- Post is under moderationLOVE EVERY DRIVE
Welsh hills, three noughties hero hatches and the illusion of offering consumer advice...
What do you need from your daily? If you're anything like me you want a car that's fun to drive, doesn't cost the earth to maintain and offers a few creature comforts. Not an easy balancing act for any car, but when you find the right one, your commute is transformed.
Late noughties cars are often criticised for a lack of feel, an overreliance on technology often getting between the driver and er, the drive. Often a valid opinion but there are exceptions to every rule. Our three cover stars this month, for example. Each will see you crack 150mph flat-out, will devastate the 0-60mph sprint in around six seconds and can be yours for less than £20k. We pitch them against an inner-city Ikea and reward ourselves with some Welsh B-roads on the way home. A clear winner emerges and it surprised us all... Elsewhere this month, we sample The delights of a Aston Martin V8 Vantage and a pair of rare German great estates in the form of the #Audi-RS2 and #BMW #BMW-M5-E34 . Plus I get to Grips with a Honda Prelude. Enjoy...
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- Post is under moderationCONTINENTAL DRIFT
It’s become an international sensation but the heart of drifting is in Japan. That’s not to say you have to use a Japanese car, however; you just have to get a little creative… 400HP E34 M5 V8-powered drift 5 Series S62 V8-swapped E34 drift machine. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Ade Brannan.
Drifting has come a long way from being the sole preserve of mischievous Japanese outlaws sneaking out for touge battles after dark. The sport has spread like wildfire across the globe, consuming everything in its path in a fug of dense tyre smoke. Of course, there are drifters and there are good drifters; any fool can kick a clutch and light up the rears but the true connoisseur has an ingrained knowledge of entry angles, balletic transitions, and all those technical tricks that are earned and learned rather than simply assumed.
Interestingly, the rise of the modern obsession with drifting neatly overlaps the demise of what archaeologists of the future will probably call ‘the fibreglass body kit era’. The modding fraternity’s enthusiasm for bolting massive, extravagant plastic addenda to humdrum shopping hatchbacks rapidly tailed off when they started seeing footage of big-power RWD cars atomising their tyres at high speed. And the timing of the fall of one phenomenon and the rise of the other is no coincidence. And Jeek Federico, owner of this slightly scary E34, straddles the two scenes rather effectively.
Now, it’s all very well teaching yourself to drift and honing a few cheeky skills, but it’s not like you can just do it out there on the Queen’s highway. You’ll be tugged by the fuzz in short order. And if you try to hang the tail out at Brands or Silverstone, you’ll be black-flagged straightaway, and probably blacklisted, too. But thankfully there’s a place on these innocent isles where such smoky shenanigans are actively encouraged: Driftland. It’s up there in Lochgelly in Scotland. Oh, and by chance, Jeek just happens to be the owner of the place. Handy, eh?
Driftland is the UK’s only dedicated drift venue, and it caters to all levels of enthusiasts who prefer to do their driving while looking through the side windows; seasoned veterans are welcome, but Jeek also runs a fleet of 15 or so E36 Drift School cars. Naturally he needs something pretty boisterous for his own car as well, to act as a showcase for all the place offers. And that’s where this E34 comes in. “I was looking for something to replace my E39 540i drift car that I’d owned for years,” he recalls. “I tried a few different Japanese models but hated them all. I’d known of this particular car for quite a few years and it came up for sale at just the right time; it had all the best bits of a big V8 German beauty that I loved, mixed with the agility and weight of a nimble Japanese car.”
Aha, you’re intrigued now, aren’t you? Because, you see, this isn’t just a strippedout travelling salesman special – it’s a custom-engineered lightweight with a German heart and a Japanese soul. The front end of the car is pretty much all Nissan S14 200SX, converted to run a JDM steering rack rather than the heavy old steering box. And the commitment to weight saving throughout the car is extensive and farreaching; even the single-wiper conversion runs an E46 Compact motor to shave off a few grams.
But don’t go wringing your hands just yet. It’s not all Japanese. Take a look at what’s going on under the bonnet, for example: the eagle-eyed and nerdy of engine code will have recognised this as an S62B50 – the hyperactively enhanced variant of the solid-as- a-rock M62 that you’d usually find under the bonnet of an E39 M5 (or, for those of a more exotic persuasion, the retro-futurist Z8 – y’know, the car James Bond sawed in half in that questionable 007 movie). This is a mighty motor, offering 400hp in factory tune; it’s got eight individual throttle bodies, hollow camshafts, and it’s just peachy.
“These engines don’t need a lot of modification,” Jeek assures us. “I’m running Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds and an Alpha N map with MAF delete but, aside from that, it hasn’t been messed with and it makes a solid 401hp.” He’s got it running through a five-speed manual ’box with a super-lightweight flywheel (this isn’t like a lazy, rumbling American V8, it’s an eager revver), while a Helix paddle-clutch makes short work of those fourth gear clutch kicks.
As you might imagine, the chassis that underpins all of this culture-clash fury is a bit of a mixed bag – part German, part Japanese, but all awesome. “The brakes are from an R33 Nissan Skyline at the front,” Jeek explains, “along with an E36 M3 Evo pedalbox and cylinder. The rear end is all E34 540i – it’s running zero camber to give perfect tyre wear and maximum grip from those 265/35s at 15psi.” Custom Apex coilovers suspend the thing, and you’ll find a variety of oriental flavours in the mix, too, from the likes of Tein and Doritech among others. The overriding theory behind the build is to ensure that every element of the car is focused on doing its job correctly; there’s nothing superfluous here, it’s all just hell-bent on destroying tyres in the most aesthetically alluring way possible. “The plan with it was always just to have fun, wreck tyres, and do huge top-of-fourth-gear smoky skids, all while advertising my business,” laughs Jeek. And his sense of fun is palpable throughout the E34. Sure, it’s aggressive and mean, but it’s also a little bit mischievous.
The choice of wheels presented a bit of head-scratching, not least because the car’s running different PCDs on either axle: 5x114 front and 5x120 rear. “I have always been a fan of dish and width,” he says. “My old E39 ran 10”-wide Rondels all-round, so the new car’s wheels had to be beefy specs, as well as being easily replaceable in the event of one getting damaged. I opted for the STYLE49 wheels from 7Twenty, in 10x17” on the front and 10.5x18” on the rear.”
They certainly complement the gorgeous paintwork very well. If the colour’s left you scrabbling through your memory banks of all the paint codes, it’s actually a Citroën shade named Whisper Purple. “I originally bought the car from my mate at Jankes BMW Spares,” says Jeek. “It was high off the ground, had crap wheels, and a terrible paint and sticker scheme. I had the body and paint all sorted out by the good guys at Toole Design. Along with the paintwork, the car was lowered and received a set of side skirts and a 1980s Zender splitter. The paint’s definitely my favourite thing that’s been done, as it looked rubbish before.”
While the look may be pin-sharp and ready to mingle with the heavies, it’s important to remember that this E34’s real party piece is its extraordinarily light weight. “It weighs just 1150kg wet,” Jeek explains. “To put that in context, that’s about the same as a new Fiesta.” Just absorb that fact for a moment: imagine a new Fiesta with 400hp, then consider the fact that they’re not even rear-wheel drive… the dedication to weight saving has been relentless and ruthless here.
“The theme for the interior was, quite simply, race car,” he grins. “There’s nothing in there that the car doesn’t need. That steering wheel is actually a genuine carbonfibre item from one of Ken Block’s M-Sport Focus rally cars. There’s also a pair of Motordrive seats with Driftland-branded harnesses (because sometimes you need to scare a passenger), a hydraulic handbrake, extinguishers, and that’s pretty much it.”
Which, of course, is just as it should be. The base car was a non-sunroof 530i but there’s not a whole lot of that left here now, aside from the essential silhouette. The attention to detail stretches way into the recesses that you wouldn’t spot, too. All the underseal has been scraped from the underneath, which has been painted grey, while the insides are a complementary grey and blue. Everything about the car screams purpose, but at the same time it’s a very considered build. The perfect tool, in fact, for advertising Driftland.
Is it the ultimate BMW drift car, then? Has Jeek nailed it this time? “Ah, I don’t know,” he considers, scratching his chin thoughtfully. “I often think about what the next car might be, but I’m not sure what could be better – this engine in a 1M shell maybe? Or maybe some V10 M60 goodness?”
It’s a moot point for now, however, as this shouty workhouse is a harsh taskmaster. “It got quite crashed up this year, so it’ll be getting some fibreglass rear quarters made up, and at the same time the car might end up a different colour, as well as going a little lower,” he confirms. “And, hey, if money were no object, a flat-shift sequential and a supercharger would be nice.” Well, if this E34 is as effective an advert as it is a drift car, those dreams may well be coming true before long.
The plan was always to have fun, wreck tyres and do huge skids, all while advertising my business.
Interior has been stripped-out and fitted with a Huxley Motorsport roll-cage plus a pair of Motordrive seats
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-S62 / #BMW-V8 Drift / #BMW-E34 / #BMW / #7Twenty / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-5-Series-Drift / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-E34-S62 / #BMW-E34-V8 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-E34-Drift
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.9-litre #V8 #S62B50 / #S62 , #Alpha-N map, new shells, Huxley Motorsport exhaust manifolds, #Doritech exhaust system (with V-bands for quick removal), #TTV-Racing lightweight single-mass flywheel with custom paddle and #Motorsport-Helix cover plate, 35-litre alloy tank underneath rear floorpan with #Bosch-044 pump and pressure gauge in bay, five-speed #ZF gearbox, 3.23 welded diff
CHASSIS 10x17” 5x114 (front) and 10.5x18” 5x120 (rear) #7Twenty-STYLE49 wheels, #Nissan-GTS 320mm fourpot front calipers with ventilated discs, 540i rear calipers with ventilated discs, rear subframe reinforced with adjustable camber and toe, #Powerflex bushes, front subframe modified to use Nissan steering rack, bottom #Nissan arms, front Nissan knuckles with adaptors to use #BMW wheels, #Doritech knuckles for extra lock, #Tein tie rods, #GKT-Tech castor arms and GKT Tech lower arms, hydraulic handbrake with 0.650 Wilwood pump, #Apex custom coilovers – 10/8kg damping adjustable
EXTERIOR E34 530i non-sunroof shell, Citroën Whisper Purple paint, underside painted grey, inside painted grey/blue, side skirts, #Zender splitter from the 1980s
INTERIOR #Huxley-Motorsport roll-cage with extension to front turrets, #M-Sport/Ken Block carbon fibre steering wheel, E34 #BMW-M5-E34 instrument cluster and kick plates, #Motordrive seats, #Driftland harnesses, Coolerworks gearshifter, power steering cooler, #Lexan windows, flocked dash, M3 Evo servo and pedalbox, extra gauges for oil/water temperature/oil pressure/fuel, flick switches, custom wiring with fuse/relay panel, single wiper conversion running E46 Compact motor, #Zero-2000 plumbed-in extinguisher, 1kg hand-held fire extinguisher, small battery with fibreglass box and cut-off switchStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe Last Hurrah Road test SA M5 E34 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5-SA / #BMW-M5-SA-E34 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-E34 / #BMW-SA / / #BMW / #BMW-South-Africa
We go for a blast in two South African-built E34 M5s to see if they vary from the Euro versions.
The last BMW-5-Series to be produced at the Rosslyn plant in South Africa was the E34 and the last of the E34s to be made there was the mighty M5. We profile a pair of 3.6-litre examples Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Mahomed Abdulla.
Over the years BMW Car has covered many of the unique BMW models developed for the South African market. If memory serves me correctly the E12 530 MLE was the first South African model to be featured (in the November 2007 issue) and deputy editor Sebastian de Latour paid us a visit in 2012 to sample several models all unique to the SA market and a few other specialties in-between. His report back from his expedition culminated in eight features to the delight of all BMW enthusiasts in SA.
Resident editor, Bob Harper, has also had the pleasure of sampling our South African fare, enjoying an immaculate, uniquely South African Henna red E28 M5 one afternoon in Sussex, revealing all in the October 2014 issue. The car in question was chassis number 17 and most written sources – including those on the internet – indicate that 96 of these machines were built in SA, although my BMW contacts insist that in fact 150 were made – a debate for another day…
It is therefore fitting to have a look at the last M car to roll off the Rosslyn production line; the E34 also being the last 5 Series to be manufactured at the plant. Out of approximately 12,250 M5s that were assembled by hand by teams of technicians at the Garching facility in Germany, from E34 535i bodies shipped from the Dingolfing factory, 265 were assembled at the Rosslyn plant by hand from Complete Knock Down (CKD) kits. According to BMW folklore, Garching was under such pressure that some of the M5s were actually assembled at Dingolfing.
BMW had significantly increased production over the previous M5, of which only 2241 were produced. In fact, BMW’s hand was forced to build the first M5 by its more influential customers, initially it thought it could get away with appeasing a select few. The E34 M5 was quite a different story. Production was increased and lengthened due to the various special editions which included the following: 22 Ceccotto editions, 51 Winkelhock editions, 20 20th anniversary Motorsport editions, 15 Naghi editions for the Saudi Arabian market, 50 Limited Editions signifying the end of the right-hand drive production for the UK and 20 Italian dealer specials, the ‘Elekta’ Touring models.
Although production of the M5 started in September 1988 in Garching, South Africa was once again lagging behind. Assembly got underway two years later in September 1990 and was short-lived, ending in March 1993. Traditionally 5 Series production had always lagged behind its German counterparts with the E12 starting in 1974 (compared to 1972 for Germany) while the E28 kicked off in South Africa in January 1985 three-and-a-half years after the German start of production in 1981. By December 1991 the world was ready for a feistier M5 in the form of the 3.8-litre model, which even included a Touring, with a limited run of 891 units. All of the world that is, except North America and South Africa, instead enthusiasts here were pacified with the E34 540i six-speed manual, more on that later.
First let us get acquainted with these two stunning examples and see how they stack up against their European counterparts. The Glacier metallic blue is a very early example, chassis number 19, originally sold by BMW – JSN Motors on 4 February 1991. The service manual reveals the JSN address as Anderson Street in downtown Johannesburg – at one stage there were up to three BMW dealerships in the city centre, today there is only one. Chris Theron is the fourth owner, yet the odometer only shows 64,500km (40,100 miles).
Chassis number 214 in Ice white was registered in March 1993, making it one of the last 50 to be produced. It belongs to Andy Ackerman, again he is the fourth owner. With 267,000km (165,900 miles) on the clock, it has enjoyed the life of a gypsy on both the east and west coast of SA and returned to the Highveld in 2012 when Andy acquired it.
From the exterior these cars look identical to those produced at Garching, with a 20mm lowered suspension and a minimalistic M Technik aero kit which comprises of a front air-dam, side skirts and rear diffuser, all painted in a contrasting Diamond black metallic. The Ice white M5 has retained the original M-System I ‘Turbine’ wheel, designed in BMW’s wind tunnel to increase airflow by 25 per cent, allowing for better cooling of the brakes. These wheels are a bone of contention as they create a whitewall effect, though I personally think it is an innate part of what makes the M5 such an icon.
The M-System II ‘Throwing Star’ wheel only became an option in the last three months of production in 1993 and they enhance Glacier blue colour of Chris’s M5. Buyers in SA had very few options, but like the previous generation M5, local cars came virtually fully spec’d, which included an extended Nappa leather interior, with unique leather doorcards. The only anomaly is the cheap carpeting used in the boot. One of the few factory options available was the boot spoiler, fitted to the white M5. Not a box I’d have ticked, as I think it interferes with the clean lines and rids the car of the ‘sleeper’ effect.
There are, however, some notable differences between the SA cars and those produced for the European markets. In the early ‘90s emission regulations were not as well enforced globally; local cars were not fitted with a catalytic converter (with lambda sensor). This also applied to the Middle East and South East Asia. Significantly the latter M5s were developed with a lower compression ratio of 9.2:1, whereas the SA cars had the same compression ratio as those in Europe: 10.0:1. The auxiliary air pump is also not connected, it is simply used as an ‘idler’ to tension the AC belt. Local cars were also not fitted with a sump guard, only the splash cover.
Underneath the bonnet, though, is where it matters most – the SA M5 has the identical 3.6-litre S38 B36 motor as found in European cars. The engine is a refinement of the M88 24-valve in-line six-cylinder, as found in the previous M5, with capacity up to 3533cc. With an improved Bosch Motronic 1.2 engine management system, providing better management of the air and fuel mixture and electronically controlled butterfly valves in the inlet manifold, the engine is able to develop 315hp (232kW) and 266lb ft (360Nm) of torque. Further enhancements included a new forged steel crankshaft, improved camshafts, flywheel and equal length stainless steel headers all of which upped the compression ratio. The M5 set a time of 6.4 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, tapping out at an electronically limited 250km/h.
Before I get behind the wheel it’s worth having a look back at how local Car magazine summed up the M5 back when it was new: “The M5 is really an impressive car which sets new sports sedan standards in terms of performance, ride, road-holding and comfort. Not a car for those who are not keen on driver involvement, but certainly one for the enthusiast who knows what he wants, in all likelihood the best sports sedan in the world.”
The Ice white M5 is a very tidy specimen, with even the self-leveling suspension still intact, Andy points out that the engine has been completely rebuilt. Engage the ignition and you are greeted by a throaty roar, definitely giving off more bass than I am expecting. It is revealed that the centre resonator has been removed. The sound is fantastic and makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Thanks to these Sport seats I am able to get down really low in the cockpit and the side bolsters offer superb support.
As I amble along a narrow lane to connect to the freeway, it gives me time to observe my Germanic surroundings. Everything is still in working order; these cockpits were built to withstand a nuclear catastrophe. Once on the open road I ignite the fuse under my right foot and this ’bahnstormer comes alive. The engine pulls freely to the redline, spinning with the intensity of a Singer sewing machine. The noise from the exhaust building into an exploding crescendo, so ferocious, it tingles your spine.
Gear changes are very precise, the shifts are short and tight, exactly what is needed at these unlawful speeds. At a 160km/h I overshoot the turn-in to the B-road where my arrest for enjoying this M5 is less likely to happen. The B-road is peppered with patch work and the gradient on either side of the white line rather steep. My best option is to use the middle of the road – for the next 4km I have a clear line of sight, then the road banks sharply to the right.
The M5 handles the patch work with ease, soaking up the uneven surface, yet still maintaining a straight line and all the while I am pressing into the redline.
All too soon the bend is upon me and I veer to the left to avoid whatever is coming my way. Once through the bend the accelerator is given the full might of my right foot. Hurtling through the countryside at a rate of knots meant for the autobahn, I spot a sleeping policeman just in the nick of time, and I press my foot heavy on the brake. The stopping power of the M5 is still phenomenal; ABS comes to the rescue, preventing the car careening off the road.
The country road has meandered into suburbia, time to return the M5 whilst still intact. As I reluctantly hand back the keys to Andy, he explains that the gear linkage mechanism has been overhauled and that the bushes have been replaced with bearings. An upgrade worth doing, as gear shifts are now very slick.
On to the Glacier blue M5 then. I am yet to come across a cleaner example and doubt whether there is another on the Continent to rival it. I am mesmerised by this car, I could stare at it all day, it has such a hypnotic effect on me. Factory fresh, is a term often bantered about, but this road going M5 deserves a new term – even the inside of wheel arches, engine and undercarriage look brand new. Lifting the handle on the driver door; it gives off a solid thud as the latch mechanism releases, inside the smell of new leather permeates throughout the cabin. Firing up the engine there is that initial high pitch and then it settles into that familiar M5 low growl.
I follow the same route as I did before, first getting familiar with my surroundings as I follow the narrow lane. Everything in this car looks and feels brand-new and the engine feels tight, like it is still being run-in. Onto the freeway and once again the hammer comes down. At about 4000rpm things really start to happen and the M5 accelerates into the redline before you can blink. With the accelerator at full tilt the resonance flap inside the plenum chamber opens at 4120rpm and remains open until 6720rpm, which brings about the intoxicating ‘warp speed’ effect. Onto the patch work of Tarmac and this M5 feels even more solid.
There are no rattles or squeaks just the wailing sound of the engine and the cacophony from behind. This time round I’m not caught out by the sleeping policeman, but like before I need to turn around once I reach suburbia to entrust this icon to its rightful owner. It’s been an enthralling morning, I can only imagine what it must be like behind the wheel of the final 3.8-litre incarnation of the M5.
It’s unclear why the 3.8-litre M5 wasn’t available in SA, instead a 540i six-speed manual dressed up as a M5 3.8-litre was offered from September 1995.
Production ended in January 1996 and only 72 units were produced at the Rosslyn plant. BMW Motorsport aficionados in SA were once again offered a fully kitted-out E34 range topper which included an M5 body kit including boot spoiler; M-System II ‘Throwing Star’ wheels; extended Nappa leather (with the MColour stripe inserts); M Sport steering wheel; sunroof; rear sun blind; car phone and ESP.
The 540i even came standard with stiffer springs and uprated dampers and somehow the cheap carpeting in the boot didn’t get left behind. Enthusiasts however were disappointed that electronic damper control, the illuminated gear-shift, M steering rack and brakes were not options.
There is the argument that Jaguar started the age of the fast saloon with the Mk2 in the ‘60s – the infamous getaway car among British robbers. BMW, however, gave rise to the age of the Super Saloon with the introduction of the E28 M5, a title which is still relevant with the current F10 M5. Since its inception the M5 has kept a few Italians and I suspect even more Germans up at night. Unfortunately, the production of these Super Saloons at the Rosslyn plant has long ended; in fact, from 2018 the plant will no longer produce the mid-size sporting compact saloon in the form of the 3 Series – instead it is tooling up for the production of the X3. It is indeed the end of an era.
THANKS TO: Ron Silke
TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-E34 / #BMW-M5-3.6 / #BMW-M5-3.6-E34 /
ENGINE: #S38 / #BMW-S38 straight-six, DOHC, 24-valve
COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.0:1
MAX POWER: 315hp @ 6900rpm
MAX TORQUE: 266lb ft @ 4750rpm
0-62MPH: 6.4 seconds
STANDING KILOMETRE: 26.0 seconds
50-75MPG (FOURTH GEAR): 7.6 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
NUMBER MADE: 834
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- Another correction Whoops, we seem to be making a habit of this! In the September issue, in the Last Hurrah feature, we stated that the E34 M5 was thAnother correction
Whoops, we seem to be making a habit of this! In the September issue, in the Last Hurrah feature, we stated that the E34 M5 was the last M car produced at the Rosslyn plant in South Africa. This is, in fact, incorrect: the E36 M3 was the last M car to be assembled at the plant, production started in the third quarter of 1993 and ended by mid-1994. Thereafter M3s were directly imported from Germany. The M3 four-door Saloon, however, was manufactured at the Rosslyn plant, starting in the third quarter of 1997, with production ending in the latter part of 1998. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused. More ...
- Post is under moderation/ #2016 / Epic Alpine drive in an #BMW-E34 / #BMW-M5-Touring / #BMW-M5-Touring-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW /
Gone Touring BMW E34 M5 Touring Alpine adventure. We celebrate 30 years of the M5 by taking an E34 3.8 on an epic tour of Europe’s Alpine passes.
We thought it’d only be right to celebrate the BMW M5’s 30th anniversary in proper style, with a road trip. Five days, five Alpine passes, five countries in a very special M5 should do… Words and photography: Dejan Jovanovic.
I find it somewhat surprising that this car can feel so ordinary for so much of the time – the steering is a bit slack in the centre, the gearshift throws are a bit long, there’s never the same line through the H-gate, the clutch is heavy, the accelerator limp to begin with, the steering wheel itself comically huge and thin. And it’s hard, with a rigid setup, not soft and over-padded like today’s BMWs. It’s amazing how old a car from #1993 can feel. Yet it’s still my favourite M5 ever built. It lives up to the hero I imagined it to be when it was launched – back when Bill Clinton became US President and Unforgiven won an Oscar. I’m lucky enough to be driving BMW’s only museum example of an estate body style in the company’s possession; it’s an Individual model, with all the bells, whistles, and a brick-like Siemens telephone. I have it for five days, with the aim of driving five Alpine passes across five countries to commemorate 30 years of the M5.
This is the last hand-built M5, from a time when M GmbH arguably peaked, capturing the imagination in a way that today’s turbocharged M cars struggle to do. It’s a straight-six, like it should be, and it’s all naturally aspirated wholesome goodness. There’s no traction control nor a PRND label in sight. And it’s a Touring, so it was basically invented for some last-chance Alpine touring. The weather will shut the highest, best roads soon. From the end of October they’re snowed under till the following May. Better get moving then…
Day One Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, Austria
You will never drive on the derestricted autobahn leaving Munich without roadworks for company. The thing is, in Germany they actually fix the roads even if they aren’t broken. Pushing on south towards Austria and my first target, Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (High Alpine Road), on public roads in lazy dawn traffic I treat the 3.8-litre S38 motorsport-derived engine with respect and don’t try too hard to chase down the redline. I treat 4000-5000rpm as the shift point and the S38 doesn’t seem quite as ‘motorsporty’ as I expected from Motorsport GmbH, not exploding towards the redline from the get-go like I thought it might.
But everything changes when I push on. After a short refuge in the Austrian lakeside resort town of Zell Am See, at the foot of Grossglockner, the M5 wakes up and the throttle slurps in air greedily. Inside the leather-swathed cabin I savour the delicious intake roar from the front and the exhaust at the back – Munich’s finest surround sound. There’s a pinch point somewhere in the accelerator pedal’s travel where the power is so responsive a period of initiation is necessary to learn to use it. The big tiller now makes sense as you need only a shuffle of a lazy wrist latched onto one spoke to result in lots of wheel angle. The fun is in fast, valley sweeps, where the slippery seats don’t give you enough support and you’re hanging onto the wheel as much as you’re turning it.
At the Grossglockner’s toll gates the friendly Austrian guard eyes the M5, cuts me a half-off discount and gives me a sticker. Today the pass is hosting a historic hillclimb with a field of Delahayes, Alfa 8Cs and big Bentleys. They’ll have Grossglockner to themselves, though only in the afternoon. I have it to myself now, since the M5 is the first and only car at the gate this early. I ask my admirer about the conditions on top as the pass was late to open. “Och ja, some snow. But M fünf… the car is gut. Ze question is, is the driver gut…?” He has the cheek to wink.
BMW’s utterly perfect pedal placement is even more useful now for leaning on when your feet are sloshing about in the vast footwell up the flowing hairpins. The heavy, sticky floor-hinged throttle is comfortable under a heel and frees up once you dig it into the Individual carpeting. There’s a fair bit going on then, but the car is poised. Now pressing on, the five gears click like old friends, though they’re still long throws, and you row between third and fourth with a wrist, elbow, and shoulder.
Wherever you turn there’s a perfect sightline and unobstructed vision, a grateful freedom that’s too often a premium in modern cars with letterbox windows and bulky pillars. These pillars are slender yet the car beneath you feels substantial. It’s not big, there’s just a lot of it, but you sense that everything’s there for a reason, that nothing goes to waste, and every part plays a vital role. They built these specially in Garching, away from the 5 Series assembly line. I can’t imagine the M guys back then wasting time on waffle such as engine sound through the speakers.
Most of all it feels and smells like an old BMW, like granite wrapped in Nappa. Things seem to have been built better in 1993; nothing today has the weight of this M5’s Bavarian indicator stalk. Here every button sinks into a smooth, weighted spring, as if it’s an on/off switch for a nuclear power station and not merely the hazard lights. Winter takes its toll on Grossglockner pass every year, and the Touring, big and blasé, pounds potholes with soaked thuds. Kerb weight always wins.
There’s a perfect sightline and unobstructed vision, a grateful freedom that’s too often a premium in modern cars.
Day Two Passo dello Stelvio, Italy/Switzerland
Grossglockner peak is Austria’s highest mountain and the Hochalpenstrasse climbs to 2571 metres, where thin air starves the S38. It’s a drastic difference, sapping what feels like a 100hp from the 340hp 3.8. Much of the 48km are above 2000 metres, passing high above the Pasterze Glacier. Today, however, I have to get to Italy and tick Passo dello Stelvio off the bucket list. Even before the Great Alpine Tour in an M5 Touring began, I had Stelvio in my mind, although before that I have to have a quick try of the Jaufenpass first…
The M5 picks up pace at the bottom yet I’m barely taking it past 6000rpm; there’s still 1000rpm to go. Mechanical sympathy for a press car is a strange feeling for a motoring journalist! Windows down, heaters on, and the straight-six is all about top-end power rushing for revs. Jaufenpass throws hairpins at you at a rate I can only compare to the Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee, USA, but in a short while you’re up top, and Italy’s down there on the other side. At the peak’s panorama kiosk I meet a couple of fellow travellers from Munich testing a BMW 7 Series prototype “with a V8,” which is all they’d divulge. They know how to pick the roads. One of the guys asks if the M5 is for sale.
The plummet down into Italy is even steeper but Jaufenpass, Italy’s northernmost Alpine pass, generously doesn’t allow caravaners and the M5 is free to exchange horsepower for the effect of gravity. Through faster bends the long wheelbase remains taut and confident and it changes direction in the damp just as well, too. All the relentless switchbacks eventually have me stressing about the brakes, so I pause halfway down, at Gasthof Schlossberg, hanging off the edge off a hairpin. There’s smoke in the air but no barbecue. The only smell lingering in the air is cooked brakes and burnt clutches – the smell of defeat for some of the other machines assembled here. The caravan-ban has all manner of 911 GT3s and an R8 or Ferrari here and there showing off for the guests on the deck.
You know when you’ve crossed into Italy as the road surface deteriorates considerably. There are loads of tourists now and they’ve let the caravans back in. In Italy you have two windows of driving opportunity: dawn and siesta time. By the time I get to the foot of Stelvio it’s happy hour for me and I pass barely any cars making my way up. Stelvio starts off forested but it’s not long before you’re towering over the tree line. It’s much narrower than anything else so far and in places two cars can’t pass at once. Instead of Armco you get ominous blocks of stone lining the side of the road, and nigh-on three-point-turn hairpins. It’s an exciting drive but sadly it comes to an abrupt halt. The only avalanche of the season had to go and close the top of Stelvio on the day the ‘Great Alpine Tour’ in an M5 Touring chooses to visit! That road will just have to go back on the bucket list.
Day Three Passo Fedaia, Italy
Since I lucked out on Stelvio I also have to drop Switzerland from the planned route and head straight towards the Dolomites. It ends up being 11 hours on the road today, blasting around every eastward squiggle I can find on the map, through the low-lying valleys. What a difference 340 true horsepower makes. The M5 really is an M today, with little patience for RVs and dawdlers, with bursts of ready acceleration for overtakes. In Italy, a land where everybody speeds, this car seems perfectly suited for 340hp and at 6000rpm it’s so happy that even on open roads you feel inclined to select third gear and leave it there, playing with the top end enjoying the instant response to your right foot.
North/south Alpine roads are few and far between but any route going across the foothills gives you numerous options. Instead of doing the 1883-metre Passo di Tonale, I end up marathoning five or six passes – each thankfully open and avalanche-free. The poor surface only makes things more action packed, with the M5 dropping into crumbling hard shoulders and straightening out as much as possible every turn for that high-speed assuredness. These are the best roads so far and early in the morning, while the other tourists are making the most of vacation time and sleeping in late, it’s phenomenal to wind my way along to the 1363-metre Passo di Mendola which climbs gently and really suits the S38, up or down. Next I arrive at Passo di Costalunga, Passo Pordoi, and the jewel of the Dolomites, Passo Fedaia, which is located at the base of the stunning Marmolada rock. It’s been a film location for The Italian Job and is a legendary race stage in the Giro d’Italia.
The road surface is eroded yet the M5 doesn’t care, chasing down an MR2, a 944 and a Swiss club of Audi Quattros. By the time the blinds and shades come down and everyone’s snoring for the afternoon, Passo della Mauria manages to outdo even Fedaia. Thick woods hide the sky, along with everything else bar the dewy black Tarmac that’s snaking ahead to a town called Tolmezzo. With so little civilisation on the road, truly no traffic, this isolation makes for an intimate drive; just the car and the road and hardly anywhere to even turn off. Why would you? Even the 160 litres of fuel that lightens my wallet significantly doesn’t sour the day; the route can’t get any better than this.
Day Four Katschbergpass Austria
Slovenia is a different matter though. Hordes of visitors spilling out of buses everywhere around Lake Bled spoil any driving in the popular area, but Slovenia is so small that within a couple of hours of looking around I’m crossing the vertical Wurzenpass back into Austria. I didn’t figure for Wurzenpass, and it’s second-gear engine braking all the way down a 20 per cent gradient drop.
Today’s target is the B99 and the Katschbergpass on the other side. I settle for the quicker roads to make some headway and even though I’m on a well-travelled road (with three lanes in places) it covers so much varied topography you get every kind of corner you can imagine on one stretch.
There’s time to catch fifth gear through the open grazing lands. Up on the very top, which is crested quickly, the fat Touring tail is a laugh on the damp surface. Swinging it around hairpins makes me think of twerking. Time and again I rev the S38 in third gear and it just hits right back with stabs of throttle, lurching the car forward instantly. It seems the big wheel has so many turns lock-to- lock but the front responds accordingly.
You do have to really work the steering wheel, though, once you’re travelling at speed. In 1993 cars like these were sensations with near-supercar power. Today that’s normal, though all new sports saloons could learn a thing or two about driver involvement from an old M5.
Day Five Rossfeld Panorama, Germany
Every day the M5 keeps getting better, or maybe it’s just the altitude. It does seem to be oiled up and raring to go and the Rossfeld Panorama road and ‘my’ BMW share happy memories.
In the Fifties BMW was rapidly nearing bankruptcy and its motorcycle market was lagging. In turmoil the company decided to bank on a vehicle unlike any it had ever made. The rear-engined BMW 700 was a success, though, and in 1960 some 35,000 were sold. It made sense to take this lightweight (tipping the scales at just 600kg) flat-twin trapezoid on wheels hillclimbing. BMW prepared a Works machine, the 700 RS, for the 1961 Rossfeld Hillclimb where the car made its debut with Hans Stuck, the ‘Mountain King’, behind the wheel.
Today I visit the Edelweiss Bergpreis, which is a motorsport journey back in time with suitably attired drivers and officials hosting a historic race up the Rossfeld Panorama with Ferrari 512Ms, NSUs and Lancia 037s lining up. Besides the race fans there’s no one else around. Most of the road is still open as the Edelweiss Bergpreis takes in only 6km of the 18km circuit. Those not competing are doing what I’m doing: pretending to be Stuck tearing up and down in both directions maybe imagining some race numbers on the sides. A tandem pair blast down going the other way, a Carrera RS and an E30 M3, and we all smile in acknowledgment. Otherwise very few people give the M5 any attention, especially a debadged one, blasphemously dismissing this hand-built machine for a 525i on some rims.
History lesson over I tread through car-hating Salzburg where everything is pedestrianised (though I’m told it is a classic car town). A bit further on and it’s Oktoberfest time and it’s busy all around Munich by the time I near BMW Classic, where the M5 is due to be returned. The traffic’s just an excuse to swing off the main roads and take the long way home, out of the confines of the highway’s sound barriers to distress some cows with that orange needle hovering in the upper reaches of the rev counter.
E39 people may disagree but in 30 years of the M5 I think this one was the pinnacle. High up in the Alps it’s given me a rush like no other M5 I’ve driven.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNEED FOR SWEDE #BMW-M5
It’s a fast E34 from Sweden so we make no apologies for that title… and with a massive 886whp courtesy of its equally massive turbo, this really is one fast and furious M5. If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise… because there’s an 886whp turbo E34 M5 doing massive burnouts in it. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Patrick Karlsson.
If there’s one thing you can always count on from Scandinavia it’s a regular supply of suitably insane, massively powerful, forced induction BMWs. The Scandinavians seem to love BMs, with good reason obviously, and the only thing they seem to love even more is strapping massive turbochargers to them and then going mental with them in the vast Nordic wilderness. This, as far as we’re concerned, is most definitely a good way to spend your time and we heartily applaud anyone indulging in this sort of tomfoolery… like Mikael Dahlbom, for example.
The 22-year-old Swedish truck driver is most definitely a BMW fan, his first being an E36 320i, which he still owns. This was joined by an E46 328i and this monstrous E34 M5. Young Mikael has been interested in BMWs since he was a tender 17, although his car history is not exclusively Bavarian. His first car was a Volvo 240 which is a) to be expected and b) pretty cool… but not as cool as owning an E34 M5 with a honking great turbo strapped to it, we reckon.
Looking at the spec on this car, you might be thinking that Mikael is a seasoned tuning pro, even at such a young age, but in fact this is his first full-on modified project, having never done anything more than suspension and wheels on previous cars. To crank out such a beast on his first attempt deserves credit for sure. It seems like the whole process was relatively spontaneous – the M5 belonged to his brother, so there was no big search to find his perfect project car.
He bought it when the engine went pop and his brother wanted to get rid of it. “My plan was to rebuild the whole engine, install a small turbo and go and burn some rubber,” Mikael says with refreshing honesty and admirable matter-of-factness. And that’s exactly what he did, although we suspect the Swedish definition of a ‘small turbo’ might be open to interpretation…
Let’s get one thing straight here: this car is all engine. The exterior is stock, bar the retro Euro yellow painted fogs and high beams. The wheels are reps (which Mikael’s brother put on, so we can forgive him) and the interior is basically stock, too. Yes, there’s a tall, knurled gear knob attached to the short-shift kit and an Android tablet that acts as a display for the MaxxECU readouts but beyond that it’s straight-up E34 M5. At least it is until you open the boot but we’ll get onto that later…
We’d say Mikael’s E34 is the opposite of the vast majority of builds we tend to see, where people have put a lot of effort, all their effort in fact, into the styling and presentation of their cars, getting the stance and fitment right, the styling spot-on etc but have left their engines bone stock. This, however, is the anti-show car; there’s no airride, no massive wheels, no ICE install, just pure, unadulterated performance and that’s just fine with us.
The engine, then, is the dominating force and the centre point of the entire build and it’s as impressive as you’d expect, even if some of its ‘M-ness’ has been diluted in the process. “The engine uses an M30B35 block,” says Mikael, “which has been bored and stroked to take it up to 3.6-litres. I fitted new bearings, a balanced 3.8 crankshaft, Pro H-beam con rods and forged pistons with heavy-duty piston pins, while the head has Mira machined valve seats, turbo valves and a Cooper ring head gasket.”
All this work enabled the fitment of a suitably massive turbo. The item in question is a Precision 7675 turbo, rated for 1200hp, and Mikael is making full use of its capabilities. It sits on a PPF exhaust manifold, fed by a BMC dual cone air filter with a front-mount intercooler that’s just visible through the lower slats of the front bumper, passing air into the stock intake manifold. There’s also a PPF 75mm BOV and a Nuke Performance Blackline vacuum station, which lets you connect up numerous components to the manifold without having countless hoses draped across the engine bay.
The exhaust system, meanwhile, is as subtle as the rest of the car, comprising a three-inch system with a single, stubby round tip hidden beneath the rear bumper. Remember us talking about the boot a little earlier on? Well, it’s definitely not your common-or-garden E34 boot as it is home to the extensive fuel system, mounted on a wooden floor. Hidden beneath the bootlid is the extremely comprehensive fuel setup comprising a fuel cell, catch tank, two DeatschWerks DW350iL fuel pumps and two Nuke Blackline filters, which is all hooked up to the Nuke fuel rail and FPR under the bonnet with Precision 1260cc injectors running at 3bar.
This M5 is running some seriously heavyduty hardware throughout and it all adds up to some serious numbers, namely 886whp and 762lb ft of torque at the wheels, which means it’s going to be nudging past the 1000hp mark at the flywheel – an awesome amount of power to have at your disposal. Looking at the dyno graphs, we wager it’s one hell of a wild ride, too. At 4000rpm the engine makes just over 200whp but just 1000rpm later it’s making over 600whp. That means going from the sort of peak power you’d get from an E46 330i to more power than any production BMW, ever, in the space of just 1000rpm. This must be an incredible experience and one that requires a delicate right foot so as not to vaporise the rear tyres. Or a heavy one to do just that. Mikael has done very little in terms of helping the E34 to deploy all that power but then he did say his aim was to burn some rubber.
Speaking of which, the wheels measure 8.5” and 9.5” wide front and rear respectively but with 235 tyres at the back there’s not a whole lot of rubber to hold onto the road. As a result, massive burnouts are never more than a flex of the right ankle away. XYZ coilovers with 30-way damping adjustment have been fitted to allow for a drop and to sharpen up the handling, as Mikael is planning on venturing out on track with his M5.
As the transmission has so much to cope with, Mikael has again focused his attention here. As a result, the gearbox is a six-speed manual from an E60 530d mated to a Sachs 765 clutch cover and a six-puck sintered clutch, while the propshaft comes from an E60 M5. Mikael has retained the stock diff and final drive.
It took Mikael just nine months to go from broken E34 M5 to 1000hp monster and he’s clearly caught the bug as he’s already got another project on the go – the E46 328i we mentioned at the start, which will be transformed into a drift car. As for the E34, Mikael has no further plans for it other than to head into the forests and have some serious fun.
DATA FILE #BMW Turbo E34 M5 / #BMW-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-E34-Turbo / #Precision
ENGINE #M30B5 / #M30 / #BMW-M30 / block, resurfaced, new bearings, bored to 3.6-litres, balanced 3.8 crankshaft, #Pro-H-beam con rods, forged pistons with heavy-duty piston pins, S38B38 head, #Mira machined valve seats, turbo valves, #Cooper ring head gasket, S38 intake manifold, #PPF turbo exhaust manifold, #Precision-7675-turbo , #PPF 75mm BOV, 3” stainless steel exhaust turbo-back, two-piece 3” stainless mufflers, FMIC , Audi 115F ignition coils, #Nuke-Blackline vacuum station, fuel rail, fuel pressure regulator, #Precision-1260cc fuel injectors running at 3bar. 886whp, 762lb ft wtq.
TRANSMISSION E60 530d six-speed manual gearbox, Sachs-765 clutch cover plate, six-puck sintered clutch, E60 M5 propshaft, original final drive.
CHASSIS 8.5x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #BBS-Le-Mans replicas with 215/40 (front) and 235/40 (rear) tyres, #XYZ coilovers with 30-way damping adjustment.
EXTERIOR Yellow tinted high beams and foglights.
INTERIOR Knurled gear knob, Android tablet for #MaxxECU readout, fuel system in boot with fuel cell, catchtank, x2 #Deatschwerks-DW350iL fuel pumps, x2 #Nuke-Blackline fuel filters, Nuke Blackline Y-connector.
My plan was to rebuild the whole engine, install a turbo and go and burn rubber Mikael Dahlbom.
This M5 is running some seriously heavy-duty hardware throughout Elizabeth de Latour.
The engine is the dominating force and the centre point of the build Elizabeth de Latour.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #2016 / Epic Alpine drive in an #BMW-E34 / #BMW-M5-Touring / #BMW-M5-Touring-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5 / #BMWStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe #1981 #BMW-635CSi-E24 / a sharper toothed shark / Uprated Shark: E34 M5-powered Six / #BMW-635CSi-S38 / #BMW-635CSi-S38-E24 / #BMW-635CSi / #BMW-E24 / #BMW / #BMW-6-Series /
A Sharper Toothed Shark A lovely E24 Six complete with S38 power. Crammed with the might of the twin-cam S38 engine from an E34 M5, this Six delivers a knockout punch Words: Johann Venter. Photography: Mahomed Abdulla.
This 1981 635CSi is one of the most elegant Coupés to come out of Bavaria. It was conceived by legendary automotive designer Paul Bracq. The Seventies was an exciting time at BMW. Having survived extinction it was ready to take on the world with several new models and at the forefront was Bracq.
In 1972 BMW unveiled the Turbo concept, a futuristic wedge-shaped design with gull-wing doors which highlighted to the world BMW’s intentions. And if the world needed any further proof of the company’s plans for the future that same year it opened its new four-cylinder building next to the Olympic Park that still acts as the company’s global HQ. Bracq was also responsible for the design of the first Three, Five and Seven Series. Although his tenure at BMW was short-lived his influence lived on for decades. It’s hard to believe, though, that BMW only had four models in its line-up up until 1988.
Although the purists might call us heathens, we won’t hide from the fact that we like what ‘garagistas’ such as Eagle are doing with the E-Type, Singer with early air-cooled 911s, and Mechatronik with classic Mercedes. Fitting more modern engines and equipment, making the cars more drivable, reliable and safe but still keeping enough of the originality so that they are still considered classics works for us. Similarly, at the heart of the conversion on this E24 Six is the S38 motor as found in the ‘3.6’ E34 M5 – a fettled and updated version of the M88 24-valve in-line ‘six which was deployed in both the E28 M5 and E24 M6. Its capacity was increased to 3535cc for the S38 while further improvements included a new forged steel crankshaft, upgraded camshafts, flywheel and equal length stainless steel manifolds – all of which upped the compression ratio. Better mapping of the Bosch engine management system, a more precise electronically-controlled fuel-injection system and butterfly valves in the inlet manifold provided better power delivery further down the rev range. This resulted in 315hp at 6900rpm and 266lb ft of torque at 4750rpm, propelling the M5 from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds with an electronically-controlled top speed of 155mph.
Darryl Pietersen, the lucky owner of this lovely example, shares his thinking behind the build: “I always had it at the back of my mind to do something different. We don’t have many E24 M6s in South Africa.” Darryl has been in love with the BMW marque for as long as he can remember and his first introduction to BMW was with a 2002, as he recalls: “I decided to fit a rotary motor to make it go faster, which was a big mistake. My second 2002 I kept completely original and sold it for more than what I had paid for it. My first M car was a 1996 E36 M3 but unfortunately it was stolen before I had even done 60 miles in it! In between I had an E34 535i – what an amazing car – and years later when my needs changed I progressed to an X5. Then, about six years ago, I was watching a feature on TV on the E24 6 Series and thought I could see myself in something like that.”
Finding the right car, though, wasn’t easy: “I looked for a clean example for a quite a while. I eventually found this car in Cape Town. I bought it without physically seeing it and took delivery of it in January 2011. It had 136k miles on the clock and the motor was running perfectly.”
As the car had come from the Cape Town area Darryl was initially concerned about the dreaded tin worm but his fears proved to be unfounded: “Fortunately there was no rust. It was complete but the paintwork was weathered and certain areas had lost the metallic finish completely. The leather Recaro seats were worn, too. The previous owner had also bought the car with the intention of restoring it but never got around to it.”
So a restoration for the Shark was on the cards but having always lusted after the M635CSi Darryl knew that he wanted more power for his car and explains why he eventually went down the S38 route: “The M88 motor is extremely hard to come by in South Africa, the S38 slightly less so. When I consulted my longtime friend and owner of Tune Tech, Shaun Sing with the vision I had, he confirmed that the S38 motor was the one to have – the last of the six-cylinder breed in the M5.
Shaun has been working on my BMWs since he started Tune Tech 20 years ago – back then operating from home. I trust him emphatically, he is an excellent BMW mechanic and tuner. I was lucky to find one of these engines at IPC as they are not common. IPC predominately import used engines from Germany and this 3.6-litre motor had only done 50,000km [31k miles]. It truly is a great piece of German engineering and runs absolutely beautifully.”
Anyone who has taken on a restoration, let alone one that involves an engine swap, will tell you these things take time… and so it was with Darryl’s Six which was five years in the making. “I did extensive research to make sure that the conversion could be done successfully. The car was stripped down to bare metal and built from the ground up. It is covered in at least five coats of paint.” It’s an eye-catching shade and we enquire as to whether it’s actually Alpina blue? “It looks like Alpina blue, yet it isn’t,” Darryl replies. “I always liked the Avus blue found on the E36 M3 but for this car I needed it to pop even more.
I wanted it to have more body. The colour itself is very close to the Mazda Deep Crystal Blue Metallic.” Setting off the paint very nicely are a set of Alpina wheels, but even sourcing these wasn’t easy, as Darryl explains: “They’re original Alpina items, imported from… Slovakia! I could not find these Alpina 18-inch rims in South Africa and the ones from the UK were an astronomical price. In the end it still cost me an arm and a leg but it was worth it.”
The car sits very well on its Alpinas and Darryl explains that he managed to achieve exactly what he was looking for with the suspension: “I wanted an M Sport-look which I achieved by fitting Bilstein dampers with H&R springs. It is a winning formula, as the ride height is lower while the firmer package allows for less body-roll and better handling. The springs are progressive and only become stiffer when on a chase. All other suspension rubbers and bushes have been replaced with OEM parts. The result is a ride that is not overtly firm, the stance is not too low and the handling is magnificent.”
Just about the only other aspect of the car that required attention was the interior and Darryl has kept an OEM-look, simply installing a new carpet to replace the worn original and having the Recaro seats recovered in leather.
“This car really draws plenty of attention,” enthuses Darryl. “Youngsters can’t believe that this car is over 30 years old. Paul Bracq penned a very futuristic BMW. The lines were way ahead of its time and therefore the younger BMW enthusiasts can be forgiven for thinking it is fairly new. It is definitely one of the stand-out modern classic BMWs for me,” Having looked at the build of the car it’s time to see if it drives as well as it looks, so we head off to our photo location: a deserted, unfinished piece of the N4 Magalies Freeway close to Hartbeespoort Dam, about 90km outside of Johannesburg. The road is barricaded off with concrete road barriers but luckily for us the centre barrier has been pushed aside, just enough to create an opening for the E24 and our camera vehicle to slip through. It is quite eerie as there are no other vehicles on this dual carriage highway. Where the road comes to an abrupt end it is laden with burnt rubber tracks. Oil drums are stacked together where the two lanes converge and to the side is the carcass of a burnt out bus lying on its side. It is like stepping into the apocalypse, a kind of Mad Max world, if you will.
In contrast to this End of Days scene the Six cuts a rather svelte figure. We like the #Alpina theme running through this interpretation of the car, the colour so close to the ubiquitous Alpina blue and those Alpina wheels fitted with Falken ZE 912 asymmetric rubber, 225/45 ZR18 up front and 235/45 ZR18 in the rear, filling the arches perfectly. The valve stem is hidden behind the Alpina centre cap, with air being channelled through one of the spokes into the tyre so that there’s no valve protruding from the wheel, resulting in a super-clean finish.
Although this is not my first rodeo with this beast, I am ecstatic to be handed the keys. Inside are the best Recaro Sport seats of this period. They look superb and feel even better once you settle in, offering excellent support, while the three-spoke steering feels exactly right with just enough padding on the rim. To be honest, I didn’t initially appreciate how the gauges were displayed within the instrument binnacle in the earlier versions of the Six, with the speedo in the centre being larger than the two gauges on either side. Over the years, though, this setup has grown on me and with the red needles I am beginning to think that it looks better than the later, more conventional setup. It is also great to see that the old Pioneer Component radio/cassette deck has been retained… if only I could find one of my ’80s cassettes!
Engage the ignition and there is a thunderous roar. I am expecting it to settle down like a normal big inline ‘six, but it doesn’t. Deploy first gear and the lever shifts into position with ease. The engine is freerevving and easily pulls towards 6000rpm, hurtling the Six and myself towards the horizon with sheer voracity. It slips into second like a glove, precise but elongated. The engine is still in the sweet-spot and the revs are soon back on the limit. The engine noise seems to fade out at the top end. Third is another protracted throw and then all of a sudden the revs seem to dip down to zero, as if you’re frozen in time.
Then the power begins to surge again but the momentum has been lost. By the time I hit fourth I’ve run out of Tarmac. I am happy to spin it around to have another go, it truly is great guns in first and second, but the original ’box lets it down when you want to go guns blazing for the entire journey. Darryl he insists that I do another sortie and push it even harder, which I gladly do. I discover it will rev beyond 6000rpm and that wheel-spin is possible in second if you hold onto the higher revs for long enough in first. “It still has the 635CSi five-speed gearbox,” Darryl says. “The M5 gearbox has a larger bellhousing which would have meant cutting into the frame to accommodate the bigger ’box. The midrange is therefore lacking and you can feel that when you change from second to third. I relish each opportunity I get to drive it, though. I love how it pushes down on its haunches as you accelerate. It’s a thrill that I cannot seem to get enough of, no matter how short-lived it is. I drive it every weekend if I can, starting with a drive to work on Friday as a treat!
“I find myself appreciating older BMWs even more today and really enjoying the classic BMW experience. I often take the Six out for a drive with fellow enthusiasts and to classic events and car shows where I can share my enthusiasm.” So mission accomplished then? “There is always something that still needs doing on a classic car, it never ends. I must point out, however, that Shaun and his team at Tune Tech did a sterling job. Everything runs and works perfectly, including the electronics. The motor is perfectly balanced. There is no vibration whatsoever.”
Now that the Six is completed we can’t help but wonder whether there is another BMW project on the horizon for Darryl? “ #BMW has been part of my motoring journey since… well, forever. My brothers owned several BMWs and so have many of my friends. I am, therefore, quite nostalgic about the car. I intend to pass on the Six to one of my grandsons when the time is right; for the other grandson I intend to restore a 2002. It is part of my BMW legacy that I wish to leave behind for them,” he explains.
As we are about to leave Darryl decides to lay down his own tyre tracks, marking his territory in a plume of smoke. The joys of electronic-free driving: just drop the clutch, ram the load pedal and give it plenty of opposite lock… it’s sheer driving pleasure.
Special thanks to: Ron Silke
“Paul Bracq penned a very futuristic #BMW . The lines were way ahead of its time”
18-inch Alpina alloys look lovely and hide their valve stems behind the centre cap.
The engine is free-revving and easily pulls towards 6000rpm, hurtling the Six towards the horizon.
At the heart of this conversion lies 3535cc of #BMW-S38 #BMW-M-Power goodness, an #BMW-E34 #BMW-M5-E34 having donated its heart for this super Six.
Darryl has kept the interior of his E24 largely original and just about the only restoration work required was for those superb Recaro seats to be retrimmed and for the carpet to be replaced.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIT TAKES MORE THAN A COAT OF PAINT TO DISGUISE ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL SPORTS CARS. #1989 / #Magazine-Advert
Even a coat of paint by Andy Warhol could not eclipse the legendary #BMW-E26 / #BMW-M1-E26 / #M88 engined supercar. But ten years later, the people who created #BMW-M1 have artfully contrived its reincarnation in a spectacularly unassuming guise.
That car is the #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW / #BMW-E34
The significance of M, as will be well known to the marque’s devotees, is that it stands for Motorsport: BMW’s dedicated motor racing and development division.
This, the first authentic road-going M car to reach this country, will introduce a very limited number of Australian drivers to the Motorsport philosophy.
Wherein all the quality, elegance and practicality of the already accomplished 5-Series is allied to the uncompromised sporting characteristics of an exotic.
Making the #BMW-M5 , as the editor of ’Wheels’ observed it, "the car canonised as the best sporting saloon in the world.” For beneath the bonnet lies an exquisitely sculptured 24-valve, double overhead camshaft six cylinder engine painstakingly hand-built to extract an extraordinary #S38 / 232 kW (or 315 bhp DIN) from just 3.5 litres displacement.
However, it stealthily maintains a restrained silhouette through almost imperceptible aerodynamic modifications.
With the M5, BMW has quite deliberately disguised its 0 to 100kmh performance of 6.3 seconds behind the countenance of an audaciously understated luxury saloon.
A deception which may ultimately prove to be its most coveted advantage.
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- Post is under moderationE34 M5 3.8 Final Report
“This is the end, beautiful friend.” So sang The Doors, and I’m afraid to say that as far as I’m concerned it’s the end of my tenure of the M5. It’s hard to believe that I’ve owned it for a little over three-and-a-half years yet during that time only managed to put a scant 3k or so miles onto its odometer. I’ve now handed the ownership baton over to a keen #BMW enthusiast who I know will manage to continue the journey of bringing M244XEO back to its former glory.
To be honest ownership of the M5 has left me with mixed emotions. On the one hand my primary aim with the car was to save it from the ignominious fate of being broken for spares as when I bought the car it was worth more than I paid for it in parts. While I can appreciate the merits of someone transplanting the #S38 straight-six into an E30 it does seem like a crying shame that in order to do so means the death of one of the world’s finest super saloons. Thus my primary aim of preserving the car was achieved; but the sad reality is that I just don’t have the time for a project car and I was never able to find the time or the money required to bring the #BMW-M5 back up to scratch.
I did get plenty done to it though. Looking through the back issues in which the car featured does make for slightly sobering reading for anyone taking on a project of this type. In retrospect, I think that my biggest problem was that I was trying to breathe life into a car that had been stood – virtually unused – for the best part of three years. So not only was I trying to get on top of the inevitable rust, various components would fail simply from a lack of use. Without going into a definitive list of what was replaced, off the top of my head I completed the following repairs: rust attended to on sills and rear arches; new tyres and wheels refurbished; new radiator; front discs and pads; air mass meter (x 2); prop coupling; diff seals; Powerflex suspension bushes; gear linkages; alternator rebuilt; new battery… there was always something that needed doing.
On top of that lot there were a couple of services and the valve clearances were checked and adjusted. I’m not going to add it all up (in case my wife reads this!) but it’s safe to say that I spent far more on the car than I recouped when I sold it.
Overall I learned a few lessons with this project. First, if I’d really wanted an E34 M5 I should have bitten the bullet and bought a far better example in the first place. Secondly, if you do buy a machine that requires work you’ve got to have a garage. There were many times when I fancied doing an hour’s work or so on the M5 when there was a quiet moment at home but as the car was parked on the street anything I did start would need to be finished – it’s much harder to get halfway through a job and decide to finish it another day if the car has to be left on the street.
Overall, though, I’m glad I took the project on and while we might have only done 3000 miles together there were some memorable drives, especially for the cover feature for the July 2014 issue and when we ventured out on track at one of the BMW Car Club’s days on the full Silverstone GP circuit. Hopefully the M5’s new owner will continue to bring it back to being a good example of what in its day was the world’s finest super saloon.
TECH DATA #BMW-M5-3.8-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34 / #BMW-M5-E34-3.8 / #BMW-E34
MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 47
TOTAL MILEAGE: 133,778
MPG THIS MONTH: 23.9
COST THIS MONTH: NilStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationE34 M5 COLLECTION
Glutton for Punishment? We meet one man who owns four #BMW-E34 M5s. The #BMW-M5-E34 has developed a bit of a reputation for throwing up a big bill or two so you could be forgiven for thinking that owning four of these fine beasts is a little excessive Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.
“It’s a bit masochistic I suppose,” says Keith Stout when talking about his E34 #BMW-M5 collection but one never gets the impression he regrets his decision to invest in his family of M5s. Sadly the E34 has developed a bit of a reputation for being something of a money pit, no doubt fuelled by tales of doom on internet forums, but as numbers dwindle there’s no doubt that E34 values will rise, especially as interest in the model has really started to take off. This is a view echoed by Keith: “They’re undervalued in the UK at the moment – the Germans seem to take a far kinder view of their heritage – but they are going to go up in value especially with the number that are dropping off the register there’s bound to be a future for them as they’re the last of the hand-built cars.”
So how on earth did Keith end up owning four of these fine beasts? His collection now comprises nearly all of the production range of the E34 M5 and he’s only missing a late model Touring to complete the set, but for the time being he’s very happy with a Sebring grey #BMW-M5-E34-3.6 , an Avus blue #BMW-M5-E34-3.8 five-speed, another Avus blue 3.8 with the six-speed ‘box and the latest addition, the black five-speed Touring. Keith’s not what you would call a serial M Power owner as the K-plate 3.8 was actually the first M car he’d owned. He was, however, a big fan of German cars, seeing them as well-put-together pieces of engineering, which dove-tailed well with his career as an engineer.
He thought the M5 might make an interesting contrast to his Audi RS2 so when he heard of an E34 M5 3.8 languishing unused and unloved four or five years ago he decided to go for it. “The first one I bought was the K-reg Avus 3.8 which had been parked unloved under an apple tree in Lincolnshire and had been left for a couple of years,” Keith tells us. “I think that’s really when I decided that if I didn’t step in and buy the M5 it would have almost certainly have ended up down the parts path – so many of them have been broken up as when they get really bad they’re worth more in spare parts than they are as complete cars. That seemed like a crying shame so I took the plunge.
“I bought it sight unseen, condition unknown, really to have a little play with it and to see how I got on with bringing a relatively unloved and abused example back to life. I spent about nine months and a lot of money putting the thing back together again because, whether most E34 M5 owners choose to admit it or not, once you start taking the sill covers off 95 per cent of them are all the same. I started basically with new wings, new doors, new sills, fuel lines and thoroughly enjoyed getting dirty messing about and making a bit of a pest of myself down my local bodyshop.”
Once Keith had the 3.8 up and running he was more than happy with the result and while it currently still has a little bit of a whiny gearbox this is going to be attended to before Keith can announce that he’s really happy with the car. “I do find it a bit of an electrifying thing to drive,” he says. “Once it’s warmed up I find it quite an interesting proposition. I’ve got some other fast cars but the M5 introduced me to what an M Power engine in good nick will pull like; I liken it to an electric motor. The other fast car that I have here at the moment is an Audi RS2 which has a massive great turbo, a Porsche-designed device, and that drives almost entirely differently, more like a switch. Unless you’re really tuned in to the RS2 and you know the characteristics of the big turbo it can catch you out whereas the M5 is a much more progressive drive.”
Those with eagle eyes will probably have spotted that the 3.8 sits a little lower than standard and Keith tells us that, yes, the original Electronic Damper Control (EDC) suspension has been deleted from this one and it now runs a Bilstein setup that he’s very happy with. It is a little low for use on some badly surfaced roads but on the whole he loves the way it drives while acknowledging that some purists won’t like the fact the EDC has been removed. The original dampers are now rarer than hen’s teeth and hugely expensive and while the originals can now be rebuilt in Poland Keith likes the fact that the aftermarket suspension makes it a slightly more wallet-friendly machine when it comes to refreshing the suspension in the future. The main thing, though, is that he loves the way it drives on its current setup.
Chronologically speaking the next one to arrive was the Sebring 3.6 and while Keith wasn’t intentionally looking for another M5 as he’d enjoyed the process of putting the Avus 3.8 back to a decent condition and when the opportunity of buying one arose he decided to go ahead. “I fell in love with the Sebring 3.6 as I think it’s a very good looking machine, quietly understated, and it also has the nice individual rear seats which I think is quite rare, as well as having extended leather,” Keith explains. “The chap who owned the M5 before me had more or less run out of patience with the car after a series of problems and it had most recently had a gearbox fault. As he’d just come into some money he decided that what he really wanted was a Ferrari! I thought good luck to him but I can tell you that if you think an M5 costs a lot to run and maintain, try tinkering with a Ferrari – I’ve been there, done that!
“I got the car at quite a nice price and then repeated the whole exercise that we’d done with the Avus 3.8. The wings and inner sills came off and we went all the way through it. We sprayed the front wings, the doors and the roof and the paint came up quite nicely. It was still a relatively low mileage car – I think it was about 130,000 miles then – and it sailed through an MoT, although having said that I think we did the fuel and brake lines on that one too! I’ve owned it for the best part of three years I should think and it drives very nicely.”
By this stage Keith had started taking his M5s to David Olias of Classic MD Autos and it was actually David who got in touch with us to enquire as to whether we’d like to feature a four-car M5 collection. Those with long memories may well remember David from a What’s in you Garage? piece we did many years ago and he’s also fondly remembered for his driving style when we brought some E34 M5 owners together to sample the then new E61 M5 Touring back in 2007. He lives and breathes E34 M5s and Keith says he feels David provides his fleet with excellent service even though David’s Suffolk HQ is a long way from where Keith lives. “I know David pretty well, we’ve had a business relationship together for the past three years. I run up to see him fairly regularly. We always have an interesting discussion.
Out of all the people I’ve used he seems to be the best in my experience. He made a very good job of the first one so he now does them all,” says Keith. The third M5 here is another Avus example, but this time a six-speed so it sports the wider grille, 18-inch M Parallel alloys and the ‘floating’ brakes.
This one is as BMW intended and still retains its EDC suspension and despite being a much lower mileage machine than the other Avus 3.8, the six-speed was still treated to the full ‘Keith treatment’ when it arrived, as he recalls: “You have to take them apart to find out how bad they’re going to be but it was in nowhere near as bad a state as the Avus five-speed but we still had to have it virtually completely apart to find that out. It’s had a front suspension rebuild on it as that was all worn and David will be doing the tappets on it shortly to safely wring the last bit of safe energy out of the engine. More or less the only real fault with that car which has only done around 100k miles is the sychro on fourth gear which will be done by Neil at All Gears as he’s a Getrag specialist. We’re going to do both gearboxes from the Avus cars as if I do sell them I want them to be properly up together with no obvious faults.”
Keith’s attention to detail with his M5s can also be evidenced by the fact that he’s keen to ensure everything works, with items like electric seats and air conditioning systems being sorted where many people would push these firmly to the back of the ‘to do’ list. As Keith explains: “The seats on the six-speed were a real pain in the backside. I remember stripping down the driver’s seat in it and getting replacement motors as I wasn’t happy that we didn’t have full control over all its functions.
“I’ve sorted out the air-con on the three saloons, too, although off the top of my head I can’t actually remember whether the Touring’s works or not but I’ve rebuilt the air-con on all the other three including all the problems of rusted out evaporators and new driers and all the rest of it.”
When the six-speed arrived it was also on the wrong wheels, sporting a set of Throwing Stars (the wheels fitted to the other three cars here) so Keith set about finding a set of 18-inch M Parallel wheels to make it factory correct, even though he actually prefers the way they drive on the smaller, 17-inch wheels. “Sourcing the wheels for the car took ages – David lectured me on the part numbers that I had to go for, avoiding M Parallels from other models, and the word ‘replica’ nearly caused him to have a coronary! It took me a year to find the correct set to get the car back to the condition it would have been in when it was new,” Keith remembers.
The fourth car to arrive was the Touring, and it’s the one that completes Keith’s set of M5s. “It’s obviously left-hand drive [all M5 Tourings were left-hookers] and still has its EDC,” says Keith. “And the bodyshell is good but we’re not throwing money at it yet because we’re approaching it slightly differently as we need to concentrate on the engine. It was a very fast car but it smoked on load. David knew what the state of the bottom end of the engine was like because he’d done it but we’re not going to mess about with it; it needs to be done properly so we’ll do the head on this one. The car wasn’t horrifically expensive, it was known that it smoked when we bought it, and then basically the thing was to do it right.”
The Touring has also ended up having a little bit of a suspension rebuild, too, which was actually entirely unintentional as Keith recalls: “It blew its high pressure hoses on the way to its MoT which filled us full of admiration for it! David was literally about to drive it out of the yard to the MoT station when the hose blew. The rear dropped to the floor and it left a great big puddle underneath it. Fortunately David had some spares on the shelf and was able to repair it without too much trouble.”
Keith and David have both decided to follow the path of bringing these M5s back from the brink by sympathetically restoring them and for the time being Keith’s happy to keep them although he knows that eventually they will end up being sold. Ideally he’d like them all to go to the same good home at some point in the future. What he didn’t want was the cars to end up as ‘breakers’, being sold for their parts or to be run into the g round as drift machines, which is why he’s put in so much hard work. “All the issues that we’re finding with them we’re resolving. The whole idea was to get all four of them back into fine condition as otherwise they could have ended up as breakers. We all know in parts bin land you’ll get a minimum of three or four grand for the combination of all the bespoke parts that are on them but they were far too good for that. Each of them has been done in a style where they will be very usable cars for the foreseeable future,” Keith says.
He knows what he’s spent on them and knows that to break even he’ll need to ask decent money for the cars but as far as Keith’s concerned there are two ways of buying an E34 M5: the cheap way or the proper way, and the former will almost always end up being more expensive than the latter. “There are a lot of unscrupulous sellers out there – you only have to have a look at some of the horrors on eBay – people who will fill an M5 full of filler, chuck thick oil in it and throw mud at the fuel lines and say it’s perfect,” he says. “I’ve bought cars that have tended to be good value but they’ve all had potential and because I’m now long retired I have the luxury of being able to take my time with them.” The bills can stack up though: “You only have to read some of the BMW forums to discover that you almost have to commit an act of adultery when you buy a cheap one as the first thing you have to do is hide the bloody chequebook so your wife doesn’t see what you’re spending while you disappear with a mistress in the form of a K-plate 3.8! You can guarantee that you’ll spend £10,000 on one of these eBay cars after you’ve bought one. That’s a minimum, and providing you haven’t got any real horror stories in the engine.”
Being retired Keith also says that this allows him the time to put a proper paper trail in place for the fleet so he knows where he’s got to at any one time: “I’ve got a massive spreadsheet of jobs. I have to run a list of everything that needs doing as with four of them you have to keep asking yourself ‘which one was that for?’ so at any one time I know what the problem is and what needs doing to sort it out and how much it’ll cost to repair it. I know exactly to within £10 what I’ve spent on each of those cars including buying them. It comes from my engineering background from running computer controlled tools and you always want to know which ones are the troublesome ones and what they’ve cost you!”
In terms of financial spend it’s the Avus blue fivespeed that has cost Keith the most because it was a steep learning curve. But it’s also the one he has the greatest attachment to: “Because it caused me so much grief, and because I had so much fun doing it, and because it was the first one I did, the K-plate 3.8 five speed is my favourite. I would like to keep that one, the car I love to hate, as it amuses me greatly when it’s out on the open road, and I like the fivespeed gearbox more than the six quite truthfully. It’s a real charmer and as it’s had so much done to it you’re not going to find it needs more work as I had all the time in the world on that one. The bodyshop (God help them!) was only 600 yards from my house so basically whenever there was anything of any interest going on I was down there supervising and getting filthy. I really enjoyed doing that one!” In the end Keith admits he restores the cars because he finds the challenge enjoyable and because he has time on his hands. Also, as he has an #Alpina B10 and a 540i six-speed manual for daily duties he never has to ensure a job’s finished the same day it’s started. “It is a touch masochistic,” he says, “but I mess around with them because I really enjoy it.” And surely that’s the whole point of these fabulous cars?
Classic MD Autos
Tel: 08452 416401
The #BMW E34 M5 Touring was only ever constructed with the 3.8-litre engine and it made its debut in 1992 and ran to the end of E34 M5 production in August #1995 . As it was based on the 3.8, all Tourings also featured the EDC setup and could also be spec’d with the double sunroof that could be ordered on the regular E34 Touring. Keith’s machine again shows the differences in spec that can be found with M5s – it has black extended leather but features manual seats. This would have been a very unusual combination on a UK-spec car. It also has the Motorsport mirrors fitted which were popular in Europe but never offered as an official factory option for the UK market. In total BMW made just 891 M5 Tourings, all left-hand drive and of those 682 were the earlier five-speed machines (like Keith’s) while 209 were the later sixspeed examples.
Avus blue 3.8 six-speed
To keep the M5 going for the last year of its life-cycle BMW introduced a number of changes, the most obvious of which was the adoption of the wider kidney grilles fitted to the rest of the E34 range. While it retained the same 3.8-litre ‘six as the earlier cars it gained a six-speed gearbox, slightly thicker anti-roll bars and larger front brakes in a ‘floating design’ as well as 18-inch alloys.
Keith’s six-speed also features extended leather in light silver grey and has the later type airbag steering wheel which was rather better integrated than the larger unit fitted to some M5s. Like the other saloons here it also has the rear spoiler which was an option and actually did very little for the car’s aerodynamics.
In total BMW made just 543 six-speed saloons, with just 139 of those being right-hand drive.
Sebring grey 3.6
The E34 M5 made its debut in 1988 and featured a 3535cc version of the S38 ‘six that has subsequently become known as the 3.6 to differentiate it to the S38 used in the E28 M5 in some markets. The ‘3.6’ developed 315hp – 29hp up on the E28. The E34 was an altogether more refined machine than the car that went before it but was still a very subtle-looking machine – the M5 might have carried a big stick but it certainly didn’t shout about it.
Keith’s 3.6 features extended leather which was a costly option when new and is also unusual for a right-hand drive car in that it was specified with the fixed centre console in the middle of the rear seat which turns the car into a four-seater. It also has the optional full climate control. In total BMW manufactured 8079 3.6 M5s in Munich, while BMW South Africa made a further 265 from CKD kits. Of the Munich cars just 524 were RHD.
Avus blue 3.8 five-speed
The 3.8 version of the M5 was introduced at the Frankfurt show in 1991 and featured a heavily revised version of the S38 straight-six with capacity enlarged to 3795cc to produce 340hp. Apart from the capacity hike there were numerous other changes to the unit including distributorless ignition with six individual coils. The suspension setup was changed too with a full EDC system replacing the earlier selflevelling setup.
It’s hard to find any two M5s with an identical spec and Keith’s collection demonstrates this perfectly. His Avus fivespeed has the half Motorsport Silver grey cloth with Amaretta bolsters, a two-tone coloured non-airbag steering wheel and the standard air-con set up. In total BMW produced 2426 3.8 fivespeed M5s, 2222 in LHD form and just 204 in RHD.
It amuses me intensely when it’s out on the open road, and I like the five-speed gearbox more than the six.
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