I ask this because I am wondering whether to 'save' for the E39 M5, or should I keep the E34 going? I am into drivers cars through and through, but I need to cart a load of stuff about, so the M5 is an ideal 'compromise'. Does the E39 provide the same sort of driver involvement, sound, steering feel that the E34 gives? Who has driven/passengered both?
I would be really interested in views.
I am not up for affording an E39 now (I might have to get rid of the E34 soon if my workplace goes belly-up!), but I wonder whether it is what I should be aiming at.
I had a 1992 3.8 M5 for 2 years, then my current 1995 6 speed M5 for the last year.
I went in a brand new V8 M5 as a passenger, with a BMW Salesman driving the car. He had to sign a sheet stating he would not turn any of the driver aids off !!! Can you believe it ?
The car was very nice, but did remind me more of the 1988 735i SE I had before the M5. the car was quick, yes, but not very aural. Sound was much more muted. It is obviously a quicker car, but I am not sure if it was more fun. Sat Nav and all that, much more like a luxury limo, that happens to be quick, rather than a quick car that has 4 doors.
Just my opinion from a very short journey.
If I bought one, it would be because it was newer and ought to be more reliable. (My E34 seems very reliable). I've heard horror stories regarding clutches and suspension on the V8's. Plus they are not hand made.
Saw one for less than £20,000 the other day...on the internet.
I don't want to do the car any injustice, I'd probably have one if I could. regretting it after may be a different matter though !!!!!
Interesting - because I have heard similar stories of the new M5 being quite muted aurally. Somehow the E34 seems to be able to sound muted when cruising but turn into a bit of a monster race car when you push the 'go' pedal harder.
I noticed the LHD ones for £20k - pretty temping! But toys like sat nav and the like get pretty boring before too long - it is the driving, steering feel, gear box and, maybe most of all, the sound (and power) of the engine that is addictive for a long time.
I agree the E39 M5 is a fast limo rather than something you 'drive'. Since the mid 90's cars manufacturers have gone overboard on sound suppression and safety (still waiting for an airbag to literally save my arse LOL) but overall this has resulted in quite boring and slower cars in general. The drive for fuel economy has also resulted in a slow down in highly tuned petrol cars with emphasis (right on wrongly) now on diesel. To give an example the 320 Merc Turbo Diesel E Class is faster than the V8 with 40mpg obtainable on motorways to boot.
I like the way the E34 is a sedate saloon under 4K revs and above this it sounds and feels like a track car. The switching to S further enhances this with a firm suspension setting. The noise outside is also incredible and getting a trusted friend to drive past you while standing on the pavement or opening all the windows while going through a tunnel is a must from time to time. Makes you feel warm inside.
Many of the hardcore M owners sold their E39's quite quickly on the basis that if your going to have an oil leak or a diff fail anyway(E39 cough) you might as well have the better driving experience and save yourself some money!
In answer to the question, no it isn't an upgrade or logical progression in the way the E34 was to the E28.
I've got to chime on this! I had an e-30 M3 and did lots of work to it: brakes, chip, cold air, exhaust, suspension, E-36 staggered rims etc., but I always thought I could go farther and faster with an E-36. I got the E-36 after my E-30 got stolen and it just wasn't the same. It felt, well, very "production." It was faster, but I didn't feel connected to anything, the car, the road, etc. I bought my M5 and it was the best of both worlds- luxury and the great sound when the cams come on. I also have a couple of kids now and I swear there was more room in the E-30 than the E-36! The E-34 is perfect. On the new M5 they have to pump the sound into the passenger compartment. It actually has some mechanism to accomplish this. If you need 400 hp, let Dinan stroke up your engine, don't spend 60K USD on what can be had for 15K USD!
Originally posted by M5 powered ...The noise outside is also incredible and getting a trusted friend to drive past you while standing on the pavement or opening all the windows while going through a tunnel is a must from time to time....
I drove 200 miles last weekend with all the windows down and the sunroof open. THe noise when hot is wonderful, especially when overtaking.
I`ve never heard an M5 go past, I don`t have any "trusted" friends I`d let the car go near.
It`s something I`m determined to hear, that`s why I`m hoping there are a few meets this year
I bought my E39 in January 00, I just bought a 95 Euro M5.
To elaborate, I love my E39. It is a really great car. I have had all the first year problems you would expect, including vanos, clutch, and wheel finish deteriorating. All of which were covered under warrantee. That said I have been really happy with the car.
There is however nothing like a highly tuned, high reving six banger when it coimes to aural pleasure. My V8 sounds quite nice, although somewhat muted, in third gear around 5,000 rpm the sound is quite pleasing. However the sound from the inline six is breath taking. The E34 is lighter, slightly more nimble, less obvious, especially when debadged and a hell of alot more exclusive.
The people who drive E34's are a bit more of a REAL enthusiast too. Many E39 drivers know less about thier cars (myself included) and have less appreciation and understanding for the ///M tradition, (not myself included). No flames guys, just an obsevation.
Keep the E34, but if you are still looking email me, I may well be unloading my E39 after a few months with my Euro.
"Many E39 drivers know less about thier cars (myself included) and have less appreciation and understanding for the ///M tradition"
No kidding. I went along with a bud when he bought a used S4 recently. The seller also had an E39 M5. S4, M5 -- car guy you'd think. No way. He was absolutley enthralled by my E34 M5 as he had no clue M5's existed before 2000! And then telling him about E28 M5's was like telling my daughter about rotray dial phones.
After I pried his attention from the lack of gimmicks on the E34's dash, he was taken by the visible individual throttle bodies and all the other cool underhood stuff otherwise hidden by the plastic manhole cover on his E39.