While purists in part decried the death of the naturally aspirated M3 at the same time that the new nomenclature for the coupe lineup was launched, I personally wasn’t too offended – in fact, I was a little excited. First off, being an Audi fan I was used to name changes – Audi redefined its market lingo three times in just a few years with the change from the 5000 to 200, then again to S4, and once more S6 between 1989 and 1995. So while I thought it was a bit silly that BMW had to introduce a new number lineup for it’s coupe 3 (which, incidentally isn’t always a coupe…), I’m not going to fault BMW for choosing a new market strategy. But the real reasons I was impressed were the changes to the drivetrain and, I suppose it should come as no surprise, the colors offered. The change to the twin-turbocharged S55 didn’t produced much more horsepower than the S65 V8, but it did produce a lot more torque – something BMW was happy to showcase with a series of advertisements showing the new F82 sliding around a series of parked classic M3s. That forced induction was good for a 110 lb.ft boost over the naturally aspirated V8, starting below 2,000 rpms. You could go on and on about the technology that’s been incorporated into this engine – all of which is cutting edge and really impressive – but the chart that I find really amazing is to compare the relative power output versus efficiency of the S55 to the previous generation M3s. What’s staggering is that not only is this car the most powerful, it’s nearly able to match the fuel consumption and emissions of the 2.3 liter inline-4 from the E30. It produces well over double the horsepower and torque of the S14. That’s technology working on your side, and that’s amazing to consider. We really are living through a very special period of automobile performance if you’re able to partake; here’s a car that puts out numbers close to a legendary 427 Cobra in terms not only of power output, but acceleration as well; but it stops and turns better, too, can carry 4 (maybe 4.5?) adults in comfort, gets better fuel mileage, is better for the environment, works in all conditions and guess which one you’d rather be in a crash in.
Getting back to my original point, though, the F8x also introduced a few new colors that look amazing on the new BMWs; continuing with the theme of track-named colors, Yas Marina Blue is gorgeous, Sakhir Orange Metallic is pretty vivid, but the introduction of Austin Yellow Metallic is the one that got me. It looked an awful lot like my favorite E46 tone, Phoenix Yellow, and really makes the new M3/4 a knockout. Of course, for some those color options weren’t enough, so continuing in the theme of the last few BMWs I’ve written up, here’s one that and individual turned over to Individual:
Depreciation: it’s a wonderful thing if you’re a German automobile fan with an affinity for a good bargain. What was once an astronomically priced vehicle could be firmly within reach thanks to the passage of time and a reputation for wallet draining repair bills. Of course the latter is the reason many people still steer clear of used German vehicles, even in today’s world where any question you need the answer to is just a Google search away. Nobody should be afraid to work a car these days, unless it’s so new that you can’t do anything without a computer or you’re completely helpless when it comes to wrenching. If you have the space, tools and the time, there’s nothing you can’t do. I say all of this because I know that right off the bat people will point out that the W220 chassis S-Class is a big scary car with little mechanical demons lurking in its bones just waiting to wreak havoc on your bank account. While it did have its issues, it was actually rather reliable and parts for these things are very easy to come by, even the AMG examples like this one. Sure there is a learning curve when it comes to working on over engineered vehicles but it’s really not as daunting as armchair experts would have you think. Between brand-specific fora and YouTube there’s plenty of information out there to keep you from loosing sleep over things like a vanity mirror door break or armrest failure.
The tradeoff for taking the plunge seems well worth it, especially with pristine examples like this one. The seller’s pictures of the gorgeous Designo Espresso don’t do the color justice which is too bad because the right setting would show off just how much this paint pops. Early morning light along the Hudson, now that would have been the way to go. Even with some glare the car still looks great, a testament to just how nice this color is. What he did do a good job of was taking pictures of the very clean interior with those cozy looking Light Brown Nappa Leather seats. It’s hard to see some of the special details included in the Designo Edition from the photos, such as the extended leather (it even encircles the floor mats!), the Alcantara details and the lovely Elm trim. I have only been in one W220 S-Class and I was riding in the back, reclined with the massage function going and let me tell you, it’s everything it’s cracked up to be and then some. Of course this is the S55 AMG and behind the wheel isn’t a bad place to be sitting either. The 493hp, 5.4L supercharged V8 will take you and 3 willing participants to 60mph in 5.5 seconds. Even by today’s standards those numbers are impressive and this is a 4,260 lb car built in 2003 that you can generally get for under $20k. Just think, you could have this and some sort of two seat canyon carver with plenty of money left over to cover replacement parts for less than a Lincoln MKZ.
We see a lot of fairly new cars that just get crushed with depreciation. That leaves some great opportunities for secondhand buyers.
This 2003 S55 had an M.S.R.P. north of $100,000 and now can be had for $22,500. 75,000 miles on the car, which looks pretty clean. The interior looks great considering its light color.
With the addition of a Eurocharged 180mm pulley, Kleeman headers and tune added to the already potent supercharged engine, your probably looking at close to 550 horsepower and gobs of torque.
Sure you could buy yourself a nice brand new car with a warranty for this price, but it certainly won’t have the presence of this top of the heap German luxury sedan. If you don’t mind paying top dollar here is another chance for instant gratification for the holidays.