2001 BMW 740i Sport with 8k miles

Even though it was a large car for its day and offered supreme levels of luxury, the BMW E38 7 series stayed true to its roots of “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” You could instantly recognize that this car was derived from sport sedans of yore, with it’s double kidney grille and four headlamp profile. In markets outside the US, this was to be the last 7 series available with a manual gearbox. In addition, BMW offered a Sport Package on the E38, as we see here with what is possibly one of the lowest mileage examples left in existence.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 740i Sport on eBay

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Wagon Week: 2010 Audi A4 2.0T quattro Avant

When Audi launched the A4 Avant with the B5 series, it was a bit of a trump card for the small wagon enthusiast. True, the Volkswagen Passat had been available in 5-door form for a few generations, and it VR6 form it was quite entertaining. However, quality of the pre-B5 chassis Passats wasn’t the best, and all-wheel drive had only been available with the Quantum for a few short years in the late 1980s. Audi had offered its unique large Avant platform in both 5000/200 and S6 form, but they were pretty expensive relative to the small cars the company offered. The A4 Avant continued on for through the B7 chassis we saw yesterday; a serious improvement in looks over the rather plain looking B6. When the B8 launched, initially I thought “There goes Audi again, following the formula of making everything bigger”. The B8 was a LOT bigger than the original A4 had been; in fact, park one next to an original A6, and the B8 A4 is dimensionally it was only slightly smaller. There was one key difference, though. Sure, the A4 had been stretched in every direction – but most importantly, you’d find that the wheel base was now the best part of a foot longer than the early Audi platforms. Visually that shortened the notoriously long overhangs of the Audis and offered more legroom to the occupants. Anyone who has ever been in the back of a B5 A4 would certainly appreciate that. Amazingly, too, the new A4 was lighter, and thanks to revised suspension geometry, new and more advanced computers and a torque-laden 2.0 turbo motor, it felt and drove considerably better than any of the previous generations had, too. It even looked really good in my mind. It was an instant success as previous generations had been, making one wonder even more why it went away:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Audi A4 2.0T quattro Avant on eBay

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1986 Audi 80 Sport

It’s easy to get lost in the world of cars that didn’t come to the United States. Enthusiasts in the U.S. swoon over supermodels that never came here; the M5 Touring(s), the Rallye Golf and Audi RS2 name just a few of the many high performance headliners that seem to pop up nearly daily as examples of the arbitrary rules that dictate what comes in to the U.S. market. However, what always tickles me is seeing the lesser known models, and amongst Audi and Volkswagen products there are a plethora of models that are relatively unknown to U.S. enthusiasts. In part, that’s because the U.S. model range did not always mimic what was for sale in Europe – not only in name, but at some points in chassis as well. The Audi B2 is an excellent example of this – to U.S. fans, for example, say “Coupe Quattro” when referring to the B2 chassis and immediately lesser versed individuals will assert that it never existed without a turbo and flares. Of course, they’re wrong – but there were many other models that we didn’t get from the small Audi lineup as well.

In Europe, 1986 was the last year of the B2 Audi 80 sedan – in 1987, it was replaced by the all-new B3 which wouldn’t be seen in the U.S. until 1988. As with U.S. models, the B2 was refreshed in late 1984 with new and more aerodynamic body bits such as headlights and bumpers. Visually, the differences between U.S. and European bumpers – for most of the lineup – was gone at that point. True, underneath there were differences; European cars received integrated fog lights where U.S. cars had blinkers (and the blinkers moved to the reflector blank area for U.S. cars). Now, I say “for most of the lineup” because there was a model which was really part Type 81 and part Type 85 available to Europeans – the Audi 80 Sport:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi 80 Sport on eBay

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1995 BMW 540i Sport

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One car that seems to resonate with readers here at GCFSB is the E34 BMW 5 series. This car was a bit of a bridge between the older and newer era of BMW. With the help of famed automotive designer, J Mays, few cars really got their proportions so right. The E39 5 series to follow was indeed an evolution of this design which lasted right into the new millennium. One of our favorite E34s is this car here, the 540i Sport, offered during the final production year, 1995. With the disappearance of the M5 from the lineup in 1993, there was a void to fill. US customers got most of the M5 goodies mixed in with BMW’s new 4.0 liter V8. This example for sale in Illinois has the favored 6-speed manual gearbox and is a rather tempting piece indeed for the price.

Click for details: 1995 BMW 540i Sport on BMWCCA Classifieds

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Tuner Tuesday Dinan 5-off: 2008 M5 S2 5.8 6-speed v. 2001 540i 6-speed

I know that, amongst the authors that grace these pages, I seem to do a lot of comparisons of cars, some of which are extremely unlikely comparisons. One of our readers termed my picks a “Cheese and Chalk” competition; in many ways, he was right. After all, how can you really compare cars that are in completely different demographic categories? To be fair to me, I don’t always do such, but in that case that’s the appeal of the “10K Friday” series – taking a fixed budget and looking at the wild variety of cars that’s available simply because they’re similarly priced. However, I also like to compare similar vehicles and that’s the case today. I have two rare examples of Dinan-modded BMW 5-series. On the surface, they’re quite similar – both grey metallic, both with light grey interiors, both with normally aspirated motors, both have silver multi-spoke wheels with polished lips, and both have 6-speeds. But the level with which Dinan has breathed on them is quite different; consequently, one has double the power of the other, more technology and more complexity. That model also has one tenth the mileage of the other, and unsurprisingly is on offer at ten times the price making these seemingly very similar 5s very different. Which is the winner in your mind?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M5 Dinan S2 5.8 on eBay

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2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Sport

Audi loves to do things outside of the norm, and one of the odd things that they seem to do is to upgrade a car and then immediately discontinue it. Why they do this is beyond my level of comprehension, but it means that if you know what you’re looking for you can get a slightly more special version of the car you’re after. These half year models, known as the “.5″s, aren’t always the same – nor are they always well documented. The first I can think of is the 1987.5 Coupe GT; also dubbed the “Special Build”, it featured some serious upgrades including a larger 2.3 liter inline-5, 4-wheel disc brakes and a few trim differences from other GTs. Arguably, they’re the most highly sought after GTs with only a few hundred still kicking around. The same goes for the 1995.5 S6; minor trim and some mechanical changes, such as the change from a mechanical locking rear differential to the newer electronic system Audi would use in newer cars. But it didn’t end there, as in 2001 Audi upgraded the outgoing B5 A4 to 2001.5 specs. The changes were subtle; the A4 already had a refreshed front and rear lights in 1999, so you had to look underneath to find the reinforced front strut housings and changed ECUs. While the S4 didn’t exhibit any exterior differences, though, the A4 Sport package was different. Launched in 1999, the Sport package A4s initially had Ronal made “Swing” 7 spoke wheels that were replaced in 2001 by Speedline-made 7 spoke wheels that had a more square design and a center lug cover. But the 2001.5 models gained the “Celebration Package” as well, featuring 17″ wheels for the first time on the regular A4. It was, for all intents and purposes, the beginning of what would become the “Ultrasport” package on the B6 A4 in 2002. The “Celebration” wheels, as on the A6 2.7T and S8, mimic the RS4 design and became a signature wheel for the early 2000s Audis:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 1.8T Sport on eBay

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2001 BMW 740iL Sport

Two large German sedans from the last three decades stand out in my mind as perhaps the most beloved. The Mercedes-Benz W126 S-class and the car you see here, the BMW E38 7 series. While the BMW E32 7 series moved the luxury car chains in the late 1980s, the E38 refined the breed, carrying on the option of the smooth V12 at the top of the range while streamlining the classic BMW styling hallmarks we know and love just a bit. This final year 740iL for sale in Florida has the Sport Package, which includes the sought after Style 37 M-Parallel alloy wheels. Having covered less than 50,000 miles, this burgundy beauty has a lot of life left in it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 740iL Sport on eBay

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2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport 6-speed manual

Almost immediately after the C class was introduced for the 1994 model year, plans were being drawn up for its successor, the W203, which wouldn’t appear until the turn of the century. When it debuted, the styling was a bit of a departure from the old W202 C class, with headlamps adapted from the W210 E class style for this smaller package. The car was panned for it’s interior that seemed a bit low-rent in comparison to its predecessor and a level of quality that seemed out of sync with what the marque stood for. Nevertheless, this was a popular car for Mercedes-Benz, with over two million sold over the course of seven model years. In 2003, Mercedes dropped their 1.8 liter supercharged four cylinder into the C class sedan to form this car, the C230 Sport Sedan. This example for sale in Miami is one of the rare ones equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport on eBay

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Feature Listing: 2007 BMW 328xi Touring 6MT Sport

Upon my urging, an old friend of mine in the Boston area purchased a BMW E91 Touring with a 6-speed manual gearbox after he learned his first child was on the way. His wife desperately wanted an SUV but in the end, the long roof 3er argument won. He had previously driven a 2001 325xi sedan with an automatic, and a 1992 325i sedan with a 5-speed manual and always missed the joy of rowing your own during his E46 ownership, especially when it came to the smooth gearboxes we’ve come to know from the boffins in Munich. If it’s 3 series driving quality you seek but need a bit more practicality in the mix, our reader Dave is offering his very mint 2007 328xi Touring with the Sport package and 6-speed manual gearbox. BMW isn’t offering three-pedal Tourings stateside, so now is your chance to get them while there’s still a few lower mileage examples out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW 328xi Touring 6MT Sport on E90 Post

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2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Sport

Aside from the iconic 500E/E500, fewer Mercedes-Benzes from the 1990s get my attention more than a well-equipped R129 SL roadster. This 2001 SL500 with the Sport package replete with AMG wheels looks supremely fresh, as so it should having covered just over 23,000 miles. Not a fan of the new age styling from the house of the Three Pointed Star? Here is your chance at a like new R129.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Sport on eBay

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