2008 BMW 135i Sport

The 1-Series sought to return BMW to its more affordable small car roots by shrinking the swollen 3-Series down substantially. What BMW unintentionally did was to create an E46 successor. The E82s are similarly sized, similarly equipped and were similarly priced to the E46. And in its most basic, most sporty form, the early 135i Sport is on paper a close match for the performance of the third generation M3. Okay, there’s no doubt that the 135i isn’t a M3 when you get behind the wheel. But is it a special car? Yes. And does it move? The N54/55 are rated at 300 horsepower – about 10% shy of the S54. But they’ve got 300 lb.ft of torque, almost about 15% more than the M3 had. And because they’re a turbo motor and they were able to tune that torque curve in, it’s about as flat as the Makgadikgadi Pan. That means roll-on performance, and the 135i rewards you any time you want in any gear you’re in. The strange thing is, it really doesn’t drive like it is a turbo motor. There’s no lag, no flat spots, no real woosh. It just feels like a very strong high-compression inline-6. It ALWAYS has power. And though it won’t corner like a E46 M3, it’s not far off in acceleration or driving feel.

So while it’s not quite the visual triumph that is the E46 M3, it’s a very compelling alternative. Better yet, the polarizing looks have meant that these haven’t taken off in value yet compared to full M models. Today, now just over a decade after launch, few come to market looking quite as fresh as this Sedona Red Metallic first-year model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 135i Sport on eBay

Continue reading

2008 BMW 328i Sports Wagon N54 6-speed

While traditionally Audi held the reigns in the U.S. fast wagon scene and there’s news that could resume with the return of the RS6, more recently it’s been rival BMW who has offered enthusiasts a dose of quick 5-doors. Like Audi, BMW had two flavors of wagons in the 2000s; the 5-series Sports Wagon was dropped for the U.S. after 2010, but did breifly offer a turbocharged inline-6 that could be mated to a 6-speed manual. The 3-series Sports Wagon still soldiers on in the market today and you can find a few at dealers, but the bad news is that it, too, has been removed from its ever shrinking fan base. On top of that, BMW never offered the top-tier motors with the 3, and more recently even gave up on the signature manual option. These are dark days, my manual-loving friends.

Luckily for us, though, that hasn’t stopped some individuals from saying ‘why not?’ and combining the best attributes of BMW’s sportier Coupes with their versatile wagon:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 328i Sports Wagon N54 6-speed on eBay

Continue reading

2011 BMW 1M with 10,600 miles

The BMW 1M is safely now into cult status. Values for used examples very rarely dip below $40,000 with the nicest one selling for tens of thousands more. Does it surprise me? Yes, a little. I think we all knew it was a really fun car, but I don’t think anyone knew they’d still be trading hands close to MSRP some eight years later. Good value for money? I can’t argue it. These cars are a hoot in daily driver situations as well as the track. Yeah, the N54 has its drawbacks (this example needed new spark plugs at 8,000 miles), but if you stay on top of things, nothing is too severe. Today, I came across an example painted in signature Valencia Orange with just over 10,000 miles. Even better, it was for sale at a BMW dealer in San Francisco. Great news, right? Nope. You aren’t prepared for how much they are asking for this car. Trust me.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M Coupe at BMW San Francisco

Continue reading

2013 BMW 335is Convertible

The natural comparison point to the 135is Convertible I just looked at is, of course, the same year 335is. Indeed, since the two share a fair amount of architecture and a similar recipe, on paper it’s a bit strange that they were offered at the same time. But though the 335is and 135is looked similar, there were actually quite a few differences between the two packages.

For starters, though they were both turbocharged and rated at 320 horsepower, the 335is package retained the N54 motor to do so. I’ve never quite understood BMW’s logic on this one, but clearly there was something about the N54’s power delivery that they felt was superior to the N55 single-turbo. The reserved the higher-output N54s in late production for the 1M (335 horsepower), the Z4 sDrive3.5is (335 horsepower) and the 335is (320 horsepower). The N54B30TO also got a 7 second overboost of 40 lb.ft of torque on top of the 332 that was rated in this car as stock. As I described in the 135i post, the easiest identifier for these cars was the wheels, and on the 335is you got massive yet delicate Style 313 M Double Spoke wheels, 8″ in front and 9″ in rear, with more aggressive offsets than the E8x got. Hunkered down on M-Sport suspension, the 335is also got a unique M aerodynamic body kit, and the transmission was borrowed from the M3, along with additional cooling for the engine. They carried a less restrictive exhaust system. Coupes went so hardcore that, like the 135i, they dropped the foglight option. The convertible variant was apparently judged to be a little less track-ready, as so like today’s Le Mans Blue Metallic example, you could retain the foglights:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW 335is Convertible at Carmax

Continue reading

Motorsports Monday: BMW Legends Collection

Let’s say you want to start a car collection, and for ease of argument’s sake, let’s say you’re really into BMWs. Which is the model you want? You could be a 507 enthusiast, love the classic 3.0 CSL or 2002, envy every E30 or lust over the modern muscle the company produces. But odds are if you’re reading these pages you, like me, gravitate towards BMW’s Motorsport models.

Within the Pantheon of classic models, there then comes the difficult decisions. How do you choose between the E30 M3 and the 1M, for example? Well, Enthusiast Auto Group has a suggestion. Why not have them both? Or, even better, why not assemble all of the greatest hits from BMW’s M division over the past 40 years and put them together into one curated, turn-key package?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: The Collection of BMW Legends at Enthusiast Auto Group

Continue reading

2011 BMW 1M Coupe

I’ve been on a bit of a yellow kick as of late, but even I was surprised when I came upon this BMW 1M. To date, I had not seen a BMW Individual painted 1M Coupe and to spy one in Dakar Yellow seemed especially amazing. Even more amazing was the price; despite only 35,000 miles on the clock, this E87 seemed priced to move at only $50,000 – some $20,000 less than other examples on the market. It was clearly worth a bit of further investigation…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M Coupe on eBay

Continue reading

2011 BMW 1M Coupe

Much like the E28 M5, the E82 was a legend before it even hit the market. Press releases and journalists gushed over its superlatives; while most felt it was a return to the classic BMW form, some went so far as to suggest it was the best M product ever. Debate still rages over that and generally fans of each chassis manage to come up with plenty of justification as to why theirs is the most special M produced. However, one thing is undeniable; the 1M might be the only M car to ever immediately appreciate on the market. Perhaps it was the combination of those aforementioned press articles or the limited nature of the model; a scant 983 were produced for the U.S. market over a 10 month production cycle in 2011. As with the E28, color choices were quite limited (though, thankfully more than just black!) – 326 Alpine White III (300), 222 Black Sapphire Metallic (475), and 435 Valencia Orange Metallic (B44) – the model’s signature color. All were mated with the same interior: LWNZ Black Boston leather with contrasting orange stitching. They all featured the same drivetrain specification, too – the boosted twin-turbocharged N54 turned up to 340 horsepower and mated only to a 6-speed manual with a limited slip differential. Wheels were the Competition Package BBS-made Style 359M 19″ options from the E9x. The result was magical:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW 1M Coupe on eBay

Continue reading

2010 BMW 535xi Touring M-Sport

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the trials and tribulations of E61 ownership. And, there have been a few exciting events which pertain to this car. Some of that comes down to learning about the quirks of ownership. For example, the iDrive system has a habit of notifying you of problems well after they’ve occurred. Like the E46, the E61 utilized the ABS speed sensors to calculate rotation of the wheels to determine if you’ve got a flat tire. So, if you..say…swap wheels and forget to notify the car that you’ve done so, it gets very unhappy (but, not immediately – only a few miles down the road will it tell you something occurred). Navigating the menus to find specific items can be laborious, but with time it gets better and you start to figure it out. But the electronic nannies don’t end there; the “IBS” – Intelligent Battery Sensor – proved to be anything but intelligent, as it malfunctioned and decided that the car shouldn’t start. It took a lot of internet diving to determine that simply unplugging the connector would fix the problem. Of course, that sensor is directly under the drains for the sunroof, which unfortunately seem to have a habit of randomly leaking (and, according to the never-wrong internet, are almost always the cause of the woes with the IBS).

Then there’s the service warning.

Say your 11 year old car uses (read: leaks) a little oil. Fine, no problem, top it up. But the E6x FREAKS OUT that you’ve lost a little oil and basically tells you you’re about to grenade the motor. Except, it doesn’t do this when you first start the car. No, because the N52 carries some 7 quarts of synthetic it waits for the oil to warm up prior to notifying you there’s a problem. And there is no dipstick. So, you have to wait for the car to determine if it has oil, which it will do ONCE YOU REACH YOUR DESTINATION AND DON’T HAVE OIL IN HAND. And then you finally get home, pop open the special BMW oil and it only takes 1/4 of a quart. You’re telling me at 6.75 liters of oil you think the level is “CRITICAL“, car?!?! And there are the parking sensors, which don’t notify you of how close you are to the thing you’re about to hit when you’re pulling up, but when you engage reverse it then, once again, FREAKS OUT that you’re about to roll into something (even if you’re in reverse). And God forbid there be ice or snow covering those sensors, because then the car erupts in what sounds like a nuclear test warning. DUCK AND COVER. DUCK AND COVER!!!!!!

Who the hell designed these systems?

I don’t paint a pretty picture of E6x ownership, but the reality is these are coming-to-terms things. The solutions are simple once you’ve figured them out (which, admittedly can be difficult), and then you’re left to enjoy the great aspects of the car. And great it is. Dynamically, the E61 seems to defy physics. The steering is outstanding, the motor sounds great and the 6-speed automatic is almost always on point. The all-wheel drive is seamless, the seats are hugely comfortable, and the car is quiet, composed and comfortable in almost every situation. It has an awesome cruise control system – by far the best I’ve ever experienced. And it returns a shocking 30+ mpg at 80 m.p.h. average on the highway. Pop it into Sport mode, and suddenly the car is transformed, feeling light, agile and quick on its feet despite the 4,000+ lb curb weight. The brakes are awesome, confidence inspiring and yet not too aggressive, and it was able to swallow an entire bathtub basin with no difficulty. As do-it-all cars go, it’s a compelling option. So let’s take a look at one of the end-of-the-run E61s, turned up a bit over my 530xiT. This is the twin-turbocharged N54 powered 535xi Touring, and this one has the optional (and rare) M-Sport package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 BMW 535xi Touring M-Sport on eBay

Continue reading

2012 BMW 335is

As popularity of the BMW 3-series doesn’t seem to be waning much even with the death renaming of the 2-door variant, finding a slick coupe to set up apart from the BMW crowd can be difficult. Outside of the obvious M3 choice, the ZHP models like the one Craig wrote up on Friday are certainly highly prized and priced. When it came to the E46’s replacement, there was no ZHP package offered – bummer. But, late in the run BMW did roll out a very special package with an even more storied connection to the 3er. In 2011, BMW reintroduced the “is” moniker to the top-notch 335 2-door. The new 335is differed from the regular production run in many ways. Replacing the N55 motor was the trusty N54, just like in the 1M. BMW remapped the engine to deliver 320 horsepower and 332 lb.ft of torque channeled through a short-shift 6-speed gearbox or you could opt for the dual-clutch DCT 7-speed from the M3 for repeatable 5.0 second runs to 60. Because it was turbocharged, you also have a 7-second overboost function that gives you another 40 lb.ft in passing situations (or, to show off). The 335is helped to mitigate this additional power with a revised cooling system and heavier-duty motor mounts. The additional cooling meant no fog lights for the coupe, though oddly they could be had on the convertible 335is. Typical M adornments outside meant revised front and rear bumper covers, and the 335is wore unique Style 313 forged wheels measuring a substantial 19×8 in front and 19×9 out back. There were also discrete 335is badges under the side indicators to let drivers beside you know you were in some obscure BMW model besides a M3:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 335is on eBay

Continue reading

2008 BMW 335i Coupe

Tempting. If I were to sum up the 335i 6-speed coupe in one word, that would have to be it. When it originally launched, I felt that the E92 looks were too heavy compared to the outgoing E46 model, but I have to admit that I think this car has aged pretty well. One thing that couldn’t be argued was the performance on tap from the new twin-turbocharged N54 inline-6. While it didn’t offer quite the spin of the S54 in the previous generation M3, it had more usable grunt. Coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission, the performance figures in real world driving generally indicated that the 335i was as fast as the M3 had been. Inside, the E9x was thoroughly modern, too – if the E46 was the last of the classic driver-oriented dash designs dating back to the late 1970s, the E9x ushered in the new era of electronic-heavy dash design to the 3-series. Is it all bad? No – in fact, in a recent car search the 335i coupe was pretty high on my list of potential candidates because of the sheer bang for the buck quotient. Enter my usual complaint; my searches sifted through hundreds of gray and black examples, but this one really caught my eye because of the unusual combination of Deep Green Metallic and Beige leather:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 335i Coupe on eBay

Continue reading