A lot of BMW purists complaining the accident of the artlessly aspirated BMW engines. But, back the accession of boilerplate turbocharging in about 2007, a lot of BMW enthusiasts accept begin alleviation in the accessible ability assets and accepted the blitz of affected induction. In fact, accustomed a adequately reasonable account of $20,000, you can get absolutely a lot of achievement from these purist-defying models. Here, we’ll booty a attending at a few.
1) 2008 – 2013 135i / 135is E82 Coupe
Easily one of the best adorable (and cheapest!) cars on this account is the 135i. Aboriginal models (pre-2011) featured the twin-turbocharged N54 inline-six acceptable for a branch estimated 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Widely advised to be underrated from the factory, the N54 is alone a few best modifications abroad from actuality a about 450 hp monster.
With agilely able versions of the aboriginal N54 135i belief in at beneath 3400 lbs, old academy hydraulic steering, massive 338mm advanced and 324mm rear anchor rotors, and two solid chiral choices (a glossy 6-speed chiral or an automated with a chiral about-face mode) – not to acknowledgment its adventurous actualization – the 135i bound becomes a clue day hero.
But it gets alike better. Well, affectionate of. In 2011 the 135i’s accepted torque-converter automated chiral was replaced with a lightning quick seven-speed bifold clamp unit, beeline out of the E90 M3. The N55 agent was additionally introduced, replacing the N54, with one beneath turbo but about the aloft power.
The aloft modifications will net you abutting to 400 hp, a bit of a decline from the twin-turbocharged N54. The 135is added improves on this blueprint with a branch action bankrupt arrangement and lighter five-spoke Appearance 313 wheels, but with a bit of a bulk premium. With apple-pie examples of the 135i starting at about $10,000, there’s no agnosticism that there’s a appealing solid bulk hypothesis for bargain acceleration here.
2) 2014- 2016 228i/228i xDrive F22 Coupe
So, here’s a best that isn’t usually mentioned on a account like this- the little N20 four-cylinder is about overshadowed by its six-cylinder brothers and sisters. But the F22 anatomy is assuredly stalwart, and back it’s already congenital up to bear the 300-odd horses in the M235i/M240i applications, it makes a abundant starting abode for bargain enthusiast speed.
You can alike get them in xDrive (BMW’s all-wheel drive nomenclature) which makes for some absorbing contest adjoin cars that don’t accept the bend of all four auto actuality apprenticed simultaneously.
While I can’t possibly altercate that you’ll be breaking any acreage acceleration annal architecture on the N20 engine, you’ll still be acceptable for an accessible 300 or so application in a car that isn’t actual heavy, you can get in manual, and has another AWD. While ultimately this may accept a little bit absurd back the six-cylinder analogue has a college achievement than this afore any modification, it’s still a bit cheaper.
$20,000 won’t absolutely get you into an M235i/M240i, yet. The downside is that it’s the alone car on this account that doesn’t absorb BMW’s hydraulic council – so you’ll accept a bit beneath alley feel and lighter council than annihilation abroad actuality – but maybe you’re accept with that. It’s still a fun car – and in my experience, added reliable than the added choked agent options.
3) 2007 – 2008 ALPINA B7 E65 Sedan
Oh boy, this car is interesting. Not alone is this the alone non-turbocharged car on the list, but it’s additionally one of the added polarizing anatomy styles amid BMW enthusiasts. It alike comes with a history lesson: this is alone the additional Alpina in history to be appear in North America, afterwards the Alpina Z8.
Only 800 B7s came to North America, with assembly starting in 2006 and catastrophe in aboriginal 2008. It’s still the alone supercharged BMW to anytime accomplish it to North America, as well. With these kinds of credentials, you’d anticipate it’d be appealing approved after, right? Well, not exactly.
They still consistently advertise for beneath $20k, alike with ability actuality not adamantine to appear by. 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque came accepted from the factory, from a supercharged 4.4L V8 – but it weighs in at about 4,500 lbs. Your alone chiral advantage is a column-mounted ZF six-speed automatic.
Bone stock, the car does about 200 mph, which isn’t absolutely slow. But sadly, there isn’t abundant boilerplate allowance for improvement. There are agency to advance on the car’s banal ability – supercharger pulleys, bankrupt modification, another fuel, and affability – but best of this will appear bottomward to actual specialized shops or the acutely aggressive DIY-er.
Another admonition is the bulk of account – alike admitting this cool auto has collapsed far from its aboriginal MSRP of about $120,000, genitalia abide adequately expensive. Still – about fifteen years on, the E65 ALPINA delivers on its affiance for both exclusivity and speed.
4) 2008 – 2010 535i xDrive E61 Touring
Do you accept two kids, but additionally an constant charge for speed? Own a accouterment business but hit the annoyance band on Friday nights in the aggregation van? Perhaps you adore artery racing, but charge allowance for your twelve dogs to tag forth and authority the GoPros?
Well, accept I got the car for you. The 2008-2010 535i xDrive came, astoundingly, in Touring (or wagon) flavor. That agency you can absolutely get a car that does it all – it gets the aloft N54 twin-turbo six-cylinder, it has affluence of amplitude for your POGS collection, and aloof a few simple modifications will net you abutting to 450 hp.
Or more, if you appetite to go with fueling and turbo upgrades, etc – you can actual bound end up with a 600 hp wagon. You can alike get these in a chiral chiral – authoritative this absolutely the car of the people. And by people, I beggarly car enthusiasts, who do in actuality aloof almost accommodated the abilities to be advised “people”.
At the time of this writing, best 535i xDrive wagons on Bring a Trailer accept awash for able-bodied beneath $20k, with some actual nice, chiral selections affairs for aloof a bit added than that. As I address this, one is currently sitting at aloof $13,000, but with 28k miles, it’s abiding to go for a bit more.
As continued as you can get past, or ironically embrace, the blue actualization of the E61 wagon (it came from the aloft Bangle-era architecture aeon as the E65 ALPINA I talked about above), there’s no added able best on this list. Unless…?
5) 2010-2013 X5 M E70
So, for the aftermost atom on this list, I cheated a little bit. I’ve alone absolutely apparent one X5 M beneath the $20k mark, and it was a little bit worse for wear. A added astute accompaniment for the end of this account would be a turbo E36 (which can be congenital for able-bodied beneath $20k), or maybe a supercharged E46 M3.
And if you aloof accept to accept a V8, you could abandon the turbocharging and get into an E60 550i or the lower X5 4.8i, or alike a clay cheap, earlier 750i. You could alike aces up an earlier F10 550i.
But baby God if those don’t accept absolute banal compared to this. I saw the advertisement online and aloof had to accommodate it.
Let’s breach it down: the E70 X5 M accustomed the S63B44, a twin-turbo V8 carrying 547 hp and 502 lb ft of torque, powered through a six-speed automated (not bifold clutch) chiral powering all four 20” (or another 21″) wheels. Tipping the scales at over 5000 lbs, it was important to accomplish abiding the car could stop anxiously – so humongous 15” brakes were slapped on all four corners.
Sounds great, right? It gets better. A brace of bolt-on modifications and a $800 tune gets you beeline up to 630 hp and 590 lb ft, with some affability companies able a 200 hp/tq accretion over banal with acknowledging mods.
So with the abeyant for 750 hp alone a few thousand of your hard-earned dollars away, why wouldn’t you buy one of the aboriginal super-SUVs anytime made? Abundant question, I’m animated you asked it. The S63 in this abundance is a adequately reliable engine, with the best accepted issues actuality awe-inspiring exhaustion and oil leaks (which isn’t all that altered from best earlier BMWs).
Typically, the agent can run a little hot, and some owners cure this, hilariously, by removing the exhaust’s catalytic converters and calefaction wrapping the new catless downpipes. The capital aberration amid this car and aggregate abroad on the account (save the ALPINA) is that genitalia bulk a bigger accumulation of cash, alike back you’re abstraction on the car yourself.
Another affair to accede is the boring ascent prices on best trucks, SUVs, and cool SUVs like this one – in a contempo Doug DeMuro video, he all but accepted these suspicions, citation a few auctions on his new website. It’s not absolutely batty to accept that this aboriginal gen X5 M could maybe alpha affectionate anon – authoritative this contrarily hardly aberrant acquirement a little bit added practical.
Other Choices and Conclusion
We’ll alpha with the accessible – best of the E9x anatomy has attenuated to able-bodied beneath the $20k bulk point, with prices starting with blown-turbo dumpster fires for $3500 to kitted out, 600 hp single-turbo N54 monsters for $12-15k. I didn’t accommodate them in the antecedent bristles because they’re all over the place, but if you’re accommodating to bend on a account it’s adamantine to exhausted an E90 or E92 335i for bargain speed.
I mentioned the F10 550i, but the N63 agent these accustomed can be awfully unreliable, alike by BMW standards. The 335D came to the States, and can accomplish a ton of torque, adequately reliably, with alone a few best mods. Additionally, if you’re in Europe and got some of the added agent offerings, you’re in luck – best of them allotment an astronomic bulk of aftermarket abutment and can accomplish the 0-60 bang appear a lot quicker than they accept any appropriate doing.
Lastly, I did acknowledgment turbo E36s and supercharged E46 M3s – both which can be bought completed for about $20k or congenital by yourself for about a little beneath than that. They’re notable, but affectionate of alone an advantage as a additional car or if you’re accommodating to wrench.
BMW’s artlessly aspirated engines helped body its acceptability as authoritative some of the best driver’s cars out there. But the accession of turbocharged abracadabra doesn’t necessarily beggarly the adventure is gone – it’s aloof afflicted its appearance a little bit. And if you don’t apperception a bit of abstraction and accept $20k or a little more, you’re already pre-qualified!
Any of the cars on the account accomplish for a ton of fun at a analytic appropriate bulk point. I’ll accept you’ve already chock-full account at this point to go abrade the internet for some bargain-bin, additional BMWs.