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    / #BMW-Art-Cars / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW / #Art-Cars / #BMW-M3-GT2 / #BMW-M3-GT2-E92 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-GT2-Jeff-Koons / #BMW-M3-GT2-Jeff-Koons-E92 / #Jeff-Koons / #2010 / #BMW-M3-GT2-Art-Car / #BMW-M3-GT2-Art-Car-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92

    For its 17th Art Car BMW really went back to where it all started and entered an M3 GT2 at Le Mans complete with Jeff Koons’ arresting livery

    The first three BMW Art Cars all cut their teeth at Le Mans and for the 17th Art Car BMW returned to the track in 2010 with the E92 M3 GT2. It had high hopes for the car as it arrived on the back of a win at the 2010 Nürburgring 24 Hour race and to ensure there was plenty of interest in BMW’s first return to La Sarthe BMW decided to commission Jeff Koons to add his quirky style to the car.

    It was officially unveiled at the Pompidou Centre in Paris with a suitable level of razzmatazz and while the car might have been generating plenty of interest off the track it wasn’t quite so impressive on it. Two M3 GT2s were entered, one in the traditional BMW livery (number 78) and the Koons’ Art Car, number 79, its number chosen as a tribute to the Warhol M1 that had raced at Le Mans ‘79. At the qualifying event the two BMWs came sixth (78) and 11th (79) in class.

    Jeff Koons, is one of the most celebrated artists of our time, and was born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1955. Koons’ work has been exhibited internationally and is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American, the Guggenheim Museum (both in New York) and The National Gallery in Washington, DC.

    As part of his creative process, the artist collected images of race cars, related graphics, vibrant colours, speed and explosions. The resulting artwork of bright colours conceived by Koons is evocative of power, motion and bursting energy. With its silver interior along with the powerful exterior design, the Art Car imparts a dynamic appearance even when it’s standing still. “These race cars are like life, they are powerful and there is a lot of energy,” said Koons. “You can participate with it, add to it and let yourself transcend with its energy. There is a lot of power under that hood and I want to let my ideas transcend with the car – it’s really to connect with that power.”

    In the event the Art Car didn’t have a great race, making contact with another competitor and having several mechanical maladies. The final ignominy came as Andy Priaulx approached the Indianapolis curve at around the five hour mark when the M3 ran out of fuel – either the consumption was higher than expected or not enough fuel had been added at the previous pit stop. Either way, the car’s race was done. The number 78 car battled on to the end, eventually finishing sixth in class.
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    Second Thoughts / Bidding a fond farewell to the Z4

    The latest generation Z4 has quietly ended production but will the history books look kindly on the sexy Roadster? Time for a re-evaluation perhaps… Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    A fond farewell to the misunderstood E89 generation Z4.

    Over the years BMW’s Zed cars have had a little bit of a rocky relationship with the motoring press and while those actually buying BMW’s range of Roadsters have always seemed very keen on them the somewhat less than glowing press reports have tainted the reputation of many a Zed. It started so well, too, with the now iconic Z1 – a bespoke machine that looked like no other BMW – before or since – and while it might have been a limited production test bed for BMW’s Technik department it was met with almost universal praise. Those dropdown doors were pretty neat and its chassis was an absolute revelation and more or less the only mutterings from the press were directed at the fact that the chassis could cope with far more power than the E30 325i’s engine could muster.

    In a way, perhaps, the Z1 set the tone for subsequent views on BMW Zeds – it set a pretty high bar for the cars that were to follow. The Z3 that arrived in the mid-1990s had an inordinately long gestation period and when it did arrive it didn’t receive universal praise. Sure, it looked good, but after the Z1’s stunning underpinnings the Z3 made do with an old E30 chassis and initially there was only a relatively wheezy four-cylinder engine under the bonnet. Owners absolutely loved the Z3, the press on the other hand were generally less kind, and with machinery like Mazda’s MX-5 showing what could be achieved with a cheeky little Roadster the Z3 looked and felt a little old hat.

    All that was to change with the Z4 though. It hit the streets in 2003 and must be one of the finest examples of Chris Bangle’s ‘flame-surfacing’ school of design. It still looks pretty fresh today and in rangetopping 3.0i launch form it was also pretty rapid.

    There were some mixed messages from #BMW at its launch, though, particularly the assertion that there would be no Coupé, M model or four-cylinder Z4s (all subsequently arrived in the showrooms), and while the Z4 might have had all the right ingredients it was almost as if BMW had got the blend just a little off. Don’t get me wrong – it was a fine car and I spent many happy hours at the wheel of the E85 generation of Z4 – but there was always a thorn in the side of the Z4 as it was Porsche Boxster-shaped.

    The two cars were natural rivals even if Stuttgart’s offing was a little more expensive, but in terms of driving dynamics the Boxster had the BMW licked.

    Which brings us to the most recent Zed, the E89 Roadster you can see here, and despite the fact that it still looks fresh and modern and very pretty to my eyes it’s already ended its production run. How did that happen? It seems like only yesterday that it was being launched under a retractable folding hard-top fanfare. Yes, that was perhaps the biggest news for the E89 Z4 – no longer would it have a simple fabric hood – instead featuring a Mercedes SLK-esque folding hard-top. And it was the buyer of the SLK and the Audi TT that were the new Z4’s target audience with BMW aiming to produce a slightly less sporting but more refined Roadster – it was what its customers wanted, said BMW, after consulting with buyers of the previous generation of Z4. If you read between the lines of the press pack it was almost as if BMW was saying that it had tried to build a Boxster-beater, discovered it couldn’t so it went for a different demographic with its next Z4.

    Initially there were three models to choose from, all under the sDrive banner – 23i, 30i and 35i – with the two former models using different versions of BMW’s sublime naturally-aspirated 3.0-litre straight-six while the 35i packed a 306hp turbocharged punch from its 335i-derived powerplant. As with the E85 BMW was adamant that there would be no four-cylinder model, no coupé and no M Power model. This time it kept good on its promise on two out of three of those pledges as an four-pot did eventually arrive as BMW moved away from the naturally aspirated ‘six to turbocharged ‘fours.

    Having said there was no M model, the machine we have in front of us here today was as close as BMW came to endowing the Zed with M Power as this is the range-topping 35iS that made its debut in 2010. It was tantalisingly close to being an M as it featured the 340hp engine from the 1M Coupé coupled to a DCT transmission and blistering straightline grunt – 0-62mph was knocked off in a very M-like 4.8 seconds. Its vital stats and almost-an-Mpowerplant seduced me into thinking this would be a real ripsnorting performer but when I returned from driving the 35iS for the very first time I felt that while the engine and drivetrain were sublime there was definitely something missing in the chassis stakes. Time for a revaluation then.

    I’ll make no bones about the fact that I love the way the Z4 looks – sharp styling, classic BMW Roadster proportions and bucket loads of presence. The front end has something of a Great White shark about it, making the previous model look soft and apologetic. It also looks good with the roof in place as it reaches far back along the rear deck to almost give it a coupé silhouette.

    Inside, the premium quality feel goes a step further with excellent materials and superb fit and finish. There are some pleasant swoops and shapes to the dash and centre console while the design is modern, fresh and ergonomically sound. As you’d expect from a BMW, the minor controls all work very well with a deliberate action, although it has to be said that the heating and ventilation controls take a little getting used to as they’re unlike just about any other BMW you’d care to mention with their round dials and combination of rotary knobs and push buttons.

    There’s significantly more room in this model than the E85 generation and there’s a modicum of more space for oddments, too. Overall, it’s a fine cabin, a great place in which to spend time, and perfectly in tune with the Z4’s new found touring credentials.

    Whereas the previous model was stiffly sprung and edgy when driven hard, this generation was engineered to offer a much more refined driving experience. It was a step change that sat very well with the more spacious cabin and larger dimensions, confirming BMW had GT, rather than more overtly sporting aspirations for this car. That would explain the comfortable ride, the engine pulling barely 2500rpm at motorway speeds and the clever folding hard-top roof. That roof is a two-piece unit, operated electrohydraulically in 20 seconds and while it offers great all-season use it did significantly eat a big chunk of the generous boot space with it stowed.

    As a cruiser the Z4 really was an excellent piece of kit but despite going softer with the E89, BMW still very much talked about this car in sporting terms so we need to see what happens when you tackle some challenging roads.

    Build the pace up gently. The roof is down and the sun is beaming. It might be cold outside but with the heater and bum-warmers cranked up the cockpit is nice and snug. With each up-change of the dual-clutch gearbox, the exhaust blasts out a glorious parp, howling as the revs rise. At six-tenths pace and with those factors in place, the Z4 makes for an ideal companion, a fine tool for reminding yourself of the joys of relaxed motoring.

    The Z4 has both Adaptive M Sport suspension and #Dynamic-Drive control and we opt for Sport Plus and manual mode on the #DCT ‘box for a spirited drive. On tricky roads, the steering wheel paddles are very welcome indeed, allowing you to change gear without taking your hands off the wheel. Ultimately, they help you to concentrate on lines, braking points and turn-in speeds, allowing you to carry more pace than a Hpattern manual would. The speed of the changes both up and down the ‘box also allows you to make rapid fire decisions as the corners approach ever faster, so you never find yourself out of the power band. Through the corners the steering takes on a weighting that feels pretty good, allowing you to place the car smartly, but there aren’t quite the levels of feedback we’d like from a truly sporting machine. With that long bonnet slung out in front of you the front end can feel a long way away. Quick direction changes reveal inertia to the front end, which just needs a moment to settle before committing to the next steering input. That makes for a degree of lethargy that inhibits your ultimate pace a touch, and encourages you to back off a little to avoid demanding too much of the car, and to allow you to keep things tidy.

    In full attack mode, the Z4 begins to reveal its mass, with its hefty 1580kg kerb weight causing the body to lurch into corners. There is plenty of grip from the front end though, and the rear will step aside slightly under power to help keep the nose in check through the corner exit. The seats offer plenty of torso support, but the thigh support is lacking. That means you find yourself forcing your knees against the door and centre console, which will have them aching before long.

    This engine is a familiar one, and it suits the Z4 very well. The twin-turbos give it a very useful spread of power and torque, but it’s the lowdown delivery of twist that’s most welcome. It punts the Z4 down a road very quickly indeed from low revs, but doesn’t respond to a hammering like a naturally aspirated unit would. If driven with some care, you can even squeeze close to 30mpg from it.

    Dynamically the Z4 might not be the last word in pin-sharp handling, but that’s almost forgetting that this generation of Z4 was never meant to be an out-and- out sports car. Treat it more in the manner in which #BMW intended as a sporting #Roadster with GT pretensions and you’ll get on far better with the Z4 than if you drive it everywhere with your pants on fire. It doesn’t take long to work out that the Z4 doesn’t respond to a full-on thrashing, so by working it to eight-tenths and by driving smoothly, it flows down the road at impressive pace with composure. Sure, some other cars thrive on those further two-tenths of effort and commitment, and would tackle each corner slightly faster, but they wouldn’t offer anywhere near the same levels of comfort and refinement for the rest of the time.

    If you’re happy to accept that then the Z4 is a stunning piece of kit. It looks utterly beguiling even now after it’s been with us for seven years and with a superb cockpit and build quality it’s an excellent second-hand proposition today. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to buy the range-topper – great though it is – as if you accept you’re not going to be driving it at ten-tenths the whole time one of the lower-powered machines should do just as well. The four-cylinder cars are good, but we’d probably opt for one of the normally aspirated straight-sixes. Plenty of pace and a stunning soundtrack – what’s not to like? For many buyers the original Z4 used to be too hard, too small and too snappy, the E89 is an altogether more refined Roadster, and offers a depth of talent that wasn’t equalled in its class. The only question that remains is to wonder in which direction BMW will go with the next Z4? We can’t wait to find out.

    THANKS: Vines of Gatwick for the loan of its pristine Z4
    Tel: 01293 611117

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E89 / #BMW-Z4-sDrive35iS / #BMW-Z4-sDrive35iS-E89 / #BMW-Z4-E89 / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #BMW-Z-Series / #BMW-Z-Series-E89 /

    ENGINE: Straight-six, twin-turbo, 24-valve
    CAPACITY: 2979cc
    MAX POWER: 340hp @ 5900rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 332lb ft @ 1500rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    ECONOMY: 31.4mpg
    EMISSIONS: 210g/km
    WEIGHT: 1580kg
    PRICE (OTR): £44,220 / $59,250 ( #2010 UK / USA)

    The Z4’s cockpit was excellent although heater controls and electronic handbrake took a little getting used to.

    Working it to eight-tenths and by driving smoothly, it flows down the road at impressive pace with composure.
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    E90s are go...? / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-Sedan / #BMW-3-Series-Sedan-E90 /

    I may not be the only one who thinks this, but a nice spec late E90 is a better proposition than an F30. Don’t get me wrong – the F30 is a nice car but I just think the E90 was a better one. It’s smaller and more compact-looking, has a simpler and cleaner dash and to my mind, the handling and ride balance is definitely biased towards the former with steering that is sharper and better resolved than the electric PAS on the F30 (that is nowhere near as bad as many claim). To my mind, the E90 is just the better sports saloon.

    Looking around, there are some stonking cars for sale – I mean some real honeys for not a lot of money. Stratstone Chesterfield has a 42,000-mile 330d SE manual in Space grey with anthracite half leather, electric folding mirrors, sports seats and xenons – and it’s immaculate… I’ve seen it up close. What a fabulous 3 Series for under 12 grand; all that 3.0-litre diesel grunt, 45mpg and for less than half the price of a new, no-options 318d. For the purposes of this column, we’re discounting four-cylinder stuff – six-cylinders or nothing for the full effect and it’s got to be LCI with some nice fruit.

    It’s a grand more than the 330d, but a 20,000 mile one-owner #2010 #BMW-325i-SE-Auto , silver with black leather and a wheelbarrow full of tasty options (adaptive xenons, flappy paddles….) for £12,900? Clarkson recently said that anybody who bought anything other than a 530d made a mistake. He’s not wrong but we don’t all have 40 grand. Still want the ‘new shape’? Here’s two facts: firstly, the F30 is on the chopping block with a new one out before long. Secondly, our 12 grand budget stretches as far as a 316i or one of a billion 320ds – I’ll leave that thought with you.
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    / #BMW-X3-2.0d-M-Sport-E83 / #BMW-X3-2.0d-E83 / #BMW-X3-E83 / #BMW-X3 / #BMW-E83 / #BMW / #BMW-X-Series / #BMW-X-Series-E83 /

    ( #2004 to #2010 ) THIS MONTH’S BEST BUY!

    The X3 has never proved as popular as the X5 on the used market, and new or nearly-new buyers tend to migrate towards either the X1 or the X5 – so current values of even well-spec’d M Sport X3s aren’t as high as you might expect.

    Ten grand bags a 45k-mile manual 2007 or 2008 2.0d M Sport packing front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, air conditioning, rain sensitive wipers, 60/40 split rear folding seats, front and rear foglights, tinted windows and 18-inch M Sport alloys. Average economy is pretty respectable at 39.2mpg and road tax is a not unreasonable £270 a year.
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    Feature Car Swiss made Porsche Panamera Turbo S quad chic and panache – Mansory tailored 4-door Porsche / Text: Faz / Photos: Kenny Yeoh / Model: Raveena

    It took quite a bit of jostling which piqued two internally opposing but externally one and the same sides; the two being the designers on the one side while on the other the decision makers, before it finally become a production reality. That production reality is ladies and gents the first proper four-door Porsche – the Panamera which debuted in 2009. Genuine Porsche enthusiasts slash historians (or be it for the most part they’re one and the same) would surely recall the 989 Concept – a 4 Door showpiece which was effectively an extended wheelbase 911, with all the looks of the iconic Porsche retained.

    Sure enough that 989 Concept wasn’t exactly slated for production in any case, what it was though were a number of pretty important things, as in it served the purpose of gauging the general response slash acceptance to a genuine 4 door Porsche. Of course were it to go into production the 911 nose and tail had to go. And sure enough after considerable time had elapsed following the 989 showcase, the Panamera still carry some instantly recognizable 911 styling, not the least the front end. Perhaps there’s no escaping that a Porsche is a Porsche regardless of them having four doors or two.

    Be that as it may the Panamera have indeed been well accepted and they’ve been seen clothed in some hyper bodied party dresses all over the Net. Case in point being this bling-up-and-down, left and right, in and out, over and under Porsche right here. You see fellas, the sort that takes similar styling concept as this Mansory-tailored and treated examples might not be as singular (a more politically accurate word for rare) elsewhere as they tend to be over here. Just you try Googling these two key words Panamera and Modded and an impressive number of modified Panamera in a kaleidoscope of colors, with a fair number of multi-colored kitted up Panameras in the mix, and about 99% came from the Western hemisphere, or that new and funky place in the Arabian Peninsula. You know that taaaall building, and all manner of engineering and architectural wonders.

    Should you be among those fortunate few (the numbers are increasing mind you as there are more and more newly rich out there) that can do like way more things than the rest, then Dubai or Monte Carlo, gold-plated Rolls Royce, 100 grand (at least) brake systems, modification program that costs more than the car itself, and all manner of opulence that covers every buyable objects are nothing or close to nothing, or a wee bit less than something. Now your confusion aside the Mansory-equipped Panamera with the scrumptious and ravishing Raveena taking quite a chunk of the Porsche’s own righteous bling, belongs right smack in the most snazzy of company – the sort of which the owners therein are able to afford doing and having all without so much as a blink of the eye.

    And blinking your eyes for quite a bit might just be the case right here even more so with Raveena’s red stilettos radiating her all-encompassing feminine energy alongside. We could continue debating the merits for either one of these fine beauties, but why argue or debate such inconsequential matter when you can celebrate the synergy of this symbiotic existential coexistence. Yeah well I just heard these fancy wordplay too so I’d though I try it out. Kinda put what it describes on an entirely new level does it not?

    Okie-dokie then, let’s focus on the car for now alright? As you can well see the Mansory styling package is pretty extensive covering most of the front end (carbon lipped bumper, carbon grill, vented bonnet), the sides (skirts, door sills front & back, extended wheel arches front and rear) and the back end (carbon diffuser bumper, carbon spoiler, roof spoiler and cat-back exhaust). The Mansory for Porsche Panamera program is dubbed C-One and include that one other thing – panache.

    Other styling extras are those fine #Vorsteiner VFF101 forged flow 20inch wheels, which got the ‘look’ thanks to H&R spacers, full carbon interior and that ultra cool Nardo Grey paintjob by Glasurit. – one off the most premium brand in paints. The owner feels that the 500 ponies churning out of the Panamera Turbo S’ excellent engine requires no added oomph and I’d concur that much alright and thus the only supplication to that effect is the BMC intake, plus a SuperCircuit X-Pipe & Downpipe, and the earlier mentioned cat-back exhaust from Mansory. The audio system is a high ended Burmester system – a premium brand with premium quality and feel with surreal sounds that befits the Panamera’s reputation.

    TECHNICAL DATA CAR: #2010 #Porsche-Panamera-Turbo-S / #Porsche-Panamera-Turbo-S-Mansory / #Porsche-Panamera-Turbo / #Porsche-Panamera / #Porsche / #Porsche-Panamera-970 / #Porsche-Panamera-Turbo-S-970 /

    ENGINE MODIFICATIONS: BMC Intake, #SuperCircuit X-Pipe & Downpipe, #Mansory catback exhaust
    TRANSMISSION: 7-speed doppelkupplungsgetriebe (double-clutch gearbox #PDK )
    INTERIOR: full carbon trim
    EXTERIOR: Mansory C-One: -Mansory front bumper with carbon front lip, Mansory front carbon grill, Mansory carbon vented bonnet, Mansory carbon side skirt, Mansory front wide arch, Mansory rear arch, Mansory side door sill (front & rear), Mansory rear bumper with carbon diffuser
    BRAKES: standard
    WHEELS & TIRES: - 20” #Vorsteiner-VFF101 forged flow, #H&R 30mm & 23mm spacers
    ICE: Burmester 16 way sound system

    Mansory’s designer evening wear made to measure for the 4-Door Porsche.
    All show & no go you think? This turbocharged Panamera beg to differ.
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    Top 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.
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    Forecourt 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
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    Built over 13 years, this twin-turbo, M106-engined, 580whp E24 635 is a seriously incredible machine.

    Owned for 29 years, modified over 13 years and delivering 580whp from its twin-turbo M106, this incredible E24 is pure motoring madness.

    Here at we are most definitely not into making assumptions but even we must admit that we did not expect this utterly insane twin-turbo 580whp E24 635 to be owned by a 68-yearold psychiatrist. Pretty much every number in that sentence is eyebrow-raising but all we can say is that we hope when we get to that age we’re driving something as spectacular as this.

    So, 580whp – that’s a lot, especially in a car as devoid of weight and bulk as the E24 and using twin-turbos to achieve that monstrous figure is just wholly unnecessary and utterly wonderful in equal measure. This car is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece; a car owned and built by a man who is as big a petrolhead as they come; a car built without compromise or the constraints of practicality or budget. It’s the 6 Series you’d build if you could.

    While we’re sure Rob Behrends would have loved to invite us to lie down on a couch and ask us about our mother and why we’re scared of bread, this time it was our turn to delve into the mind of the man who made this monster and see just what makes him tick… “I’ve been interested in cars for as long as I can remember,” says Rob. “I collected automobile cards and brochures as a kid, and had several large picture book compilations of European and exotic cars.”

    His personal car ownership took the form of a varied array of American muscle that you might expect a young motor-mad man growing up in the ‘60s to drive, with V8s across the board, but the first spark that would lead him on the journey to building this 6 Series was ignited when, in 1977, he saw an advert in a car magazine for the 633CSi: “It was a two-page side view of the car at speed. The caption read: ‘Cruise all day at 125 miles per hour.’ I was in love. Long story short, in October of 1986 I took possession of a one-year-old Euro-spec 635CSi in Diamond Schwartz with colourmatching centre Style 5s that I imported from Germany. It had a five-speed ‘box, M-Tech side skirts, headlight wipers and E9- style BMW emblems on the C-pillars. It was breathtaking! The drive home was magical. It was a unique and rare car in this area at the time. A phenomenal highway cruiser and no slouch with 218hp. I drove, loved and cherished it for 17 years. In 2002 [interesting number coincidence], I began to think about increasing its power as a project with my son Justin who had come of driving age.”

    Rob looked into various options – including an S88 swap – but the costs involved were prohibitive so he decided to go down the forced-induction route instead. “There was nothing off-the-shelf at the time: some companies were installing superchargers on E36s and some were casting log exhaust manifolds for turbo applications. I chose to go with a turbo for efficiency and because BMW had done so with the 745i however, in a twist of fate, the factory casting the turbo manifolds burned to the ground so I was stymied.

    “Some weeks later my son and I were roaming a local junkyard looking for BMW parts and he came upon a 745i with a cracked head. It had large iridescent red Ss sprayed all over it, indicating ‘save’ by the yard, knowing this was something not to be crushed. My dream was suddenly alive again.” Rob rescued the 745i for $500 and brought it to My Garage, which specialises in Euro cars. The precious engine was removed, along with numerous necessary supporting components, and the process of rebuilding it began. At the same time, the M30 was removed from the 635 and sold, and the six went off to Sports Car Restoration (SCR), which specialises in 2002s, for some serious custom work. “I had worked with SCR for small rust repairs and paint projects on the Six in the past. Initially I wanted bodywork, paint, sport seats, a rear valence and a lower front spoiler. I had bought an Alpina spoiler, a Fittipaldi steering wheel (at a swap meet), Sparco seats, a titanium gear knob, and mounts for the six-way power seats,” says Rob. “A key issue for the metal body fabrication was tyre size. The motor was going to be fitted with a Garret T5, so there would be a lot of power.

    I had already purchased Fikse FM-10s; 9.5” with 265s for the back, 8.5” with 235s for the front. That was as big as I could go, even with the max offset to the inside so I had to make an executive decision to extend the flares! I was then able to widen the wheels and tyres by another inch. At that point I was like a kid in a candy shop. Anything was possible. My sense of practicality and future responsibility were gone. Roll-cage? Sure! Metal fab side sills to replace the M-Techs? Why not? We needed two front arches anyway…”

    With the bodywork complete it was time for the engine to be re-inserted and tuned. After a lot of work and some delays, Rob picked up his completed car in July of 2005. He badged it ‘666 CSi’ and his numberplate reads ‘MENTAL’.

    For a while all was well but unfortunately not for long. The ceramic-coated cast log exhaust manifold cracked and the manifold that Rob purchased to replace it also cracked, taking the turbo with it, as he found out when the setup was dismantled by Steve Sarafini at Fab U This (FUT), whom the garage doing the engine work had used for exhaust work on the car. One option would have been to simply opt for a new, stronger manifold and a fresh turbo but, having come so far with this build, Rob decided to take things that little bit further.

    “At that point I engaged Sarafini in what turned out to be a three-year-plus project of completely redesigning the engine bay (and more) based largely on my making the decision to have two turbos.” The car was dropped off with FUT and work began on the massive new stage in the project in January of #2010 . “He’s a one-man-shop. He also had his bread and butter work to do. This was a complex, close tolerance project of epic proportions. It came together beautifully but slowly, over about three years, essentially redesigning the entire air flow from filters to exhaust tips and properly aligning and securing the engine, transmission and driveshaft.

    “The last stage, when the 666 came home to me, was another frontier. I had no idea what was required for it to run. I looked to my son for direction, and one of his friends, Brian Hoehne of New Directions Performance, stepped up. He picked up on my passion to forge ahead and jumped onboard.

    He knew people where he had grown up a few towns away and brought together Steve Cohen, Brian Hall, my son, and James Moran of Backfire Fab. Brian organised and scheduled the guys and researched and sourced materials and parts. Steve Cohen, with my son Justin’s help, rewired the entire car over several months. Everything original and everything new worked. I was amazed! James (Bopper as he is affectionately known), is a true custom car wizard. Of course, there were numerous hurdles and he had a huge amount of work to do. He plumbed the turbos, installed sensors for the ECU, connected the wastegates and blowoff valve, designed a cam position sensor, tightened and marked every bolt and nut, found and eliminated leaks (oil, water, air), revamped the breather tubing, installed the Ground Control coilovers, problem-solved the turbos, fuel pump, and ECU, tuned the engine, and much, much more… but it was all worth it.”

    Building the 666CSi has been a bigger project than Rob could ever have envisaged when he first start looking at options for more power 13 years ago. Few of us have ever even owned car for that long, let alone spent that sort of time building a project. In a world dominated by people chasing showready build deadlines and hopping from project car to project car, it’s pretty incredible to come across someone who has spent this long reaching his personal version of motoring nirvana.

    As for the car itself, well, this 6 Series doesn’t disappoint. From top to bottom, inside and out, on every level Rob has addressed every aspect of the car and created an incredible build. The car has undergone a lot of body work but the changes have all been subtle and don’t spoil the irresistible E24 styling. The extensive metal fabrication for the widened arches, side skirts and rear valence is blink-andyou’ll- miss-it subtle and elsewhere Rob has had the fuel filler flap, antenna hole, rear bumper spacer and second wiper hole shaved, as well as having the arch and panel seams welded and filled. An Alpina front spoiler has been grafted on up front and there’s also an unpainted carbon bonnet and custom carbon fibre spoiler intake surround, while at the back a Racing Dynamics spoiler perches on the bootlid. It all works so well, and we have to give Rob’s choice of wheels a huge thumbs-up too. We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that most of you probably haven’t come across Fikse wheels before, but this American firm has been producing some extremely stylish designs for a long time now and the forged 18” cross-spoke FM-10s that have been fitted here, their 9.5” and 10.5” widths the reason behind the arch widening, look fantastic. They have a classic design that really suits the shape of the Six – nothing too outrageous and with a healthy dose of dish.

    Inside, it’s a blend of the familiar and extremely alien: classic E24 elements sitting next to necessary additions for a car pushing out this much power. There’s no missing the three-quarter roll-cage, which is attached to the frame rails at the firewall and rear shock towers, or the extremely sexy Sparco Milano seats with six-way electric adjustment and custom Pearl beige leather trim to match the rest of the interior.

    The Fittipaldi steering wheel has been combined with a set of AC Schnitzer pedals and handbrake lever, while there’s also a weighted titanium gear knob attached to a much-needed short-shift kit. Finally, there’s a custom instrument pod that houses an array of essential fuel meter gauges.

    So, we should probably talk about the engine because it’s a little bit special. As you might expect from a project spanning 13 years, an insane amount of work has been carried out on this M106 and it looks like some kind of thermonuclear device rather than a mere six-cylinder engine. It has been blueprinted and balanced and built with Ross forged pistons, Pauter billet rods, Total Seal rings, race bearings, and a Metric Mechanic dual profile asymmetrical sport cam. The head has been milled, pocket and chamber ported and sodium-filled over-sized valves have been fitted along with new guides, titanium retainers and F1-1000lb springs, along with a steel head gasket and stud kit, with the compression ratio reduced to 7.7:1. Somewhere deep within the bowels of the bay sit the turbos: a pair of Comp CT3B ceramic ball bearing items mounted on twin ceramic-coated manifolds, mated to twin Turbosmart 40mm wastegates with custom stainless steel lines and Turbosmart 50mm blow-off valve. The fuel system needed some serious upgrading and is now running Injector Dynamics ID1300 injectors with fuel by Marren Injection Systems, ATL fuel cell, dual pumps, lines and a custom fuel rail. There’s also a Snow Performance water/methanol injection system with a custom stainless steel tank. A custom air box has been fabbed in the right frame rail and there’s aluminium intake piping to the air-to-air intercooler and radiator with custom aluminium plenum and runners.

    Look further and you’ll find a custom aluminium coolant expansion tank, a hydraulic fluid tank and a condensation tank. A custom aluminium valve cover with hidden plug wires is a nice touch, while there’s also an oil cooler with a puller fan in the left frame rail and custom aluminium water tubes at the water pump jacket. The icing on the cake is the AEM Infinity 10 ECU with an awesome array of functions including traction control, adjustable boost per gear, no-lift shift, and six dial-in tunes.

    This incredible list of engine mods all play their part in helping the car make that aforementioned figure of 580whp along with 540lb ft of torque at the rear wheels at 1.5bar on MS109 fuel with the water/meth running. All that power makes its way to the Tarmac via a Getrag S6S 420G six-speed gearbox from a Euro E34 M5, SPEC Stage 5 clutch and a pair of 295 Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

    Due to the vast amount of power and torque that the E24 now has to deal with the chassis has undergone some serious strengthening to help it cope. The diff is reinforced by a 1/4” steel, C-shaped bolted bracket welded to a 1/4” steel plate on the boot floor and bolted to cross members which go to the rear shock towers/roll-cage. There’s a custom rear strut brace, the engine and transmission are solid mounted along with most of the rear suspension, with some components mounted on polybushes, and the whole front has also been fully polybushed. Ground Control coilovers offer a gentle drop and a massive improvement in handling while the standard brakes are long gone, replaced by a custom UUC BBK with four-pot calipers front and rear and 355mm two-piece grooved discs up front with 350mm items out back. There are also thicker anti-roll bars and a line lock kit has been fitted on the front brakes, making those all important burnouts a breeze.

    The story of Rob’s 635 is one of highs and lows and while there were moments when the end seemed like it would never be in sight, 13 years on from that great decision to get some more power from his Six, here we stand with one of the most incredible builds we’ve ever come across. “It has been a long and winding road; not easy at times,” muses Rob. “Overall, I’m relieved and happy it’s together and working. A lot of time, effort, creativity, passion and money has been invested in this car. I’m still totally crazy [mental?] about it.” Looking at that numberplate, whoever said Americans don’t get irony? And as for the moniker on the back of the car, well, we’ll let Rob explain: “666CSi has a double meaning. With the 745i, and, of course, the newer models, #BMW has taken a liberty with the displacement representation related to forced induction, and 6.6-litres isn’t that outlandish, I thought.”

    This devilish 6 Series, then, is no longer that comfortable, refined GT that it was back in 1985 but we wager that Rob too is a very different man from the one that started out on this journey 30 years ago. This car, much like its owner, defies convention and expectations and while to the outside observer it might seem plain crazy to have spent so much time and money creating this car, in our world of modified cars where we’re all a little bit crazy he fits right in.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-666CSi-E24 / #M106 / #BMW-635CSi-E24 / #BMW-666Csi / #BMW-E24 /

    ENGINE 3.5-litre straight-six #M106 , solid mounted, blueprinted and balanced, stock crank, Ross forged pistons, Pauter billet rods, Total Seal rings, race bearings, compression 7.7:1, #Metric-Mechanic dual profile asymmetrical sport cam, milled, pocket and chamber ported head, sodium filled over-sized valves, new guides, titanium retainers, F1-1000lb springs, steel head gasket, stud kit, #Injector-Dynamics ID1300 injectors, twin Comp CT3B ceramic ball-bearing turbos, twin-Turbosmart 40mm wastegates with custom stainless steel lines, #Turbosmart 50mm blow-off valve, ATL fuel cell, dual pumps, lines, custom fuel rail, custom cam sensor, custom wheel speed sensors for rear axle for traction control, AEM infinity 10 ECU, custom software elements for adjustable boost per gear, no-lift shift, six dial-in tunes, valet mode and kill switch, Halon fire extinguisher, Snow Performance water/methanol injection system (including custom stainless tank), custom rewiring of engine and complete car, twin ceramic-coated exhaust manifolds, full custom stainless exhaust with twin 2.5” tailpipes, uprated radiator with twin electric radiator fans, custom air box in right frame rail, ceramic-coated intake piping to air-to- air intercooler and radiator, custom aluminium plenum and runners, custom aluminium coolant expansion, hydraulic fluid and condensation tanks, custom aluminium valve cover with hidden plug wires, oil cooler with puller fan in left frame rail, custom aluminium water tubes at water pump jacket, Optima Red Top battery. 580whp and 540lb ft rear wheel torque at 1.5bar with water/meth injection (22-23psi) and MS109.

    TRANSMISSION #Getrag-S6S-420G six-speed gearbox from Euro E34 M5 #Getrag-S6S / #Getrag , solid mounted, SPEC Stage 5 clutch, differential reinforced by a ¼” steel C-shaped bolted bracket welded to a ¼” steel plate on the boot floor and bolted to crossmembers which go to the rear shock towers/roll-cage, custom stainless rear strut brace.

    CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Fikse-FM-10 wheels with 265/35ZR18 (front) and 295/35ZR18 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, Ground Control coilovers, front suspension fully polybushed, rear suspension solid mounted and polybushed, custom aluminium front strut brace, custom UUC #BBK comprising four-pot calipers with 355mm two-piece grooved discs (front) and four-pot calipers with 350mm grooved disc (rear), 22mm anti-roll bars, line lock on front brakes.

    EXTERIOR Custom metal fabrication by Sports Car Restoration including flared arches, side sills and rear valance with exhaust scallops, shaved fuel filler door, antenna hole, rear bumper spacer, second wiper hole, welded/filled arch and panel seams, #Alpina (lower) front spoiler, PIAA three-way running lights, custom carbon fibre bonnet and spoiler intake surround, Racing Dynamics rear wing.

    INTERIOR Custom instrument pod, fuel gauges, short-shift kit, titanium (weighted) gear knob, #AC-Schnitzer pedals and handbrake lever, six-way power Sparco Milano seats custom covered in Pearl beige, Fittipaldi steering wheel, new tool kit, three-quarter roll-cage attached to the frame rails at firewall and rear shock towers, Escort Passport Max radar detector, Directed SmartStart System.

    THANKS My son Justin, My Garage, Sports Car Restoration, Fab U This, Backfire Fab, New Directions Performance, and European Performance Labs.
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    Iconic #1972 Batmobile at auction / #BMW-E9 / #BMW-3.0-CSL / #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 / #BMW-3.0-CSi-Batmobile-CSL-FIA-Gp4-Race-Car / #BMW


    Spotted up for grabs at H&H’s Imperial War Museum Duxford sale last month, this genuine Batmobile CSL racecar, which has been campaigned for 30 years, was earmarked for a new racing owner.

    The brochure information for Lot 77 was a mammoth read in itself. This #Batmobile was constructed in 1981 around a 3.0 CSi shell by BMW racing guru Chris Randall of Zaprace for his own use. For a while it passed into the hands of Tim Busby who, among other things, switched it from right to left-hand drive and campaigned it in the iconic Luigi racing colours. Following Busby's death, Randall bought the car back and re-engineered It before selling the BMW to Nick Whale.

    Whale is known to have invested a lot of money in the car with #Techspeed-Motorsport , which equipped it with all the correct brake and suspension components, plus air jacks, centre lock wheels and a reliable Lester Owen engine that produced some 350bhp running on #Kugelfischer fuel injection. He and Ian Guest successfully raced the BMW throughout Europe for 10 years, running it in both Patrick Peter’s Endurance Series and the Masters championship for Post-Historic Touring Cars. They also finished first in Plateau B of the 2006 Le Mans Classic.

    In #2010 the car was acquired by the vendor who ran it last year in the Masters and Legends Series, paired with Chris Conoley of #MASS-Racing . They achieved fourth overall and first in class in the Masters at Donington, third overall and first in class in the Legends at Donington, fifth overall and class winners at Legends at Portimao and overall winners in the JD Classics Challenge.

    This Batmobile made £134,400 at auction and was sold complete with #FIA HTP papers and numerous spares and is eligible for the #2012 #Le-Mans Classic as well as Legends, Masters and Youngtimers series. What a rare opportunity to buy such an iconic race car! We can only think that the new owner is still rubbing his/her hands with glee...

    Sold For £134,400
    Reg Number: Un-Reg
    Chassis Number: 2331066
    Engine Number: 7427831
    Cc: 3498
    Body Colour: White
    Trim Colour: Black
    MOT ExpiryDate: None
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    Buying a #Audi-TT-RS-Roadster . Andrew Chapple takes you through the process. Photos: Neil Birkitt. #Audi-TT-8J

    ‘ It was interesting to browse the handful for sale and compare what I wanted with what was out there...’

    In 2002 a hobby tinkering with cars became a full-time job for me, buying and selling quality Volkswagen Group cars. Since then I’ve never been short of the keys to something interesting from the #VW-Group , but I still like to have a car I can call my own.

    My first Audi was a 2001 S3, heading up a series of fast S and RS cars including a 2.7T S4, and a number of RS 4 Avants. In 2014, fed up with expensive to fix, relatively old cars, I bought my first new car, a Mk 7 Golf R which was a spectacular hot hatch, but I never bonded with it, due its relatively uninspiring 4-cylinder engine.

    So, pretty quickly I started looking for something with more of a ‘sense of occasion’. The all-new Porsche Boxster introduced in 2012 was top of the list, but inflated summer prices told me to be patient and resume the search in the autumn. I did, but I could never find the perfect combination of price, colour, mileage and specification, and there was barely any seasonal dip in prices due to relatively short supply.

    The Audi TT has always been seen as a Boxster rival, but I’d never considered one for myself until late 2014 when I bought a 2008 TTS Coupé to sell on. This was the first TT I’d driven that had the level of performance I required, but the 4-cylinder engine was a little soulless. Anyway, I wanted a convertible so I decided to go one better and look for a TT RS Roadster.

    Before turning to the classifieds I read all the road-test reports and, as suspected, the RS’s 5-cylinder engine was the recipient of as many bouquets as the chassis dynamics received brickbats. I’ve been able to compare the road-test verdicts of a lot of cars with my own, and I consistently perceived a distinct disparity between what many road-testers see as a high priority and what’s important to me in the real world. For example, a Boxster’s agility on track means a lot less to me than the security a TT quattro offers when driving on the road in poor weather conditions. Thankfully, the award-winning 5-cylinder engine is at least a match for the 3.4 flatsix in the Boxster S, both in performance and character, and in the real world the tremendous turbocharged torque trounces the relatively gutless Porker.

    So, the search was on. Having never bought or sold a TT RS before, it was interesting to browse the handful for sale and compare what I wanted with what was out there. Satellite navigation was a must for me, and most seemed to have it, but less common were cruise control and rear parking sensors, although both can be retro-fitted relatively easily, unlike heated seats which – thankfully – were standard, a common RS theme.

    I’ve never thought the standard 18-inch wheels were worthy of the RS model and even the appeal of better ride quality didn’t help their cause but I didn’t rule them out, because they could be upgraded at a later date.

    Bucket seats, Magnetic ride, 19-inch Rotor alloys and sports exhaust would all be nice but, with so few examples for sale, to make them essential would limit the choice of cars massively, as would specifying a particular colour, although Daytona grey would be top of the list.

    I quickly focused on two cars advertised on Autotrader, the first a low-mileage #2010 car in Suzuka grey with satnav, acoustic rear parking sensors, Bose sound system and Bluetooth. The seller, an Aston Martin main dealer, had erroneously listed it as having cruise control but, judging by the black exhaust tips, had missed the sports exhaust. Audi UK now provide a ‘spec check’ freephone hotline on 0800 542 3037 and a quick call confirmed the absence of cruise control but also the presence of the rare and desirable sports exhaust option. It was enough to make up for the modest 18-inch wheels which, with a bit of a discount off the asking price, I could afford to replace. As it was a contender, I performed an HPI check which stated there had been just two owners, the first for around three months which, along with the high specification, suggested it had started life as a dealership demonstrator. The check also revealed that the car was subject to a finance agreement known as ‘unit stocking’ where a dealership uses finance to fund the cars on their forecourt.

    This is routine and of little relevance, apart from the fact that the finance term was coming to an end, so the dealership should have been keen to move the car on, or so I thought. On speaking to a salesperson I was told in no uncertain terms that the price had already been reduced significantly and wouldn’t be lowered any further, so I made my apologies and moved on to the next car.

    Production of the #Audi-TT-RS-8J ended in early 2014, so finding an ex-demo ‘64’ reg at Southend Audi that had hit the road in October 2014 was quite a surprise, especially at £10,000 less than list price! The specification was pretty basic, however, with just satnav fitted over standard, and with the price stretching my budget I couldn’t justify the expense for a car that only had its newness going for it, something that time would soon erode.

    With little else in the classifieds, I decided to have a look at the British Car Auctions (BCA) website to see what was listed amongst the main dealer part-exchanges. Over the last 10 years it has become the norm for main dealers to dispose of their trade-ins at auction to ensure that a fair price is yielded on the open market, rather than being sold directly to motor traders, a process liable to corruption.

    I did have a look earlier in the week and saw nothing of interest – no surprise, as the TT RS is a relatively rare car, and at nine days before Christmas there wasn’t a huge amount of activity in the used car market.

    So, imagine my surprise when I saw a freshly-listed 2010 TT RS Roadster with 16,500 miles due to be auctioned at BCA’s Nottingham site two days later! The car was listed simply as ‘Grey’ with no images to confirm whether it was Suzuka or Daytona. The vendor was Mercedes Retail Group, a good sign as their main dealers send anything non-Mercedes to auction, even if they meet their approved used car standards, in order to keep their forecourts unsullied by rival brands – others cherrypick the best trade-ins for themselves, auctioning only sub-standard cars.

    Another call to the Audi Spec Check line revealed some even better news – it was indeed Daytona grey, with around £10,000 worth of options which ticked all my boxes and more. They also confirmed the service history which consisted of just the one visit when the car was two years old, meaning that the second one was slightly overdue if only on time, not mileage. HPI’s data again suggested the car was an ex-main dealer demonstrator, with its second (of two) owners taking possession when just a few months old.

    Purely by coincidence, I’d penciled in a visit to BCA’s Nottingham site on the following day, and so I assumed it would be a simple matter to at least have a walk around the car somewhere on their site, and I could then bid for it online a day later. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as simple as that as the car was being valeted and was tucked away in a restricted area, so the only option was to wait around for that day’s sale to end when the cars for the next day’s sale would be assembled, something which involved a few hours of loitering but was well worth the effort.

    While there are many risks when buying from auction, one benefit is that you can take as long as you like to look around the bodywork which is usually presented clean and dry, something not always possible even when buying from a dealership. Risk is also reduced by the mechanical and condition reports which most of BCA’s cars have, to encourage online sales, but you simply can’t beat seeing a car in the metal, especially when it’s an RS. For example while tyre tread depths are listed on the mechanical report, tyre brand is not – so you’d never know if the car had four different makes of tyre fitted, bad on any car but a definite no-no on a quattro! Another example is brake discs, which on an RS are notoriously expensive and yet the mechanical report doesn’t even mention them – buy a car with worn front and rear brakes and you can be looking at a bill in excess of £2,000 on some models, enough to make you wish you’d gone for an Audi Approved used car.

    But that would be too easy and anyway there was nothing in the dealer network which fitted the bill so it was just as well that, from what I could see, this example appeared to be at least as good as anything an Audi Centre would deem fit for stock. It had four good Michelin tyres (three of which were the originals), barely worn brakes, blemish-free bodywork and even the tricky to refurbish Rotor wheels were perfect. Another good sign was that the number plates were still the originals fitted by the supplying dealer, Birmingham Audi, where my enquiries confirmed that the car had indeed started life as a demonstrator.

    There would still be a significant amount of risk involved in buying a car I hadn’t even heard running, let alone test driven, but my professional verdict was that it would be hard to find a better example, especially one with this perfect combination of extras; all I needed to do was decide how much it was worth to me, before the next morning, and then get online and bid.

    Over the last few years online bidding at car auctions has become widespread, but the fact of the matter is that the cars are rarely cheap enough to justify the risks involved without a physical inspection, as only around half the information needed to fully assess a car is supplied and even this is quite often less than accurate. On this occasion, however, having already performed the legwork, modern technology would save me a long and potentially fruitless trip back to Nottingham.

    With the popularity of online auction sites, the process of bidding will be familiar to most people, the difference with BCA’s Live Online website is that it is possible to receive audio and video feed from the auction hall, making it feel as if you are physically there. It is all too easy, though, to miss the slot when your car is receiving bids, so make a note of the start time of the batch of cars yours is in, and its lot number. By allowing around a minute for each preceding car, you can get a reasonably accurate idea of when yours will be coming through.

    I wasn’t buying this car to sell on, so I could be a little more bullish with my bidding than usual but there was no point paying more than I could buy from a dealer or even a private seller, so I used the TT RS at Aston Martin as my basis for pricing, figuring that if I could get this far superior example for a similar price I’d have done well. As it happened, bidding was buoyant and I had to go beyond this figure to secure the car, something I justified on the basis that upgrading the Aston Martin car to my desired spec would cost significantly more. Also, some extras such as Magnetic ride would be impossible to retro-fit, while others such as bucket seats and sports exhaust would be tricky to find on the used market, and then there was the less appealing colour. As a result, I was happy that I’d secured a well-equipped example in absolutely tip-top condition for around £2,500 less than a dealer would be selling it for. All I needed to do now was drive it!

    Even after 13 years of buying cars for a living, I still get excited about driving a model I’ve never driven before but, when buying from auction, nervousness tends to be the dominant emotion, usually in direct proportion to the amount of money at stake. So, after a fitful night’s sleep I found myself at BCA Nottingham again where, after a swipe of my debit card, I finally got my hands on the keys.

    Opening the door for the first time, I was greeted by the sweet smell of leather and those gorgeous bucket seats that looked as good as new. I’d never driven an RS 3 or TT RS before so I was really curious to hear if the 5-cylinder engine could challenge a six for character, and as soon as I turned the key I had my answer: oh yes! The fast idle which the engine performs when cold was surprisingly loud and, once it settled down, selecting Sport mode produced an audible click from the flap in the sports exhaust and a mischievous burble from the tailpipes which turned into a fruity rasp with a blip of the throttle – perfect!

    Once on the road, my attentions turned to the ride quality as I wasn’t sure whether Magnetic ride would be sufficiently capable to make up for the 19-inch wheels but I need not have worried. Adaptive suspension like Magnetic ride is often incorrectly perceived to be the same as the standard ‘passive’ set-up unless it’s switched into one of its other modes, but Magnetic ride is a bit cleverer than that as the suspension damping is continuously adjusted to the current driving situation, whether in normal or sport mode.

    One way in which the Boxster trounces the TT, and most other sports car rivals, is in the area of luggage capacity by having both front and rear boots. The Series 1 TT Roadster was pretty dreadful in this respect, especially quattro models with their raised boot floor, but the Series 2 is ‘loads’ better with an increase from 180 litres (Series 1 quattro) to 250 litres, the same for all Series 2 roadsters whether front-wheel drive or quattro. This 39 per cent boost makes the later car a far more suitable companion for touring holidays, and on returning home I was able to test this by easily slotting in a moderately-sized suitcase, leaving space for a fair bit more, something I needed to take into consideration with a European road trip planned for the summer.

    One small fly in the ointment was a very strong smell of petrol on parking in my garage for the first time. Then I noticed that my house had filled with petrol fumes, meaning something was very definitely amiss! Armed with a torch and a keen sense of smell, I quickly spotted a leak from a sensor screwed into the high-pressure fuel pump which simply needed tightening as it was leaking fuel directly onto the exhaust manifold – my letter warning other 2.5 TFSI owners of this potentially catastrophic flaw was published in the February 2015 issue of Audi Driver.

    As mentioned earlier, a service was due so I visited South Hereford Audi where master technician Damian Davies did an excellent job and afterwards joined me for a passenger ride during which that special engine won him over also.

    The 2.5 TFSI has gained quite a reputation for its tuning potential and for just £650 an MRC Tuning Stage 1 re-map will increase the power from 340 PS to around 400-415 PS, with torque following suit, turning what many still disparagingly call a hairdresser’s car into a true giant-killer – RS 4 owners beware! MRC can also program the exhaust flap to stay open all the time in sport mode, rather than being dependent on engine speed or load, a process which can prove a little frustrating especially with the sports exhaust option.

    So should I have pushed for the Porsche or does quattro GmbH’s influence turn the TT into a true rival for Stuttgart’s finest? It’s early days yet, but so far the signs are very good indeed. I could have easily bought a similar age/mileage Boxster S, but the last generation ‘987’ Boxster just doesn’t do it for me, partly because of its ‘push me pull me’ styling, but also because, while heavily updated cosmetically, its chassis has barely changed since the 1997 original. With the #Audi TT RS, I have a more advanced car that is a pleasure to extract from my garage even in the depth of winter, when it can still apply most of its power with ease, and with an exhaust note that never fails to make me smile. Having already lost half of its original value, I should be able to keep on smiling as the depreciation, which is one of the biggest costs of motoring, should now be fairly gentle, and while Audi parts and service are never cheap, they are less likely to induce a grimace than those from Porsche. Roll on summer!

    Andrew is proprietor of Volkswizard, based in Birmingham.

    ‘It’s early days yet, but so far the signs are very good...’

    The #Audi-TT-RS
    Options (Basic car £44,885)
    • Optional colour (Daytona grey)............... £525
    • Front bucket seats in Fine Nappa leather.............................................................£1,960
    • 19-inch Rotor alloy wheels in Titanium....................................................£1,360
    • Satellite Navigation system – DVD-based and Audi Music Interface (AMI)................ £515
    • Sports exhaust................................................ £890
    • Top-speed restriction raised to 174 mph....................................................£1,360
    • Bose surround sound system .................. £485
    • Acoustic parking system (rear only)....... £305
    • Mobile telephone preparation, Low, with Bluetooth and voice control ..................... £145
    • Cruise control ................................................. £225
    • High beam assist ........................................... £125
    • Interior light package.................................. £125
    • Matt aluminium Silver styling package... £680
    • Magnetic ride.................................................. £970
    • Tyre pressure loss indicator..........................£75
    • Audi hill-hold assist .........................................£90
    Total of £9,835 worth of options
    Price of car £54,720 in total

    ‘ Production of the TT RS ended in early 2014 so it is a relatively rare car...’

    ‘ There would still be a significant amount of risk involved in buying a car I hadn’t even heard running, let alone driven...’

    ‘ I saw a freshly-listed 2010 TT RS Roadster with 16,500 miles due to be auctioned two days later!’
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