Rare Air: 2004 BMW 330Ci

If the R107 560SL was the expression of luxurious drop-top motoring in the late 1980s, the BMW 3-series convertible became a fixture of summer homes, sun-up top-down motoring along the coast, and adding a touch of sport to 4-seat open air drives thereafter. They’re intensely popular; I don’t live in the most convertible friendly area of the country by any means, but you can’t go much more than a few miles without seeing at least one convertible 3-series around me. They typically come in two flavors around here; look at me M3s and base model 325 or 328 models. But the E46 330 struck a balance between the two, offering a fair bit of sport without the bills associated with the M badge. Powered by the M54 to the tune of nearly 230 horsepower (even more in the ZHP package cars), the 330Ci was also a great looking car especially when equipped with the Sport Package. However, this particular example has some really specially selected options that make it one of the prettiest E46 convertibles I’ve seen in a while:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330Ci on eBay

Continue reading

2000 BMW 323Ci

Sometimes it’s not the performance of a car that catches my eye; case in point, today’s bottom-of-the-E46 range for the U.S. market 323Ci. The budget entry, these often seemed to be snapped up by junior executive types that wanted to say they owned a brand new BMW, but couldn’t actually afford a brand new BMW. Yet that’s not the car’s fault, and it’s a lovely design. For a budget coupe with a fair amount of practicality and a special feel, the 323Ci works just fine. This particular car is presented in rarely seen Light Yellow Metallic and is interestingly optioned with Sport Package and little else:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 323Ci on eBay

Continue reading

2000 BMW 528i Touring

Recently my wife and I have been discussing getting a new wagon down the road, and while for some time it seemed like Audi would be the natural choice, the dearth of recent Audi wagons has had us looking other places. BMW? Sure, the new 328 Sport Wagons in either turbocharged inline-4 or diesel configuration are nice, but have you checked out the prices? Staring at $42,000 for the cheapest, it’s not hard to brush up against $60,000 – for a 3-series. It certainly makes options like the awesomely better looking new Volvo V60 look much more appealing. But I’ve also looked backwards a bit, to see if there’s something older that could suit the needs. I’m putting together a wagon roundup of some options I’ve come across for later this week, but this particular example was too good to pass up. From the great looking E39 chassis, this 528i Touring also features the Sport Package and a manual transmission. Granted, this isn’t the speed freak’s weapon of choice, but a clean example of a very nice classic design:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

Continue reading

1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special. Audi also began offering the 1BE sport suspension in the B5 model, with a slightly lower ride height and stiffer springs giving the A4 a more menacing presence. Audi further offered some more unique interiors and exteriors to help set their A4 apart; the “Cool Shades” had debuted with the 1.8T and were carried on to the V6 model in 1998. Along with some revised tail lights, the ’98 V6 model could be made very special indeed, with unique interiors as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

Continue reading

1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro

The models of the B5 chassis A4 seemed to bring changes nearly every year. 1996 was the launch year for the mostly new but evolutionary A4; it was, for most intents, quite similar mechanically to the outgoing 90 quattro, which itself seemed to receive upgrades nearly every year. 1997 brought some major changes though; the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged motor into the lineup signaled the first time the small chassis Audi had forced induction outside of diesel motors. To celebrate, Audi offered the turbo 4 in some exclusive colors called “Cool Shades”. These were, in fact, part of the earlier “Lifestyle” colors that had been available on the B4 chassis; Brilliant Yellow, Tropical Green, and Aquarel Green were offered alongside Pelican Blue (which replaced the earlier and quite similar Kingfisher Blue) were exclusive colors to the 1.8T in 1997. Select the sport package, and you’d also get the Jacquard Satin cloth along with the 16″ 5-spoke wheels shared with the 2.8 models and a 3-spoke sport steering wheel. Though 1.8T A4s are a dime a dozen, with these options selected they’re quite rare – and of those Cool Shade exterior colors, Aquarel Green Metallic might be the rarest:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

Continue reading

2003 BMW 525i 5-speed manual

It’s human nature to aspire after things that may seem out of reach in life. Such is the case with automobiles, as many of us can relate who read this site daily. Sure, we’d love to bomb around in high powered German vehicles but in practice, it is less than practical at times. So a car like this 2003 BMW 525i with the Sport Package for sale in Philadelphia could be an ideal compromise for those lusting after an M5 but who may not have an M5-sized budget. Equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox, it will help make the most of the 184 horsepower produced by the 2.5 liter inline-6 under the hood.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 525i on eBay

Continue reading

2012 BMW 328i xDrive Touring 6-speed manual

If there’s one type of car that has a rabid following amongst enthusiasts it is wagons with a manual gearbox. The number of new cars available in this form is few. Good used examples are fast disappearing, with the folks who own and love them hanging on to them like the coin of the realm. The 2007 BMW 328xi Touring we featured early this month sold in short order to another enthusiast who contacted us directly seeking more information. Hopefully, we’ll soon have a recap of that story. In the meantime, if you missed the 2007 E91 Touring, here’s one of the last E91 Tourings for sale in Massachusetts sent to us by our reader Adam, painted in a lesser seen shade of Vermilion Red.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 BMW 328 xDrive Touring 6-speed manual at Topsfield Motor Company

Continue reading