The fourth generation of the BMW M5, also known as the E60, was an absolutely exquisite car. Although it was considered ugly by most people at the time, I think that its design has aged beautifully. It was also very unassuming, so it wasn't that easy distinguishing it from a run-of-the-mill 520d. If you thought you could race against it and win, you would've had a big surprise when the owner floored it and you suddenly started hearing the noise of an old F1 car. The instant throttle response of the magnificent V10 engine meant that by the time the turbocharger in your Impreza spooled up, the M5 was already miles ahead. At this point, you may be wondering what does all this have to do with the blue shopping cart pictured above. The explanation is very simple. Both the M5 and the R36 have very unassuming looks and both can be bought in Europe for around 20 000 Euros (more or less, depending on the state of the vehicle). So, you may ask, who would be mad enough to spend this much on a 10 year old Passat instead of buying a vastly superior BMW M5? To be fair, probably nobody, but that's not the point.
We'll never see one of these again...
Judging by the number of R36s you see on the roads, nobody has said to themselves " Yes, what I'd really like is a car for taking the kids to school, but more expensive and a lot thirstier than the TDI I was going to buy ", but exclusivity isn't a bad thing, is it? You don't see a Pagani every day, yet you will still, inevitably, drool, should you encounter one. Mated to a DSG Gearbox, the V6 or rather, the VR6 engine is good enough to take the Passat to 100 km/h in less than 6 seconds and on to a top speed of over 250 km/h, and that is very good even by today's standards. The best part of it is the noise. It's simply intoxicating. The lack of turbochargers means that it will scream its way up to 7000 rpm and I'm 100% sure that you can't get bored of that. Ever. It also benefits from a Haldex based 4WD system, so not the best, but good enough for drifting in a parking lot covered in snow.
One of the nicest shades of blue out there
WHY YOU SHOULD BUY ONE
Basically, what VW has done with the R36, was take the GTI recipe and use it in the Passat and so they've managed to make an already very good car, even better. Loads of space inside, thanks to the transversely mounted engine, a huge boot, great build quality and nicely equipped. What's not to like? Maybe the fuel consumption isn't the best. Neither is the maintenance cost. Nor is the price. I guess there is a price to pay if you want something special, right?