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BMW M5 E34: The Classic of the 90’s that still charms

In the world of classic vehicles, few models evoke as much admiration and nostalgia as the BMW M5 E34. Released between 1988 and 1995, this sports sedan not only defined an era but also set new standards in terms of performance, design, and sophistication. The M5 E34 is, without a doubt, one of the most precious jewels in BMW’s crown, a vehicle that continues to be highly coveted by enthusiasts and collectors.

Design and Construction: A Handcrafted Masterpiece

The design of the BMW M5 E34 was the brainchild of Ulf Weidhase, who managed to create a silhouette that combines elegance and aggression in perfect harmony. With a length of 4,720 mm and a width of 1,750 mm, this four-door sedan makes an imposing statement on the road, standing out for its aerodynamics and clean lines.

Photo: © BMW Group

One of the most notable features of the M5 E34 is its assembly process. The bodies, painted at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, were transported to BMW M GmbH in Garching, where they were assembled by hand in a process that took approximately two weeks. This meticulous method ensured exceptional quality and attention to detail that few vehicles can match. The Touring version, introduced in 1992, was fully assembled at the Rosslyn plant in South Africa from kits supplied from Germany, adding an extra layer of exclusivity to this already rare model.

The Heart of the M5: Power and Precision

The BMW M5 E34 was powered by the S38 engine, an evolution of the previous generation’s inline-six engine. Initially, the M5 was equipped with a 3.5-liter engine producing 315 hp, allowing the car to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds and reach an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

In 1992, BMW introduced an improved version of the S38 engine, increasing its capacity to 3.8 liters and its power to 340 hp. This update reduced the acceleration time to 5.9 seconds and improved the vehicle’s response, thanks in part to the implementation of a dual-mass flywheel and an electronically controlled damping system (EDCIII+).

Photo: © BMW Group

Details and Curiosities: BMW’s Special Touch

The M5 E34 not only stood out for its performance but also for its unique details and curiosities that made it even more special. For instance, the original “M-System” wheels, with their three-piece design and magnesium covers, were designed to improve brake cooling. In 1992, BMW introduced the “M-System II” design, also known as “throwing stars,” which further optimized airflow to the brakes.

The M5 also featured special editions that added a touch of exclusivity and personalization. The Cecotto Edition, named after race car driver Johnny Cecotto, boasted luxurious interiors with Nappa leather and exclusive color options such as Lagoon Green and Mauritius Blue. Only 22 units of this edition were produced.

On the other hand, the Winkelhock Edition, inspired by driver Joachim Winkelhock, focused on weight reduction and performance enhancement. With only 51 units produced, this edition removed non-essential elements and featured Recaro seats and a suede steering wheel for a purer, more sporty driving experience.

Photo: © BMW Group

Special Editions: Celebrating the Legacy of the M5 E34

In addition to the Cecotto and Winkelhock editions, the M5 E34 was also offered in other limited versions that celebrated BMW Motorsport’s history and heritage. The 20 Jahre Motorsport Edition commemorated the 20th anniversary of BMW Motorsport with exclusive details such as embroidered seat belts and carbon fiber dashboard panels. Only 20 units of this edition were produced, all in the striking Mugello Red color.

Another notable edition is the UK Limited Edition, created to celebrate the end of the right-hand drive M5 E34 production. With only 50 units, this edition was offered in two color combinations: Rosso Red with Champagne leather interiors and Orinoco Metallic with Petrol and Mint bicolor leather interiors.

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A Legacy that Endures

The BMW M5 E34 is not just a vehicle; it’s a legend on wheels. Its combination of performance, luxury, and exclusivity makes it a car that continues to be revered decades after its launch. Whether it’s for its handcrafted engineering, powerful engines, or special editions, the M5 E34 has earned a place in automotive history as one of the most iconic and desirable sports sedans ever created.

Photo: © BMW Group

For BMW enthusiasts and classic car aficionados, the M5 E34 represents the best of both worlds: a car that offers an unparalleled driving experience and a piece of automotive history that continues to capture hearts and minds around the world. If you ever get the chance to see one in person, or better yet, drive one, you’ll understand why the BMW M5 E34 is truly a timeless masterpiece.

Photo: © BMW Group