2006 BMW 550i

While there wasn’t much of a contest between the E28 M5 and E34 535i, by the end of the E34 run the 540i M Sport was – for all intents and purposes – a M5 without the S38. BMW upped the ante to 400 horsepower in the new E39 M5, once again widening the gap to the 540i model. But the successor E60 545i offered 330 horsepower with matching torque in 2003 alongside the outgoing E39 and once again the gap in performance became much smaller. That gap was made almost impercievable in 2005, when BMW revised the E60 with the increased displacement in the N62 motor. Now sporting 4.8 liters from the N62B48, the new “550i” now had 360 horsepower and 361 lb.ft of torque – a much better match for the S62. What was perhaps more amazing was that the new N62 also nearly matched the torque of the new E60 M5’s S85 V10. But while that screaming V10 produced far more horsepower, the peak torque was reached only at 6,100 revolutions – hardly practical in your daily commute. In comparison, peak twist on the N62 came at a much more realistic 3,400 r.p.m.s, and on the fly these 550is were – and still are – seriously quick sedans. They also introduced the next generation of design language and computer technology into the 5-series. Some love the look while others lambaste the design. While it’s certainly not my favorite 5, at least it’s distinctive and different in a world full of cookie-cutter designs and dare I say I think it may look better today than it did new – perhaps a testament to its avant garde lines. While the lust-worthy V10 captures the imagination of enthusiasts, day to day the 550i is likely as fast 95% of the time and much cheaper to get into and run. The thing is, is this the one to get?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 BMW 550i on eBay

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Realization of a Dream: 2003 BMW M3

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To say this has been a long time coming would be an understatement. You see, a small BMW was very nearly my first car some 20 years ago. As a teenager, I had dreamed of driving behind the wheel of a Roundel through many high school classes and once out, I carefully searched for just the right car for my first foray into the Bavarian realm. I had a pretty well established background, too – having grown up with a ’82 633CSi, ’85 635CSi, M5 and 735i 5-speed in the family. But, being a teen, I was not particularly well versed nor was I actually careful about what I looked at. What came up was a somewhat green 2002tii, and without being able to drive it or knowing enough to look under it, I put a deposit on it. When a car-dealer friend of mine came along with me to pick it up, the door of the car we arrived it hadn’t fully shut before he said “Carter, walk away.” The tii was full of rot and while it probably could have been salvaged and would have made a neat car for someone, it was nowhere near my budget level. A few weeks later he turned up with a then-9 year old Audi 4000CS quattro for around the same amount at the BMW, and my two-decade love affair with the Ingolstadt firm began. But BMWs have always been in the front of my mind, and someday I promised that I’d buy one.
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