Posts Tagged ‘BMW’

Test Drive: 1995 BMW 840ci (E31)

On February 10, 2012, I test drove a 1995 BMW 840ci at Paradise Automotive Group in San Juan Capistrano, California. The car’s exterior is black with a grey leather interior. It has 113,000 miles with an asking price of $10,500. Under the hood is a M60B40 engine. It’s a 4.0 liter 32 valve V8 engine that produces 282 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm. The transmission is a 5 speed automatic with rear wheel drive. The E31 8 Series is one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. Even today they still turn heads. Production of the E31 started in 1989 and was not yet released to the U.S. market. The 8 Series have been shipped to the U.S. for the 1991-1997 model years with both V8 and V12 engines. In 1991, the only model available was the 850i which came with a M70B50 V12 with either a 4 speed automatic or a 5 speed manual (1991-1994 models). Around the year 1995, the “ci” was added to the name of all 8 series models and the M70B50s were replaced by the M73B54 5.4 liter V12s. Around that same time, the M60B40 V8 became the car’s standard engine (840ci). In 1996, the 840ci models came with the M62B44 V8s which had 4.4 liters. From 1994-1995, there was a limited production model 8 Series called the 850csi. They offered S70B56 engines which were 5.6 liter V12s and 6 speed manual transmissions. 1997 was the last model year for the 8 Series in the United States. In 1999, the E31 was discontinued all together. The sharp design of the 8 Series give more of an Italian car appearance. I would refer to them as the poor man’s Ferrari because many people that know nothing about cars may look from a distance and say “Look! It’s a Ferrari!” and these cars are not as expensive. Compared to vehicles such as the 7 Series, 8 Series have more value and are less common. I would certainly say that they will have classic potential in the future.
I found this car listed on I was originally going to look at a 1991 BMW 850i in Costa Mesa, but it had already been sold. Instead, I decided to have a look at this 840ci. I called the dealer to make an appointment to look at it. I was supposed to meet with a guy named Steve, but instead I met with another salesperson named Lorenzo. When I got there, he told me that the car was his dad’s and he’s only had it for about six months. He bought it from another dealer for about $13,000. The car had one owner before the father, and about $10,000 had been invested in repairs before he sold it to the dealer. Lorenzo told me the car had a power steering leak, and it needed a new headliner. He said they would be fixed if I decided to purchase the car. When he showed me the car, it was somewhat dirty because of some bug crap on it. Condition wise, there were no noticeable dents or scratches. This 840ci also had 18” BMW M parallel chrome rims, which are some of the nicest wheels to have on any Bimmer. The interior was in excellent condition, except for the sagging headliner of course. The interior gives a sports car impression more so than of a luxury car, because of the grey color and no wood trim. It’s not bad, but I usually prefer a tan interior with wood trim. Lorenzo offered me to take it for a spin, so I started the car, and then tested all of the mechanical functions. All four windows worked (even the back ones). The A/C, sunroof, radio, and mirrors all worked. I think this car was well cared for, but the thought of $10,000 being spent in repairs sounded horrifying! It’s good knowing that what has been fixed shouldn’t break, but it’s bad because it makes you wonder if the car may need more expensive repairs in the future. Remember, Lorenzo told me the car has a power steering leak. He didn’t say how much it would cost; just that he’d fix it before it sold. Before I started driving, Lorenzo asked me what other cars I was looking at. I just told him “Some 7-Series and Range Rovers.” He then went on saying that what makes an 8-Series better than a 7-Series is that they are much harder to find and they have classic potential, which he is correct. He also stated that “Most 7-Series are beaten up and driven by old Persian men; no offense to anyone. I’m just repeating what he said to me. Now, let’s get back to the test drive.
I drove the car off the lot and turned right onto Valle Rd, and then I made another right turn onto La Novia Ave. It was a curvy street, and I was able to test the car’s handling abilities. The power steering leak didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the drive, but maybe it felt a small bit heavy. It’s still not really noticeable. I have driven a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle which had absolutely no power steering whatsoever, and it took more force to turn it. When we came to a stoplight, I noticed the temperature gauge needle was moving back and forth. Lorenzo said that it’s common for BMWs to do that and it was not really worth fixing. I put the car in “sport” mode before making a left turn, and after the light turned green I floored the gas and felt more power than I did before when it wasn’t in sport mode. For some reason, I wasn’t enjoying this test drive as well as I thought I would. It could have been because I had to drive with a salesman, some slight traffic that I encountered, or because I was too familiar with driving BMWs. I have driven a lot of them. Lorenzo was okay, but I think he was hoping that I would fall in love with the car right away. As we got closer to the 5 freeway there was some traffic. I will admit that I was going a little too fast, but the brakes were able to stop the car without squealing the tires. I made another left from San Juan Creek Rd back onto Valle Rd. I continued to drive past the dealer towards an office complex where I made a U-turn into the parking lot and drove back. When returning to the dealer Lorenzo showed me a few other cars on the lot that were around the same price as the 840ci. I didn’t have any interest in them and many of their brake rotors were rusty. They’re not a problem, but it shows that the cars haven’t been driven in a while. I felt that Lorenzo was being a little bit pushy, but not as much compared to other places I’ve been to. When I went in his office he started asking me when I was planning to buy a car and that he’d be on the lookout for other cars that I’d have interest in. He asked for my number and I just gave him a fax number. I always do that so salespeople don’t try and call me over and over about buying from them. Before leaving the dealer I had another look around the car. The E31 8-Series is a very sexy looking car and would definitely attract women. I hope to find an 850 eventually and drove it. Hopefully when I drive that car I will have a more enjoyable driving experience because for some reason the 840ci didn’t feel very joyful to drive. I went on Kelley Blue Book to see if $10,500 was a good price for this car. The suggested retail value in excellent condition is $10,648 which is fair, but I would try to negotiate around $8,500-$9,000 if I were to buy it.
Overall the 840ci is a car that stands out in the crowd. If any BMW dealer had this in their showroom it would most likely get more attention than the new ones around it. This car isn’t a classic yet, but in the next 10 or 20 years it can likely become one. I do think that the 850i, 850ci, and 850csi models will be more demanding however because of their V12 engines, and I would prefer to buy one of those over an 840 model. This car is perfect for weekends, dates, or just to cruise around town in. You could use it as a daily driver, but I wouldn’t. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have the most fun test drive, but hopefully the next time I drive an E31 it will be a more exciting experience.

Photos taken by Paradise Automotive Group


Test Drive: 2001 Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland Edition (P38A)

On February 4, 2012, I test Drove a 2001 Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland edition at Clean Car Deals in Upland, California. The vehicle’s exterior color is called Tintern Green Micatallic, and the seats are in Dark Brown Bridal leather with walnut leather piping. The asking price is $13,500 with 78,000 miles. The engine is a Rover 4.6 liter V8 that produce 222 horsepower @ 4,750 rpm and 300 lb-ft of torque @ 2,600 rpm. The transmission is a 4 speed automatic with standard four wheel drive. The Holland & Holland Edition Range Rover is a limited production model with only 250 units produced. This particular one is H&H edition #130.
Holland & Holland (H&H for short) is a prestigious gun manufacturing company based in London, England. The company builds handmade sporting rifles and shotguns. H&H was founded by Harris Holland in 1835. He was a professional gun shooter and was persuaded by friends to start his own business. Because Harris had no children of his own, He hired his nephew Henry Holland as an apprentice in 1861. Henry was appointed as a partner in 1867, hence the name Holland & Holland. Today, the business has three stores globally with shooting grounds near London. The stores are located in London, New York City, and Moscow. For more information on the company, go to
This H&H Range Rover is the same as a 4.6 HSE model on the P38A chassis. The P38A was in production from the 1995-2002 model years and its successor is the L322 chassis Range Rover (2003-current). In the U.S., there’s the 4.0 SE with a 4.0 liter V8 (dropped after 2000) and the 4.6 HSE. For the 2001 and 2002 model years, the 4.6 liter V8 became the Range Rover’s standard power plant even in the SE model. All H&H Range Rovers were in Tintern Green Micatallic which is a bluish green color. The vehicle’s MSRP price when brand new was about $79,000. The 18 inch Hurricane alloy wheels on the H&H Range Rovers were painted on the inner spokes with the same exterior Tintern Green color. The interior of the H&H models have some slight differences from the SE and HSE models. The wood trim in the cabin is supposed to be the exact type of wood used to make H&H firearms. In the SE and HSE, the wood trim is made of plastic. Also, as I’ve mentioned at the beginning of this article, the brown bridal leather seats are only available in the H&H. The glove box, center console, steering wheel, and knee bolster are all wrapped in walnut bridal leather. There was a 1999 Range Rover 4.0 SE on the dealer lot that I compared to the H&H Range Rover. The 4.0 SE did not have as many amenities as the H&H. All H&H Range Rovers came with standard GPS navigation systems and 180 watt Harman-Kardon premium sound system with 7 speakers and a 6 disc CD changer. The words Holland & Holland are seen labeled on the wood trim above the glove box and there is a Holland & Holland badge on the back of the cars. The H&H Range Rovers are definitely some of the most top of the line Range Rovers built, at least until today. Now there’s another limited production Range Rover called the Autobiography Ultimate edition with a supercharged 510 horsepower V8 engine! I found one for sale in New Jersey and the dealer is asking $250,000 for it! Now let’s get to the test drive.
I was looking for a Range Rover to test drive and write a review about for the website. I came across this one on Craigslist and what caught my eye was the title of the advertisement which read “Range Rover Holland & Holland edition #130 of 250 made!” I read the description and figured that I should do some research about the vehicle. After doing my homework I had to drive this car! This was a limited production Range Rover and I may never come across another one like it again! I called the phone number listed in the ad and a man named Carlos (the dealer owner) answered. I made an appointment with him to look at the car at noon. The dealership was actually located in an office complex instead of an actual dealer lot. When I got there the Range Rover was getting washed by a detailer and Carlos was outside. He and I started talking about the car, and he said after it got cleaned up I could test drive it. He told me that he has owned many Range Rovers since he was young and broke. I told him what I knew about the H&H Range Rover and that I wanted to see what they were like. Supposedly, the car was his daily driver. He told me he took the car to a mountain town called Idyllwild during the winter (the snow would be light if there was any) with his family. At one point he had to take a call, so I walked around the SUV while he did so. I looked at the Tintern Green paint while the sun was hitting down on it. The bluish-green paint mix was glossy and it’s a unique color that most cars don’t have. The car was in good shape, but there were some imperfections. Both of the bumpers and grille had noticeable paint chips and the left part of the front bumper was pushed in as if it had hit something. In the back, the last “R” in Rover looked almost like a P, so a piece of the letter was broken off. The interior was clean and the leather had minimal wear. The unique H&H wood trim however, did not have a shiny or smooth texture like it should. I think it has to do with a lacquer coating used the cover the wood that was chipping off from sunlight. It’s wasn’t shiny like a fake plastic wood trim would be. It still looked nice in the vehicle though. There was a child’s seat in the middle of the backseat, because Carlos had a one year old son with him. Like with a majority of SUVs, it made me feel much taller when sitting in the driver’s seat. I drive an Acura RL, a four door sedan that sits low to the ground. I looked up and noticed the walnut headliner was sagging. It would need to be replaced. I looked down at the shifter knob and the shift pattern was different than that of a normal car. It was in the shape of the letter H. Carlos was still talking on his Bluetooth set when he got in the car and handed me the key.
I tried to start the Range Rover, but there was one small problem. It wasn’t the right key. Carlos ran back inside to get the correct one, and after that it started up just fine. I looked at the green illuminated gauge cluster which read odd numbers such as 10, 30, and 50 mph instead of 20, 40, and 60 mph. I tried to use to GPS to look at its map, but I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t a touch screen either. Carlos was able to display the map on the screen and he mentioned that he preferred using a Tom-Tom that he had in the center console. I tested the electrical components to make sure they were all working. I had a tough time trying to work the windows because the switches didn’t operate the way I thought they would. For example, if I wanted to roll the back windows up I had to push the front left switch back to do so instead of the back left window switch. At least they all worked. I wanted to test the sunroof, but Carlos told me not to open it because of the car being wet from the wash, so I honestly do not know if it works. When I put the car in drive he was able to get off his Bluetooth. I asked him about the H shift pattern and he said that one was for high gear ratio and the other was for low gear ratio, or for going off-road. I was driving in the high gear ratio. That explains why the right part of the shift pattern had small icons next to it for slopes.
I made a right turn on Benson Ave. going towards the mountains. I was a little bit disappointed in the acceleration because it didn’t seem very fast. My first thought was that the 1997 Mercury Mountaineer with a 5.0 liter Windsor V8 was faster than this. Carlos made a comment that he wished we were in the mountains and if we were he would let me drive it off road! The city of Upland sets on the southern foothill of Mt. Baldy. While driving there was a small bit of static from the radio, but not much. Carlos said that the subwoofer had to be replaced and that the CD player wasn’t working. The Range Rover’s handling was moderate. It wasn’t sharp but it wasn’t loose either. I made a couple of U-turns on residential streets. When I got back onto city streets I had to stop at my first stoplight. The breaking isn’t as strong as what I’m used to. I’d just have to break a little bit sooner when slowing down or coming to complete stops. While driving, Carlos was telling me about how Range Rovers were the most rugged SUVs on the market; better than BMW X5s, Toyota Land Cruisers, and Mercedes ML-Classes. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never driven one of those, and every person will have a different opinion too. Although I’ve mentioned that the acceleration felt slow, I was able to pass slower cars on the streets to get around them. I looked at the GPS map and instead of the map moving with the car, it stayed in one position and the icon representing the Range Rover would keep going. I’m used to seeing the map follow the car instead of staying in one spot. It’s not a big deal, and I could have probably zoomed in if I wanted to. This Range Rover wasn’t exactly a fun car to drive, but I felt that it would make me look cool when driving it. If I took it off-road then it would likely be more fun. I guess I would say that the Ranger Rover Holland & Holland edition is more for looks; a status symbol.
When we drove back to the dealer, I inspected the Range Rover again. Carlos told me there was a dent on the right quarter panel between the taillight and the fuel door and that it was repaired by tapping it out. He pointed to me where the dent was and I was able to tell that there was one there before. At first glance it’s not really noticeable. I popped open the hood to see the engine, which was the Rover 4.6 liter V8. I asked him about the price and he said it was firm, but there would be no dealer fees to pay. There would just be taxes and registration. After Carlos gave me one of his business cards I shook his hand and left the dealer. I really liked the H&H Range Rover. It wasn’t the fastest SUV I’ve ever driven, but it was certainly the most luxurious and high end. I think taking a test drive off the streets would definitely persuade me more to buy it. I would buy it, but I don’t think I would enjoy parking it or spending the money on gas. I have heard for a long time that Range Rovers may be good for off-road adventures, but the reliability is awful. If reliability is a huge concern, I wouldn’t recommend it unless if the buyer is a mechanic, or if they don’t mind spending the money to maintain it. I usually refer Land Rovers as “The Jaguars of SUVs” and they literally are, since they were both bought by Ford in the early 2000s. In 2008, Land Rover and Jaguar were sold to Tata Motors. I wasn’t trying to say that Jaguars are bad cars in general, but they both had bad reliability reputations in the past. I still like this Land Rover, and if I were to buy it I would try to lower the price to $12,000. I would also take it to a mechanic before making the purchase.
Overall, the Land Rover Range Rover Holland & Holland edition is one of the highest end SUVs on the road. Some might say that it’s nicer than some of the newer luxury SUVs on the market, and I wouldn’t have any doubts about that. Whether it’s used to drive to the grocery store, or to climb non-paved trails, it will give the driver a good appearance whenever he or she is behind the wheel.
Photos taken by Clean Car Deals.