Classifieds Challenge: Ode To The V8

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Welcome back to Classifieds Challenge, where we pit two vehicles currently for sale on the BMW Car Club of America Classifieds head-to-head! This week, inspired by Alex Tock’s tribute to the current N63 V8 (and its M-developed S63 cousin), we’re comparing two well-optioned—but distinctly different—cars from BMW’s history with the prior V8, the N62.

The N62 (successor to the infamous M62tu in the final years of the E39 540i and E38 740i) could easily have an article of its own on the engine’s evolution, as it ranged from the 3.5-liter V8 in non-North-American-market 735i and 735iL sedans all the way up to the full fat 4.8-liter model that closed out the engine’s production run. Forums and Facebook groups can tell you plenty about the reliability of each of these variants (and why BMW made improvements for the N63 that followed), but while it had its issues, it also made for some pretty potent cars.

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Today we’re looking at two distinct variants of the powerplant. The first is housed in a big coupe—the E63 generation 6 Series, to be precise. The one we’re looking at today is a 2004 BMW 645ci available now on the BMW CCA Classifieds, and it appears to be a well-kept example covering just 116,029 miles and housed both in the state of Florida and the equally-promising state of Heated Storage (near Ohio, it seems).

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This particular N62B44 made 325 bhp and 330 pound-feet of torque. The big coupe, BMW’s first large two-door since the discontinuation of the E31 8 Series, is finished in silver over beige, and the asking price a nice, round $15,000 for the privilege of ownership. But best of all, this example features the Holy Grail of N62 drivetrains: the V8 and a six-speed manual transmission.

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Actually, I take that back. For some heretics passionate enthusiasts, the ideal N62 combination is not the N62B44 and a manual, but instead one of the final-run N62B48 engines found in the ultimate Sports Activity Vehicle, the E53 X5 4.8iS. This is as close as we got to an X5 M in the E53 generation, but the results of some fine-tuning by Munich’s—and Buchloe’s—wildest engineers (and wildest body-kit developers) are quickly becoming collectable.

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The SAV we’re looking at today is this 2005 BMW X5 4.8iS (coincidentally also located in Ohio), which arrived thirteen years ago in stunning Imola Red over beige, and has covered just 101,000 miles since new. The car comes with maintenance and repair records and a recent drivetrain-fluid service, plus a host of options that bring this first-generation X5 into the modern age. And since this is all about the engine, the N62B48 in this case produces a healthy 355 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque. The price for all this rarity? $13,000 on the nose.

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So what will it be? In their own ways, these are both enthusiast-spec vehicles—and both seem to be well-kept, low-mileage examples given how well-used similar cars tend to be. If you were in the market for an N62, would you go with the subtle grand-tourer 645ci six-speed, or the striking Imola Red X5 4.8iS? Check out the ads in the BMW CCA Classifieds and let us know in the comments—and as always, if you have any suggestions for future Classifieds Challenges, let us know those as well!—David Rose

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