This beautiful E34 M5 is the first and only example we’ve bought in Japan over 12 years. The few we have seen over the years have been tired, high mileage, neglected and long past their prime. This particular example was bought new in 1991 and owned by a mature Japanese enthusiast who always kept it garaged, polished, protected and serviced. Throughout it’s life it’s never been driven hard & has always been carefully parked and cared for. The result is a car that doesn’t have a single stone chip, pin dent or scratch on it’s original factory paint. We daresay this may well be not just one of the lowest genuine mileage examples left in existence, but the best kept example of all. It’s a concours condition collector’s car that deserves to be preserved as one of the last hand built models made by BMW.
Brief History: 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. On European & Japanese spec M5s, the seats could be upholstered in a unique M cloth with leather boolsters and this feature is evident on this example. 20 years ago BMW offered full electrical adjustability with memory, 4 heated seats and dual climate control, electric sunroof and even retractable UV nets for rear seat occupants. The rear view mirror is auto-dimming and of course there’s full electrical specification including dead locks. Even 2 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)(electronically limited).
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 supersaloon billing with ease, even now 20 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 200kg lighter than the current M5. The way it keeps its 1650kg under control is simply stunning.
The Ultimate Driving Machine: There’s just a bit of initial understeer at the limit, and even when you deliberately provoke it the M5 seems happier to adopt small oversteer angles than mighty power-slides, but it’s immensely satisfying to use the saloon’s competence to good effect. As you get more committed to the throttle, so you learn that the M5 has enormous reserves of grip and seemingly limitless composure. It’s an astonishingly wieldy, nimble car. Only slow steering slightly spoils the picture, but you soon forget about that and revel in the engine’s response and the chassis’ remarkably tweakable balance. If the sign of a truly great chassis is its ability to adapt to the driver’s every whim, then the E34 M5 is from the top drawer. It takes time to uncover this precise adjustability though, to learn how to get the best from the big straight-six with racebred tuning, but it’s worth every effort. It’s a car you have to show commitment to before it reveals its soul. A car you could spend a great deal of time with and never get bored of. A true classic in every sense.
Condition of this example is absolutely flawless. At Japanese trade auction this car was awarded a grade 4.5 which is unheard of for a car this age. When we came across it it was hard to believe the condition was so flawless after all this time and naturally there was a fight between ourselves and competition to win this car through the highest bid. It wasn’t an inexpensive car to secure by any stretch of the imagination, but unique quality like this isn’t expensive. It is priceless.
Having closely inspected this car from top to bottom including going over all the bodywork with a fine toothed comb, we found just 3 tiny faults. There’s a small chip on one of the wheel rims (See picture) and all 4 tyres are old and in need of replacement (This is due to lack of mileage – another sign of the genuine low mileage here. We’ll be replacing all 4 tyres with new before shipping). The engine’s cam cover has lost some of it’s original paint. We’ll be re-finishing with matching crackle finish paint before shipment. One of the rear (Driver side rear) quarter light retractable curtains no longer retracts. As this is an NLA part we cannot replace it. Finally, the tool kit & first aid kit are both complete and unused except for a adjustable pliers. We’ll be replacing this before shipping also. The car has absolutely no corrosion on the underside or anywhere else, nor any oil leaks. It’s an absolute gem of an E34 M5.
Note we have described every minor fault on the car. It’s always been our intention to give as detailed and accurate a description as possible with photographic support.
Contact us for further details of how to reserve this unique E34 M5.