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    CAR: #Ferrari-328GTS-Turbo / #Ferrari-328GTS / #Ferrari-328 / #Ferrari-328-Turbo / #Ferrari-GTS-Turbo / #1988-Ferrari-GTS-Turbo / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V8

    Year of manufacture #1988
    Recorded mileage 2878km
    Asking price £125,000
    Vendor Cotswold Collectors Cars, near Bibury, Glos; tel: 01242 821600;


    Price not listed in UK
    Max power 254bhp
    Max torque 246lb ft
    0-60mph 6.2 secs
    Top speed 157mph
    Mpg 16.3

    Rather more powerful than the 210bhp 208 turbo models that it replaced, and featuring all of the same styling changes as the new 3.2-litre 328 launched in 1986, this tax-break special is the final development of the transverse #V8-engined two-seat Ferrari series. One of 828 made between 1986 and 1989, it was first owned by a member of the Brunei royal family but clearly hardly used. The most recent keeper is selling, having decided that he doesn’t want to add to the tiny mileage. The car recently went to marque specialist Bob Houghton in Northleach for £3500 of remedial and recommissioning work, including new front dampers.

    It’s crisp and unscuffed, the Azzurro metallic paint deep and shiny, and the glassfibre roof panel protected in its bag. The blue leather seats are unworn, plus the dash top is perfect. Its tyres are Goodyear Eagles with full tread, but they’re not date-stamped so are probably the originals.

    The motor is clean, with a new oil pipe to the turbo, presumably fitted during the latest cambelt service in 2016, which also involved freeing off the clutch because the car had been standing for so long. The jack is still in its bag in the boot, and there’s a cover, along with the orange front marker light lenses that had to be changed for its MoT following import to the UK.

    We were prepared to be underwhelmed by how the car drives, but it’s actually really good, the 1991cc intercooled turbo version of the four-cam #V8 making it about as fast as a 328 but delivered in a more exciting way, the rush of torque at 4000rpm – with correct max boost of 0.6bar – feeling more immediate, after which it behaves similarly to the larger-engined car. The chassis is taut, the brakes work well and second gear is available more or less from the start. Warm oil pressure is 6bar at 3000rpm and above, temperature steady at 80ºC. The aircon blows cold, no surprise because the pump looks new, and both electric windows and mirrors work.

    The GTS Turbo will be sold with the factory warranty card and service book, plus the guarantee for the Tuff-Kote Dinol rust treatment done in 2015, and an MoT until January. It’s not yet British-registered, though the NOVA paperwork has been done, so it easily can be if it stays in the UK.


    EXTERIOR Excellent paintwork, likewise the plastic and rubber trim
    INTERIOR Superb; virtually unmarked
    MECHANICALS Almost new and recommissioned, but needs a fresh set of tyres

    VALUE ★★★★★✩✩✩✩✩
    For Ultra-low mileage…
    Against …a double-edged sword


    Yes, if you fancy an interesting alternative to a 328: an immaculate one of those would cost about the same or perhaps a little more.
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    Not seen in these pages for over four years, John Barker’s Mk1 Capri and its 5.3 litres of V8 are back!
    Car: #Ford-Capri-V8 / #Ford-Capri-Mk1 / #Ford-Capri / #Ford / #V8 / #Ford-Capri-V8-Mk1 / #Ford-Capri-5.3


    Let’s get the most frequently asked question out of the way up front: ‘Is it finished?’

    Well, that depends on what you mean by ‘finished’. This month I fitted the final component, the driver’s door card. There wasn’t one with the car when I bought it back in 2001, when it was a partially disassembled 1600GT in Modena Green (that’s a colour, not a place) with a black vinyl roof, so I’ve been looking for one for a long time.

    Happily, there’s now a company, Aldridge Trimming, making new door cards for all sorts of cars, including early Capris. But that door card nearly didn’t get fitted…

    For a long time, there were three #V8-engined Capris in Oundle (I know!), but now there are only two. Qprep, which does a great job of looking after mine, had another booked in for a bit of work. Late one afternoon at the back end of last year, it arrived and was driven into the workshop, at which point, unfortunately, an under-bonnet fire broke out. It caught quickly, extinguishers were ineffective, and the bonnet was too hot to push the car out. Sadly, it burned out, devastating the workshop.

    I’m glad to say that despite this massive setback, Qprep has resumed business. A great deal of stock had to be skipped and the whole place has been completely refurbished and looks better than ever. Amazingly, the Capri door card was just a couple of yards from the fire, in its cardboard packaging, yet was untouched. It’s now been fitted, along with the replica Springalex RS steering wheel I’d promised myself, so from an inventory perspective the car is finished.

    It is, however, a project car, so there is some stuff I’d still like to do, and that includes driving it a bit, which I’ve been rubbish at. I am ashamed to say that it hasn’t exactly ‘racked up’ the miles since the last report. In fact, if my nearest MOT station were 50 miles away rather than just around the corner, it would have accrued more miles.

    My last running report, way back in issue 179, showed the Capri had covered 1847 miles. The odometer now reads like the date it will be ‘finished’ – 2039. The longest trips have been to Blyton Park for the launch day of the circuit and, last year, to Brands Hatch, where my mate Andy Noble runs his business, Sevens and Classics.

    Those of you with long memories will recall that in that last running report, in February 2013, Proflex had just delivered replacement suspension damper struts. From the outset, the Capri was intended to be a fast-road/trackday car, so quite why the lads that built it asked Proflex to supply forestspec dampers is beyond me. The combination of 15-inch wheels (not the usual 13s that rally Escorts wear) and a lowered ride height meant that the dampers were not operating in the right portion of their travel. So the damper struts were returned to Proflex to be reworked and, as technology has moved on since these parts were originally supplied in 2003, the dampers were re-specced, recommissioned and returned with three-way adjustment, rather than two-way. They also came back with the requested adjustable strut tops, giving more geometry options.
    The suggested road setup from Proflex has proved very good, with lots more low-speed compliance, more effectively controlled travel and a balance that’s loading the rear more, for traction, which is in short supply with 320lb ft available. There’s a clip on evo’s Instagram account, @officialevomagazine, taken at some bends local to me on a nippy morning.

    The Capri had a competition debut, too. Sort of. In December 2015 it was the course-opening car for the second Oundle Classic Sprint. Sadly, by lunchtime it had got a bit hot and bothered with all the hanging around and refused to go again. So it went back to Qprep, who solved the mystery by changing all the plugs and finding that there was no gap on the hardest one to get to, and so the last plug, obviously!

    I’m pleased to report that the 5.3-litre Rover V8 has since felt reinvigorated – stronger, smoother and more responsive than it had for a while. It’s still only managing 20mpg at best, but it does turn that petrol into delicious heaps of torque and lashings of woofly noise.

    ‘It is a project car, so there is some stuff I’d still like to do, and that includes driving it a bit’

    Far left: monster V8 is good for 320lb ft of torque. Left: Springalex RS steering wheel looks the part in the Capri’s spartan cabin. Right: the final touch: fitting the door card at Qprep

    Date acquired October 2001
    Total mileage 2039
    Mileage this month 122
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month around 15mpg
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    Full-fat 4x4: E53 X5 4.8iS Bringing out the BIG GUNS. Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: Steve Hall.

    When BMW introduced the X5 it raised some eyebrows and so did the V8 versions that followed, including the daddy of them all: the 4.8iS.

    Bringing Out The Big Guns It’s easy to forget that BMW used to make massive #V8-engined X5s like the 4.8iS.

    The launch of the first X5 seems like a long time ago now, and for good reason as it was 15 years ago, back in 1999, that BMW first ventured into the relatively new SUV market. Only it called the X5 (and every subsequent X model since) a Sports Activity Vehicle, or SAV instead.

    The new model was met with scepticism at the time as there was some speculation over how well this new wave of larger four-wheel drive cars actually drove on a day-to-day basis. Despite the pumped-up ride height the majority of these cars spent their time on the road rather than off it but that’s what set the X5 apart. Instead of being developed primarily as an off-road vehicle that was then adapted to drive like a car, BMW turned that theory on its head and developed a platform that shared its suspension design closely with a road car. This ensured its roadholding capabilities were preset, so it was then a matter of adapting it to work as a four-wheel drive afterwards. The upside was that on the road it felt and handled like a larger, high-riding car. The down side was its off-road ability, particularly with its car-like large wheels and low profile tyres, wasn’t exactly exceptional but BMW gambled that in this market it wouldn’t have to be.

    The decision paid off. The X5 soon became a surefire hit and the fact it wasn’t much good at climbing mountains didn’t really matter. People understood the concept and the car-like feel of the SAV appealed to the masses. It didn’t take long until a demand for a more powerful version to suit the image and make best use of the developed chassis arose either.

    Initially, the range of engines was limited but a petrol V8 was always in the line-up to satisfy those wanting a certain amount of grunt in their new SAV. At first this was provided by the 4.4i model, producing a wholesome 286hp but after good sales and feedback BMW realised there might be a market for a hotter version. So for those yearning for more power a 4.6iS model entered production in 2001 to run alongside the 4.4i. Powered by the M62 4.6-litre V8 producing 347hp it pushed the X5 into a different realm, as despite its size and 2.2-tonne weight it offered performance that would give many of the big BMWs a scare with its 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds.

    However, by 2004 the X5 was due a face-lift and the M62 engine was reaching the end of its life span, so the new and improved N62 V8 replaced it. This unit featured double Vanos and came in a range of sizes but 4.6-litres to suit the previous X5 model was not one of them. Instead, there was now a larger 4799cc version and so the 4.8iS was born to replace it. The new range-topper produced 360hp at a relatively rev-happy 6200rpm and with it came a matching 369lb ft of torque at a much lower 3600rpm. The big V8 only came connected to the six-speed automatic Steptronic gearbox but performance was frankly ludicrous for the size and weight of the car. From rest, 62mph was achieved in just 6.1 seconds whilst some independent tests claimed to have breached the sub-6 second threshold. It kept on going until it ran out of gearing and aerodynamics at its 153mph top speed.

    To help distribute all that power to the floor, all of the new face-lifted X5 models also featured xDrive as standard, which meant the clever four-wheel drive system could vary power between the front and back when needed. The 4.8iS also received self-levelling air suspension with sports settings both front and rear that featured manual ride height adjustment, too.

    All that performance and technology came at a price and on launch the new replacement iS cost £58,025, nearly £10,000 more than a 4.4i Sport and some £22,575 more than an entry level 3.0i SE. For your money you did get a level of luxury unrivalled by the lower models that still holds its own today. Inside the usual Dakota leather interior fitted to other X5s was exclusively upgraded to soft Nappa leather and the headlining was finished in anthracite. The front seats were heated and offered electric adjustment with memory functions as standard. All X5 models came with gadgets galore with everything from cruise control and PDC to rain sensors and tyre puncture warning, but the 4.8iS also featured a CD changer to go with the advanced ten-speaker stereo. The standard safety equipment was topped with rear side airbags to match the existing front, side and head airbags for the driver and passenger. To match the beefy performance there were also beefy looks and the standard wheels were upgraded to giant 20-inch items carried over from the 4.6iS that measured 9.5- and 10.5-inches wide, front and back. They were fitted with supercar-wide 315/35/20 tyres at the rear and 275/40/20 at the front. To top it off, xenon headlights, chrome exhaust tailpipes and extended wheel arches were fitted.

    Despite fuel consumption and running costs not being exactly strong points for the model thanks to a claimed 20.9mpg combined figure, the 4.8iS actually sold pretty well, although ever improving diesel technology would mark the end for the big petrol engines. There are still a few around but they aren’t exactly common; fortunately reader Jag has supplied us with the 4.8iS seen here. He hasn’t had the car long and actually bought it on a bit of whim after it caught his eye for sale on the internet, which makes him a brave man! Knowing that the 4.8iS is a rare beast finished in this fetching shade of Estoril blue, Jag bought it and has since been using it as a fun family car for the weekends. He chose well as this particular iS would have been an expensive purchase when it was first ordered back in 2005 as it’s been fitted with a range of options including an Electric Panorama Glass Sunroof at £1095, Aluminium Running Boards at £215 and Professional sat nav with TV capability at £2440, among others. It’s a fine example to photograph and fine example to test-drive, which Jag has graciously let us do.

    The first thing you notice when climbing up into the capacious cabin is that you literally have to climb into the car, rather than settle yourself into it. At 1.8 meters tall the X5 is big but whilst it looks large on the outside once you’re behind the wheel it feels positively gargantuan. Even the driving position itself seems raised, more so than later X5 models as the seats themselves don’t go quite as low to the floor.

    It’s easy to adapt to, though, and it does give a great, open view of the road. The height of the pedals takes a little longer to get used to as they sit a little too high, producing a slightly strange angle for my long legs to position. But otherwise the interior is a nice place to be and the panoramic sunroof really makes it feel light and airy through the vast cabin space. The dashboard, instruments and switchgear all have a solid, late 1990s feel of BMW build quality, which is a good thing.

    Out on the road the immediately surprising thing is how well the X5 hides its vast mass. You can feel the weight of the car shift around as you accelerate and brake but it doesn’t necessarily feel like two tonnes of metal. That’s largely down to the engine, as the big V8 makes light work of pulling away with haste and once on the move it’s perfectly content to travel with complete effortlessness. A relaxed right foot sees the automatic shifting gears at 2000rpm and at these lowly speeds the engine seems super silky smooth, allowing a consistent gliding sensation. The gearbox’s changes are a little less seamless but not enough to disrupt the feel and even with those big wheels and skinny tyres the ride seems pleasant and although it’s firm it’s far from harsh.

    There’s still plenty of grunt low down and the power seems almost lazy in its delivery at first but on the more open sections of road the X5 transforms. Once you engage some more throttle and force the gearbox to kickdown a gear or two it’s then that the V8 picks up with a sudden sense of urgency. Whilst the power maintains an effortless wave of momentum the speedo quickly climbs and even at higher speed it reacts with the same smooth punch of torque, making light work of just about any road once on the move. The accompanying soundtrack it makes is glorious, too, as the deep burble it emits at low revs awakens to become a satisfying growl higher up. It sounds just like a big V8 should and it inevitably brings a smile to your face every time the revs build.

    However, on the more flowing A- and B-roads the lack of immediate steering response is notable and it almost feels a little clumsy. In tighter turns it requires the steering wheel to be fed through your hands as it hasn’t got the lock to turn without taking your hands off the wheel, something I haven’t experienced on a car in awhile. Also, when pushing on in the corners it seems to show a tendency to want to understeer, though the active xDrive system works away to ensure it remains composed. You do find yourself sliding around the armchair-style seats a little though. Whilst it’s certainly not the kind of car to be taken on regular track day outings it’s fair to say the 4.8iS is a lot of fun in the way a big power engine always is.

    It’s a very big and heavy car but it hides its bulk well thanks to that engine as a dab of throttle makes it come alive and with an associated engine note to put virtually every current BMW to shame. It’s clearly more suited as a heavyweight cruiser, although Jag tells us that 20mpg is about as much as it will do on a run. But then it’s not the kind of car you buy for the economy and that goes with the territory with an iS.

    It’s a shame BMW doesn’t do a petrol engine V8 equivalent in the current X5 line-up as although the big diesels offer similar performance, they don’t quite have that same aggressive feel or, of course, sound. The big gun X5 was definitely one of a kind…

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E53 / #BMW-X5 / #BMW-X5-E53 / #BMW-X5-4.8iS / #BMW-X5-4.8iS-E53 / #BMW / #V8 / #BMW-V8 / #N62B48 / #N62 / #BMW-N62 /

    ENGINE: 32-valve, V8
    CAPACITY: 4799cc
    MAX POWER: 360hp
    MAX TORQUE: 369lb ft
    TOP SPEED: 153mph
    0-62MPH: 6.1 seconds
    ECONOMY: 20.9mpg

    Out on the road the surprising thing is how well the X5 hides its vast mass
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