When the F8x BMW M3 and M4 launched, they were loud, proud, and…well, large. Park an M4 next to an original M3, and you can nearly hide the entire older model behind the silhouette of the new one. But when the G80 was launched recently, well…suddenly meet the new boss had me looking at the old boss in a new light. And the S55 is still good for 425 horsepower – and it’ll still rip your face off. 0-60 is gone in 4 seconds and it’ll demolish the older generations in a straight line. Early models have also gotten pretty affordable; look around, and you can find a nice M4 coupe in the 20s now! Today’s car is nowhere near that low, though, given its special color – BMW Individual Laguna Seca Blue:
Tag: Laguna Seca Blue
When I was looking for an E46 M3 back in 2014, it wasn’t particularly hard to find one. However, if you wanted one of the launch colors of the M3 – Phoenix Yellow Metallic, which I wanted, or Laguna Seca Blue – pickings were much more slim. We’ve recently looked at a string of PYM cars, so I thought it was worth checking out a nice blue example. Like PYM, finding a stock, lower-mile one in good condition is now less difficult thanks to specialty sites like Bring a Trailer, but it’s not as if they roll by every minute now that they’re 20 years old. And when they do, hang on…pricing is usually quite high. Case in point – a 34,000 mile 2004 example sold late last year for $53,333.
Well, today’s car is an early model – a 2001 – which in theory is a little less desirable than the post-LCI cars. But it’s stock, it’s in great shape, it’s a manual, and it’s got less than half the mileage of the example I just linked. The price? Well, let’s just say put the coffee down.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay
My wife and I had a rather amusing conversation recently. “How much does a new 911 cost”, she asked. Now typically I know questions like this are leading somewhere and she’s not a huge Porsche fan, so after some inquiry she asked why examples from the 80s and 90s are trading for the price of a new car. After I likened the Porsche 911 market to the Tulip craze, she said two really funny things. First, she said “Let’s not base our economy on it!”, something that got me laughing. Then she said that if it was so popular, why were manufacturers like Porsche building new examples of their old cars? The answer, as we discussed, was that it just wouldn’t be profitable. Though limited run manufacturers such as Singer and Eagle have seen success building “new” old cars, the reality is that between making cars safe enough and economical enough to meet today’s standards, they’d be heavy and slow – necessitating even more power, which would raise the price. Take the GT86/FR-S/BRZ clones; while critics have loved their handling and prices have been kept reasonable, they’re generally referred to as “slow” cars with 200 horsepower and 2,700lbs of curb weight – nearly identical to what the 1988 Porsche Carrera was specified at.
However, there are options outside of the 911 market for a personal sports 2-door that throwback to simpler times, and I think the M Coupe was one of the best. With a gutsy inline-6 up front, rear drive and a 6-speed manual, the E86 was a classic blueprint for a sports car. But it was modern at the same time, with over 300 horsepower from the sonorous S54 M motor and a thoroughly modern design. It was also a relatively limited run vehicle, meaning they’re rare to see. Yet, despite this they’re still relatively affordable as a not-particularly-old future classic that can be driven and enjoyed – and will likely appreciate, though…there’s a caveat to this particular one:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe on eBay
I’m not done with M3s yet! I get that the wild colors offered by BMW on the E46 M3 don’t appeal to everyone, and I’m aware they tend to be the colors I focus on. What’s special about them to me is that they exist at all; you don’t have to agree that they’re the colors you’d buy, but isn’t the world a better place for them having been made? While getting into any M car is a special experience, by the time of the E36 and E46 M3s production numbers meant they were reasonably common. With over 71,000 E36s made and over 85,000 E46s produced, odds of you seeing another going down the road are a lot better than they were with the original Ms. To me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M experience from the norm. Today, there’s a lovely example of the latter available on eBay:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW M3 Coupe on eBay
Speaking generally, there aren’t too many new cars that cross the pages of this site. It’s even somewhat rare for us to breach the decade-old mark; that’s the point where really nice used examples of our favorites start to become hard to locate. And, frankly since anyone can walk into a dealership, sign a few papers and walk out a lot lighter but with any specification car they can afford, the older metal is typically what draws our (and, hopefully, your) interest.
But once in a while something pretty special comes along, from a 911R to this car. The fifth generation F80 M3 has taken a huge leap forward in complexity, technology and performance. The S55 twin-turbocharged inline-6 is an absolute tower of power; while ultimate horses didn’t increase much version the E9x S65 V8 (425 versus 414), the torque was the big news. It was in part the final number – 410 lb ft., up an amazing 90 over the V8, but it was also the reality of when you could use that torque. The S65 developed peak twist at just shy of 4,000 rpms; the S55 does it at 1,850. Not only that, but the torque curve is billiard table flat until 5,500 rpm. The result, despite the heavy weight stature of the new gigantic F80, is astonishing speed.
By itself, the F80 M3 is a force to be reckoned with. However, this particular M3 is just that bit more special, as it was handed over the group at BMW Individual and painted in E46-signature Laguna Seca Blue: