Succession Planning

I don’t want to think about. Under the carpet is by far the best place for it. The idea that the “Family Bus” might not always be with me is a nagging, unpleasant yet strangely persistant thought. It was purchased as a compromise to our growing family. I never thought I’d drive a four door saloon and when buying it I consoled myself with the notion that it was a temporary blip in what was to be a life of two and three door cars. However it has truly inveigled itself into my affections. Despite (yet) another unexpected 1k repair bill (the viscous coupling of the cooling fan was no longer correctly coupling which resulted in the fan blades going all Samurai and doing terrible things to the coolant expansion tank, the water pump and various hoses) the love continues to be strong.

Silver E38 Bmw
Why would I ever want to change?

In the back of my mind I always felt a 6 series (F13) might soften the blow if I ever had to suffer the loss of the E38. Two door version naturally. In 2018/19 a nice well kept seven year old model might just hit the spot. Except now I’m not quite so sure. After the bloated, unpleasant looking E63 anything (even a Ssang Yong Rodius) would have looked good and I fell for the sleek looks of the coupe instantly. Two years later the reactionary, petulant side of me didn’t give the Gran Coupe the proper attention it deserved. “Two doors too many” I said to myself and pretty much left it at that.

Time passed and I began to see more and more of these sleek saloons on the road. I’m a sucker for frameless windows and guess what the Gran Sport has four of?  Then I really started to look at the two door. The chrome at the Hofmeister kink was just too fat. The car actually looked a little too plain. The proportions and tail lights were way nicer on the four door and I began to think of the Gran Coupe as the spiritual successor to my gorgeous Siebener-it surely has little in common with Bangle’s E60. This was a sleek, fast and very stylish way to travel.

That chrome is too fat for me.

It seems that others agree with me. Sales of the 2 door 6 series (coupe and cabrio) started to head south in 2013 while the Gran Coupe was doing a pretty good impersonation of hot cakes. It’s likely that the extremely well flagged arrival of the new 8 series must have had something to do with this but surely can’t be the only reason. Now you can’t even buy a six series coupe. They kept that one pretty quiet. Right here, right now if you have €100k+ to spend on a nice 2 door Beemer you’ll end up with at least two 2 series on your driveway. Or a serious pocketful of change. (Don’t mention the 4 series, please)

Six series BMW interior
A nice place to be but I’d still take my E38, dripping with buttons.

You can still get your hands on a 4 door though, and here’s the thing, I would. I really would. You all know about my ridiculously positive disposition towards the second last truly beautiful BMW. Now though, finally, the mantle has been passed. It’s certainly not safe to say that the era of truly horrible Beemers has passed (where do I start? Ah yes, the “Active Tourer”). However now it is possible to walk into a showroom and drive out in a really beautiful brand new BMW, something that couldn’t be said for the first decade of the 21st century. As always though the ointment has a fly or two. Currently even the earliest Gran Coupes (still €40k) are financially out of my reach. I can wait two years or more. No problem. Many have no electric sun blind. Not an issue. No proper fifth seat? I couldn’t care less. Most don’t have extending thigh supports? Never use it on my car. Not enough buttons? Now this is getting serious but I could just about live with the iDrive business. The real problem resides under the bonnet. I looked at one of Ireland’s biggest car sales websites and typed in “BMW 2011 onwards”. 2076 cars popped up for perusal. Only 31 are petrol. That’s not a misprint, only 1.5% of modern BMWs for sale in Ireland today are petrol. They are almost all M cars and not ONE of them is a six series of any description. Not one. Enough to make you puke. Please please please, someone, somewhere in Ireland, buy a petrol Gran Coupe. Look after it well. I want to buy it from you in 5 years time.

It has really grown on me. “Can I have petrol power please?”

18 thoughts on “Succession Planning”

  1. I delivered a Gran Coupe 430i in March. Very nice and an incredibly rare petrol amongst all the cars I deliver. This 430i was a company car so will almost certainly go straight to an auction in three or four years time ….. unfortunately in the U.K.! Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my only option will be travel to the UK if I want a petrol 6 series. It’s pretty easy to import one and even though diesel is more prevalent than petrol across the Irish sea the tax regime still allows for an occasional petrol engine to be sold over there. Here due to ridiculously high taxes nobody buys petrol anymore. I need to start checking! Thanks for the good idea.


  2. I’ll keep it in mind when i’m next looking at cars, but as with my attendance, my taste in cars is diabolical, so dont be waiting on me. 🙂


  3. I’ll keep it in mind when i’m next looking at cars, but as with my attendance, my taste in cars is diabolical, so dont be waiting on me. 🙂


  4. 330? Not as beautiful but super practical and goes like stick. They have a surprising amount of room in them. Maybe black with black wheels. Would that soften the blow?


    1. I hear you Clex. The 330e got good write ups as well. It’s got to be a straight six though so that’s out. I’m not quite as sure about the looks of the 3 series, the last one I really liked was your E46. Bet you that 330i’s in Ireland are as scarce as petrol 6 series. It’s truly demoralizing, the level of diesel take up here. There’s some small changes back towards petrol but not at the level you’d expect after all the bad publicity.


      1. Comes down to cost I guess. There’s so much tax on everything over there. Petrol is $1.25 a litre in Australia. Diesel is actually a bit more expensive but that still hasn’t stopped the mobile chip fryers selling well – not as much as Ireland though. I think the coming plug in hybrids offer some hope. With good economy and great torque perhaps the age of the tractors is coming to an end .


      2. I like your optimism Clex. It can’t come soon enough. There are some European cities where diesel cars will be excluded in the near future. This must surely accelerate the demise of this noxious form of transport!


  5. How about a GT 5? They are very finely trimmed inside and have a useful hatchback. That they aren’t much liked means you’ll pay less than a corresponding 5 or 4, I would have thought. Is the Audi A5 on your radar?


    1. I think the gt 5 is just too gawky and awkward looking for me Richard. I recently gave lessons in an ​A5 with the 2.0 tfsi engine and it was really quite nice. I am ashamed to admit that a very hot hatch is an itch I haven’t scratched yet. I regret to inform you I was looking at a lovely RS focus recently and an even nicer S3 last night. I think they are a bit too showy for my girlfriend but I do feel sorely tempted on occasion.


      1. True, it is gawky on the outside. On the inside it is palatial and that’s where you spend your time with the car – unless you have a kitchen garage like Dan Tanner in Vegas.


      2. I can’t argue with your logic Richard. That said I still couldn’t picture it on the driveway though. I must be too worried about my appearance but I just couldn’t live with those looks.


      3. Then it’s the A5 which I find to be a very attractive car; almost certainly it won’t be followed up by anything as nice; it’ll still look
        good in a decade which Audi’s reliably do.


    1. Not even remotely Richard! As it’s the family car a certain degree of compromise is involved and the only car that had full agreement from all quarters is the Gran Sport which is way over budget. I’m also not sure I can bring myself to sell the E38 so I might try to nurse it till the 6 series is below the 25k mark.


  6. Isn’t a problem with car replacement that one wants a better thing than the old thing, to be replaced. Cars get less charming with each passing year so the car you’re going to get will probably be better on paper but vastly less interesting to experience. Why not replace your current car with a lower-mileage version of the one you have? Is that too boring?


    1. The thought had crossed my mind Richard. They are really getting thin on the ground though. The only thing I would like that I don’t have is a little more power. To find an M Sport as well kept as mine with a similar spec would be tricky even in the UK. The more I thought about replacing it the more I realized how much I’d miss it. And yes, either we’re wearing rose tinted specs or cars are losing their charm.


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