices, the two are in general available for about the same amount of money. One is a well-acknowledged classic – the original super sedan, a well balanced combination of 4-door versatility with a race-bred high-revving inline-6. The second nearly never happened, and seemingly was an afterthought compared to the earlier examples – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well thought out. The E39 is one of the best performance bargains going not only amongst BMWs, but in cars in general – with 400 horsepower from a thundering V8, it took the M5 to a new level of performance and demanded the same of its competitors. So, here we have M5 v. M5; a generation gap, a performance gap, but both as performance icons of their respective times and generally accepted as collectable going forward. Which is the one you’d choose? Let’s start with the original:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

Continue reading