Last Sunday, I, my father and Jeroen ter Laat (webmaster www.bmwe21.net
) visited the AvD oldtimer Grand Prix on the Nurburgring. As I mentioned in a post before, I took both the E28 ///M5 and E34 ///M5. The original plan was to take Travel with the E28 ///M5 only, but since Europe suffers from extraordinary temperatures for quite some time right now and there is no sign that this will end shortly, we called several companies to either refill the A/C system with R12 or either convert it to R134a which according to two (independent) sources, isn't a costly exercise as the only parts that are required is a 'container' and other filling and bleeding nipples. Since I wanted the option of using the A/C during the day and that with the German short duration registration (KKE) one isn't allowed to use the Nordschleife (NS), I decided to take the E34 ///M5 also. BTW: Not only cars on KKE's are not allowed on the Nordscheife. Also cars on German export plates are prohibited from entering the NS. Please keep this in mind when visiting Germany on a European Delivery program!!
Already at 6.45AM, Jeroen arrived at my parent's place where I keep the E28 ///M5 garaged. We quickly transferred enough soft drinks and sandwiches into the trunk of the E34 ///M5, and left at approx. 7.00AM. Fortunately, it was rather foggy in the morning and as such the sun couldn't shine that hard. This comfortable condition ended at approx. 8.00AM after which the fog disappeared. On the last section of Autobahn A1 (from Bruhl to Trier), we overtook a very nice DV E34 M5 sedan. He hooked up in our small train and with an average pace of approx. 180km/h we managed to complete that last section. After the autobahn, one still needs to travel approx. 25km to the NS over country roads, but this can easily take 45mins, especially with large events taking place. Nevertheless, we arrived on the NS at approx. 10.15AM. This was still a bit too early as the NS opened at 10.30AM. Already a large crowd was waiting for the NS to open causing a small traffic jam at the round about before the entrance. Shortly after we parked our cars, we saw Dominik's ///M5 in the row of waiting cars. Shortly after, the NS opened causing a relief on the parking area. In the mean time, the temperature had risen at approx. 30 degrees Celsius so we bought ourselves a cup of coffee before buying a ticket for the track. We expected a crowded track later in the afternoon and wanted to use the opportunity to drive at least one lap already. Instead, the temperatures continued rising to approx. 33 degrees higher on the hills (even more in the villages in the valleys below).
As I said, the E28 ///M5 was spared from track duty as it that car is too nice and rare to endure it to the risks on the track. Actually I only took that car for a long test drive so the internals of the engine could be cleaned. With the A/C of the E34 set at approximately 22 degrees, we headed for the entrance. Before entering the track, I told Jeroen to hide his digicam because sometime ago, the Nurburging management prohibited shooting footages from cars on the track. Marshals at the entrance gate supervise and when they see a camera, they kindly ask to move it to the trunk. As my digicam isn't what one would say pocket sized, I didn't even try keeping it within hand. This lap was also the first time that I could really try my new Dunlop SP9000 255/40ZR17 rear tires. After entering the Nordschleife, the track is rather straight until the Antonius Brucke. At the downhill straight before the Antonius-Brucke, I accelerated at full throttle when I saw a new MB E-class approaching from behind really fast. I was already on the ideal line, but even at full throttle from my side, I knew he would pass me before the next high-speed corner. Only an AMG E55 Kompressor could develop such pace. It is a really nice car with tremendous power and unbeatable on straight-line acceleration. The Automobil Club Von Deutschland (AvD) used it to present their guests a ride on the NS during the OGP. Impressive or not, this new generation of performance limousines are unable to develop a nice exhaust tone. Apart from a damped V8 rumble, one doesn't hear much from the outside. Disappointing? That is up to its owner to decide.
My first lap was rather good. Compared to my previous 235 rears, I felt that with the 255 rears, I could approach corners a little bit more aggressive as grip isn't an issue anymore. Despite it's length of 20,8km and the hot ambient temperatures, the oil temp only reached 108 degrees Cecil's at the exit when a small traffic jam developed. The coolant temperature was rock solid at the middle. After the mandatory cooling down session, I measured both my and Dominik's brake temperature. Dominik's fronts where 200 degrees Celsius, mine where 160 degrees. The difference in driving style may explain a part of the difference, but as my brake pads where replaced in August last year and have less then 6500km on them, it could be that my newer pads dissipate heat more rapid than Dominiks older pads. IMO, brake performance of the 315*28mm front disks of the E34 ///M5 is sufficient for most applications and I never experience any problems on the NS, even when my car easily surpasses the 1700kg curb weight. I realize that the situation on other smaller tracks may be different, but all in all, the stock brakes are more then adequate.
After Dominik and I returned from the parking lot on the other side of the entrance road (unlike the main parking area, there is lot's of shade here), Konstantin and Andrew approached me in front of the track-office. Konstantin has spent the whole weekend there with some other members of the e34m5.de crew. This was the first time that I met some members of the e34m5.de crew and while talking and looking at Andrew's Winkelhock E34 ///M5, I suggested to go to Brunchen, one of the viewpoints. Brunchen isn't that far away from the NS-entrance, but it offers a beautiful view on the track. To be honest, it was too hot to walk through the entire Brunchen section, but Jeroen and I did so to acquire some nice images. I recently acquired a Sony DSC-F717 digital still camera of which I wanted to test some manual controls In shutter priority mode, I shot some nice pictures, amongst others an E39 M5 from BMW Fahrertraining drifting through the last section of Brunchen. The person that drove it (Sabine Schmitz?) surely has fun there. The drift was impressive, but like the E55AMG Kompressor its exhaust tone isn't. It simply misses the exotic tone of for instance an M88 or S38. In that respect, one can say that the S38 engine is the last of the real thoroughbreds (Slippery of the tongue).
After spending approx. an hour at the Brunchen area, I noticed that there wasn't much traffic so I decided to drive a second lap. At the time, Konstantin and the others from e34m5.de where about the visit the jump near Pflanzgarten. Dominik also drove his second lap then with a few passengers, but I didn't know this. We must have been on the track simultaneously, but who was in front of the other, I can't tell. In the mean time, the ambient temperature had risen to the maximum level for that day with an approx. height of 35 degrees Celsius that in Europe is really hot. Before entering the track for my second lap, I saw Dick Hoekendijk talking to some other people. Dick is an NS veteran who recently acquired a MY94 E34 ///M5 3.8 solely for NS driving. However, he couldn't use his ///M5 because of some maintenance work that needed to be carried out. Instead he used his business car, an Audi A6 2.5TDI Quattro, in Dick's hands, no slouch either as I experienced myself later. Compared to my first lap, my second one went smoother. The track temperature was high meaning that the adhesive grip had increased too. It was impossible to look for Konstantin and others at the Pflanzgarten area as the section they where standing requires concentration because of the jump followed by a sharp right corner with an off camber tarmac. Here the car lifts easily and an active ABS is troublesome. Not that the E34 ///M5 has a tendency to lock it's brakes randomly as many other cars do, but it is important not to brake before the car stabilizes. Here one can clearly notice the development work that was spend to our cars many years ago. Nowadays, track testing is done for almost all cars, but back in the late 1980's, this wasn't the case at all.
Despite my intention to visit the club-parking areas where the car clubs presented their member's car, there was not much time left to do so. After my second lap, I saw Dick Hoekendijk again and during the conversation that followed, I introduced Dick to some members of our group. My father and Jeroen where standing in front of the ///M pavilion when Dominik called my father. He was looking for us to get that promised ride in my E28 ///M5. With Konstantin and Domink as passengers, I drove a stretch of country roads towards the A61. It was here that I noticed that something with the throttle or fuel pressure is not functioning properly. Between 3500RPM and 4000RPM and at full throttle, the engine hesitates for a second after which it resumes revving (Nasty when overtaking Porsches as Dominik and Konstantin can attest). I had experienced this behavior during some leisure drives in Holland before, but as the car was little used over the past few years I assumed a long trip would solve this issue. Another (related) problem is that when rolling at low speed, the engine stalls slightly, but unlike the first situation between 3500RPM and 4000RPM it continues to do so with a time interval of approx. 2-sec. After we returned to the parking space, Dominik and his girlfriend left for some kind of lake. After returning to the ///M pavilion, Dick invited me for a lap in his Audi A6. Dick has a relaxed driving style without any aggression. The internal rest he shows when driving on the NS is truly remarkable. Dick is very relaxed and it seems as if he is taking it easy. Nevertheless, he is able to throw his A6 2.5TDI Quattro into the corners of the NS with a high level of control compensating for the lack of dynamics of his Diesel engine. During this lap, Dick demonstrated the higher skills of driving. After this demonstration, I knew that I have a lot to learn. I look forward to next time, but then in his E34 ///M5.
Whilst walking away from Dick's car, I met Ufuk Dirim, a member from www.bmwm5.com
who was the driving force for a members meeting of that forum. I already expected Kees and Johann, but didn't see any sign of them yet. Apparently they partied a bit too long on Sunday morning. Ufuk told me that they would come though but needed their recovery time. Anyhow, I decided to drive another third lap. Harry from e34m5.de, an E34 ///M5T owner had never driven the NS before, so he joined me on my last lap. The experience that I learnt from the lap with Dick helped me to improve my lines on some parts. In fact, this was my best lap until so far. While exiting the track from a cooling down ride, I heard a claxon. Behind me Johan and Kees waved at me in Johans track prepped E46 ///M3. Johan is really crazy guy. He bought a new E46 M3 about two years ago only to convert it into a track car for the NS. He installed a roll- cage and replaced the original seats for Sparco race buckets. With the Kelleners engine tuning, this car is seriously fast. Kees, Johan and Ufuk, where joined by a few other members from www.bmwm5.com.
Two of them had traveled from Saudi Arabia just to see the OGP. When I told Kees that I brought the E28 ///M5 with me (in fact Kees was the reason why I bought this car back in 2001), he was anxious to see it. Also curious where the two guys from Saudi Arabia as one of them also owns an Euro E28 ///M5. Needless to say, they where all impressed with the clean condition of my car.
By that time, it was already close to 6.00PM and I wanted to shake hands with Konstantin, Harry and Andrew and some others whom I met that day before I left. They where still enjoying some soft drinks at the terrace of the Grune Holle restaurant, but also intended to leave. I couldn't find Kees and Johan anymore. I guess they left to eat something. Last but not least, I saw Dick talking with a German E34 ///M5 owner who stripped his car completely and transferred it into a lightweight racer. Finn and Dominik know that car as they have seen it in April 2002. Then, it (@Dominik: The red E34 ///M5 parked in front of the track office then!!!) wasn't really in a nice condition, but now it had been completely repainted in white, the interior stripped from everything. Only present was a drivers race bucket, a battery and the safety features. The controls where positioned on an aluminum panel replacing the center console. According to Dick who knows that owner for quite some time, the weight has been reduced to approx. 1350kg. Normally, I hate to see E34 ///M5's that way, but when a car isn't worth to be kept as a collective or it is in a poor condition (as that car was), I don't have much trouble with it being converted for racing purposes. Unfortunately I didn't make any pictures of it, as the final result was really good. Christian has put a lot of effort and dedication in that project. According to Dick, Christians car handles completely different compared to his original 3.8 that he kindly nick named 'the fat lady'. Given the weight difference, this isn't much of a surprise although there are not many people who are in a position to experience this.
After I said goodbye to the people whom where still there, we left for Adenau to eat something before driving the 450km home. We always use the same restaurant in the center of Adenau as it has a nice terrace overviewing the main road on which so may classics and exotics drive on. At approx. 8.15PM, we left Adenau, but with it's 70litre fuel capacity, the E28 ///M5 was in need of a refill. Unfortunately for us, all Super Plus 98 Octane at the petrol station in Adenau had been sold out. Only available was Euro 95 Octane fuel. The E34 ///M5 S38 engine safely accepts this lower octane fuel, but on the higher compression M88/3 engine this is asking for trouble. The shop owner lost himself one of his better potential customers of that day, but with so many cars in the vicinity there, I doubt he would have bothered. Despite the E28 ///M5 having only approx. 15 to 20 liters of fuel left, I decided to wait for the next opportunity on Autobahn A61. The journey home was without any trouble and at 00.15AM we returned home.
E28 ///M5 Driving Report:
Apart from the engine hesitating in some occasions, the E28 ///M5 showed no fault. It proved to be rock solid, smooth and agile. I couldn't hear or feel vibrations, rattles or noises that shouldn't be there at all. It feels and handles like it is a new car that just left the factory. Most of the autobahn cruising was done at speeds between 160km/h and 180km/h, sometimes up to 210-220km/h. Given how it feels and handles at speed, I suspect that the shock absorbers where replaced by a previous owner. IMO, my E28 ///M5 handles better then my E34 ///M5. I didn't expect this to be the case on the Autobahn. In handling and agility, Jeroen compared my E28 ///M5 with a well-kept E30 325i, but with a more powerful and smoother engine.
Also surprising is that the E28 ///M5 is slightly faster when comparing it to my E34 ///M5 3.6. We have had some opportunities to do some flexibility acceleration tests on the autobahn and there wasn't a situation that my brother in the E34 ///M5 could gain any distance to me in the E28 ///M5. Above 200km/h, the E34 ///M5 should win the battle, but until then, the E34 ///M5 3.6 has to accept that the older car is faster. Given that my E34 ///M5 3.6 weighs approx. 225kg more, this isn't really a surprise. I decided against using the E28 ///M5 on the NS because I didn't want to risk a rare classic on the track. Especially given Europe's current high ambient temperatures and the occasional use of that car since it has been in my possession. This subject that car to very high mechanical stress levels.
The sound track of the M88/3 is completely different then the S38B36 or S38B38. I can't say anything about the S38B35 that was used for the US E28 ///M5 and US E24 ///M6, but I suspect these share the character of the later S38 engines. If so, the M88/3 engine is unique. At idle and row revs, it behaves like an M30 engine, but the exhaust sound spectrum contains more low frequencies. This results in a typical large six-cylinder rumble that is pure and honest. At higher revs (especially at full throttle) the M88/3 starts to scream like a real race engine showing its motorsports origin. The much more refined S38 engine simply can't match that sound track.
The nature of the E28 ///M5 is that of a raw and pure throuroughbread, but in a gentlemen's disguise. Cars like that will never be build again, as today's customers require more presence and comfort and thus different cars. For the enthusiast, at least the Euro E28 ///M5 is a must have car. Good cars are still available, but command a higher price then three or four years ago. Unlike its more modern successors, its electronics is rather simple not much can go wrong and the joy of ownership isn't spoiled by malfunctioning goodies.
All in all, using the E28 ///M5 was a pleasant and educating experience. Fortunately the list with 'todo' jobs was added with only one problem. Needless to say, I am very happy with that car. I don't think I will register it on Dutch plates anymore as for as long as I can acquire German KKE's for that occasional use in Germany, I don't want to pay that stupid Dutch import tax on cars (BPM).
E34 ///M5 Driving Report:
We decided to use this car primarily because we couldn't refill the A/C system of the E28 ///M5 in time. This also allowed me to spare the E28 ///M5 on the NS. I already spend some words about it being a little bit slower then my E28 ///M5. Especially when accelerating from 100km/h in 4th or 5th gear, the M88/3 responses more rapidly and more smoothly compared to the S38B36 in my E34. The 29 more horses and 20nm torque increase isn't enough to compensate for the E34 ///M5 3.6 increased weight. That is probably the reason why BMW released the 3.8-liter version in 1992.
One easily gets the idea that the E34 ///M5 3.6 can't do anything good. The Euro E28 ///M5 feels faster (which it is, but not that much). The 3.8-liter version is more desirable because of the engines higher power. Nevertheless, the 3.6 has its merits. It is more refined then the E28 ///M5, making it a better long distance car. Being an enthusiast owner, I don't really mind about its performance drawback compared to the later 3.8-liter version. Especially since my 3.6 continues to run and run with only some regular (preventive) maintenance. When it is being used, it must endure the hardship of the Autobahns, mountain-passes or the NS and it doesn't show any fault. Off course one can notice the age of some suspension parts like shock absorbers, but all in all what 13-year-old car is still able to cover large distances in extreme
Whether conditions without worrying about coming home? The 3.6 engine is bullet proof and preferable over the 3.8 if one needs a reliable car that one can still use everyday. Proof of this are the many 3.8's in Europe that already had their engines replaced.
With its new 255/40ZR17 tires, I can approach corners with more speed and with a little more aggression. With the 235 rears, the car could become unstable on some parts of the track. With the higher grip level of the 255/40ZR17, this was of lesser problem. Off course, the NS stays treacherous, but the 255/40ZR17 on 9J rims are at least for me an improvement.
Comparing the E28 ///M5 with the E34 ///M5 isn't honest. The first one is a car to have while the younger car is a car to drive. That is how I enjoy them and my reason for having them. Driving the E28 ///M5 occasionally offers more satisfaction then using it on regular basis.
Meeting friends and other relatives:
It was good meeting Konstantin and Dominik again, especially as I had to pass on the spring meeting in this year. I also enjoyed meeting and talking with the members of www.e34m5.de
such as Andrew and Harry. I also met and talked (although briefly) to Kees and Johan from www.bmwm5.com
Johan's E46 ///M3 is awesome as Konstantin can attest also. Finally, I really enjoyed the lap with Dick Hoekendijk. I look forward to another lap in his ///M5.
A small selection of Konstantin's pictures can be found on www.e34m5.de
I am sure that in time more pictures from others will follow.
1: Konstantin's pictures: http://www.e34m5.de/board/showthread...=&threadid=518
2: Dirk's pictures: www.ogp.de.tf
I haven't seen anything on www.bmwm5.com
yet. But I am sure that also here, pictures and reports will follow. I myself have an archive of 80 pictures (100Mbytes). When I have the time, I will resize and publish them once I have found a place where I can.