Feature Listing: 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Bonkers.

That’s what the engineers at Mercedes-Benz went on the W220, apparently. They were not content with already have a very potent sedan in the supercharged S55 AMG (which featured the same supercharged M113 as yesterday’s E55 by the end of the run, but kicked up to 493 horsepower) or the ultra-luxurious S600 that had a 5.5 liter twin-turbocharged V12 that made the same horsepower as the S55 but even a bit more torque.

So, they combined them in 2005.

The result was the S65 AMG, which with the punched out M275-AMG 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged V12 produced a simply outlandish 604 horsepower and 738 lb.ft of torque. That was enough to propel this 5,000 pound sedan from 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. And while that sounds really quick (and IS really quick), that was not where the S65 excelled at accelerating. It was really on the fly that the numbers started to tumble as the speedometer rose; a quarter mile was dispatched in 12 seconds. No fancy launch program, no trick dual-clutch gearbox, not even really enough tire to transfer that power to the road despite the massive 275-35-19 treads in the rear. This was just pure, unadulterated Victorian-era power. The real number that stands out isn’t the top speed, because like all other sensible German sedans from the time period it was maxed at 155 m.p.h., but how quickly it got there: 21 seconds – 2.3 seconds ahead of a Ferrari 575. If you’re counting, that was about the same amount of time it took an early 1980s Volkswagen diesel to hit 60. And you were able to achieve this speed in what was effectively a modern Swiss chalet, comfortable, quiet and full of all the modern technical features you’d expect from the automotive equivalent of a Brookstone catalogue. But it was expensive, topping $180,000 before the few options you could select – yet today, these physics-defying super executives can be purchased by mere mortals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG on eBay

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2013 BMW M3 Individual

Hardly out of production, journalists and enthusiasts alike are already calling the last of the naturally aspirated M3s a classic in the making. Some have even gone so far as to call the E9x M3 the best M product BMW has produced. Certainly it was a screamer, with butch good looks to back up the impressive power chops on tap from the S65 V8. As always, I’m drawn to the more unusual colors offered through BMW’s Individual program and today’s example is a pretty interesting one. Apparently, dissatisfied with the yellow-toned options from BMW’s own color catalogue, the buyer of this particular M3 asked BMW to head to the Black Forest and it came back with Speed Yellow from Zuffenhausen. A vibrant tone more piercing than Dakar but not as orange as Atacama, does this E92 light up your sky?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW M3 Individual on Denver Craigslist

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2011 BMW M3 Individual

My search for a Phoenix Yellow M3 consumed years, and along the way I checked out plenty of other custom yellow options. There were plenty of Dakar Yellow E46s and E92s, but it’s always neat to see something a little bit different. Named after a desert in Chile, the color was originally launched on the Z4 – but, of course, that didn’t stop a few imaginative souls from specifying BMW Individual to paint their pride in joy in the orange-yellow tone. It’s no small feat to do so, so while you’re there you might as well tick every option box, right? The results on this M3 are pretty interesting; from a $55,900 base price, the original buyer selected no less than $20,000 worth of options. Of particular interest to me (outside, of course, from the exterior color) is that they also had the imagination to order something other than black inside. Does it work?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on eBay

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2013 BMW M3 Individual

In my search for a M3, I kept my eye out for Individual shades on the E46 just to keep things interesting. Velvet Blue, for example, was one that caught my eye. I can’t imagine having the fortitude to plunk down the extra 10% premium to order a car that I couldn’t see in the flesh, then to sit for months on end waiting for it to arrive – hoping they painted it the right shade! But thankfully some buyers have the vision and means to provide us with very interesting color choices on these cars. Though they rarely come up for sale in comparison to the sea of black and silver that consumes 90% of the M3’s production, it certainly is awesome to see one in a unique shade such as this E92 specified through Individual in Brewster Green:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 BMW M3 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: M3-off

Last week, I pitted a wickedly turned up 944 Turbo against a much more tame E30 M3. My feeling was that the M3 was overpriced in comparison to the 944 Turbo – especially when you considered the performance envelope the 944 was capable of. That particular example was churning out in excess of twice what the M3 was producing from the legendary S14 – not exactly an apples to apples competition in anything but pricing. To equal the playing field a bit, this week I have two different racing M3s – the first and last of the two door variety. How does a very tuned E30 compare in value to a E92?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M3 on eBay

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Feature Listing: 2011 BMW M3

This past weekend, I went out to Coventry Motorcar to sample some of the cars. My wife and I took out a nearly new RS5; it was impressive for sure. Then we took out the twin-turbo V12 CL65 AMG that was chipped; with well over 700 horsepower and enough torque to bump-start a Saturn V rocket, the throttle pedal simple corresponded to a large amount of giggling every time I dipped into it. But the car that we drove that stood out was the less powerful, older BMW M3. It was an E46; getting on a decade older than the RS5 – and obviously the technology has increased in leaps and bounds, as the Audi has near infinite adjustments for every aspect of the car. But driving dynamics? The M3 showed why it was, and still is, the benchmark that all other cars are compared to. It was thoroughly composed down the road, and slipping inside you felt instantly at home. A throaty shout announced each touch of the throttle, growing in vigor to a scream as the motor worked its way up the tach. On the go, it felt more composed than the Audi; amazing as it sounds, the Audi felt like it was trying to convince you it was fast. The BMW felt relaxed and at ease; it was like Usain Bolt showing up at a power walker’s evening workout. It just felt natural. When I got back to the shop, the manager said “if you liked that, wait until you drive the 2011”.

Move up to the E92 chassis, and the lack of technology that the E46 employed was remedied. Check out the option list on this particular example, and you’ll find everything conceivable and probably more than you need. The Premium Package gives you the power to move your seat, open your garage, fold your mirrors in tight spaces, navigate to those spaces thanks to the compass in the mirror, and connect your phone to the car. Premium 2 gives you an even better sound system than standard and Sputnik sending soundwaves to it. Then there’s the Convenience Package, which means you don’t need the keys to start the car, you don’t need to know exactly where the trunk is when you’re backing up, Magellan in your dash so you don’t need to remember how to get anywhere, voice command so you don’t need to use your hands, and traffic warning updates so that you can seek alternate routes. When you start to explore those detours, you’ll find the S65 V8 to be even more useful than normal thanks to the addition of the dual clutch transmission and Competition Package, which upgrades the wheels, suspension, and brakes. It transforms from simply a means of transport to a happiness generator, making you smile with each sweep through a corner and stomp on both the throttle and brakes. And on your mountain excursion to avoid the traffic jam the car alerted you to, it’s got the Cold Weather package as well to make sure you tush stays warm. The only thing this car doesn’t do is wipe your bottom after you go to the bathroom, but head to a race track and it’ll still embarrass supercars with its driving dynamics and otherworldly abilities. It is, quite simply, the best sports coupe you could buy:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 BMW M3 on German Cars For Sale Blog

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Face off: 2012 BMW M3 v. 335i

I’ve covered a series of BMW 3 series Individual cars recently, and I seem to be on a streak of finding neat ones. Today for your consideration are two E92s; one 335i turbo with low miles in a nice color combination compared to a M3 Individual with higher miles. The price is nearly the same between the two examples; which would be the one you’d select?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW M3 on Craigslist

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Low Mile Dilemma: 1999 BMW M3 v. 2008 BMW M3

In the last few weeks I’ve done a series of posts covering some well priced, good condition E36 M3s. The genesis of those posts came from a low mileage, slightly modified Dakar Yellow M3 which apparently really raised my ire. As with any car, there are opportunity costs for buying an example which is lower miles and near pristine condition; you’re paying not only for the exclusivity of having had someone store and not heavily use the model you’re clearly seeking, but then often you’re also paying extra for what they think it’s worth. In some cases – classic Ferraris, for argument’s sake – that won’t matter to the prospective buyers, whose bank accounts often align with small African nations. In others, the opportunity cost for getting into a low mile older car is that you could have a much newer car, with better features, performance and perhaps reliability. As such, today I’m looking at two very similarly priced M3s; the last of the run E36 versus the first of the run E92. 9 years, 45,000 miles, 2 cylinders and some 174 horsepower separate these black beauties – which is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: 2008 BMW M3

A truism of motorsport is that to make a small fortune in racing you need to start with a large fortune. Building race cars is very expensive; strange, considering that there is much less of them when you’re done than the road car that was started with. If, for example, you wanted to go racing in the GT3 class, the ostensible car to get would be the multi-class winning Porsche GT3R. Smart choice. Now, fork over your half a million hard-earned trust fund dollars, since before you turn a key the GT3R stickers at 429,000 Euros plus taxes. Run a race weekend, and presuming you don’t crash or have a mechanical, you’ll be several tens of thousands of dollars more in the hole, since race cars consume consumables at an alarming rate. Tires, brake pads, clutches – you name it, it’s expensive if it’s top-tier racing goods. And then come the realities that after a staggeringly short amount of time, you need to completely rebuild your race car. According to the Census Bureau, the average American spends 50 minutes a day commuting in their car. In race car terms, that would mean that after a little over a month you’d have to completely rebuild your car. Nuts, right?

But you still want to do it. Okay, a much more affordable way to go really, really fast is to buy a last generation car. Just past the current vogue, they tend to be considerably more friendly on the wallet. Yet, top tier cars are still very, very expensive to run. Perhaps, then, a smarter choice would be to look at a car based upon more pedestrian internals:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 on eBay

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2008 BMW M3

Four doors, three pedals and eight cylinders. Is there a more exciting combination for an enthusiast when it comes to a daily driver? Honestly I can’t think of one and of the small group of modern cars to offer this configuration, I’d say the E90 M3 is the top dog. In this modern age of turbocharged everything, it is highly unlikely that we’ll ever see another car like this one. A useable back seat and trunk mated with a 4.0L V8 already sounds old school and we’re only seven years on from when the car was initially offered. When BMW announced the whole M3/M4 plan and the news that the new cars would have a turbocharged six-cylinder, I wasn’t surprised. It’s just how things are going these days. The sports car market is completely over-saturated with vehicles that will surely delight their drivers but will they offer the same visceral connection as their predecessors? I don’t think so but ultimately that is for each of us to decide on our own. What I can say with absolute confidence is that the E90 M3 market is rapidly moving in a very wallet friendly direction, great news for those of us who prefer a screaming V8 soundtrack to the artificially enhanced aural experience of a boosted inline-6.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M3 on Cars.com

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