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E34 M5 Discussion 1988-1995 Sedan and Touring


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Old 14th July 2006, 01:47   #1
Sebring NL
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Post Driven ; Exact opposite performance E34 to the M5

Right

With my constant envy of Mr Bushby, Stevie's idea to let me do some cosmetic work on the 540/6 before the sunday meeting whilst he tried to fix my "strange noise" ,was a more than welcome scheme.

Tonight Stevie and me thought it would be nice to swap cars for a day.

This landed the keys of his Orientblue V8 in my hand and the keys of my Sebring vice versa.


Offcourse I had to test the new big-bore TB , although I haven't really caned the car before it had that upgrade to compare.

You wouldn't believe how different these cars compare:

1) Rev counter and speedo look massive, due to the lack of 1000 revs and 40 km's making room for bigger numbers...How could I have ever had 2 E34's for over 150.000 km and get used to the tiny M5 lettering ?

2) Driving the V8 around town renders the throttle useless, au contraire to the M5 which basically needs half throttle to even run properly!

3) The sound of the V8 is much smoother, even at idle it is soo much tighter than the solid-lifter rumble the S38 produces. It rides the revs fast, but compared to the M5 you run out of breath a bit earlier. IMO not much point in taking things further than 5500 as the immense torque will keep her going when upshifting. 5500, hell, in the Sebring that means DOWNSHIFT I liked the V8 sound on both my E38's, but I think its all about what suits you. Right now I think I prefer the inline six howl

4) The position of the needles from the tacho and rev counter are strange compared to the M5. Imagine this: Cruising at the same speed you would normally end 3rd gear in the S38, but now around 3200 in sixth! In the M that would mean roughly 4500 in 5th! I have never seen my revs point out lower than my speedo

5) Ever tried to do a nearly-walking pace city turn in the M5? Bet you weren't in f%ckin third gear and pulled away clean!

6) My all time favourite corner, LH into my homevillage, is usually taken sideways. Tonight, I only managed a smoking LR wheel.. oh yes, where was that LSD again?

Now then , some things are the same:

1) This model is by far and amost the best package for a sedan BMW ever made. Its remarkebly swift through tight corners compared to other heavy sedans ( bear in mind that stevie's car is also on non-OEM shocks and springs) , has virtually no on-board rattles ( Try that in yer average E60!!) and handles very well for its weight.

2) In both cars, you can only tell its a fast one by actually looking at the speedo. V8 simply keeps on pulling and pulling and the S38 winds up revs, but never a real kick in the back like on Scooby's or T5r's. Its all so effortlesly and smooth that you don't really feel like its a fast car. Just so bloody effective when you need to be somewhere in a short timespan, like making it over to Calais... Sensation of speed may be less than in a turbo car, but I prefer sheer speed over "speed feeling" these days.

3) Both cars seem to come alive when you start to use the 2 or 3 highest gears. Sure, 100 in second can be done, but it feels a bit unnatural in a 1590/1670key übersedan. I have always been a fan of 3rd and 4th gear in my own car, as it cancels out the weight advantage some other cars have , and allows you to use full rev range over a longer period, unlike the 1st gear which runs out in the blink of an eye. In 4th the S38 still pulls seriously and turns much newer sportscars to dust. In the V8, you can either keep her low in revs and roll on torque , or use all the revs. The V8 seems happier in the higher gears too, as the revs are a bit lower in total than the S38 , it makes up for that by the always-available torque which is not necessairy for performance in low gears. Once on the roll, these cars simply keep on going


Its so strange that these cars both are E34's , as the power delivery and gearbox seem eachothers complete opposites. The interior differences may add to the confusion ( leather.sport against fabric.regular and the difference in steering rack) but still, the difference is HUGE. Dave B, have you got a split personality by now?


Well. its also cool to say that between a 525iX sedan, an M5 and the 540/6 I've certainly had some of the rarest E34 downstairs in the garage....
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Last edited by Sebring NL; 14th July 2006 at 08:18.
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Old 14th July 2006, 02:48   #2
Stevie
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Too early a start tomorrow for a full report now, but will say this: the howl is GREAT! Too bad one spends so much time waiting to get there....

The seats are a revelation, the sunroof a delight but painful (bump), and I keep trying to press this button on the backend of the console. The one that normaly operates my only rattle.....
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Old 14th July 2006, 03:05   #3
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Great write-up Wout. So you are envious of my cars as well

They certainly are both very different cars. But I don't know about a 'split personality'.

I'm usually more likely to be emabarassed in the M5 as you need to be more on the ball, up in the revs and ready etc when someone wants to take you on than the 540i, in which you can just plant and go.

Hard to comment on the sound. I have always loved V8's (the 540i is my 7th car with a V8 - 3rd V8 BMW - the others were all GM variants of some sort) and I love that V8 sound.

But the howl of the M5 is unique and nothing really matches it.

In terms of Stevie's comments on the interior, both mine have the leather sports set up, the 540i having a darker bi-colour feel and the M5 - with the light silvergrey extended leather, a lighter more airy feel. For some reason though, the M5 seat can be adjusted lower which, as Wout and Stevie who both have a similar height issue as do I (but not as extreme as The Bigfella's) will attest, is important when trying to wear a helmet.

Both my cars also have the 300km/h ///M instrument cluster.

But overall, although everthing is very much the same, everything is also very much different!

Look forward to reading Stevie's detailed comments.

Cheers
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Old 14th July 2006, 08:37   #4
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Hi Wout, I really enjoyed your write-up, and as I am fortunate (like David) to have both models, I found myself nodding as I read your comments.

Like non-identical twins, the two cars have a lot in common but quickly demonstrate their differences when asked.

In addition to the points you mention, the two things that stand out for me when I jump from one to the other, are the steering and the brakes. (BTW both my cars have stock standard items). IMHO, the M5 gives much better feedback to the driver in both areas, and more confidence to push the car harder.

I tend to use the 540 more for daily driving, for all the reasons you mention - but the M5 is definately the wilder child. Hard to believe they came from the same parents really.

I'm also looking forward to Stevie's response.

Cheers, Geoff.

'91 M5, '94 540i/6
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Old 14th July 2006, 10:34   #5
Chas C
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If you really want to surprise yourself, get a back to back comparison with a BiTurbo. I'm not a fan of LHD but the M5 has been firmly relegated to 2nd place since this one arrived.

Imagine an M5 which purrs like a kitten at idle. It feels more like my 735 around town which makes sense because it's basically the same engine, albeit with better breathing. What's most impressive is the wall of torque available from 2000 revs, substantially more than the V8. There's no turbo lag to speak of either so it doesn't feel like a Scooby or a T5.

In short, it has the best qualities of both the M5 and the 540 but in even greater measure.

I like this car
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Old 14th July 2006, 10:48   #6
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Find me a 1988 Bi-turbo and I will buy it.
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Old 14th July 2006, 10:59   #7
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you want a bi-turbo?

it's not a 1988 but check the km's !

http://www.autoscout24.ch/AS24Web/De...&page=2&row=10

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Old 14th July 2006, 13:21   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie
the howl is GREAT! Too bad one spends so much time waiting to get there....
That's what the 6 speed box with 3.91 diff make use of, you get up there in no time then!





....then you have to change gear....and again, and agian, and again....
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Old 14th July 2006, 23:34   #9
Sebring NL
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Getting used by the "8 men at the bar" underneath my hood now. Just spend some highway cruising and got several gauntlets thrown at me

Whilst I was on my way to a friend, I reckoned it a good idea to add another 200km's and head for the german border, where the following occured on those nice empty and well-lit Autobahns with hardly any traffic on fridayevenings *:


On a piece of Autobahn I encountered a nice ( well, some people would like it) dressed- up E38 740i..I wanted to get some head to head action when a frigging Renault Mégane Diesel thought it would be nice to play "referee" by getting in the way, knowing exactly what he was doing, and responding to neither the inner 540 lights flashing, nor my hard-to-mistake hand gesture or the horn . At the next trafficlight he found it necessairy to lecture me. Easy to guess that his raised voice caused Mr Hyde to awake, and in my best car-salesmen vocabulary I kindly pointed him towards the posibility to have sexual intercourse with himself. I have never been known for my patience, and this man was really pulling my chain. I never exceeded speed limits but this to55er now knows what Pzero's smell like under stress and will be able to tell his fellow sandal-wearing-non-meat-eating-little-house-on-the-prairie-watching-world-improvers what a proper V8 sounds like at full launch. Anyways I was lucky enough to catch up with the E38 later on, and on the piece of Autobahn heading for Gronau we got a little competitive. Sad to say that the über Limo had only one chance to keep up, between 180 and 210 the SterlingSilber dot in my rearview remained the same, just to disappear shortly after engaging 5th gear. Another Slushpuppy killed!


Coming back from that particular part of Germany, I encountered two spoilered Corrado G60's at the traffic light, two guys with both ugly rims and ditto girlfriends ( I hope they were their sisters ). They were on the "fast" lane and revving their tiny G-kompressors under great laughter, not noticing the wide-grilled Orient-blue 518 that stopped next to them. One pretty extended blip of the throttle made the mighty V8 sing and Voilá, not much G60 whizz to hear anymore, just 4 amazed heads gazing my way..Traffic light turns green, one of them trails but the other one tries to catch me unguarded and speeds off...I promised myself to stay under 4500 rpm but passed him just about when I wanted to shift to third..

Nice thing about this car is that , because its 1994 registration, the mix of E34 with a wide kidney grille in Holland is probably like this:

75% 518i
10% 525i
10% M5
4.9% 540i
0.1% 540i/6

Obviously, many boy-racer are not mistaking for a small contest as soon as they spot my drug-dealer 18's and the M5 spoilers and badges ( and those big F#ckoff brakes in a few days!) . In the 540, they think its just a 519 with some silly sticker on the booth. Very nice, this low-profile thing..It surprised many cars on the road yester&today:

* Corrado G60
* 740i
* Pug 306 S16
* Some semi-fast shoebox model volvo


This fun was not why I had the V8 in posession though:


I had just finished applying some wax to the 540 when I drove off for some V8 fun.. Also a paperclip end comes in handy when trying to touch-up a million stonechips since 1994..5























* oh, and E36 M3 mirrors bolt straight on an E34 since its frontwheeldrive.

Last edited by Sebring NL; 14th July 2006 at 23:37.
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Old 15th July 2006, 01:46   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebring NL
Getting used by the "8 men at the bar" underneath my hood now. Just spend some highway cruising and got several gauntlets thrown at me
Wout,

Nice write-up about the old sigar smoking gentlemen car
Just talked about your sebring with the old gentlemen

Good job, the 540i/6 never shined that much before.
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