- Post is under moderation/ #Audi-R8 / #2006-Audi-R8 / #2006 / #2007 / #Audi-R8-Typ-42 / #Audi-R8 / #Audi / #Audi-R8-V8-Typ-42 / #Audi-Typ-42 /
(2006-2007) COST NEW £77k / VALUE NOW £35k
Quentin Willson’s hot tips
Back in 2006 the first-gen Audi R8 really should have been a massive hit – mid-mounted dry sump 414bhp 4.2 V8 32V engine, alloy spaceframe and monocoque, carbonibre cradle plus 0-60mph in 4.6 seconds and 187mph. Virtually hand-built at the Nekarsulm factory and sharing the Lamborghini Gallardo platform, only 28 R8s were made every day. This was a low-volume alloy supercar with four-wheel drive that was as reliable as a Golf. Yet only 164 R8s were sold globally in 2006, 4175 in 2007 and then, thanks to the 2008 recession, production tumbled to 2101 cars in 2009. The R8’s problem wasn’t only the financial environment into which it was born – it was just too clever and cerebral to catch the market’s imagination. Audi’s minimalist Bauhaus design grammar may have been fine for a TT, but for £77k before options, buyers wanted something that shouted a little louder. In many ways the R8 was too invisible, too quiet and too restrained.
Back in those midmillennium glory days buyers preferred their supercars to wear prancing horses or bulls on their noses. But for collectors those early cars aren’t just worth seeking out because of their rarity – there are only 400-odd 2006-2007 R8s in the UK – they look howling value for money. Tradepricecars in Essex has a Silver ’07 with just 25k for £39,750 – or half the price of a very average Pagoda Merc. A private seller in Swindon has a black 2007, also with 25k, for £34,995 and it comes with £12k of factory options and full Audi history. That has to be one of the cheapest low-mileage supercars you can buy.
Despite that prodigious top end those 4.2 R8s don’t feel properly ballistic – for that you’ll need the later V10. At 150mph things feel very stable and even exploring 180mph territory isn’t that scary. This is a well-planted and secure machine with a sublime ride. You’ll love the three turns lock to lock hydraulic steering but avoid the carbon brake option because they’re too grabby. I’d stick to the conventional six-speed manual because the sequential R-tronic isn’t as much fun.
As a future classic a 2006/2007 UK rhd R8 could be a clever buy. They’re rare, respected, exclusive and technologically awesome. Find one of the very few 2006 #launch-year-examples and you’ll have something that’s already collectible. What’s more it’s a genuine supercar that doesn’t make you suffer to own and enjoy.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationGOING ON TOUR
BMW never made an #BMW-E91 M3 Touring, so this owner decided to build his own… BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring, but if it did, it’d probably look just like this… only not as low and on smaller wheels! Words: Andy Basoo. Photos: Antony Fraser.
It was back on the 22 February 2011 the euphoria started, at 1.15pm to be precise. A build thread began on the popular M3Post forum, which within a matter of days had 35,000 views from around the globe. A dozen or so photos and a handful of words was all it took to spark such excitement; the BMW community was witnessing something special.
The username was #63NP. The thread topic: ‘!!E91 M3 V8 DCT Estate / Wagon Full Conversion..!!’. We don’t need to tell you that BMW never built an E91 M3 Touring. In fact, the German manufacturer has never built an M3 Touring full stop. Coupés, Saloons and Cabriolets yes, but never a Touring. And that’s somewhat surprising considering how much we love estate cars here in the UK. The Audi RS4 has never struggled for sales and the majority of examples you see on the road are wagons. If Audi can make it work, why can’t BMW?
To be fair, BMW has tried its hand at highperformance estate cars in the past. The E34 and E61 M5s were available in Touring format, and BMW even tested the water with the E39, building a one-off Touring version.
They just weren’t big sellers though. It’s difficult to pin down exactly why not, but they didn’t capture the imagination of the public. Maybe it was because they didn’t look different enough from any other M Sportkitted model? The RS4 is wide, beefy, has distinctive aluminium mirrors and looks like it’s on steroids, while the M5s of the past have been much more understated.
The 5 Series was also significantly larger and perhaps that’s where the downfall lay? Audi produced a larger RS6, too, and while it’s admittedly a fine machine in its own right, it was never the big seller like the RS4. So maybe 3 Series Touring M cars would have been the way to go? Nicholas Pritchard (aka 63NP), the man who instigated that build thread certainly seems to think so, hence the reason he’s built his own example. And before we go any further, let us tell you, it’s truly OEM quality in its execution.
Nick’s a heavy goods vehicle driver and has always had a thing for estate cars. “I’ve had loads,” he confesses. “I’ve had a B7 RS4, an E61, an E36 and an E30 – that I fitted Montego Countryman roof rails to because the E30 never came with roof rails! I even had a Rover 400 estate. I just like estates!” Which is why when he saw this one, he simply had to have it.
“I was doing a 997 Porsche at the time,” he continues. “This was back in 2009. I used to pop down to a local bodyshop from time to time to see a mate of mine. The owner of the bodyshop had this car tucked away in the corner and covered in dust. It didn’t have any wings or doors or an interior. It was just a shell, although it did have an M3 V8 sitting in the bay but it wasn’t running.”
Nick was interested and asked the owner if it was for sale. He got a firm “no” in reply. The car was a 2007 318i auto, although the original engine and transmission were nowhere to be seen. The cabin was filled to the roof with parts and the wiring loom was in a heap in the corner of the bodyshop.
“Are you sure it’s not for sale?” Nick persisted. “Quite sure, thank you very much,” came the response.
Bearing in mind it was 2009 and this was a #2007 Touring, it was a relatively new car to be chopping about as extensively as this one had been. Not many of us would have the confidence to be so brutal to a BMW that was barely run-in. Nick was so taken with the car that he would drop in occasionally and the two would have the same brief but very polite conversation.
“I noticed towards the end of the year, that the guy’s enthusiasm for the car was waning,” Nick explains, “so at the start of 2010 I asked him again, and amazingly he said ‘yes’. He’d been slowly building it up, so by the time I got it the panels were back on and an M3 interior in it, but it still wasn’t running. I think one of the guys down there had put a jump pack on it to get it started, but a power surge had fried the ECU and a few other things. I would say it was probably three-quarters complete.”
The previous owner had sourced the V8 from a donor car, an E90 M3 Saloon LCI with a slick DCT gearbox. Amazingly, the platforms of the Saloon and Touring are virtually identical. In fact, from the nose right the way back to part way down the rear doors is the same. The rear ends of the rear doors are a slightly different shape to conform to the different boot layout. But apart from that, the layouts remain the same. So, despite there being countless views and rumours about the complexity of an E91 M3 conversion, it’s actually pretty straight forward.
The donor car had been stripped. We mean, completely stripped down to its shell. Engine, gearbox, prop, body panels, interior, dash the lot. The same had then been done with the Touring. As you’d expect, priority had been given to the fitment of the M3’s beautiful 4.0-litre 32v V8 ( #S65B40 ) and its #DCT gearbox. It’s hard to comprehend and perhaps it sounds like we’re dumbing the process down, but there was no fabrication or adjustment made to any brackets. Using the S65’s OEM mounts, the V8 slotted easily in to place, the gearbox aligned perfectly, too, as did the driveshafts and propshaft, and all bolted straight in.
Even the standard Saloon exhaust system fitted. All that the previous owner had to do was to add two thread bolts for the rear box hangers, readily available from BMW, and the quad exhaust sat perfectly.
With the intention being to swap over and utilise every possible optional extra fitted to the M3 donor car, the complete Saloon wiring loom, fuse box and dash were fitted. This meant the all-important iDrive system was also available to the driver.
Regarding the body panels, the complete front end is M3 Saloon. The front bumper, kidney grilles, vented bonnet, and wider front arches were all bolted straight on, and the shut lines matched perfectly. Obviously, a wider front end meant the Touring’s original undertrays and arch liners no longer fitted, so these had been swapped over from the M3, too. Incidentally, before the all of the panels were fitted, the V8’s ancillaries had all been set in their rightful place, including the relevant coolers and bottles being placed in the wings. The goal had been to make this car as OEM as possible.
As you can imagine, this was harder to achieve at the rump end of the Touring. With the car having a wider track, the rear arches needed widening, so M3 Saloon rear quarters had been grafted in and expertly reshaped to meet the lines of the Touring.
The rear bumper is a combination of M3 Saloon and M Sport Touring. It would have been easier to modify an estate bumper, but the previous owner aimed at retaining as much M3 styling as possible, and as such the central vent, angles and lines had all been adopted from the Saloon parts.
Inside the cabin, the Touring’s carpet and panoramic roof had been retained as neither of these were available in M3 guise, but just about everything else you can see and touch is M3 Saloon. Even the rear bench bolted straight in. The rear seat back, however, is Touring, well… kind of. The seat foam had been reshaped to fit and match the bench, and then M3 Saloon covers added.
It was in this overall state that Nick bought the car. “As I said, it was about three-quarters complete when I got it,” he continues. “He’d done a great job. But, obviously the car wasn’t running and it felt tired and a little loose.
So the first thing Nick did was to order a new ECU and cache unit from BMW. After sorting the coding, to his joy the V8 barked into life, enabling Nick to turn his attentions to tightening the whole car up. “There were so many little things that needed sorting,” he explains. “I half stripped the car back down again. As I said, it didn’t feel tight. Things like the doorcards felt a bit loose, some of the trim was slightly squeaky, that kind of thing. As I was taking it apart, I started noticing that a lot of the clips were missing or broken. Some of the trim was scratched or damaged, the screws didn’t match, as you’d expect I guess. That’s what happens when you take a car apart.
“For me though, the whole point of the car was for it to be OEM quality, so I ordered about £1000 worth of clips, screws and trim from BMW. I’ve also got a friend who works in a BMW dismantlers and he was able to help me out with various other parts that were missing or damaged. Things like the membranes in the doors weren’t sealed, so they would have leaked and filled with water if I didn’t seal them. Essentially, the car needed finishing. The bulk of the work was done, but I think it’d been rushed back together when the guy lost interest.”
Nick has therefore invested heavily in transforming this car from the one that he bought. He primarily concentrated on the chassis, replacing the Touring’s factory-fit suspension with a full set of top-spec Variant 3 KW coilovers. He then ordered a set of gorgeous 20” Breyton Race GTS RM forged wheels to tuck under the wide arches, with M3 offsets, of course. Sizeable 9.5x20” wheels fill the fronts, shod in 245/30 Continentals, with broader 10x20” versions out back wrapped in 285/25 rubber by the same brand. He’s is considering nudging the front suspension down just a fraction more, but we have to say the E91 sits beautifully.
Nick then approached Reyland Motorsport for help sorting the front brakes. “I sourced a set of six-pot Brembo calipers from a C63 Mercedes,” he relates. “They’re basically the same as the BMW Performance calipers, just with different mounts on the back. I dropped them off at Reyland along with an M3 suspension leg so they could get all the brackets right and come up with suitable discs and pads. They used 380mm discs in the end and had my car in for a few days fitting everything up and testing it for me. All the brake warning sensors are still connected and functioning. I want to get a kit for the back now.”
We could go on all day about the fact Nick’s retained the Touring’s loom from the rear doors back because certain things are wired differently; how he’s removed individual pins from the loom plugs to ensure nothing is in place that isn’t needed; how he’s retro-fitted a CIC sat nav system that now runs ‘DVD in Motion’; details of the countless trips to the bodyshop to have blemishes removed, lines redefined and exhaust tips powdercoated in black; and why he’d only settle for BMW Performance front seats, but hopefully by now you’ve realised what an exceptional build this is.
Learning how identical the platforms are, it would appear relatively straightforward to swap all the parts across from one car to another. And to his credit, the previous owner has done phenomenally well in doing just that, but it’s finishing the job properly that takes time and patience to get right, and Nick has those qualities in abundance.
Without his input, this would feel like a fast, yet slightly tired, rattly estate. Thanks to Nick’s input it now possess a true OEM quality. It feels like a genuine M3 with full M car pedigree, not simply a modified 3 Series and that’s a difficult feat to achieve. Despite the photos posted on M3Post, some members still questioned whether or not this car was real, and demanded further evidence. Even the official #BMW staff and technicians at Nick’s local dealer were left puzzled when he first popped in to pick up a few parts. Other impressive E91 Tourings have been built around the world and yet more are in the pipeline, but Nick’s M3 converted example is by far the most wellknown.
Over 100,000 views of his build thread prove that. If you get the opportunity to see this machine in the flesh try and find fault with it. After we spent the day with car, we can assure you, you won’t find any.
DATA FILE #BMW-M3-Touring / #BMW-M3-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-E91 / #BMW-E91 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E91 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E91 / #BMW-M3-DCT-E91 / #DCT / #V8 / #BMW-3-Series-V8 / #Breyton-Race
ENGINE: #S65B40 4.0-litre 32v V8 from E90 M3 LCI Saloon / #BMW-S65 / #S65 / #BMW , standard #BMW-M3-DCT transmission and LSD, full M3 Saloon manifolds and exhaust system with Saloon hanging threads added to back box
CHASSIS: 9.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Breyton-Race-GTS-RM wheels shod in 245/30 and 285/25 Continental tyres respectively, Bimmerworld bolt-to-lug conversion, fully adjustable #KW-Variant-3 coilovers all-round, six-pot orange #Brembo calipers from Mercedes C63 with 380mm discs
EXTERIOR: Complete E90 M3 Saloon front end comprising wings, inner arches, bonnet, front bumper, undertrays and headlights, rear arches widened using E90 M3 Saloon quarter panels, custom rear bumper fabricated from M3 Saloon item and E91 M Sport Touring bumper
INTERIOR: #BMW-Performance seats, M3 Saloon dash, consoles, trim and wiring, M3 Saloon door cards and rear bench with Touring rear seat back foam modified and retrimmed in black nappa leather to match, M3 Saloon steering wheel, M3 Saloon iDrive with CIC sat nav, AC Schnitzer pedals
THANKS: Reyland Motorsport (0121 458 6010 or www.reyland.co.uk) TRS Motorbodies (0121 4548300)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationForecourt find #2007 / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupe-E86 (2006-2008) / #BMW-Z4-M-Coupé / #BMW-Z4-M / #BMW-Z4-E86 / #BMW-E86 / #BMW /
Now is the time to snap up the exclusive E86 Z4 M Coupé – before the few remaining cherished examples disappear. And you’ll do well to find a better example than this top-spec Ruby black 52k-mile 2007 car we spotted for sale at North East specialists Snippersgate.
With a recent set of Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres it boasts satellite navigation with the latest maps, heated seats, a factory upgraded Hi-Fi system, Individual champagne full leather upholstery and all the standard M kit. The requisite full service history includes the running-in service, whilst the asking price is a very reasonable £20,990.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationAUDI S3 TTE420 turbo and
APR-tuned / TTE420 S3 8P – photographed by AJ Walker
Words Davy Lewis Photography AJ Walker BRIGHT IDEA The TTE420 turbo set up is a fantastic way to liven up an S3, and the new / TTE-specific APR software has taken it to the next level…
AUDI S3 TTE420 and APR-tuned
There’s an old adage that bigger is better. But, when it comes to turbos, bigger is not automatically better.
The thought of bolting on a whopping great GT40 with 700bhp+ potential to your 2.0 #TFSI #Audi may sound exciting – and with a fully built engine and drag racing in mind, it may be just the job. However, for the road, it will be a bit limiting. For starters it will likely as not offer a very narrow power band – that bit of the rev range where you can actually use the damn thing. It’ll take time to spool up and require a very careful custom map to use it. Performance road cars need a more user friendly set up, which is where TTE come in.
TTE or The Turbo Engineers, to use their full name, specialize in creating high performance blowers that are carefully developed to get the most out of specific engines. While peak numbers are of course important (everyone wants to know how much you’ve got), it’s the real world drivability that’s key to every TTE set up. The hardware is only part of the puzzle, however. Without well-developed ECU software, you’ll never get near to the full potential of an after market turbo set up.
Renowned US tuners, APR, recognized this, and developed software calibrated especially for the TTE420 kit. A huge number of man hours went into the map, which has been created to deliver great power, but more importantly, excellent drivability. So when Dan Svarups, the owner of this subtle looking S3, was looking to harness the potential of his TTE420, he headed to APR UK to see what they could do for him.
“I had an 8L S3 before this but wanted the newer model,” says Dan. Having spotted the immaculate Imola yellow 8P, he knew it was the car for him. “The owner had really looked after it as it was an ex-show car.” The 2007 S3 had everything he wanted, so it was almost perfect.
Dan drove it for a couple of months before starting to look at engine tuning. “Over the next six to nine months I did the intake, exhaust and had a Stage 2 map applied,” recalls Dan. It made a big difference to the performance of the 2.0 TFSI. Next came Stage 2+ (335bhp), which entailed a fuel system upgrade. “I did all of the work myself, before taking the S3 to its first track day,” he says.
The testing Oulton Park circuit was the perfect place to really see what the upgrades could do and the S3 didn’t disappoint. “It was one of the fastest cars on the day,” smiles Dan. “One of the guys from PistonHeads, who was testing a Caterham 360R and couldn’t get past me, came up to me and said, ‘That car is rapid!’”
It was around this time that the TTE420 turbo kit was released and an offer came up to buy a kit for the S3. The uprated blower was duly fitted by VAG Technik, before a map was added. Unfortunately, the car didn’t run as well as Dan had hoped and peak power was down to around 380bhp – a good 40bhp lower than predicted. At this stage, Dan spoke to Awesome. It turned out they had a brand new map, calibrated specifically for the TTE420 set up and his would be the first car in the UK to take advantage of it. So the S3 was dropped off at Awesome’s Manchester HQ…
“When I picked up the car, it was like night and day,” laughs Dan. It was unbelievably fast – in fact it was f***** violent when you put your foot down, he continues. “The power comes in about 3,500rpm, with full 2bar of boost – but put your foot down, in any gear, and it just pulls.” In fact it goes so well that Dan is looking into improving the brakes. But like the rest of this stock looking S3, they’ll need to be stealthy so as not to give the game away.
The interior has also been left untouched, save for a neat little Prosport boost gauge that’s housed in one of the central air vents. It’s this OEM+ focus that I really like about this S3. On the face of it, you have a great looking car that most people would view as a fairly quick car. And it can be driven in a very civilized manner thanks to the welldeveloped APR map. But when you drop the hammer to unleash the potential of the TTE420 kit, it becomes an animal. It’s this Jekyl and Hyde nature that Dan loves about the S3 – the fact that it totally surprises people at the traffic lights – and can also offer big thrills on track. With track days booked at Spa and the Nürburgring, this summer, plus a session at our own VAG Tuner Live event on 10 July at Donington, this bright idea is set to surprise even more people.
Top: One not so mellow yellow S3...
Left: Boost gauge comes in handy.
Top right: Uprated brakes are next on the list Below: Stock interior is all good.
Above: Revo intake is a great upgrade on the 2.0 TFSI.
“The APR map has harnessed the potential of the #TTE420-kit ”
SPECIFICATION #2007 / #Audi-S3-8P / #Audi-A3-8P / #Audi-8P / #Audi / #Audi-A3 / #Audi-S3 / #TTE420-hybrid-turbo
Engine 2.0 TFSI, #TTE420 hybrid turbo, #APR-420 software, #Milltek cat back exhaust, #Pipewerx 3in downpipe and decat, #Revo cold air intake, #Airtec stage 2 intercooler, CTS turbo outlet pipe, CTS throttle pipe, #Autotech HPFP, DW65v LPFP, 155bar FPRV
Power 423bhp and 437lb/ft
Transmission 6-speed manual with uprated clutch
Brakes S3 with uprated discs and pads
Suspension #H&R ARBs, #H&R springs
Wheels Stock S3
Interior Stock S3, leather sports sets, flat bottom steering wheel, #Prosport boost gauge in air vent
Exterior S3 three door in Imola yellow
Contacts and thanks Mark and the team at Awesome/APR, www.goapr.co.uk, #VAG-Technik in Eccles, Dave Gregson for all the help, and missus Kat for putting up with me and helping to wax it for the shoot
“When I picked the car up it was like night and day... it was incredibly fast”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationTop three #BMW £15,000 diesel performance saloons UK
High performance comes at a price – usually a pretty steep one in terms of economy. But if you opt for one of these three performance diesel saloons, rather than a petrol four-door, then you can enjoy driving fast without worrying too much about the fuel bills.
BMW 330d M Sport Saloon ( #BMW-E90 ) ( 2008 to 2012 ) / #BMW-330d-M-Sport-Saloon-E90 / #BMW-330d-E90
Fifteen grand will buy you a mint-condition 2010 model with a relatively low 70,000 miles on the clock. Many pack a good deal of optional extras, with goodies like full leather upholstery and Professional sat nav and 18- or even 19-inch alloys. And despite the 245hp performance on tap, the combined fuel economy figure is still 45.6 mpg.
BMW 535d M Sport ( #BMW-E60 ) ( #2007 to #2010 ) / #BMW-535d-M-Sport-E60 / #BMW-535d-E60 /
A #BMW-3-Series not quite big enough? Then try a #BMW-535d-M-Sport instead. The performance is every bit as good – in spite of the car’s larger mass – and our £15,000 will stretch to a #2008 model with just 65k miles on the clock. Being an M Sport 5 Series the standard spec is plush, whilst long journeys can see you achieve over 40mpg.
THE #Alpina-D3 Bi-Turbo (E90) (2008 to 2013) / #Alpina-D3-Bi-Turbo / #Alpina-D3-Bi-Turbo-E90
Those seeking something a bit more exclusive should hunt out the rare #Alpina D3 B-Turbo Saloon. A #2011 model is within range, with a typical 75,000 miles and a full #BMW-Alpina history. All cars are very well appointed and the twin-turbo diesel delivers potent acceleration (0-62mph in just 7.2 seconds), 50.4mpg economy and just 159g/km of CO².Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationForecourt find #BMW-X5 3.0d M Sport (E70) ( #2007 to #2010 ) / #BMW-X5-3.0d-M-Sport-E70 / #BMW-X5-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0d-E70 / #BMW-X5-3.0d-M-Sport / #2008
Previous E70 X5s are now looking pretty good value for money. But highly-spec’d pampered examples are becoming increasingly difficult to find. So cars like this Titanium silver, 58-plate, 71k-miler with just one former keeper – up for £18,250 at York-based specialist #Yorkshire-Vehicle-Solutions – are now the exception rather than the rule.
This #BMW X5’s ample spec includes black Nevada leather, media satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone preparation, a six-disc CD changer, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control, electric front memory seats and 20-inch MV alloys. Tempted? Don’t hang around, it’ll soon be gone.
Tel: 01423 331133 or 07843 281047
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLONGTERMERS E82 135i / #BMW
There’s a departure, another puncture, road trips and some fettling going on this month. Simon bids a fond farewell to his beloved 135i, the M635CSi receives some TLC and the poor F10 M5 suffers another puncture!
So, the end is nigh for my 135i ownership. Actually, it’s well past that as the faithful 1 Series pocket rocket I’ve lovingly built up over the past year or so has now departed. After moving onto pastures new at a new job I’ve been handed the keys to a company car, a hybrid (arrrgh!). And at around the same time a good friend of mine expressed that he would like to take over the reins of the 135i. It actually caught me by surprise, as although I knew the car’s sale would be imminent, my friend had been talking about buying a used Porsche 911. In fact, he did slightly insult me by saying the 135i would be a good runabout for him in the meantime! Safe to say he underestimated the One’s potential, as so many people do, and a testdrive soon made him realise that my finely-fettled Coupé would keep pace with all but a 911 Turbo with relative ease. That might sound like an exaggeration, but until you’ve driven a 1 Series with over 400hp and 500lb ft of torque it’s quite hard to explain what a good package it makes.
And looking back on my time with the car, that’s what I’ll remember most fondly about it. It was, quite simply, the best all-round car I have ever owned. It did everything asked of it and then some, from transporting four adults around the Isle of Wight to decimating stretches of B-road Tarmac with truly alarming pace. Jumping from a brand-new M5 to this car didn’t feel a whole lot different in terms of mid-range performance punch. And the whole time I had it, it served as my daily mode of transport, covering some 350 miles a week. It wasn’t exactly great on fuel, but it wasn’t bad either. With cruise control on at a steady 60mph I could get over 35mpg on my 30-mile commute to work. Which, upon reflection, is astonishing considering it would then do a good job trying to rearrange your internals under hard acceleration.
The package element didn’t just end there either. The six-pot brakes were tremendous and always felt reassuringly powerful. I loved the chassis feel that was soft enough to enable weight transfer without feeling crashy, and the hydraulic steering that delivered huge amounts of feedback. I loved the fact it looked like a 120d to the untrained eye, too. Inside, the fit and feel of the interior trim was never quite perfect and the wear to the red leather driver’s seat bolster was annoying but, overall, it was a nice place to be. Despite being old – and feeling it at times – the iDrive, sat nav and Bluetooth all worked well.
But not everything was bliss. During my time I did go through all the typical N54 problems, most of which were expensive, such as the HPFP, water pump, flywheel and clutch. The odd error code did start to appear towards the end of ownership, solved by replacing the coils, and the infamous N54 wastegate rattle was developing at an alarming rate. I wish I had researched more into the potential problems as I didn’t realise BMW-N54 / N54 engines were quite so temperamental.
But then, I have done 20,000 miles in the car and enjoyed all of them. I sold the car cheaply to my friend, for less than I paid for it, which was a bargain considering the modifications. Bearing in mind they were all simple, bolt-on bits that gave huge results, they were well worth the money – particularly the Burger Tuning-supplied JB4, which is still the most impressive modification I’ve ever seen in terms of integration and overall effect. I loved having the different choice of power levels and it always worked faultlessly. I never did get to fit the M3 LSD I had ready and waiting for it, which was annoying, but I found the standard E-diff much better than many people made out.
In all, I’d actually have another one in the future without question. No other car I can even think of offers quite what a tuned 135i does, which is why it was so hard to replace. I considered a Porsche Cayman S, but knew I’d miss the turbo torque. I looked at an E92 M3 but couldn’t live with the fuel consumption. The obvious choice was a newer M135i, especially as prices drop. But with my new job I had to buy something Japanese, so I bought a car I’d always dreamed of owning – a Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R. It’s quite similar to the 135i in many ways and right now I love it. But I’ll own another BMW at some point… that’s for sure.
Data #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-135i / #BMW-E82
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 110
TOTAL MILEAGE: 81,032
MPG THIS MONTH: 31mpg
COST THIS MONTH: NilStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBuying Guide Why not treat yourself to a little bit of luxury in the form of the bargainous E65 7 Series? BMW E65 V8 7 series. The E65 was a shock when it arrived but it’s actually aged rather well and the V8 versions in particular offer staggering value for money as a used buy. Words: Andy Everett and Bob Harper. Photography: #BMW . #2006 / #2001 / #2007 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-750i-E65 / #BMW-750i / #BMW-750Li / #BMW-745i-E65 / #BMW-735i-E65 / #BMW-740i-E65 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-750Li-E66 / #BMW-745Li-E66 / #BMW-E66
There’s no doubt that when the E65/E66 #BMW-7-Series arrived on the scene back in 2001 it was a big shock. Huge, in fact. The three generations of car that had preceded it had possessed a certain understated style – they might have been the all-singing, all-dancing range-toppers packing the latest up-to-date technology but they didn’t shout about it with the way they looked. So it was understandable when jaws dropped and tongues wagged with the arrival of the E65 7 Series.
Whereas the previous machines had managed to hide their size with delicate styling it almost seemed that with the E65, Adrian van Hooydonk (the car’s chief designer) had gone out of his way to make it seem as big and as imposing as possible. And dare we say it, a little ugly, too. The kidney grilles were huge, the headlights gave it the look of a lugubrious drunk waking up after a particularly heavy session and the slab sides led to the famous bootlid treatment that was soon dubbed the ‘Bangle Butt’. Pretty? No. Imposing? Yes.
But it wasn’t just the exterior that shocked the BMW world as inside there were so many new things to get used to. The handbrake was BMW’s first electronic effort – a push button to the right of the steering wheel on the dash and the gear lever had moved to the steering column… which made space on the centre console for the new, all-singing, all-dancing iDrive system. We’ve become accustomed to this over the ensuing 14 years or so but back in 2001 it took a little getting used to, especially as in its first incarnation the iDrive was far from intuitive and clunky in some respects – changing radio stations was a very awkward process for those of us brought up on push button presets.
So far we haven’t really painted very positive picture of the Seven, but while there was much to confuse and confuddle new owners there was also plenty to like. Performance and economy were both pretty decent from the new Valvetronic V8s and there was so much gadgetry packed into the car that it could more or less do anything. And the best bit is that today you could be running around in one from as little as around £4000. There are cheaper ones out there but we reckon you’d probably be best avoiding the lowest end of the E65 market as you could end up buying a whole heap of trouble. The best news is that large petrol V8 engined limos aren’t in huge demand right now so you should be able to bag a bargain – you’ll struggle to spend more than £10k on one of these and that would be for a low mileage later face-lifted example with full history and all the bells and whistles.
We’re concentrating on the V8 models here – diesels are more expensive – and there’s something about the E65 that really suits the urgency of the V8’s performance. If you do a high mileage it probably won’t be your cup of tea, but if you tend to cover a lower than average distance in your car then you do get a huge amount of bang for your buck with an E65.
The 7 Series was initially launched with a 272hp 3.5-litre V8 and a 333hp 4.5-litre V8 and while both engines were more than capable of punting the Seven along at a considerable pace thanks to the inclusion of double #Vanos and Valvetronic, it was the 4.5-litre version that would prove to be the best option. The extra 61hp and 66lb ft of torque meant a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds compared to the 735i’s 7.6 seconds and the difference in fuel economy between the 735i and 745i was so small that the latter was the obvious choice for those with the extra £4000 to spend.
Both cars were very well spec’d as standard and all V8s came with DSC, PDC, leather upholstery, 18-inch alloys, sat nav, BMW Professional radio and Hi-Fi speaker system, CD changer, dual-zone auto air-con, Dynamic Drive, electric front seats and cruise control. The long wheelbase Li models added selflevelling rear suspension and a sun-blind for the rear windscreen. There was also a Sport option, and while it lacked a body kit, it did include 19-inch wheels, Sports suspension, High-gloss Shadowline trim, Sports seats, a three-spoke wheel and matt Vavona wood.
Naturally enough the options list was extensive and you could have spent the price of a 3 Series on upgrades, if you so wanted. Electronic damper control (£760), bi-xenon lights (£470), Logic7 speaker system (£500), Comfort seats (£1160 for the front and £1960 at the back), Club leather (£2860) and a rear entertainment package (£2250) gives you some idea of what was on offer. You could also have heated, cooling and massage seats, soft close doors, double glazing and a TV, too.
In 2005, the E65 received a face-lift, which softened its hard-edged features and, to our eyes, gave it a much more pleasant visage, even if it did lose some of its outright aggression. The styling changes were subtle but made a big difference, resulting in a far more cohesive design, with slightly larger kidney grilles, reshaped headlights with floating angel eyes, a larger front valence and restyled foglights, while at the back the rear bumper was mildly tweaked, the light clusters now wrapped around the bootlid and a thin chrome strip ran from edge to edge just above the numberplate. On the inside there was nicer wood trim and revised iDrive with a reshaped, leather topped controller. The V8s were upgraded, too, with the arrival of a 306hp 740i to replace the 735i and the 750i with its 367hp 4.8- litre engine replacing the 745i.
Over the year there were some minor spec changes but broadly speaking the V8 machines remained unchanged, although a sunroof became standard and Dynamic Drive was demoted to being an option during the car’s life. Eventually the E65 bowed out in 2008 to be replaced by the first of the F Generation machines, the F01 7 Series.
Wheels, tyres and brakes
The E65 came on a variety of 18- and 19-inch wheels; 17s were available on the six-cylinder cars only. 18- and 19-inch tyres are relatively inexpensive these days. You can get a set of four 245/50x18 Hankooks fitted for around £400 or a pair of front Pirellis for £250. 19-inch wheels? A pair of 245/45x19 Dunlop SP Sports are just over £260 and a pair of 275/40x19 Vredesteins about the same. Chinese tyre companies like Maxxis, Landsail and Davanti are on the ball these days – pay around £80- 90 each for these sizes and all three have decent wear, noise and wet grip ratings.
Regarding the brakes, discs and pads can be bought from the aftermarket, with quality brake discs like Pagid being around £110 a pair and front pads under £40 for the set. Brake hydraulics are good, and even the ABS block doesn’t seem to give much trouble. If it does, forget buying new as it’s pricey but reckon on £250 for a good used one. Valvetronic engines use a diesel type brake vacuum pump.
These can fail (very hard brake pedal) and a new pump is £373. The E65 was the first BMW with an electronic handbrake. They use conventional calipers and the usual rear discs with the handbrake shoes inside. A big electric motor in the transmission tunnel area pulls on the handbrake cables and this system is generally okay… as long as the battery doesn’t go flat, that is!
The E65 completely eradicated the E38’s tendency to suffer from scabby rust – it really is a superbly built car. Double glazed glass can sometimes suffer ‘milking’ in the corners and edges. Make sure the spare wheel well is bone dry. If not it could be down to tired lamp gaskets or the boot seal; both these can be rejuvenated by Vaseline, if they’re not damaged. The vertical felt window channels need a shot of spray grease so the windows power up and down smoothly, taking the strain off the regulators. The window regulators are quite robust. Door handles also need a shot of spray grease occasionally, too. Ensure the sunroof drains are clear as a blocked one will soak the front carpet, damaging any modules underneath, such as the DSC system’s yaw sensor (passenger front). Bonnet release levers can break if the release latches haven’t been lubricated.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that an E65 is for you. It’s a pretty large machine so make sure it’ll fit in your garage/parking space and that it’s not going to be too big for your needs. If you’re looking at a pre-face-lift car you’ll also need to make sure you can get along with the iDrive system – it’s much harder to grapple with than the revised version in the later cars. With the familiarity that ownership brings, though, we reckon everyone should be able to get to grips with it.
Once you’re satisfied you still want one you’ll need to decide as to which engine suits you best – the 745i and 750i do seem more common than the two smaller-engined machines so you’ll have more choice with the bigger power units. But if the right car comes up in the right spec we wouldn’t discount any of the engine options. All are capable of covering ground pretty rapidly and servicing and economy costs hardly vary between the four cars. Try and hunt down an original brochure for the E65 and decide which options you really want – air conditioned massage seats might be enjoyable but you’ll severely restrict your choice of cars if you limit yourself to having certain options. And while soft close doors and auto opening bootlids are nice to have, they do add complexity – and potentially cost – when they go wrong. If your air conditioned seat stops working you can live with it, but if your door or the boot won’t shut, you can’t! In terms of cost to repair, the big ticket items to avoid would be electronic damper control, Dynamic Drive and self-levelling rear suspension. Otherwise the normal rules apply; look at as many as you can and get a feel for how they drive. Look for full history and evidence of recent expenditure and buy the best you can afford.
The original N62 was used in the 735i and 745 and it’s a good reliable unit. It uses VVT #Valvetronic technology yet is far less prone to the issues that afflict the four-cylinder N42 (VVT motors, timing chains, eccentric shafts and so on). However, it does have problems in old age. The first one is oil consumption due to worn rings/bores and anything that’s a bit smoky is best avoided. Cars that have had regular oil and filter changes as well as long trips won’t suffer from this, and we’d recommend an oil and filter change every year or 10,000 miles using a fully synthetic oil. The other problem is the coolant cross tube in the block. On the previous M62 V8 (E39, E38 etc), the tube was removable without a massive amount of dismounting but for the N62, BMW engineers designed it so the tube is sandwiched between the block and the front timing case. The official repair is engine out, heads and sump off, which is around 30 hours of labour. Companies in the US sell an expanding tube that requires around six hours of labour but the part is still a few hundred dollars to buy. I’ve managed to repair one of these using a modified version of a standard BMW pipe and it cost around £600 – far more cost-effective on a £3500 car.
N62s also like to leak oil. The plastic cam cover gaskets are the main culprit but if they aren’t badly cracked or distorted then a new rubber gasket, some proper quality sealer and careful fitting can reduce or eliminate this.
The later units on the 740i and 750i from 2005 (N62N units) are reckoned to be a better engine in terms of the bore wear and cam cover leaks but that’s just because they’re newer. The cam covers were improved in late 2006 but any N62 variant that’s been properly maintained will be fine. Head gasket problems are very rare. Vanos units can fail but they’re more reliable than on the four-cylinder cars; sadly though, the vanos units and VVT motors are not the same as the four-cylinder units and used parts are rare. The DIVA variable intake manifold system seems to be reliable, too, but most of these cars will now need to have the crankcase ventilation system replaced – the oil separator valve and its rubber pipes.
No matter what year or engine it has, the car must run perfectly smoothly. A new MoT is a fair indicator that the engine is running fine, as any problems with over-fuelling, misfires or the VVT system not working correctly will result in a fail on emissions. A new VVT motor is £230.
Cooling system prices? From BMW a radiator is £461 and a water pump £256 – pay £175 for a Hella radiator and £67 for a Circoli water pump.
Steering and suspension
Here is where money can be consumed. The E65 is a heavy car and at over ten years and 100,000 miles, you may well need to replace parts.
The E65 comes with three separate suspension types: standard cars; EDC; and Dynamic Drive. The standard Boge Sachs dampers have a good long life and even at 100,000 miles they’re generally still okay. They’re £311 each from BMW and about half that from Boge via ECP. On to the EDC; many E65s come with it and front struts cost over £800 each. Dynamic Drive, though, is another can of worms. If its anti-roll bar motors start leaking it needs to be replaced, costing £1527. In other words, then, it’s probably worth avoiding. The original 735i and 745i brochures claimed that it was standard equipment but it was a common option on these cars. By the time the E65 was face-lifted in ’05, it was standard only on the V12 cars. If the car you’re looking at does have it, inspect the roll bars carefully for leaks and pray.
The rest of it is down to wishbones, balljoints and bushes. After a slow start, the aftermarket has caught up with the E65 and you can now buy standard type front dampers as well as suspension arms, drop links and bushes from the likes of Euro Car Parts. You will struggle to find a servotronic steering rack though (£2000 new) and this is where breakers come in useful. Be aware, though, that E65s are not being scrapped at anything like the rate that the E38 is. E65s are still in demand and breakers are having to buy complete running cars to service the demand for used parts.
This is the area where most of the E65’s ills will be found. Early cars were a bit of a disaster with a multitude of problems such as all the windows opening at once randomly and plenty of other glitches. However, BMW got on the case and worked hard to rectify this and these early cars should all have been modified by the dealers at each service as software upgrades came along plus, of course, warranty repairs. By 2004 the car was pretty much debugged but that’s not to say they’re perfect because no car of this age and complexity can ever be. The battery really is the life source of the E65. It has to be both the right amperage, correctly coded to the car’s battery control module, and it must also be in perfect condition. Anything less and the car will misbehave – even new cars in BMW showrooms that had been sat overnight with the interior light left on would be a pain until the battery had been trickle charged and any fault codes erased.
There are many options on the E65 to add to the complexity – electronic damper control, tyre pressure control, automatic bootlid actuation, comfort access, soft closing doors, heated comfort seats, active cruise control, TV function and so on. The iDrive system was in its infancy in 2001 and it does take some getting used to, both if you’re coming from a pre-iDrive era car or regressing from a newer one. The CD player in the glovebox can fail and the sat nav is at the age now where a TomTom stuck to the screen can do a better job as it can often crash, as can the iDrive system, while the radio is known for just stopping dead. If you buy an E65, you may as well put your voltmeter on eBay because to fix one of these you need a laptop with both INPA and a clever 12-year-old to tell you how to use it. Do not underestimate the E65’s capacity for generating odd electronic problems.
Much of what goes wrong here is covered in electrics but there are a few titbits. Steering wheels can look a bit ropey at this age, particularly the earlier ones with the light coloured leather. Unless the leather is damaged it’s best to do any reconditioning with the wheel on the car as removing it will require the use of diagnostics to recode it, particularly the airbag warning light. The E65 was the first BMW to use the current type key and starter button and, as it wears, the key and steering lock can become recalcitrant. Whilst it’s possible to take it apart and just remove the steering lock peg, this is now an MoT fail as it needs to work. They can be reprogrammed with wider parameters to cure this, and Grosvenor Garage in Reading is adept at this.
Finally, radio reception problems can often be caused by a failed diversity amplifier, and a new one is often a better plan that trying a used one – they are not as failure prone as those used on the 5 Series Touring, for example.
Transmission and drivetrain
The E65 broke new ground in 2001, having a sixspeed automatic gearbox with mechatronics. Mechatronics means that the gearbox ECU is combined with the valve body in the gearbox itself but despite the ECU being immersed in hot oil, it actually very rarely fails. The actual valve body unit can, however. On the previous five-speeder, the two halves of the valve block had a paper gasket in between but due to higher line pressure, the sixspeed valve block uses a special black sealer that is applied at the factory. In old age it’s quite possible that a bit of sealer can get blown out, leading to a pressure drop in that circuit. This will show up as a harsh shift as the ECU tries to compensate.
A harsh first to second (and vice versa) shift is common so you need to see if a software update resolves this. Early cars did have a number of software updates to improve the unit but if the car has this problem then either another gearbox is needed or a new Mechatronics unit from BMW, at £3000. Other problems include the finned plastic sump/filter unit leaking and the only answer is a new sump – they aren’t silly expensive at £165. As for oil and filter changes, these units are sealed for life but a new sump/filter and topping up with the correct unit will do it no harm at all. The gearbox can also leak oil from the rubber gasket around the electrical plug in the side of the box and, as there is no dipstick, any oil leaks must be rectified immediately.
Apart from these issues, the six-speed ’box is a good tough unit that doesn’t suffer from split brake drums like there previous five-speed ’box did. There can be problems with the electronic selector switch on the column but, overall, the transmission is surprisingly reliable. The propshaft and differential almost never give any trouble.
Should you buy an E65? If you’re brave and like gadgets then go for it. 14 years ago, the E65 really was a tremendous thing and even now a good one is an incredible blend of dynamic ability, intriguing gadgets and sheer go. The 745i and 750i really do shift and the smaller-engined versions are not shy either. We think in time, the E65 (particularly the preface- lift) will become a cult car because it really did move the game along. As ever, avoid the cheaper cars that don’t come with invoices and a well-stamped service book – they are not worth having unless they’re cheap and you’re useful with spanners; if all else fails, you can make a decent profit breaking it! Good ones with 100,000 miles or less start at £4000 and if you’re less than confident about checking it out then getting a BMW dealer or specialist to put it on a ramp for an hour to check everything, including the emissions, will definitely be money well spent.
BMW DEALER SPECIALIST
OIL SERVICE £165 £175
OIL SERVICE PLUS MICRO FILTER £285 £227
BRAKE FLUID £81 £64
VEHICLE CHECK £79 £79
FRONT BRAKE PADS £207 £160
REAR BRAKE PADS £212 £158
Service prices courtesy of Sytner BMW Sheffield (0114 275 5077) and Grosvenor Motor Company, Reading (0118 958 3481). Prices are inclusive of parts and VAT.
E65 7 Series – V8 models 735i / 740i / 745i / 750i
ENGINE: V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve #N62 / #N62B36 / #N62B40 / #N62B44 / #N62B48
CAPACITY: 3600cc 4000cc 4398cc 4799cc
MAX POWER: 272hp @ 6200rpm 306hp @ 6300rpm 333hp @ 6100rpm 367hp @ 6300rpm
MAX TORQUE: 266lb ft @ 3700rpm 288lb ft @ 3500rpm 332lb ft @ 3600rpm 361lb ft @ 3400rpm
0-62MPH: 7.5 seconds 6.8 seconds 6.3 seconds 5.9 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph 155mph 155mph 155mph
ECONOMY: 26.4mpg 25.2mpg 25.9mpg 24.8mpg
EMISSIONS CO2: 259g/km 267g/km 263g/km 271g/km
PRICE (NEW): £52,750 (2003) £56,550 (2006) £56,950 (2003) £61,000 (2006)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe #2015 #Nissan-GT-R MY15 / #Nissan Once the embodiment of future tech, Nissan’s GT-R now feels deliciously old-school and involving.
Unveiled at the #2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan’s R35 GT-R might be getting long in the tooth, but a process of constant refinement and tweaking has ensured its teeth remain razor sharp. And despite the familiarity with the shape, spotting a GT-R is a rare thrill – during its time on sale in Australia, more Ferraris have been sold locally than GT-Rs.
Like other exotica, the Nissan GT-R sizzles with a tension that is lacking from most modern cars. And like other big-hitting sports cars, a flutter of nervous tension shocks me as the unassuming key is handed over and I approach the hulking, square-shouldered shape. So futuristic when new, the interior has aged markedly, but the oversized steering wheel, chunky centre console and multi-mode display screen suit the larger-than life nature of the GT-R. If the design shows the march of time, the quality has improved out of sight over the first R35s of last decade. Our Premium model feels just that.
Prod the red starter button and the Nissan’s 3.8-litre twinturbochargedV6 fires with a dry cough. It’s more industrial than musical and doesn’t hint at the latent potency of the GT-R. For the MY15 model, power and torque remain at the already prodigious levels – 404kW at 6400rpmand 628Nm from 3200-5800rpm. I’m always surprised by how physical the GT-R feels, and while the inherent tech promises the future, the clunks and whirrs from the tightly wound drivetrain feel oldschool.
It’s a dichotomy that bears out in the Nissan’s dynamics. I’ve previously been highly critical of the GT-R’s ride quality (despite claims from Nissan that their engineers have softened the car for each update). TheMY14 update, however, changed my tune and the MY15 further softens my stance. There’s no denying that the GT-R still rides with tightly controlled tension, but there’s no longer a Pavlovian response to flick the dampers to ‘comfort’ mode before you even test out the road surface. The squishier seats also help round off the worst of the impacts.
As alluded to earlier, the GT-R’s dynamics are a blend of tech-enhanced efficiency and old-school, scruff-of-the-neck fun. For those that dismiss the GT-R as a fast car that drives itself, it’s anything but and requires more driver effort than a Porsche 911 Turbo. It also gives up its secrets earlier than Turbo (or even more insane Turbo S). The first time a GT-R steps into oversteer might well surprise you, but once you’re familiar with its responses, you’ll be looking for opportunities to provoke Godzilla.
The 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 still possesses sledgehammer shove through the mid-range and into its upper reaches, but newer, more sophisticated turbocharged weapons (Porsche’s 991-generation Turbo and Turbo S are obvious examples) show up the Nissan’s low speed tractability. The Nissan’s six speed dual-clutch gearbox has also been surpassed by those from other brands (again Ferrari and Porsche lead the way here), but there’s still a ruthless efficiency about the manner in which the GT-R gets from here to there in very little time.
With Porsche and Ferrari updating their cars more frequently and with ever higher levels of technology, there’s delicious irony that the Nissan GT-R now represents the old-school.
Above: It’s hard to believe but the current GT-R was revealed in 2007.
+ Ride is much better (no really), still ballistically quick, playful dynamics
- Interior feeling its age evo rating
Engine 3799cc V6, dohc, 24v twin-turbo
Power 404kW @ 6400rpm
Torque 628Nm @ 3200-5800rpm
0-100km/h 2.7sec (claimed)
Top speed 315km/h (claimed)
Weight 1740kg (232kW/tonne)
Basic price $172,000
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.