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BMW M5 E34

The last one of the fully hand built BMW M5 was the e34 built from 1988 to 1995 in BMW M GmbH in Garching, for the US market sales were limited to 1990 to 1993 production years. The production line was unlike most others, here groups of bmw M technicians built each car from beginning to the end instead of just doing assigned sections. The engines were fully hand built as well.

The S38B36 engine was a 3.6 liter inline six an updated version of the engine found in the earlier E28 M5 and E24 BMW M6. In 1992 the engine was updated to the S38B38 staying essentially the same, except for it's slightly larger displacement it produced a whopping 340hp closing in at 90hp/liter the output was truly impressive. For the US market however this configuration was not available, the 3.6 liter 315hp version was the only configuration. The rarest of them all is the touring version built from 1992-1995 for the European market only 851 cars in all, totaling the E34 M5 production 12,249 cars.

e34 m5 blue

With a mere 1465 cars sold in the US it's rather hard to find one in good condition, as for some reason the E34 M5 became very affordable at some point, and due to this fact not many stayed in the right hands lacking proper car ad maintenance, and needing valve adjustment or at least the need for being checked for proper settings many failed to do.

BMW Model #

  • Engine
  • Horse Power
  • Torque
  • 0-60 acceleration
  • Transmission
  • Curb Weight
  • Fuel capacity
  • Engine oil capacity
  • Overall length
  • Width
  • Heght

E34 M5 3.6l

  • S38B36 3535cc
  • 315hp@6900rpm
  • 266 ft-lbs@4750rpm
  • 6.4 sec
  • Getrag 280/5 5-speed
  • 3800 lbs
  • 14 US gallons
  • 8.5 quarts
  • 172.2"
  • 68.8
  • 55.4"

E34 M5 3.8l

  • S38B38 3795cc
  • 340hp@6800rpm
  • 295 ft-lbs @ 4700rpm
  • 5.7 sec
  • Getrag Type-D 6-speed
  • 3800 lbs
  • 360@6300rpm
  • 360@3400rpm
  • ---
  • 10.2:1
  • 55.4"

The e34 M5's engine is one of the best sounds you can ever hear, just like a bee hive being disturbed, at low rpm's you could even call it lazy, many even think they are slow, however if you drive it properly keeping it in the mid upper rpm range the car is wickedly fast and fun to drive.

bmw m5 black e34 e34 m5 interior m5 interior
bmw e34 m5 violet blue S38 engine M5 e34 m5 bmw

Even though the six speed S38 configuration never officially made it to the US, handful have been imported by private importers, these cars are higher valued than the US models.

The M cloth interior is truly amazing, and for it's advantage has a better ability to keep you in your seat under harsh driving conditions.

m coth interior bmw e34 m5 wagon bmw m5 front e34
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e34 m5 video frame

BMW M5 E39

In 1998 BMW M gmbh broke away from the it's tradition of inline engine powered M cars, and on the Geneva motor show introduced it's first V8 powered M5 the E39. The engine derived from the 540i 's B62 called S62 with just above 4900cc producing 394hp and an even 400hp on the European models. With the arrival of the e39 M5 BMW parted with the full hand assembly of the M5, the E39 was built in the Dingolfing plant, production stopped in 2003.

S62 M5 engine

However the tradition of understated looks with brutal power is true more than ever with it's new V8, the feel of the M5 is more of an American muscle car, with monster torque, unlike it's predecessor and the M3's with their rev happy engines, the S62 provides 354lb-ft at just 2000rpm. The true racing engine heritage has been carried over though, with eight individual throttle bodies, double vanos -steplessly variable valve timing, drive by wire, and a g sensitive semi dry sump oil system making sure that even under high lateral acceleration the M5's engine gets sufficient amount of oil for each bank of it's 90° V8 engine. M Driving Dynamics control has been introduced as well "sport mode" pressing the button immediately changed throttle response.

BMW Model #

  • Engine
  • Horse Power
  • Torque
  • 0-60 acceleration
  • Transmission
  • Curb Weight
  • Fuel capacity
  • Gas mileage
  • Engine oil capacity
  • Final drive ratio
  • Weight distribution
  • Gas mileage
  • Overall length
  • Width
  • Heght

E39 M5

  • S62 V8 32V 4941cc
  • 394hp@6600rpm
  • 368 ft-lbs@3800rpm
  • 4.8 sec
  • 13.2sec @ 108mph
  • 4024 lbs
  • 18.5 US gallons
  • 13mpg city / 21mpg highway
  • 6.9 US quarts"
  • 3.15
  • 52% front / 48% rear"
  • 13mpg city / 21mpg highway
  • 188.3"
  • 70.9
  • 55.6"

The E39 M5 has many luxury features such as alcantara headliner, full stitched leather interior, optional brushed chrome trim, heated power seats and PDC parking distance control just to mention a few.

bmw e39 m5 bmw e39 m5 front m5 e39 rear exhaust
e39 m5 side m5 e39 interior m5 e39 bmw left side

Experiencing the M5: the E39 is certainly one of the best power sedans I ever had the chance to drive, the feel of the car is simply amazing luxurious yet sporty, the driver oriented cockpit very well could be called the best ever, even though the inside is seemingly a regular e39 5 series you feel far-far away from it. As you start the engine confirmation of a different kind of "beast" plays music to your ears. The car is simply a monster with power all the way through redline in every single gear, I strongly suggest keeping DSC and traction control engaged till you have spent some time driving it around, even though handling is very friendly the huge torque can make the car tail happy very easily, -a plus for fun lovers, but for the inexperienced it can mean a lot of head ache "physical". Cornering is awesome, but flying in at a high rate of speed will remind you that you are driving a 4000lbs sedan with a big engine up front. Brakes as all bmw M cars: perfect with itís massive 13.6" rotors up front 12.9" rear.

Below left: duo tone interiors have been introduced.

Middle: pre facelift M5 headlights

Right: again a pre face lift M5's interior shown /euro version/ the old style 4:3 navigation was replaced by the 16:9 widescreen setup and this change pretty much perfected the anyway amazing interior this car has to offer.

e39 m5 two tone leather m5 e39 front view pre face lift e39 m5 interior

When buying a used M5 it definitely makes sense to have the vehicle checked out by a BMW technician, as proper maintenance is a must, sometimes you can hear about failing Vanos systems, I personally never really ran into any serious issues with them, did have to change clutch in a couple of the cars I sold with under 50k miles.

BMW M5 E60

Tire Rack & Pirelli Tire Offer

The fastest of them all the E60 M5 has been introduced to the US market with the 2006 model year / from 2005 in Europe. Based on the E60 bmw five series, not to be confused or equally mentioned with it, the car only shares it's looks just like any other BMW M model, -it's a beast within.

bmw e60 m5 gauges

Keeping the tradition of subtle looks with only a few tale telling signs that the wolf in sheepís skin has returned. BMW M went back to the roots of high rpm engines and built a technological marvel yet again the new V10 engine earned much of it's heritage at the most technologically advanced racing: formula 1. The new five liter engine S82 producing a whopping 500bhp.

BMW Model #

  • Engine
  • Horse Power
  • Torque
  • 0-60 acceleration
  • 1/4 mile
  • Curb Weight
  • Fuel capacity
  • Gas mileage
  • Final drive ratio
  • Engine oil capacity
  • Weight distribution
  • BHP/liter
  • Overall length
  • Width
  • Heght

E60 M5

  • S82 V10 40V 4999cc
  • 500hp@7750rpm
  • 383 ft-lbs@6100rpm
  • 4.5 sec -4.2 test C&D
  • 12.5@118mph - C&D
  • 4012 lbs
  • 18.5 US gallons
  • 12mpg city / 18mpg highway - smg and 6 speed
  • 3.62
  • 3.62
  • 52.2% front / 47.8% rear"
  • 100
  • 191.5"
  • 80.2 rear 72.7"
  • 57.8"

The new M5 is equipped with the most advanced technological features as always BMW using ground breaking technologies, as always, the individual throttle bodies are present in the new S82 engine as well for razor sharp throttle response. This time around the "sport mode" M button actually does increase power not just engine response, BMW M designed the new engine to be running at up to 400hp in normal operating conditions, once you press the magic M though all five hundred horses are unleashed and all of a sudden everything shrinks faster in the mirror.

bmw e60 m5 front s82 bmw e60 m5 engine e60 m5 black side
bmw e60 m5 interior e60 m5 front side m5 e60 exhaust

For better handling and safety an array electronic and mechanical features have been implemented:

• variable M differential lock
• lightweight aluminum double pivot strut type front suspension
• 4 link integral rear suspension with lightweight integral rear axle
• speed sensitive variable assist power steering with M driving dynamics control
• EDC - electronic damping control with 3 settings
• DSC with M dynamic control- on manual cars not fully disengagable
• huge 14.7" front and 14.6" rear cross drilled vacuum assisted brakes
• Dual fuel pump system

- Having a thirsty engine the E60 M5 is equipped with two fuel pumps, in normal driving condition using only one of the pumps, once the monster comes alive and the first pump reaches 2/3 of it's maximum output the other pump is switched on as well to be able to provide optimum fuel for maximum output possible.

The interior is covered almost fully with leather, and there is no shortage of luxury features heated and ventilated seats are available, heads up display with graphic display of revs, current gear and other user selectable features, optional night vision the e60 M5 has it all. In the second year of production a six speed manual /optional/ transmission was added, the third generation 7 speed SMG is standard.

Road performance is simply mind blowing with a near 4 sec 0-60 and 0-100mph at 9.4 seconds, the E60 BMW M5 lives up and goes beyond all expectations, the F1 like engine sound and a 200mph top speed you cannot help but wonder what will the next generation M5 show us.

bmw e60 m5 wagon bmw e60 m5 touring bmw e61 m5 touring

Advantage to Europe: BMW somehow manages to forget about the enthusiasts when it comes to special edition models such as the M3 CSL or in this case the M5 wagon./above/

test drive video bmw
e60 M5 thumbnail