Which Range-Topping, ’80s German Luxury Sedan Would You Choose?
Early eighties German luxury cars might not be your first thought, or even your first five thoughts, about an underrepresented but interesting genre of collectible classics, but that’s exactly what makes them so cool—anyone can buy a secondhand Lexus, Bangle-butt 7er, or fried-egg headlamp S class, but it takes a connoisseur and an individual to drive a Kraut-rock era executive sedan. Power toys and luxury accoutrements may be sparse by luxobarge standards of even the early nineties, but for style, presence, and sheer old-money sophistication, nothing made in the past twenty years comes close to these two silver foxes.
First up today we present an ’84 BMW 745i Turbo, a rare range-topper offered in LHD markets from 1979-1986. Equipped with a 3.2, and not, as its name implies, a 4.5 liter engine, the 745i used a turbocharged straight six to make roughly silky-smooth HP—exotic sports car numbers for the day. Befitting its special status, turbocharged E23s were offered with several very intriguing options, such as power reclining rear seats, auxiliary gas heaters, and as fitted to this example, water buffalo hides—serious Liberace spec, it’s actually quite tasteful and distinct. Fitted with Euro bumpers and trim, this car’s obviously been well-cared for, and presents beautifully in photos.
If a sharknose Beemer isn’t quite your thing (do you people exist?), then perhaps inside a W126 Benz is where you’d prefer to waft. The car we highlight here is a flagship 560 SEL LWB dating from 1986, claimed to have previously belonged to the founder of the Albertson’s grocery empire. While it’s unlikely to deliver the same road feel or straight-line performance as its Bavarian contemporary, the big Benzo counters with arguably superior build quality (of the Swiss tank variety), ride, NVH isolation, and overall interior ambience. Finished in a striking sky blue over gray hide, this car’s said to have only 74k miles from new and be as close to as-new as can be expected for a near three decade old machine.
So, do you prefer your living room on wheels with a modicum of sporting ability, or are you after a less diluted, more stately town car? Horses for courses, as they say.
1986 Mercedez-Benz 560 SEL LWB
1984 BMW 745i Turbo