Tag Archives: german cars

2002 BMW M5 Dinan Edition Review

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When I was little, I got my first car game to play on the computer, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. Remember the Need For Speed series? How I miss the days of NFS Underground, Hot Pursuit, etc. In the Hot Pursuit game, one of the cars featured was an E39 M5 (BMW cars are classified by their generations so the 1996-2003 5 Series is the E39), and I became enamored with its power (in the game) and its styling. I never have and probably never will own a brand new luxury sedan, but if I had to go used, the only luxury sedans I would consider buying is the first generation Infiniti M or an E39 5 Series with a manual transmission. The first M vehicle for the 5 Series was the 1980 M535i although it was not badged as an actual M brand vehicle, but it came with performance and visual upgrades. The first actual M5 came with the second 5 Series generation (E28 1981-1988) in 1985-1988 which was only available with a manual transmission and sold in “Jet Black” color only. The next 5 Series generation (E34) brought along another M5 version that was sold from 1989-1995. The E28 and E34 were the last M5 models to be hand built before the E39 arrived. When the E39 M5 debuted in 1998, it took the world by storm. People raved about its 394 horsepower V8 engine, its butch looks, and its overall image as M’s flagship sports sedan. This M5 reviewed here is a Dinan edition; Dinan is a company that produces both mechanical and cosmetic aftermarket products for BMW vehicles.  They also have a long standing relationship with BMW as Dinan modified BMWs are able to retain their factory warranties. Even though this is not the regular M5, I could not resist the opportunity to be able to review one of my favorite cars in the entire world. How desperate was I to review an E39 M5? So desperate that I saw this car in a parking lot and left a note on the windshield asking the owner if I can review the car. Fortunately the owner obliged.  Continue reading

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1990 BMW M3 Review

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When I found out I would get the opportunity to review the first ever M3 ever produced, I was giddy with happiness and anxiety. Just to clarify how much of a coup this is, only 4,996 of these were sold in North America during its six year run. BMW’s M (called Motorsport GmbH then) was created in 1975 to aid BMW’s presence in motor racing in the 1960s-1970s. However, they started to add mechanical and cosmetic upgrades to BMW’s existing lineup to sell to the market. The first M-branded car launched was the 1979 M1, but BMW’s M division’s prominence did not emerge until they made an M version of the 5-series sedan, M535i, in 1979. The first actual separate M model debuted in 1985 for the M5, a version of the 5-Series. A M version of the E30 3-Series followed (BMW vehicles are classified by chassis numbers, so this generation is the E30) in 1986. Initially, the M3 was built to fulfill motor racing requirements. The World Touring Car Championship requires that the car be commercially produced in order for it to compete which is why the M3 was limited to just 5,000 units. However, the M3’s success was unprecedented, so production was expanded to almost 18,000 worldwide (including both convertible and coupe models). With the first M3 and M5, BMW and its M division cemented a reputation for itself in the automotive industry as a maker of the “ultimate driving machine” which was its slogan until recently. Sadly, as the luxury market has progressed in technology and power, BMW’s “M” cars have gotten a bit of an unflattering reputation. Once a division that pertained to strict principles of just manual transmissions, rear wheel drive, normally aspirated engines, the latest M cars are turbocharged, mostly automatics, and all wheel drive (at least for the SUVs and arriving soon for the M5). Not only that, and excuse my language, but the latest M cars have attracted a certain “douchebag” reputation. The general stereotype of the latest M cars is that they are driven by showoffs who could care less about the performance and handling capabilities and are focused on the cachet the M brand brings. However, this stereotype only pertains to the M cars manufactured around 5 years ago. This M3 reviewed here is the very first showcase of the M brand’s pure driving philosophy, and I was giddy with excitement as I got to review this gem.  Continue reading

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2013 BMW 328i Review

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As you may know, for the past three years, I drove a Honda Pilot. But my sister drove a 2002 Toyota Camry LE, which got totaled this summer, so she got the Pilot. What I may not have mentioned is that since August, I have been driving a 2010 BMW 328i sedan (It’s my dad’s) . It was quite the change, as I actually have to worry about huge dips and speed bumps and what not. But I embraced the svelte inline six cylinder engine and the sublime handling. The 328i (I named her Gisele) is the last 3-Series they produced with the heavenly hydraulic steering. I know it seems trivial to obsess over a steering system, but that is what makes a BMW feel like a BMW. In other words, the steering is weighty and it is brimming with feedback. That is why when I got the opportunity to review the latest 3-Series, I approached this car with dread as it was going to be hard for me to remain objective. After all, I arrived to do the review in an E90 (3-Series’ are classified by their generation names. E90 is from 2006-2011, and F30 is 2012-present), review a F30, then leave in an E90. But what really made me approach the F30 with trepidation is the fact that the F30 replaces the amazing hydraulic steering system with an electric system. After reading reviews stating the obvious lack of feel in these new electric steering systems, I tried to approach this car with an open mind. I should explain: previous 3’s were not particularly fuel efficient, so BMW saw fit to install an a more fuel efficient electric system in the F30. The 3 series has a long history dating back to 1975 which when the first generation launched. Since the first generation, the 3 series has solidified its reputation as the best compact luxury sedan in the world. For five generations, it has remained supreme in terms of sales despite the emergence of worthy competitors. Now, it is going to be hard not to be biased. But I am going to try to be objective with the review of this car. It is just that I arrived in an E90 to test drive a F30, and I left in an E90. Can’t be that hard to remain objective right? I have reviewed the third, fourth, and fifth and I have loved them all, so hope was high that I would become fond of the sixth generation.  Continue reading

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2008 Audi A4 2.0T Review

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What can I say about German engineering? When it comes to luxury cars, the German engineering is present in cars. You can feel it in the ride, the handling, and the overall feel of the controls. The Audi A4 is an example of such engineering. As Audi changed its nomenclature from just numbers (80, 100) to numbers and letters (A4, A6, A8), their cars adopted a different approach to beating BMW and Mercedes Benz in the luxury market. Audi, a division of Volkswagen, would use Volkswagen platforms to keep costs down, while focusing on driving performance and comfort. The Audi A4 succeeded the Audi 80 in 1996, as an attempt to better the likes of its rivals BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. Following up on the first generation A4’s success, the second generation A4 promises even better driving performance. Continue reading

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2008 Mercedes Benz CLK350 Convertible Review

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The reason people like convertibles is because when they think of such cars, they think of driving along the coast with their hair flying in the wind. In many places, a convertible seems like the choice of transport for many people. If you want a luxury convertible with the styling and prestige of a Mercedes Benz, this is what the CLK comes in. Debuting in 1996, the Mercedes Benz CLK rivaled the BMW 3 series . Even though the CLK borrows many styling cues and was similar in size as the E class sedan, it was actually based off the C class sedan. This CLK you see here launched in 2003, as an attempt to better the likes of the Lexus SC430, BMW 3 and 6 series, and the Volvo C70 convertible. This generation was notable for its Black Series version. The Black Series is an ultra high performance division dedicated to upgrading AMG (Mercedes Benz’s in house performance division) vehicles. In 2009, the CLK was replaced by the E-Class coupe and convertible. Continue reading

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