BMW M5 (E34)
Cost new: £31,295. Value now: £29,995.
The E34 M5 is in no man's land right now, that won't last long with examples like this for sale
This generation of M5 is often overlooked by fans of the marque. They’re hard to find parts for, plus its predecessor is the iconic classic and its successor has V8 appeal. But that’s a real shame as there’s many, many things to love about the E34. Its old enough to still give the shot of nostalgia that we all love and yet has it come from the era of over-sensitive modern driver aids. We saw this one for sale at Car Iconics in Oakham, Rutland and priced at the top end of the scale for this mileage, it needed to be good...
With just 139 examples of these 6-speed manual, RHD cars ever made and a lot less than that still on the road, it’s certainly got rarity on its side. What’s more it’s in utterly remarkable condition. The Avus Blue paint gleams with only the slightest of minor blemishes giving away its age (small chip to driver’s wheelarch and rear wing trailing edge). Inside it’s a similar story, the seat fabric is as new and there’s no marks to the headlining, dash or plastics. This feels like a three-year-old car, it even smells like one.
Since purchase, Stephen and Daniel (father and son), owners of Car Iconics, commissioned a substantial refresh. Their mechanic went through and replaced effectively all of the perishable parts. That meant refurbished electronically adjustable dampers, new discs, calipers and pads all round, new bushes (a weak spot on these high-mile cars), a refurbished steering box, engine inspection revealed just the shells needing replacement and finally a full air-conditioning overhaul. When this was complete, the car was shod in brand-new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres.
So, with all that done you’d expect it to drive pretty well and the good news is that it certainly does. As I’ve owned a number of E34s I was hoping that the ride hadn’t been compromised by all that refreshed suspension and, though it’s a little fidgety over rapid undulations, it remains superb. The slop and vagueness that plagues older BMWs has been sharpened up considerably. The steering feels well-weighted and accurate and those new brakes, though still bedding in, hauled up this big saloon easily.
The engine is super-quiet under normal conditions and yet when you stretch it past 3500rpm it comes alive. This 3.8-litre six loves revs and sounds fantastic. That metallic snarl is intoxicating.
If you want an M5 that you can jump in and use right away without worrying about a thing, this is the right car for you.
BMW M5 E34
On sale at Car Iconics car-iconics.com
Engine 3795cc, 6-cyl, DOHC
Transmission 6-speed manual
Top speed 166mph
Choose your BMW M5 (E34)
1988 – BMW launches its new generation of 5 Series and M5. It's a huge step forward in tech and chassis dynamics over the E28.
1992 – For the first time the M5 is available as a Touring model. Just 891 are ever made.
1995 – In the final year of production a number of changes are added. The displacement of the engine grows to 3.8-litres with power up to 340bhp. The six-speed Getrag 'box shared with the 540i is added.
Handbuilt M5 era ends at the end of '95 with the last E34 built.