The BMW E34 M5 was the last hand assembled M series car and the last M5 to feature the race inspired inline six cylinder engine. This engine, which was basically the same as used in the M1, offered 315 bhp and transformed the 5-series saloon into a proper wolf in sheep's clothing. Acceleration time from 0-100 kph was around 6 seconds, and the top speed was limited to 250 kph as that became fashionable at the end of the eighties among the German manufacturers.
If you are looking for a great condition example of the iconic M5, then you found it. This magnificent sports saloon has now turned 30 years old, making it a perfect classic BMW to collect. This is a rare opportunity and we believe it won't be available for very long.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY:
The E34 BMW M5, when first introduced, was the fastest four-door saloon in the world. To date, it was the last M5 to be powered by a six-cylinder engine utilising the S38B36 engine which was first seen in the BMW M1.
The E34 M5 is the BMW Motorsport-developed version of the E34 5 Series & was produced at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany. Like the previous M5, it was entirely hand-built. A total of only 5,877 examples with the 3.6 litre M engine were assembled between September 1988 & April 1992. The M5 utilized the 535i chassis which was produced at BMW’s Dingolfing plant. Assembly was done either by a team of M employees whilst engines were each painstakingly built by hand by BMW M technicians.
Mechanical Specifications: Power was courtesy of the S38 twin-cam 24-valve inline-six, an evolution of the engine used in the E28 M5 and E24 M6. The engine was designated S38B36, with a bore of 93.4 mm and stroke of 86 mm for a total capacity of 3,535 cc producing 232 kW (315 PS; 311 bhp), and 360 N·m (266 ft·lbf) at 4750 rpm. Induction was fed via 6 individual 50mm throttle bodies. The added stroke for increase over 3.5 litres was due to an all new forged-steel crankshaft. Camshafts were of course long duration to encourage high rev breathing. Compression ratio was 10:1. The engine also featured Bosch Motronic fuel injection, equal length stainless steel exhaust headers, and three-way ceramic catalysts.
All M5s built before May of 1994 utilized a Getrag 280/5 five-speed manual gearbox mated to a lightweight flywheel with the following ratios: 3.51 (1), 2.08 (2), 1.35 (3), 1.00 (4), 0.81 (5). This was mated to a 3.91:1 final drive.
The chassis of the E34 M5 is based on the MacPherson strut/semi-trailing arm design of the normal E34 M535i but incorporated the following additional handling improvements: 20mm reduction in ride height, 25 percent firmer spring rates, firmer shock valving all around and self-leveling springs in the rear, thicker antiroll bars* (25mm vs. 23mm in the front, 18mm vs. 15mm in the rear) & adjustable rear toe-in
Interior Features: Though the basic architecture of the interior is identical to that of any E34 5 Series, the M5 interior has the following unique items: The instrument cluster contains red needles, an oil temperature gauge under the tachometer (instead of an economy gauge) and an M logo between the speedometer and tachometer. This instrument cluster includes an integrated check control vehicle monitoring system. A three-spoke M-Technic II steering wheel without airbag was also included in the specifications. Like the E28 M5, there are “M5” trim plates on all four door sills and a fully-carpeted trunk with a luggage net and special storage compartment on the left side.
All E34 M5s are equipped with sport front seats, identical in shape and adjustment to those fitted as an option to other E34 5 Series models, offering full electrical adjustability with memory and dual climate control, electric sunroof. The rear view mirror is auto-dimming and of course there’s full electrical specification. Even 3 decades on, the interior of this car remains one that’s a pleasure to be with.
Performance figures: 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 6.3 s Top speed: 155 mph (250 km/h). But if the luxurious surroundings and long-legged stride of the M5 ease you into the treacherous conditions, the jagged howl of the 340bhp straight-six spurs you on to look beyond the big saloon’s ability to cosset. At first you wonder if that the sonorous, searing soundtrack is writing cheques that the engine can’t cash, but stick with it & push the throttle deeply and the M5 gets very serious: At 4000rpm the 3.6-litre engine sends you up the road on a rich seam of torque and as the revs increase, the power continues to build ever more strongly.
Between 6000 and 7000rpm the engine is in the sweetest of sweet spots – and if that sounds fleeting, it isn’t; the M5 is very long geared (third stretches to 100mph) and you find yourself savouring the finale of the metallic symphonic orchestra up front. Keep the M5 singing over 4000rpm and it lives up to its super saloon billing with ease, even now 30 years after being hand assembled by BMW’s M technicians. In fact it’s even better than that. The E34 is smaller than equivalent modern four-doors and is almost 300kg lighter than the current M5. The way it keeps its 1650kg under control is simply stunning.