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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I have narrowed down my choices to two cars , a 3.8 Liter(Euro Spec imported from Japan) and very rare black/black E34 and and a low milage also black/black E39 with almost every option.

Now I have searched though all the comparison threads, but I am more confused as ever :(. And the problem is both cars are not local so I don't get a chance to drive them though I once did test drive the E39, but not as hard as I wanted to since the seller was seating right beside me.

Now I understand the E39 has more torqy engine but is more luxury and comfort orientent than the E34, but a lot of people are saying that the 3.8 E34 is not too far behind? How true is this? Hndling is supposed to be more crisp and less body roll as well in the E34, fact or fiction?

I do prefer less luxury and more pure driving fun, plus I fell in love with the E34 after watching Ronin but am tempted by the V8 and the great look of the E39 as well.

So I know that this might have been discussed in the past but I need some fresh opinions especially in relation to the 3.8 ( hopefully first hand experiences).

Cheers,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Wow, I am getting more response on the e39 forum. C'mon guys I expected someone to step up and sway my decicion to by the e34 :1zhelp:
 

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There is no discussion, so probably few responses.

If you want a cruiser that is fast at 8/10th, get the e39.

If you want something that is handbuilt, very uncommon, and a pure drivers car, get the e39. Sabine still says the e34 is the best drivers M5, and thats coming from someone who has a company e60 M5 and gets free tires every 10 and brakes every 20 laps!

Running costs are high on both, although finding someone to do it might be easier for the e39. At equal prices I'd still want an e34 though!
 

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I've driven both...(actually I have both) and honestly if you want a daily driver definitely you need to get the E39. but if its for pure driving enjoyment then E34. you have to think about running costs on both to be about the same E39 with more stuff to replace like MAF and CPS etc while E34 need valve clearance and such especially S38B38 parts harder to source.
fuel consumption are about the same even though my E39 gets better mileage for some reason??

E39 will get you more envious looks from others while the E34 will only get real BMW fanatic attention while others will think you drive an old and loud crappy BMW.
 

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fuel consumption are about the same even though my E39 gets better mileage for some reason??
.
i tend to get better milage with the e34, at around 16, where my e39 gets around 13mpg. Not a reason to make a decision like this though! (i already answered in the e39 section, same general feeling. Daily driver, e39, for fun, e34, so get both.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks everyone for your input so far. I have to say that I am generally a very agressive driver but not a really fast one. I like to shuffle in a very dense traffic so I need accleration and good handling. So with all of your comments in mind is it fair to assume that the E34 will give me more agility and better handling and suite my agressive local driving better than the E39?

BTW Also I do love a stiffer ride and the simplistic look and feel of the E34 so looks don't play a role for me.

Cheers,
Rob
 

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keep in mind that the S38 engines need to be revved high for anything to happen...below 3k rpm its pretty much like driving a 525 (in my opinion) so if you're always in traffic without the room to floor it you might not like the S38...and also if a stiff ride is what you like than I think with the E39 you can do much more modding like 20's and more suspension options
 

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Discussion Starter #8
keep in mind that the S38 engines need to be revved high for anything to happen...below 3k rpm its pretty much like driving a 525 (in my opinion) so if you're always in traffic without the room to floor it you might not like the S38...and also if a stiff ride is what you like than I think with the E39 you can do much more modding like 20's and more suspension options
Hm interesting I would have an issue with the S38 if that is the case. And how about the handling? which car has less body roll and which corners better?

Cheers,
Rob
 

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Think of the E34 as a swiss watch and the E39 as the latest gadgetron G-shock laser beam ultratastic watsit. Both are exceptional watches, but the key difference is that the E34 is very much an anologue device whereas the E39 is somewhat more binary.
 

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Hm interesting I would have an issue with the S38 if that is the case. And how about the handling? which car has less body roll and which corners better?

Cheers,
Rob

The E39 is actually quite softly sprung & damped.
Its quite a balanced package but has alot of rubber isolators & bushes
in the suspension.
Plus point = refined & low NVH.
Minus point = wear & general vagueness for the enthusiast, hence
the proliferation of Eurathane bush kits for almost everywhere on E39.

The other factor is traction aids.
The firmer you make a cars ride with stiffer roll rates etc, the harder it
becomes for the 2 stage traction aid calibration to reign the car in.

There is little doubt that changing a cars handling characteristics with
stiffer dampers & springs, bushes, rollbars, brakes & bigger wheels moves the car
outside the original design envelope for the the traction control catchnet.

One would assume that owners doing these mods realise that the traction
control system is profiled for a std vehicle.
Ie, its calibrated reactive system with adaptation values for the std car.
It does not pre-empt.

I prefer the E34.
Its raw.
Its handbuilt ( unfortunately, that also appears to be the case where
subsequent owners have been having a little play !)
It requires some thought to drive it well in wet conditions.

But...an E39 will disapear from view as you fight to keep an E34 sticky side
down under this scenario.
Thats progress I guess.

In the dry, handling wise, the cars are very very close to each other.
Find a good E34//M5 & you won't be disapointed.

Farrell
 

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Hey rstringer

Just remember that the majority of 3.8s are this side of the pond. I notice your posts are at 1 and 4 o'clock in the morning and as you know we don't get back from the pub until 6 am? :haha:

With regards driving in traffic and having to rev to get the baby going ........ it's not that bad, they do develop 75% of peak torque (221.25lbft) at 2000 rpm. Never found it a problem?




Wow, I am getting more response on the e39 forum. C'mon guys I expected someone to step up and sway my decicion to by the e34 :1zhelp:
 

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Points have been made.

Only thing I'd like to add is that I foresee a value-switch between E39 and E34 in the coming 3-5 years.
 

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I would like to add the point about driving an exclusive 'Q' car. You are always going to see E39's around M5 versions or not, but how many E34's do you see being driven....not many. Go with your heart not your mind, buy a good E34 M5.
 

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You may find the E34 a little more frustrating to drive than an E39 if you want to carve in and out of traffic - you just cant match the punch of the V8.
If you want to drive on a twisting empty road (more rewarding and considerably safer) go for the E34 and let it rev, the sound is intoxicating.
 

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I would be happier if you bought an E39 after hearing of your driving style and requirements !

Good luck and enjoy whichever car you buy .....they are both highly capable !
 

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keep in mind that the S38 engines need to be revved high for anything to happen...below 3k rpm its pretty much like driving a 525 (in my opinion) so if you're always in traffic without the room to floor it you might not like the S38...and also if a stiff ride is what you like than I think with the E39 you can do much more modding like 20's and more suspension options
while the e39 is certainly torquier than the e34, even in 3.6 form, you'll walk away from a 525 at the stoplights! (i had one years ago). That said, the 3.6 is at it's best above 4k rpm, really is like two different cars. I've never driven a 3.8, but my impression is it's much torquier than the 3.6, and isn't quite the 'on/off' the cam engine that the 3.6 is. You should take a little trip to europe and drive some board members 3.8's!

Having both the e39 and a US 3.6 e34, i'd say maintanance costs are similar, potentially more to wrong with the e39 (mechanically and electronically). But, i'd feel a bit guilty daily driving a nice 3.8 here in the US.
My e39's been in for some work for the past week, so i've been daily driving the e34. It really is quite a fun car, stiffer, more direct, more of a 'moment', and it quite easily buzzed up to 120+ on the freeway on-ramp this am in the cool air.
If i were you, i'd make sure i drove both before deciding.
mike
 

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Had never been in an E39 M5 until late last year when Darren (Farrell)
picked me up in one.

I must say that after a fairly short, fairly steady blast back to the den
not one aspect of the car blew me away after mine 9 year tenure with an E34.
Sure, as a driver who's driven his fair share of machinery I could instantly feel
the superior bottom end of the V8...and how it translates into an additional
second or more knocked from the 0-100mph time..
But the whole feel of the car was....soft.

Soft seats,
soft ride,
soft soundtrack,
soft clutch (!)

I would equate it an excellent vehicle in which to speed unoticed by your
fellow passengers.

An E39 is a fantastic car,
but the E34 is a brilliant one.

Job done.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you everyone for your insights. Now I have one final question and since I am really a rookie when it comes to the tech stuff, I just know that I love driving and what makes me feel good in a car without being able to aticulate it very clearly in technical terms. So here is my overall understanding and the final questions that stems from it:

E39 has massive low end torque unlike the E34 which has to be reved high. Now if both cars have the same throttle response ,meaning (again forgive me if I am not getting the terms correctly) that both can rev to a certain RPM at the same rate then no doubt the E39 will feel punchier and will make me happier :1:. If however the E34 revs higher quicker than the E39 then it could potentialy get to the same torque level just as quick, again that is assuming that the E39 revs up slower. If these assumptions are correct then off the line the 3.8 E34 could be very competitive and punchy as well. Is this correct? or am I completely off here in my assumptions and/or conclusions?

I apologize again if I sound repetitive but the lack of access to this cars requires me to gain as much understanding as I can before pulling the trigger on either of them.

Cheers,
Rob
 

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Put in simple terms an E39 has an additional 60 hp,
and over 70lb/ft more of torque.
It would leave an E34 from the lights, not in an "oh my God" fashion
but certainly by a length enough to declare victory by around 90mph...

But hey, the bold performance figures on paper will tell you that.
Feel is something else.

I know what you are trying to say regarding the car capturing its torque
band quicker due to snappier reving, but 5.0 litres vs less that 4.0 is only
going to go one way..especially when weight wise there is maybe only
200 pounds in it.
(Alan is about to get kicked for approximating kerb weights:hihi:

Hmm, this is a tough choice to make....

Revvy old skool classic straight six that shares a bloodline with the M1,
and E30 M3.....

or TV, Sat-Nav & fancy Rpm indicator.....and bags of torque.

Choices choices !
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Put in simple terms an E39 has an additional 60 hp,
and over 70lb/ft more of torque.
It would leave an E34 from the lights, not in an "oh my God" fashion
but certainly by a length enough to declare victory by around 90mph...

But hey, the bold performance figures on paper will tell you that.
Feel is something else.

I know what you are trying to say regarding the car capturing its torque
band quicker due to snappier reving, but 5.0 litres vs less that 4.0 is only
going to go one way..especially when weight wise there is maybe only
200 pounds in it.
(Alan is about to get kicked for approximating kerb weights:hihi:

Hmm, this is a tough choice to make....

Revvy old skool classic straight six that shares a bloodline with the M1,
and E30 M3.....

or TV, Sat-Nav & fancy Rpm indicator.....and bags of torque.

Choices choices !
:grrrr: Arg , why couldn't BMW continue in the spirit of the E34 and just make a stronger engine without all that fancy shmancy E39 stuff. don't they know what audience they are targeting. All they had to do is stick the V8 into an improved (but not softened E34 chassis, maybe add some smoother lines to indicate some evolution) and we would have the perfect M5. Global economy makes BMW sell out it seems to appease everyone and along the way they forget why people started loving the M cars to begin with. Well I will go see the E34 this weekend and sure hope that it is a clean car , if so it surely will be mine.

Cheers,
Rob
 
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