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    BMW-760Li-E66 / CLASSIC ON THE CUSP / CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    / #BMW-760Li-E66 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-760Li / #BMW / #BMW-V12 / #V12 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E66 / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #BMW-7-Series-LWB / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66 / #2002 / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept / #2002-BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66

    COST NEW £90k
    VALUE NOW £10k

    BMW’s long-wheelbase #V12-7-Series was born in a pre-recession world. Back then excess was a badge of rank and the superlatives piled up – plush, fast, huge, silent, smooth, rare and, above all, selfish. The 21st century equivalent of a long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (ironically it shares engine architecture with the current RR Ghost), the lengthened 760 was the ultimate luxo-limo for CEOs of PLCs.

    Like almost all limousines early depreciation had the downward momentum of a falling Steinway. Back in 2003 you could spec up a 760Li and shell out nearly £100k. That same car with a modest mileage 15 years later is now worth ten grand. Craignairn Cars in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, has a mint #Orient-Blue #2003 with 64,000 miles and £12,800 of factory extras for just £9995. And it comes with a full BMW dealer history plus a titled owner in the V5. What’s not to love?

    Don’t get me wrong, a ten-grand 760 won’t be an investment, but as something utterly wonderful for discreet weekend wafting it’s worth losing £5k for a couple of years of feeling like Bill Gates. It might not even cost you that much because there are only 117 examples registered on the DVLA database so they’re rare enough to develop desirability.

    As well as the extra length, you also get soft-close doors, heated, cooled and massaging front and rear power seats, rear-window blinds and side curtains, TV, dynamic damping and your very own iDrive control in the rear compartment to override the chauffeur’s one up front.

    A private seller in Solihull has a 2007 in Burgundy with 57k, full history and a nice private reg for £13,000. And if you really want a keeper how about this one? Advertised in Manchester is a 2003 in silver with just 7000 miles from new and described as ‘totally perfect’ for £19,300. And yes, I hear you say that any big bills could easily contain four figures, but apart from high-pressure fuel pumps and the need for a gearbox service at 50,000 miles, the trade says 760s aren’t that bad. But this is one used super-saloon that categorically needs a full BMW dealer history complete with a sheaf of receipts.

    Therefore, shop with great care and only go for sensible-mileage cars and you should be OK. The 760Li was a neo-classic from the day it was born, but having withered down to as little as £10,000 they’ve become a compelling opportunity.
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    FERRARI 575 MARANELLO
    Year of manufacture #2003
    Recorded mileage 29,270
    Asking price £135,000
    Vendor Foskers, Brands Hatch, Kent; tel: 01474 874555; http:// foskers. Com

    WHEN IT WAS NEW #Ferrari-575-Maranello / #Ferrari-575M / #Ferrari-575 / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-575M-Maranello / #2003-Ferrari-575M-Maranello / #Ferrari-575-M-Maranello-F1 / #V12

    Price £154,350
    Max power 508bhp
    Max torque 434lb ft
    0-60mph 4.1 secs
    Top speed 202mph
    Mpg 12-14

    This early M (launched 2002) was highly specced, with contrasting seat piping and quilted load area to match the Blu Tour de France paint, silver brake calipers and embossed Scuderia badges rather than stick-on ones. It has covered minimal mileage annually, taking almost four years to accumulate the first 9800, and has clearly been looked after. There are nine stamps in the service book, the most recent at 29,035 in March 2016 and the one before that at 27,401 in 2010, with cambelts done in 2014.

    The only really notable wear and tear is stone-chipping on the nose. Ferraris of this era apparently had quite brittle paint and marked easily, but none of the chips is larger than a speck and it’s presented honestly. The alloys are unscuffed, shod with Pirelli P Zeros, half worn and dating from 2008 on the rear and almost unworn, dated 2013 front. Behind them the discs and pads have plenty of meat. In the boot is the satchel of tools, tyre foam and compressor, plus trickle charger and a Becker CD changer.

    Inside it’s like new, save a few tiny creases on the driver’s Crema leather seat. The dashboard plastics are perfect and all of the switches are still sharp – earlier-era Ferraris used to go a bit ‘sticky’ in this department.

    The motor is clean and tidy, the oil golden because it’s less than 250 miles old. It will be serviced again before it leaves Foskers in any case.

    Once you’re past the immobiliser, the 5748cc V12 fires instantly (on a key, refreshingly) and, once warm, displays just over 70psi or a little over halfway up the oil-pressure gauge, a figure reassuringly familiar to Dino owners. Coolant temperature eventually got to 180ºF. You can’t really test a 200mph car’s capabilities on narrow, damp roads, but everything works, paddle or auto, and snappier in Sport; the F1 paddle-shift is fractionally quicker than the manual. Amusingly, in auto mode if you floor it in sixth from 50mph it deems a downshift of only two ratios necessary, such is the wealth of available torque. All of the electrics work and so does the aircon, weakly, but it will be regassed on service, and sold with a new MoT.

    SUMMARY

    EXTERIOR Unmarked bar a few stone chips
    INTERIOR Almost mint; minor hide wear

    MECHANICALS Full history; runs beautifully

    VALUE ★★★★★★★✩✩✩
    For Top specification; accessible performance; future classic
    Against Slightly mass-produced

    SHOULD I BUY IT?

    There are several on the market and this fastidiously maintained example looks fairly priced, at a lot less than a Superamerica with its troublesome Revocromico roof.
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    / #2003 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW-Z3-M-Coupe / #BMW / Historics at Brooklands, June sale / #S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z3-E36/8 / #BMW-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-Coupé-E36/8 / #BMW-Z3M-E36/8 / #BMW-Z-Series-E36/8 /

    The fact that the Z3 M Coupé is going to be a sure-fire investment machine should not come as a surprise. Perhaps the only question that remains is quite how far prices will rise? This S54-engined example was one of the last produced and had covered just 11,000 miles during its cosseted life. It looked particularly fetching in its Titanium silver paint with contrasting red and black interior. The hammer fell at £51,520.

    SOLD FOR: £51,520
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    / #Bonhams Festival of Speed / #2003 / #Alpina-Roadster / #Alpina / #BMW-E52 / #BMW-Z8 / #BMW-Z8-E52 / #BMW / #Alpina-Roadster-V8-E52 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-Roadster-V8 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-Roadster-V8-E52 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-E52 / #Alpina-E52 / #Alpina / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E52 / #Alpina-Roadster-V8

    The Roadster V8 was Alpina’s take on the Z8 and it’s a sublime machine – see our May issue for a full test on a similar example. This was just one of a handful of UK cars and one of only 11 (out of a production run of 555) finished in Alpina blue. Having covered just 9500 miles this Roadster had been maintained regardless of cost and its £247k hammer price was just about bang-on what Bonham’s estimated it would sell for.

    SOLD FOR: £247,900
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    / #2003 / #BMW-E52 / #BMW-Z8 / #BMW-Z8-E52 / #BMW
    SOLD FOR: €184,000
    Approx £140,000

    Another low mileage machine, if not quite in the same league as the Z1 and Silverstone’s 850i, this 23,000km Z8 had spent part of its life in a collection and looked pretty much immaculate in its fetching silver paint with red leather interior.
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    Stunning Alpina Roadster V8. The Other Z8. It might look like a Z8, but Alpina’s Roadster V8 was an entirely different animal and all the better for it.

    Think this is a BMW Z8? Think again! It’s the even rarer #Alpina Roadster V8, but it might just be the car the Z8 should have been in the first place… Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: Max Earey.

    ALPINA ROADSTER V8

    Late summer, 2003, Nottingham. A different time, a different world, a different job. I might be making this sound overly nostalgic, given we’re only talking about 13 years ago but in many ways the pace of change in the 21st century does make the early 2000s feel like a different era in retrospect. Take BMW. Back on that sunny day I’m referencing above, the company’s lineup ran thus: Three, Five, Seven, X5, Z4. The 6 Series was on the way but it wasn’t in showrooms. That list doesn’t, of course, include the MINI, which was still only a three-door hatch at that point, but it’s clear to see that the current widespread diversification of the Munich fleet had not yet begun to take effect.


    Actually, I’m missing a car out of the 2003 roll call of honour and that’s the Z8, one of BMW’s largely forgotten vehicles. A glorious mix of the cutting edge (aluminium space frame chassis, 4.9-litre V8 from the contemporary M5) shoehorned into that indulgently classical body (designed to evoke the 1950s 507 Roadster) it rather spectacularly missed its target because it didn’t appeal to flame-surfaced petrolheads wanting the latest Bangle designs, nor did its six-speed manual gearbox and rather aggressive manner coerce historic car buyers into shelling out for it. Almost 6000 of them were made, which suggests that #BMW would argue the Z8 was an unqualified success, but we can’t help feeling that without a largely underwhelming appearance in the Pierce Brosnan-era James Bond film franchise (it basically did bugger all before getting cut in half longitudinally with a helicopter-mounted buzzsaw), BMW’s most opulent roadster would have fared worse on the global markets. It needed to be a little more laid-back, a little more comfortable to ride in. It needed an automatic gearbox option. In short, it needed to be more like the Alpina Roadster V8.

    Which is the reason I’m banging on about Nottingham in the days when England’s cricket team were still desperately searching for an Ashes series victory, when Gareth Gates was (shudder) a force to be reckoned with in the charts, and when Tony Blair was midway through his second term as Prime Minister. Because, lucky sod that I am, I was in the biggest city in the East Midlands that day in order to drive an Alpina Roadster V8 when it was new. It was car 47 of 555 and it was Sytner’s demonstrator, finished in Stratus grey with a light-coloured leather interior. It was utterly glorious and, as cars go, rarer than rare. Sure, 555 might not seem the most limited of production runs but 450 of the Roadster V8s were destined for the US, another 75 remained in mainland Europe, 20 headed east to Japan, and the final ten were allocated to the UK – although rumour suggests only eight of these actually sold. I drove that 2003 UK car and thought it was magical. I was also convinced I’d never, ever get to have a go in one again.

    Cut to a cold moorland road somewhere between Bradford and Hebden Bridge, early 2016. And to my surprise, I’m in a 2003 model year Alpina Roadster V8 once more. This time, naturally, it is not new, but it might as well be – the example I’m in has covered a scant 15,000 miles in its 13-year life and it feels as tight as the proverbial percussion instrument. The mellifluous 4.8 up front is burring away, responding with decent haste to throttle inputs and shoving the ‘modern classic’ forward with real intensity. The Alpina Switchtronic gearbox isn’t unduly hesitant or struggling to find the right cog for the job, while its quaint, handstitched ‘+’ and ‘–’ buttons on the steering wheel prompt shifts as and when you need them. It feels good to be back in the saddle. Actually, scratch that; it feels superb. It seems this most curious of Alpinas has retained all of its allure, and then some.


    And that undiminished appeal brings us onto another area where 2003 again feels like a different era. Back then, the brand-new Roadster V8 was around £6000 more expensive than the 400hp Z8, costing £86,000 in the UK. Time, though, has done funny things to the values. The BMW Z8 has become something of a collector’s piece, despite everything, with values sky-rocketing past the original purchase price. So imagine what has happened to the financial status of a car of which just 555 were made. This one, in the more traditional Titanium silver so many Z8s are seen in, is No.116, a machine which has spent its pampered life cloistered away in a collection over in the US. Imported back here by those connoisseurs of fine automotive exotica, Kahn Design, it is now up for sale – with a previous owner on the logbook and 15,000 miles on the clock – for practically three times its original value. You’ll get a fiver change from £240,000 if you want to buy it. Wow.

    It is an astonishing market performance for a less well-known example of an often-overlooked BMW model. But maybe there’s a wider appreciation for its deliberately retro looks nowadays. Put it this way, in about four hours in the Roadster V8’s company for our photoshoot, we had the full gamut of public response: young kids on the roadside gawped and even applauded as it trundled past (maybe the ‘OO 77’ numberplate helped); one bloke in a garage was convinced it was a modern re-creation; another was astonished when we told him that the Alpina was from 2003, not 1963.

    Yet it cannot be denied that the Roadster V8, and by extension the Z8 on which it is based, is a gorgeous car. That long bonnet, those sweeping haunches, the slender rear light clusters – it’s a design where you can really enjoy spending a long time simply drinking in the details. For what it’s worth, Alpina didn’t do a lot to BMW’s basic shape. You’ll notice there’s no branded ‘cow-catcher’ spoiler adorning the Roadster’s face, nor are there side skirts or a revised rear bumper. The V8 actually wears a lot of BMW roundels, on its bootlid, side gills and at the pointiest bit of the sharp prow. The biggest giveaways that you’re not dealing with your common or garden Z8 are the Alpina legend on the Roadster’s rump and those 20-spoke alloys – not cotton-reels, in this instance, but rims with five clusters of four spokes each. When driving No.47 back in 2003, I was told by Sytner’s then-representative that fitting spoilers to the Roadster V8 would have been “like putting a moustache on the Mona Lisa”. What was true then remains valid now.

    Linked to the lack of a bodykit, the biggest change Buchloe made to the Z8 was one you cannot see, with the E39 M5 drivetrain of the regular car replaced by one of Alpina’s own making. A 4.8-litre V8 developing 381hp (down 19hp on the Z8) and 383lb ft (up 14lb ft on the Z8, and crucially peak torque is available at lower revs in the Roadster V8, too), it was mated to Alpina’s five-speed Switchtronic automatic. That last detail alone is what made the Roadster infinitely more appealing in the US than the manualonly Z8. But what has all this got to do with spoilers?

    Well, although the Alpina is slightly slower on acceleration than the Z8, clocking the 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds compared to 4.7 for the BMW, it has a higher top speed of 166mph against the Z8’s 155mph limited maximum. However, the Alpina could go faster still, but aerodynamic lift beyond 166mph means that a rear spoiler would be needed – and we’re back at square one in terms of disrupting the Roadster V8’s delicate exterior lines. The fantastic interior is much the same story of restraint. No.116 has black leather, which is practical, and again the Alpina changes are subtle. The trademark blue dials are in place, complete with the little gear indicator directly in front of the driver, while there’s an Alpina-branded centre boss on the exquisite three-spoke steering wheel, which also features the green-and-blue stitching of Buchloe. Other than that, it’s the same as a Z8, Switchtronic gear lever notwithstanding. Again, this is no bad thing, because the Z8 used bespoke switchgear that you won’t find in any other BMW – such as the rocker switches for the electric windows, the slender silver stalks on the steering column, and the rotary dials for the climate controls. About the only familiar button you’ll spot is the heated seat switch, sequestered away next to your thigh on the centre console.


    That 4.8 is worth looking at in closer detail. A double overhead-cam 32-valve V8 of 4837cc, it is a development of the Alpina 4.6 – and, yes, these are the same pair of motors that Buchloe famously ‘gave back’ to BMW as a present, for use in the ‘iS’-badged performance variants of the original X5. With an aluminium block and head, Bosch Motronic engine management, a revised crank with a 93mm bore and 89mm stroke, Mahle pistons and an Alpina exhaust system, it managed to develop its peak outputs without resorting to forced induction. All right, the specific output of 79hp-per-litre might be a touch leisurely, but the way it goes about its business is anything but. Even in a world where hot hatches can do 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, the 1615kg Roadster V8 still feels acceptably punchy.

    Alpina’s final alterations came in terms of the handling. Buchloe chose to soften off the Z8, fitting its own dampers and springs with gentler rates in both instances. However, beefier anti-roll bars front and rear ensured that the handling didn’t go to pot. And, to an extent, Alpina worked its customary magic. Fire up the engine with the plain black leather starter button to the right of the wheel and it turns over with a creamy roar. Slot into ‘D’, release the brake and the Roadster V8 oozes off down the road in a charming, cultured manner. It’s a doddle to drive and despite 20-inch rubber of 255/35 aspect front and 285/30 rear, the ride is sumptuous. I remember No.47 rode well, but not as smoothly as this. Maybe sports cars of today, adjustable dampers and all, still can’t flatten out imperfections as well as these cars of, er, yesteryear. The steering is another area which deserves credit, as it’s full of weight and feel from the off. It would appear it hasn’t been Americanised beyond all reason. Stoke the 4.8 up and the Alpina will pick up its skirts and hustle, although it’s a GT first and foremost.

    Under harder cornering the rear axle tries to skip and jump on bumpier surfaces, while during this style of driving the steering feels a touch slow on the uptake. Point-and-squirt would be the better approach to adopt when pushing the Roadster V8 quickly, rather than trying to eke every last ounce out of it as the last of the late brakers. Nevertheless, however No.116 was being conducted, it felt as good as new – no undue squeaks, rattles or groans were to be heard, and all of its major controls felt cohesive and taut.

    Is there anything negative to note? Yes, we couldn’t get the hard-top off. The tool was there and all the locking bolts moved smoothly enough, but our guess is that its previous owner never once removed the hard-top and, as a result, it’s a little too attached to the windscreen’s header rail. A little bit of care and attention in Kahn’s workshop will see that right in a jiffy. Apart from that, it’s a clean bill of health. Not only does No.116 feel mechanically sound but the interior is absolutely flawless, as if it has never been used. Slightly more than a decade might not be the most challenging period to keep a vehicle in time warp condition but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be commending the Alpina’s former owner for having done so.


    In short, then, this is your best chance of owning an as-new Alpina Roadster V8. But should you splash out a quarter of a million on such a machine? That’s trickier. It remains a sublime GT, with its bespoke interior, svelte appearance and that wonderful Alpina drivetrain. But £240,000 gets you a lot of choice in the car world these days and for all the things the Roadster V8 excels at, a supercar it ain’t. Kahn’s people reckon it will become part of a larger collection, where it will be the fifth, sixth or maybe even 20th addition to a rich person’s horde. That sounds about right to us. Whoever buys it, though, is getting something magnificent, out-of-the-ordinary and from a completely different era of car building. Even if that era is 2003.


    CONTACT:
    Kahn Design
    Tel: 01274 749999
    Website: wwwkahndesign.com

    Stoke the 4.8 up and the Alpina will pick up its skirts and hustle, although it’s a GT first and foremost.

    Below: Alpina 4.8-litre V8 is a jewel and really suits the car’s character Right: Plenty of modern/retro details and a smattering of Alpina badges.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #2003

    BMW #Alpina-Roadster-V8 / #BMW-Z8-E52 / #BMW-E52 / #BMW-Z8 / #BMW / #Alpina-Roadster-V8-E52 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-Roadster-V8 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-Roadster-V8-E52 / #BMW-Z8-Alpina-E52 / #Alpina-E52 / #Alpina / #Henrik-Fisker / #BMW-Z8-Stunning / #BMW-E52-Stunning /

    ENGINE: #Alpina #V8 , DOHC, 32-valve / #M62 / #BMW-M62 / #M62-Alpina /
    CAPACITY: 4837cc
    MAX POWER: 381hp @ 5800rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 383lb ft @ 3800rpm
    0-62MPH: 5.3 seconds / #ZF5HP
    TOP SPEED: 166mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 21.4mpg
    PRICE: £86,000 (2003 UK+Tax), £239,995 (today 2016 UK)

    You’ll get a fiver change from £240,000 if you want to buy it. Wow.

    Left: Auto transmission lever is a surprise addition to the Z8’s interior Right: Trademark Alpina blue dials and neat gear indicator.
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    The #BMW-E39 / #BMW rust / E39 production ended in #2003 (early 2004 for the Touring) and while it was a good car, they do rust. The car shown here was a 2002 example and it does seem that the later ones from 2000 are worse – was it a drop in steel quality or a change in the painting process? We’ve all seen cars with the rusty bootlid or tailgate plus scabby bits around the rear arches, but the serious stuff hides underneath – until MoT time or when using the standard scissor jack, and the truth is revealed. The worst areas are the spare wheel well and the backs of the sills. Unlike the BMW E34, the E39 doesn’t have clip-on plastic sill covers to harbour mud and moisture, but it does have undertrays that butt up against the sill. It’s here that rust starts, normally from one of the holes where the undertray securing clips fit in. As for the spare wheel; rust starts around the circular water drain bung – this is undersealed at the factory but when water gets in, it can’t escape easily and starts to rust away the metal around the drain bung. Like the sills, it creeps under the underseal, doing its worst until the metal under the underseal is rotten. Before winter gets a grip, we’d advise E39 owners to get under the car, drop the undertrays and go to town with a screwdriver and a wire brush in a grinder. You’ll definitely find loose underseal and rust underneath – better to find rust now and treat it before it becomes a disaster – the 2002 car seen here also required a fuel tank-out rebuild of the rear inner and outer sills as well.
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    AUDI RS6 C5 2015 TUNING UNLEASHED

    Stunning C5 is packing 573ps, 881Nm C5 perfection. Absolute Perfection. Not much can beat the appeal of a really well done C5 RS6 and this 573ps beast has to be one of the finest examples in the world…

    Reputations mean everything. In this day and age of social media, if something isn’t right, then someone will quickly post an online review or comment to tell the world exactly what they think. This poses something of a quandary. On the one hand, an honest review can help – after all, who wants to buy something that’s likely to break? On the other, just because an individual has had a bad experience doesn’t mean you should run for the hills.

    The C5 RS6 is a classic example of this interweb hysteria. Yes, the big, biturbo avant can be devilishly expensive to put right if it breaks. The weak points – the DRC suspension, gearbox, intercoolers – are all well documented. Make no mistake, if you buy a poor one, you will face some big bills. But there’s more to the C5 RS6 than a list of known faults.

    You don’t buy a C5 if you’re after something sensible and cheap to service and maintain; if that’s what you’re after, buy a new A6 TDI. People buy C5 RS6s with their hearts.

    The combination of V8 twin-turbo performance and that iconic wide-shouldered style, means it’s still one of the best looking and most desirable RSs ever made. Add to this the fact that they can be tuned to over 600bhp, and are available in both saloon and avant form, and it’s clear to see why they are still so well loved.

    Darren Burt, owner of this immaculate C5, has always loved Audis. We displayed it on our stand at this year’s AITP, which is where we caught up with him to find out more.

    “Me and my pals used to walk past a brand new Noggy-blue RS2 on the way to school, so I’ve always likes avants; especially the C5 RS6,” he smiles. Having run a D2 4.2 A8, he really wanted an RS6 and often looked at them in the classifieds.

    “I left it for a while, then had a quick squiz one day and spotted this one for sale in London,” he recalls. “I was working offshore, so I thought, I’ll leave it to fate – if it’s still for sale when I get back, then it’s meant to be and I’ll buy it.” Then, barely 24 hours into his trip, he flew down to London and did the deal on the tidy C5.

    Previously owned by a guy on the AudiSRS forum, it had been well looked after. “It was lowered, remapped and had some MTM Bimoto wheels,” says Darren. “It was in decent condition with 80k miles; it had a few knocks on the paint and a chip on the windscreen, but I loved it; this was my dream car,” he smiles.

    However, his fun was short lived. A spirited 165mph run was caught short when an errant hare ran into his path, destroying the front bumper.

    “While the bumper was replaced, I decided to get a full respray as I wasn’t happy with the rest of the paintwork,” says Darren. This is where things began to get expensive.

    “The parts bill was over five pages long,” he laughs, “every time the bodyshop removed a grille or piece of trim, a clip or bracket would snap.” Fortunately everything was readily available, but came with the usual high dealer prices. So many parts have been replaced on this 2003 car, that much of it really is like new. The door trims, alloy boot lid trim, plus numerous clips and fittings are all factory fresh.

    When it came to the paint, it could only be Daytona Grey. This original hue suits the C5 to a tee and the full, glass-out respray looks fantastic.

    The optics, including window and grille surrounds, plus roof rails have also been painted. “They’d been wrapped by the previous owner, but they didn’t look right, so I had them done in gloss black,” says Darren. “I didn’t do them in matt like an RS6 Plus, as I wasn’t trying to make this look like a Plus,” he adds. The final touch was having the mirrors done in Daytona grey. This RS may be over 12 years old now, but it looks like it just rolled out of Ingolstadt.

    With a fresh paint job, Darren has been very particular about how it’s maintained. His missus, Mandy, explains, “We were out for dinner and Darren noticed a bird had poo’d on his car, so he drove home to clean it, leaving me in the restaurant!” To be fair it’d only just come out of the paintshop and home was only around the corner, but it goes to show the care he’s taken with this RS6. Unfortunately, the bird-poo incident was about to get a whole lot worse.

    “The gearbox decided to let go on the way back to the restaurant.” laughs Darren. Not one to mess around, he sent the C5 over to respected Audi tuners, #Unit20 , to have a reconditioned box with uprated torque converter fitted.
    Of course, he couldn’t leave it at that. “While it was in, I decided to get some #TTE650-hybrid-turbos fitted, together with Milltek race downpipes,” he smiles. “I also had some #Wagner-intercoolers ready to go on, so they were fitted too.”

    With a freshly uprated engine and a stronger gearbox ready to take some punishment, the RS was then shipped off to MRC Tuning for a pair of ITG filters and its custom map. Here it made 573ps with a corresponding 881Nm of torque.

    So, how did this compare to the previous spec? “90 to 190mph is ferocious,” says Darren. “I had 196mph out of it before the TTE turbos were fitted and it’s geared for over 200mph – I’m just waiting for a dry day to really test it!” he laughs. In a world where every other Audi we see appears to have airride, it makes a refreshing change to see something dropped very low on a static set-up. But this is no ordinary kit.

    Put together by Simon Sweetland from Still Static, this bespoke system has been designed to get the RS6 as low as possible, without ruining the handling. “It annoys me when people say ‘that must drive really badly; it’s too low’” says Darren. “They don’t know what they’re talking about. Everything has been custom modified for the C5 by AH Flachwerk.” The H&R race ultralow coilovers have been re-valved, with shortened damper bodies. With Hotchkiss anti-roll bars, and a full geometry set-up, the suspension is both low and compliant. There’s a lot more to this bespoke kit than a set of off the- shelf coilovers wound down as far as they’ll go.

    The set-up allows Darren to drop the car hard over the beefy set of 10x20in alloys, which came off a Q7. These OEM wheels really do look the part with polished lips and ceramic coated centres. Look behind the fronts and you’ll find a set of Brembo calipers gripping 380mm discs, which were kindly donated by a Lamborghini Gallardo. The C5 is no lightweight and with 190+mph on tap, it needs good stoppers.

    Pop your head inside and you’ll find a typical RS6 leather interior. But look more closely and you’ll notice it looks brand new. The leather was removed, stripped back, re-dyed and treated before being re-fitted for that factory-fresh look. “I’ve got a set of Recaro CSs to go in it,” says Darren, “but I’m still not happy with the retrim on them; they’ve been done three times now,” he grimaces. But, aside from the Recaro issues, the RS6 was looking truly awesome and ready for its first show.

    Then, just weeks before Audis in the Park, disaster struck. “I’d been sanding the headlights and on the way home noticed a rubber smell,” says Darren. Thinking he’d run over a plastic bag, he continued. “When I got home I could really smell burning and see smoke, so I opened the bonnet and the engine was on fire!” he exclaims. “I ran inside, got an extinguisher and managed to put it out very quickly.” A roll of tape had been left in the bay and the V8 had cooked it, along with part of his engine. Fortunately, the damage was relatively limited – the radiator overflow pipe had melted, some of the loom, and one of the coils.

    The car was rushed down to MRC Tuning to have it all fixed ready for AITP. While it was in, Darren had all the coils replaced, together with the cam belt, water pump, vacuum pipes and alternator. It was finished, ready for the show, where it took pride of place on the AudiTuner stand.

    “This is my first show in two years,” says Darren, “I just want to drive it and enjoy it now.” With plans for uprated manifolds to maybe unleash a bit more power, there’s plenty more to come for this stunning RS6. It really is a credit to Darren and the companies involved in tuning and maintaining it. The fact he drives it properly is just the icing on the cake.

    SPECIFICATION #2003 #Audi-RS6-C5 / #Audi-A6-C5 / #Audi-A6 / #Audi-RS6 / #Audi-RS6-Avant / #Audi-RS6-Avant-C5

    ENGINE 4.2 FSI biturbo V8, #TTE650 custom hybrid turbos, #Milltek race downpipes with 100cell cats, full #Milltek exhaust system, #Wagner intercoolers and shrouds, #ITG air filters, MRC Tuning custom ECU map

    POWER 573ps and 881Nm

    TRANSMISSION Unit 20-supplied recon gearbox with uprated torque converter and gearbox map

    BRAKES Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggara #Brembo upgrade with 380mm front discs, #Ferodo race pads

    SUSPENSION #AH-Flachwerk modified #H&R race ultralow coilovers from Still Static , #Hotchkiss anti-roll bars, 034 diff mount

    WHEELS AND TYRES #Audi Q7 10x20in Speedlines with ceramic polished centres and hand polished lips with silver powder coated barrels, Michelin Pilot Supersport 245/30x20s, H&R adaptors

    EXTERIOR Full windows-out respray in factory Daytona Grey pearl, all exterior trim (windows, grille surrounds, rear plinth, roof rails) painted gloss black, mirrors colour coded Daytona Grey

    INTERIOR Factory Euro Recaro interior fully re-Connolised in original silver, full Audi S6/RS6 plus blue flash carbon interior pack, highly polished and re-fitted

    TUNING CONTACTS Grizz and the crew at Unit 20, Doug and the crew at #MRC-Tuning , Simon at TTE, Del at Optimus Trimmers, Dave at Prestige Leather, Colin at Performance Bodyshop, Si Sweetland at Still static, Mike the polisher and Stevie Bryce

    “This is my first show in two years, I just want to drive it and enjoy it now”

    Top: Darren is happy, but there’s more to come.

    “90 to 190mph is ferocious... I had 196mph out of it before the TTE turbos...”

    Left: Milltek pipe, polished of course Below: Interior is mint Right: The V8 powerhouse.

    Left: Rear ends don’t get much better Above: Twin TTE 650 turbos are inside Below: Static drop is impeccable.

    “The parts bill was over five pages long”
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    SUPERCHARGED #BMW-X5-Dinan-E53 / #BMW-X5-E53 / #BMW-E53 / #BMW-X5 / #BMW / #BMW-X5-E53 / #BMW-X5-4.6iS / #BMW-X5-4.6iS-E53 / #BMW-X5-4.6iS-Dinan / #BMW-X5-4.6iS-Dinan-E53

    Panzer Division A heavily tuned, supercharged X5 by Dinan that’s more than just a little bit tank-like. Panzer Division Affectionately known by owner Jay Belknap as the Panzer German tank, this X5 happens to be packing some heavy artillery thanks to a Dinan supercharger conversion… Words: Dan Wagener /// Photography: Dan Wagener & Ryan Lee


    Traditional love stories typically begin with ‘once upon a time’ and end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’. Most people would hope that held true for every relationship, but through past experience we all know it to be an unrealistic expectation. Some relationships can start out as planned, but take a turn for the worst. Others may start out rough, but were all worth it in the end. For Jay Belknap and his #2003 X5 it was the latter.


    Ever since Jay had a daily driver it’s been some sort of truck/utility vehicle. It was something cheap and paid off which allowed him to sink money into his 1994 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4. But once he was satisfied with how the VR4 turned out, he figured he’d get the truck he had always wanted – a supercharged Range Rover Sport. So he went on the forums and asked the owners how they liked them and whilst half said they were awesome, the other half didn’t know because they were always back at the dealers. He then started researching the runnerup, the E53 X5 (keep in mind this is before the X5M had made its debut) and found that the 4.6iS could be supercharged through #Dinan for a modest cost so he decided to look for a clean example finished in black. Months of searching showed no luck and he eventually gave up.

    Then one day, about half a year later he randomly browsed for X5s on the market and found a oneowner 4.6iS with 85k on the clock for sale in Texas. It just so conveniently happened to be finished in black Sapphire, was supercharged and came with Brembo brakes together with an E46 M3 steering wheel already installed. Sceptical that it had to be some sort of scam, additional photos proved it was, in fact, the real deal, so he took a flight out to Houston a few days later with a cheque in hand.


    As he walked out of Houston International the black X5 whistled down the arrival ramp. It was freshly detailed and ready for him to take on a road trip back to Virginia Beach. He got in, exchanged pleasantries, got the paperwork done and proceeded to drop the previous owner off at his work. But as soon as they left the airport the check engine light came on! The previous owner said he had a guy who was an old BMW master that did all the previous work and that he would have it fixed, right then. So they headed over to the shop and found a boost leak from a clamp that wasn’t tightened down all the way. Already four hours behind schedule, Jay was ready to head home. When he finally got on to the I-10 East, he punched it and the supercharged #M62B46 / #M62 responded as you would expect. Jay was instantly hooked, forgetting that his previous Range Rover Sport even existed.


    After about an hour into Louisiana though, the supercharger belt decided it was no longer going to be friends with the engine. It took out every other belt and the A/C tensioner on its way out, too. Jay shut the truck down and got a tow back west to Texas. That tow truck broke down so another tow truck took him the remainder of the distance West on the I-10 to a hotel in Beaumont, Texas, two blocks away from Beaumont BMW. He figured he’d be the first one into BMW the next day, get it fixed and be on his way.

    Well, he was the first one on to the lot, but the secretary arrived and informed him that their service shop is closed on Saturdays. She invited him inside to call yet another tow truck, to get him further west to Momentum BMW in Houston. It was at that time the service manager, who was coming in to do his end of- month reports, had overheard Jay’s situation and started calling his techs. One was awake and said he’d be right in. They got him back on the road with just a new main belt (no A/C belt/tensioner or S/C belt). The previous owner called back and paid BMW for the work. Jay thanked him and said if anything else happened on the way home that he’d take care of it from there (nothing more did happen though). He later found out that the blower bracket tensioner needed an alignment.

    Needless to say it was not a desirable first 24 hours of ownership. On a good note though, Jay later established a relationship with Dinan’s aftersales support team. They got him set up with the parts needed to fix the tensioner rod and belt. Like any machine, it simply needed maintenance.


    Now, to the untrained eye, Jay’s X5 may appear as if it came this way from the factory, but the finer details tell all about this rare beast. If you’re not familiar with the 4.6iS model, it had a very short 2002-2003 production run. #BMW had injected the standard X5 model with steroids metaphorically speaking, just like they do with the M models. These factory enhancements included larger fenders flares, massive 20-inch wheels, larger/louder exhausts, a unique variant of the #5HP24 #ZF5HP24 / #ZF5HP / #ZF transmission, aggressive camshaft profiles, the high flow intake manifold from the older M62 cars, bored, stroked and compressed to a 10.5:1 ratio producing 342hp and 354lb ft of torque. What makes Jay’s X5 even more rare is that it’s 1 of 27 #Dinan supercharged X5s in the world. The Dinan Signature 3 package consists of a #Vortech V-2 S-Trim Supercharger running 5.5psi, a new #MAF and throttle body, a #DME and EGS flash, larger #Delphi 37lb injectors, and an E39 M5 fuel pump.


    One common goal of any true performanceoriented enthusiast is to put as much tyre on the road as possible. With that in mind, together with the weight of the vehicle and the additional power, Jay sourced another pair of 10.5x20-inch OEM Style 87 rear wheels to replace the narrower 9.5-inch wide fronts. A set of four Bridgestone Dueller HP Sport 315/35/20 tyres were then fitted all-round and the improvement in grip from the 315 section tyres up front was like night and day. Behind the concave design Style 87 wheels sits giant eight-piston #Brembo callipers fitted with 380mm/15-inch discs at the front and 355mm/14-inch at the rear to help bring the X5’s larger rolling mass to a halt on demand, without a hint of fade.

    To accommodate the lower offset wheels, Jay also added the #BMW-X5-Le-Mans-edition wider front arches and the rear wheels were spaced out 25mm with #H&R spacers to help balance the front-to-rear track width. A Dinan strut bar and camber plates were also added to include some extra bracing for the twisties.

    At around 107,000 miles the supercharger’s high speed bearings on the impeller shaft got a little noisy, so with help from friend and mentor, Tony Acker, they sent the blower off to Vortech, and performed the M62 timing guide and valley pan job at the same time. Vortech returned the supercharger with a newer Si-Trim impeller, which meant even more mid-range power than before.

    During the summer of 2011 Jay decided it was too hot and had lost trust in his OEM water temp gauge. He also wanted to be able to read and clear codes on the fly so he removed the cluster, fixed the infamous pixel problem whilst there and integrated a PLX Devices DM-100 into the cluster. In addition to the OBD date, the DM-100 was installed with PLX Boost, EGT, dual-WBO2 and oil pressure modules. Other installed electronics include a Tekonsha P3 trailer brake controller, and a hardwired K40 Dual front/rear RADAR detector and front LASER jamming system.


    With the engine refresh and monitoring equipment fitted, everything was working tiptop. Then, one day as he came up a steep on-ramp that had a sharp crest to it, the X5 got airborne for a split second. Unluckily for Jay, he was at the top of the engine’s 6600rpm range when it happened. Inertia took over and all the exhaust valves were damaged, bad enough to notice under load and to make matters worse, the intake cam gears spun about the cams. With Tony’s help, they did compression, piston height, and leakdown tests before removing the heads and sending them off to VAC Motorsport for a Stage 1 upgrade, including stainless steel intake valves and fancy Inconel exhaust valves. Whilst it was there, Jay happened to come across a rare 4.6iS Tubi Rumore cat-back exhaust system. As Tubi is mostly known for making exhausts for exotic cars Jay was surprised to discover that they even made one for the X5! After installing the original heads, now blessed by VAC, a huge improvement in power and efficiency was found. The result is a power figure of around 475hp, although Jay has never taken it to the drag strip, he’d like to think it’s possible to break 12 seconds in the quarter-mile. Not bad for a ten-year-old German tank, which is the reasoning behind the name ‘Panzer’.

    Today, Jay’s 4.6iS S3 has 135k miles on it, and has been supercharged for 133k of those miles. He would like to thank Dinan Engineering for its outstanding aftersales customer support and would also like to send a huge thanks to Tony Acker for his knowledge and time spent keeping this X5 running so strong. Stronger, in fact, than the day he first got it, many years and many miles ago. So does a bad start have to equal a bad finish to a relationship? In this case, most definitely not.


    Below: Massive Brembo brake conversion features eight-pot callipers and huge 380mm/15-inch brake discs so it stops as well as it goes.

    Jay’s X5 may appear as if it came this way from the factory, but the finer details tell all to this rare beast.

    Dinan supercharger conversion is rare but was fitted on the car when it had covered just 2000 miles from new. It’s since covered another 133,000 miles!

    The supercharged M62B46 responded as you would expect and Jay was instantly hooked.

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