BMW 525i SE (E34)

Very few 328is are left in this condition – and Nathan finds this one deserves the cost of entry.

Cost New £28,700 Price £7995


Virtually as-new example that’s good enough to squirrel away – but too good to drive for that

Those of you who enjoyed the last issue may remember that we’ve tipped the E34 5 Series as a car with a good future. So when we spotted this low-miles example up for grabs for a fraction of the cost of an E30, we just had to check it out.

This is a particularly nice one too, with less than 23,000 miles recorded in a life largely spent in Guernsey. As befits a car with such gentle usage, the Calypso Red paint is in largely excellent condition, with just a few touched-in scratches on the rear passenger-side flank, a minor scratch on the rear driver’s side door and a smattering of stonechips on the snout. The leading edge of the bonnet under the windscreen is undamaged (a design fault causes the windscreen wiper mechanism to catch), and the unrefurbished alloys look brand new. Each one wears Dunlop SP Sport 2000Es with plenty of tread remaining.

The interior is near enough as you'd have seen it in your local BMW showroom in 1994 – the cloth seats are unblemished with absolutely no bolster wear, and look barely sat in. The headlining is equally perfect, and all the electrical items work perfectly. The sunroof opens and closes as it should.

There’s plenty of paperwork that points to a dedicated stewardship, with regular service stamps, the majority of which are from BMW dealers. The last service was in February 2018. On the road there’s plenty of six-cylinder surge; this isn’t a sports car, but it’s got more than enough heave to keep up with motorway traffic.

Fully extend your right foot and the familiar Munich six-cylinder squeal erupts into life. The steering is well weighted and accurate, and the automatic gearbox is super-smooth, slipping between the ratios imperceptibly.

The brakes are strong yet predictable (no 1980s Beemer-style ‘wait and then headbutt the dashboard’ here), and we didn’t experience any untoward rattles or vibrations through the drivetrain, steering or pedals. It really does feel brand new, and stands as one of the best E34s we’ve driven – the steering still feels ’tight’, like a new car.

As we reported last month, E28 and E30 values have seen huge growth over the past half decade and the E34 has started to follow suit – and this car is so good it would be a prime choice to tuck away. But that would be doing it a real disservice.

BMW 525I SE (E34)

Year:     1994
Mileage:     22,900
On sale at:     Stone Cold Classics

Engine:     2494cc, 6-cyl, SOHC
Transmission:     RWD, 4-speed auto
Power:     168bhp@5800rpm
Torque:     164lb-ft@4300rpm
Weight:     1480kg

0-60mph:    11.3sec
Top speed:     126mph
Economy:     26mpg

Choose your BMW 5 Series (E34)

1987: The E34 5 Series is launched, the first 5 Series to be available in Touring form.

1988: M5 and 518i introduced; 520i updated to M50 engine family.

1990: 525i upgraded to M50 engine family; 4WD option.

1992: 520i and 525i engines upgraded to M50TU with variable valve timing. M5 engine grows from 3.6 to 3.8 litres; V8-powered 530i and 540i join the range.

1993: 535i engine dropped and 540i gets six-speed manual ’box.

1994: M5 gets six speed manual, 518i upgraded to M43 engine.

1995: 540i LE launched for UK market with just 70 built. Saloon production ends later that year; Touring ends in summer 1996.

Lewis PlumbBMW, E34, BMW 525i SE