One of my favorite things when I drive the M is the encounters with others who truly know what a special car it is. Some of the comments they make and looks they give it just remind you of that feeling when you first brought your M back home to the driveway and stared at it.
What a fine piece of machinery, the epitome of handbuilt perfection and versatility. Oh, and that sound...
I have always loved nice cars, it's a curse you know. A car, to me should be something a bit special, fast, good handling, good sound, a real performer.
Until recently i've been an Audi man, but they do seem to lack a certain something for me in terms of driver appeal. And when my 90 Quatrro 20V (great car, great engine) got hit and written off recently, I decided to look for another one. But hens teeth are easier to find in good nick, so when an original 535 sport came along I had to have a look. Before I knew what i'd done it was sat outside my house.
Wow! Now this is more like it. Why o why hadn't I got one sooner. At last a car which really does tick all the right boxes. Unlike the caned Audi which always needed a list of things doing to it as long as your arm, the 535 works (a few consumables aside) exactly as BMW intended it to, luxiorius, tight fine handling, fast and an engine that's as smooth as silk. Even down to the illuminated gear knob! Fantastic!
So considering just how special an e34 M5 was and still is. My ability not to buy one stood no chance. And now i've one of those too.
My only problem is that I couldn't really afford the 535 sport. I certainly couldn't afford the M5. But to quote good old Tiff, "I don't even have to drive it, to know that i'd love it". And love it I do, Tiff. Despite never having driven it yet, in anger at least if you know what I mean.
This car is for keeps. I couldn't care less what it'll end up costing me. It seems to be (as the 535) in very good, original order but i'll give it a thorough once over anyway. Maybe an oil change, shim check, throttle balance check, good clean and waxoyl. And to hell with it, some new bushes while i'm at it. I love to tinker. This will all take a while but be reasonably cheap, which is just as well as all my "no claims bonus" was transfered onto a commercial policy for my Landy, meaning fresh insurance for the M5. £1300 best so far, massive kick in the nuts.
I would advise anyone who wants one to buy one now and cherish it. As the price of a decent 3.6 M5 can't fall any lower, can it?
When I was looking to change my car some 7-8 years ago, I needed something with more than 2 'child' seats in the rear like my Corrado had, something more comfortable on the long commutes I was doing (i.e. Liverpool to London on Monday, London to Sheffield on Tuesday, Sheffield to London on Thursday and London to Liverpool on Friday).
I loved my Corrado and had spent close to £12k modifying it over the 3 years I had it, but it became too hard for the road (Koni/Eibach suspension, 330mm AP brakes, short-shift, Schrick big valve head, Schrick valves, Schrick cams, Schrick variable geometry intake manifold, and custom AMD programming to make the VGI work efficiently at different revs).
I'm not a brilliant driver, but I used to love harassing the 911 Carreras of the same era at Oulton, Donington, Castle Combe & Anglesey - mainly on the brakes, but it all counts.
I finally got fed up with having no room in the car and having to supply a cushion to passengers when driving anywhere, so I started my search for a suitable replacement.
The replacement had to be 4/5 seats, 4/5 doors, MANUAL, RWD and not black leather. I immediately discounted a 911 as it didn't meat most of my requirements and I'd always think I'd swapped a good track car for a worse one. I tried an e55 AMG and though it was quick, it felt very sloppy when cornering, and the gearbox was a bit slow to change. Similar thing with the Jag XJ-R, but it felt a bit more planted as you seemed to be sitting lower to the ground. Tried an S8, but the tiptronic box didn't appeal, and it felt HUGE and not very nimble.
Finally I got to try an e34 M5 (3.8 5-speed), and whilst I thought the half-leather looked a bit 'old fashioned' compared to my all black leather Corrado (even though it was like an oven in there in summer), the seats seemed to support okay (obviously made for German plutocrats with more ample posteriors than the Corrado recaros though), and the dealer let me do a good few miles in it to really try it out (and he didn't say anything about warming it up first ).
It must have been the smile on my face that made the dealer think he'd got a deal there and then, but £22k for a 1994 5-speed 3.8 with 96,000 on the clock (this was in 2000) was a bit much for me and he wasn't interested in my Corrado as PX (well, he offered me £1500 'book' for it - when the book actually said £5,500 for an unmodified one ). So I told him I was interested, but I'd have to wait until I sold my Corrado - unfortunately being modified didn't make it easy to sell and it took 9 months of dropping the price regularly just to get people to call.
In the meantime I got fed up waiting and got a loan instead for £15k and then went out looking. I saw 3 or 4 at dealers, one of which was an LE in Orinoco with 146,000 on the clock going for £17k, but when I got down there I knew it would be trouble when the 'beige' leather turned out to be spearmint (or whatever it was called, petrol, mint, ) and the seat was torn, worn, scrubbed and basically really shabby even though the pictures I'd been sent showed a perfect interior
I saw one or two more before I found my Avis Blew one, and I was just lucky that the owner was in a rush to sell due to a divorce, mortgage payments and outstanding finance on the car. I didn't pay the owner a penny, I just had to make the cheque out to the finance company and they'd transfer the ownership to me as they'd basically repossessed the car and were going to trailer it away within the week. I got a bargain of an 86,000 mile, big brake, 6-speed, Avus Blau with silver grey suede & m-cloth for a shade under £15,000 - and I nearly crashed it at the first junction I pulled out of by being too ferocious with the clutch & throttle.
It's still the best all-rounder of it's era, and I don't think there's any of its peers that would perform today as well as they did in 1994. I know we all complain about the cost of these to run, but I can't see a Lotus Carlton, E55 AMG, Jaguar XJ-R, or Audi S8 costing any less to run - plus you should see how hard it is to get Lotus Carlton parts
I can still take the family out for the day in climate-controlled comfort, and then scare them shitless on the way back with some spirited (but only 7-8/10ths) driving
The only thing I miss, is the amount of track days I used to do in the Corrado - probably close to 15 a year with Bookatrack, which went to 5 a year in the 3.8 and I've not done one in the 3.6 - I must be getting old, or developing some sort of mechanical sympathy (yep, I'm getting old :p )
I've admired and lusted after the M5 for over 5 years. I've been driving BMW's since 1996 but didn't have the "financial fortitude" to run an M5 as it was meant.
My most recent BMW ( pre-M5 ) was a 535i with SLS. It was a great car but after a while I tired of the ride....a bit too soft for me....and I tinkered with the idea of a full suspension mod to sort out this issue. When I calculated the cost of changing the suspension....while retaining the SLS and buying new SLS shocks.......and the amount of money I had spent on it I suddenly had a brainwave.
Here I am stating that I couldn't afford to run an M5 but I'm spending roughly 4000 pounds/annum on a 535i .........along comes the idea that the M5 already has the sort of suspension I desire, though more expensive to run but hey, the gap between the two is not a gulf so why not take the plunge ?
Ok, decision made, what next ? I start searching for a cheap saloon but realise this isn't the way to go. I then create a budget cap and decide the Touring is more "me"......start the touring search and come across some cheap ones. Thank God I didn't buy any of them....thanks to you guys too of course .
The Fazmeister then makes me an offer I can't refuse and the official search for a good Touring begins....what happens to budget ?......out the window
We resolve to find one of the best currently on the European market.....if we're going to do this better do it right ay ?
We come across a couple, but none that meets our requirements then Faz suggests we inspect Stevie Sams car.
To cut a very long story short post inspection claim is that this may be one of the best....if not the best...Touring available and one of the best currently in use !
No need to think it over and we go for it . The rest, as is said, is history.
I knew it was a good car but not this good !
I have a couple of other BMW's...one is a daily driver E60 523i, and the other E36 325i was my wife's but is now assigned to school runs...so the M5 is only used when I really feel like driving.
Getting into it is such an enthralling experience....the smell of that connolly leather cannot be described.....the exhaust note....the manner in which the car builds power with revs.....the timeless design.....the unrivalled cabin ergonomics....I could go on and on !
My hobby is keeping the car as it was intended...I am a custodian of motoring history so gracefully passed on to me that this isn't a matter of choice but absolute necessity....anyone that know's this car will know where I'm coming from.........It's non- negotiable.
I'll won't sell her...though I know she's a "money pit" ( how true Faz ! ).......I've spent over 3500pounds on her and mind you, this is a car that has wanted for nothing all her life and was an absolute beauty. Imagine what would have happened to my finances if I'd settled for a budget M5 ?
Its a never ending love affair and I thank all of you guys, once again, for steering me in this direction.
Only issue now is how to buy EDC shock to keep for when the inevitable happens .....and its not funny mates !
The E34 M5 is one of the pinnacles of car develpoment, in the same category as the Ferrari F50. Electronics had developed to the point of being a help with manners and fuel consumption, but not to the point of being an interference. Modern cars have their control weights calculated by computer, the E34 M5 feels like they were assessed by a skilful engineer instead. I am selling my E39 530i because it makes me want to pull my hair out, it is fast enough, but it does not help me drive it well at speed.
My second e34 M5 already feels like my last one, which was a car that was always on my side, in any conditions. It was so faithful that electronic aids were totally redundant, whereas the newer car has scared me, ESP notwithstanding. I love the E34 M5 from its alternator cooling duct to its straight-through back box. There will never be another car like it, though it would make better drivers of everyone who could experience it. Who else ever made regular production cars with rose-jointed throttle linkages?
I will use it everyday because it makes the boredom of our roads bearable at any speed, and if I can't afford to fix it any time I will use my bike and the train until I can rather than buy a substandard alternative. I once drove 900 miles in a day in my last one at up to 155 mph, and the worst bit was having to turn it off at the end of the trip - I was never bored driving it. It is the best car I have ever driven, and if I won the lottery would be the first thing I'd spend my winnings on - lucky, eh, that I can already just about run my "lottery car"?
During the days, the E34S was available as a new car many car magazines wrote about it and for some reason, the Ralley racing comparison named "The beauty and the beast" (German language) made a nice impression. Maybe it's the picture of the E34S flying at the 'big jump' after Pflanzgarten, maybe it's the total content. In any case, for those who can read the German language its a very nice read. It also epicts the origin of the nickname 'beast'. E39S owners argue that it was first used for the S62 version which may be the case for the artcles written in the English language, but the above report clearly prooves that the nickname 'beast' has been used to refer to the E34S version already in 1990.
Anyhow, I still have the original magazine and when I found it back somewehere in 1999, I already had bought my E34S HD91 version, which in plain English means E34 M5 with the 3,6litre engine. I was just 26 back then and an E34S version was not my first idea of a succesor to my Opel Astra GSI-16V with the legendary C20XE engine. At first I wanted an E36S as the coupe appealed to me more. The budget limited me to an early S50B30 version, but as I am 2mtr tall, the E36 interior space is rather small, especially with a sunroof. Then somewhere in the summer of 1998 I spotted a nice Avus Blue 3,8litre of just five years old for sale that had recently been imported from Germany. I drove it and liked it and it would have fitted in the budget too if not the car had some significant signs of high speed accident damage that was poorly repaired.
I ended up buying an E34S in December 1998 when I had limited my options between two examples. One rather low specced 3.6 that was offered for 27500DM by a BMW dealer in Borken and my current car with good specifications for sfr 32500 that was offered by a BMW sub dealer in tax-free Samnaun. Both cars had little less then 100k km on them, which was a requirement that I could not fullfill with the E34S's that were offered for sale in Holland back then. I decided to go for the Swiss car as it had the better specification and it hadn't been used in the winter since its (first) owner used a VW Golf III VR6 synchro for that.
My first intention was to use it as a semi daily car, but not in the winter or in poor weather conditions. However, once I got myself into a relationship with my current wife it became a secondary car, only for fun drives, Alps tours such as the Europatour and holiday trips in the Summer.
E34S ownership also opened a new world on the Internet for me meeting new friends and new visions. Since then I have been part in the organization of many meetings such as the E34S Alps tour that is being driven in the last weeks of the summer since 2002. Also the many Nordschleife meets have enriched my E34S ownership experience with as climax the combined www.e34m5.de and www.m5board.com meeting in April 2006. E34S ownership also got myself into E28S ownership (See this thread.
The E28S serves a different purpose for me then my E34S. The E34S has been a secondary car that is used for Alps trips and the occasional Nordschleife laps. The E28S will be kept as a timecapsule that in time will be returned to condition 1. My E34S is a good condition 3 (maybe 2-3, but I cannot rule out owners subjectiveness so keep it at a '3') that last week has been assessed at 23500 Euro for an agreed value. I keep it in factory original condition and only use new OEM parts.
However, I am concidering changing use of the E34S and strike the Nordschleife. If I do so, my intentions with my E34S will shift to that of my E28S although I will keep on using it for the occasional fun-drive.
As primary car we have a W203 C180 Kombi. A completely different car when compared to my E34S, but ideal to avoid speeding tickets in 'Big brother is watching you' Holland.
I actually bought mine as I wanted a comfy runabout compared to my Honda .... plus I always wanted an M5 for some reason, probably because I remembered the original reviews and how special a car it was.
It was also time for me to cut my RWD teeth!
I now feel I always should own some sort of M5, just because it soaks up distance, people and luggage so easily - it's a great all rounder.
The first M car I drove was the E34M5 in 1991 and the performance bowled me over. Not being able to afford one I spied an E28 M5 in Exchange and mart and bought it.
On the journey back from Hampshire in said car I came across an E34 M5 (with the turbine wheels) on the M3 motorway and took sometime to take in the lines.
4 E28 M5's (a truly great car) later a friend in the trade offered me a 3.6 litre car for very silly money, it had been taken in part ex for a porsche and they wanted to out it.
For the price I thought it was a good and cheap way to experience the later model. Six months later I was keen to purchase the 3.8 model as what I really liked over the E28 was the stiffer monoque.
A chance holiday in Greece had me playing tennis with an engineer from Motorsport and he mentioned that many of the factory (staff) cars were sold through the local paper The sud deutche zeitung.
It took me ages to get my local newsagents to sign me up to receiving this, finally the flow of newspapers started (sept 1997) and I spied a 3.8 1992 with a very low mileage (11,000kms) 7k miles being offered for silly money - at that time we had the deutche mark and the exchange rate was in the UK's favour.
I was on the plane within two days and purchased the car - it represented a cost of one third to the price I would have to pay for a similar car in the UK.
200,000 kms later I still have this wonderful car and get a kick out of silly little things - like the brakes (I fitted the later 94 spec calipers and discs) when you park it up at night in the garage the tink tink of the metal cooling.
The irregular and deep chested exhaust note when taking the car out of the garage in the morning and its return in the evening.
The sound of the engine in whatever revs, the tactile messages when punting it through the lanes. The ability to floor the throttle when overtaking and know that this can be acheived with no drama or inconvenience to other road users.
To push it through the corners and feel the steering load up with no 'oh my god suprises'
The 'raw' delivery which E39 owners will never appreciate in this last of the handbuilt M cars to leave Garching.
That if hanging on a rope on a cliff face the one person who could save you said take my V10 and I'll take your last of the 6 cylinders, I'd have to say no!
It is the most understated expression of true unadulterated driving machines where the driver and car can have fun without the nanny electronic safety net.