Manual 6 spd. 400hp. Autobahn Cruiser for Camry Price. What’s Not to Like?

550 Manual PhotoI’ve been in and out of BMW M5’s and 550i’s and because of my vanity, I couldn’t go with a high performance sleeper.  I needed something that shouted “Car Guy!”.  If you are more secure than I, give some thought to a BMW 550i with a 400hp twin turbo and an old fashioned 6 speed manual transmission.  The Mustang GT will never see you coming.   Here’s the CarMax link – if it’s dead the car is being transferred, or on hold/sold.

2011 BMW 550 Manual

1 of 500..and 500hp – BMW Alpina B7 Beast

B7Who would of thought CarMax would carry these autobahn cruise missiles, and offer a five year 100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper MaxCare warranty?! Well, other than me.  The BMW Alpina B7 is in lieu of an M7, with the engine hand-built by Alpina in Bavaria.  The car sold for about $130,000 new and only 500 were slated for the US market in 2011.  You can have it for $39,998.  Stiffer suspension, 100 more hp than a 750, bigger wheels, and just more style. I usually cap my unicorns at $35,000, but this one is just a bit more and a bit rare.  It’s a two-owner Texas/California car with low miles.  Here’s the Car and Driver review from 2011, and here’s the CarMax ad – the car is in LA.  If the link is dead, the car is sold, on hold, or being transferred.2011 Alpina B7

Be Careful What You Ask For – Surprise V10 Unicorns

One of my CarMax boilerplate searches I saved is for any V10’s that surface.  I get alerts occasionally for BMW M5’s and M6’s, but no longer Audi S6’s.  Not sure why CarMax no longer carries them but one can hope.  Today I got alerts for a pair of ten-year old V10’s.   Both are bargains.  One is for a ten-year old, 9,000 mile vehicle for $18,998.   Sounded like a bargain.  Maybe it is.  The second is a little more pricey at $28,998 with 45,000 miles.  Here you go.



The $577 Million Car Loan and Other Fascinating CarMax “Analytics”

Small 73000
The total cars on the lot around noon, November 18th 2017.  The numbers fluctuated by hundreds between the beginning and completion of this blog, rendering all my calculations estimates.

The CarMax nationwide inventory jumped from just over 40,000 cars in the summer of 2017 to over 73,000 today.  That’s the highest it’s been since I started tracking CarMax unicorns a year ago and it got me pondering on all things cosmic CarMax.  For example, that 33,000 plus-up in stock equals a staggering $577 million* investment in cars in just a few months.  I’m thinking like you and me, CarMax didn’t pay cash and owed somebody a helluva lot of money.  You think they get dealer financing? I’m thinking CarMax needs to move some cars and hoping there are more unicorns and lower prices!

*The average CarMax vehicle sells for $19,677 with a gross profit of $2,178, indicating a rough guess each car costing CarMax $17,489.  See “CarMax Reports Second Quarter Results, September 22, 2017″.

So I decided to do my own homemade “analytics” and dive deeper on what makes up an inventory of 73,000 cars.  CarMax knows what they’re doing, and I suspect their inventory largely reflects what America wants in a car.  So here’s what I learned. Continue reading “The $577 Million Car Loan and Other Fascinating CarMax “Analytics””

Five Quick Hits! BMW 650, CTS V, MX-5, Shelby, and a Corvette.

2006 Miata $13599 34k
Not sure if I’m most surprised by the price or the stupid low miles.  Yes it’s an automatic, but cute and cheap.

The CarMax Link – 2006 Miata

2007 CTS V Sedeqn $25,998 27k
This is a rare one!  Ten year old 400hp CTS V Sedan with driven less than $2,700 miles yearly.   

The CarMax Link – 2007 CTS V

2008 Mustang Shelby GT500 $27,998 47k
A 500hp beast for under $28,000!  Mileage is still low at 6,000 yearly.

The CarMax Link – 2008 Shelby GT500

2008 Corvette $28,998 9k
9,000 Miles? Why don’t these people drive their cars????!!!!

The CarMax Link – 2008 Corvette

2007 BMW 650 CiC $18,998 39k
Less than $20,000 for a BMW 650.  Horsepower a little low for me but a helluva lot of fun for the price and low miles.

The CarMax Link – 2007 BMW 650 CiC

BMW Unicorns – $24,000 M6’s, $30,000 750’s, and Other Highs and Lows from Munich.

2007 M6I just passed on the $23,998 2007 M6  above with 44,000 miles and wondering if I blew it.  Not often you get a chance at a unicorn  like this.  Even with a $6,400 MaxCare warranty to cover me for five years and up to 100,000 miles, this was a good deal.  But even though the V10 revving to 8,000 rpm made me silly, the suspension beat the hell our of me much as the M5 did on a test drive last year, so I opted out for my daily commuter.  Mistake?  I don’t know.  It vanished from the internet within minutes of me releasing my hold.  I documented the car when it was in NJ before it moved to VA, and you can only see the price from my appointment confirmation. 9/22/2017 Update – I just passed on this car a second time.  It resurfaced in Maple Shade, NJ and I went and drove it.  Fantastic car – no blemishes.  Finally learned to soften the suspension and I think I could get used to the double-clutching automatic.  Sales rep showed me the CarFax – car spent its life in Georgia for the most part and bizarrely, its last 16 months in my town in Virginia.  Intrigued.  BUT…while it has Bluetooth it’s voice only – no music, and virtually no modern infotainment.  Picky, but I passed.  Would have been $31,000 out the door with five-year warranty.   Sigh.  

2007 M6 $24,998 52k

Take comfort, as of this writing the convertible M6 at left was still available!

So check out these other BMW’s available below for cheap on CarMax.  I picked the highest and lowest priced of about a half-dozen or more enthusiast cars and I could own almost any one of them as a daily driver!


Let’s start with almost everybody’s favorite sports coupe, the M3.  CarMax has 29 of them on the lot as of early September 2017, some as low as $26,998 but stupid high mileage, and a 2017 for $66,000 (and a Frozen Limited Edition for $47k – what the hell is that?).  But in our unicorn world of $35,000 or less and 60,000 miles or less Continue reading “BMW Unicorns – $24,000 M6’s, $30,000 750’s, and Other Highs and Lows from Munich.”

First Five Fabulous Unicorns

I have a couple of dozen (about 50 really) CarMax unicorns tagged but wanted to open with a sampling of what’s on the lot today.  Again, my bar is $35,000 or less, 60,000 miles or less, an enthusiast car, and relatively exclusive.  Your standards may vary.  So here they are in no particular order:

2007 MB CL550 $26,998 34k 8-9-17

2007 Mercedes CL550 – The “big coupe” from Mercedes – the two door version of the S-class, originally a $100,000 car.   You can read the review from the link below.   It’s the third generation CL and has everything a top of the line Mercedes should have – in 2007.   What I like? It’s big, exclusive, comfortable, well-appointed with Distronic auto cruise control, cheap, low miles (driven only 3,400 miles yearly), and you can get a warranty for the next five years. I like that with only 34,000 miles CarMax will likely give an affordable warranty to 75,000 miles – but I would take all they offer that I could afford.  What I don’t like?  No bluetooth. Ad says rear view camera but I doubt it – CarMax photo spread almost always shows a shot of the rear view camera in action if it has one.  Rear view photo of the car doesn’t show one.  I don’t like less than 400hp but 382 ain’t bad.  I also don’t like that this car is not transferable and is 3,000 miles away from me.  I would give it serious consideration.  I’ll bet it’s gone in days, although there’s also a 2009 CL550 on the lot at $32,998 that hasn’t moved in a week.  We shall see!

Car and Driver Review CL550

2011 BMW M3 – The “benchmark” sport coupe per the review below, and the best everyday sports car I can imagine.  I’ve owned a 3-series.  Everything is in the right place.  M3’s are tough to find in my unicorn category.  Once a $70,000 car, most are close to the $35,000 unicorn limit, have 70-80,000 miles on them and are 8-10 years old.  I have a hard time paying that much for that old with that mileage.  So I like the balance of price and mileage here.   I like the SMG transmission and 400hp.  I’m not a big fan of the hard top convertible only because I own a convertible. Otherwise it’s the best of both worlds.  Don’t know why, but the hard top convertibles sell at a discount over the hard top coupes.  If you like these then you’re in luck!   A little short on amenities but you can’t have a bad day in an M3.

Autoweek Review – 2011 M3

Continue reading “First Five Fabulous Unicorns”