The E12 5-series is kind of like the E21 3-series, being the first of its name but not quite as cool as the Bavaria/2002s before them, nor as desired as the E28/E30s that succeeded them. This is a pretty sweet example though that has been subtly updated over time so that after nearly 35 years and over 200k miles, it still looks and runs great. The original 2.8-liter inline-6 has been replaced with a stronger 3.2, the wheels are from an E28, and both the interior and exterior have been tastefully redone. It’s old and has a few issues that will keep it a project, but odometer gears and door handles are easy items to start with. There’s definite interest but bidding is very low, making this a nice opportunity to get in a rareish classic BMW for cheap.
All posts tagged 5er
Most E28 M5s have experienced some level of modification, whether it’s removing the self-leveling rear suspension, adding a chip and exhaust, or getting a little crazy with more displacement out of the S38. There are plenty of tuner options out there, but Dinan is one of the most respected names out there and this owner went to town with their catalogue. The usual suspects are all there from chip to short shift kit to intake, but one of the more interesting mods is the SLS upgrade by Dinan as opposed to the more common complete removal. It also has some amazing, blocky Dinan 5-spokes, which remind me a lot of Ruf’s classic rims. It all adds up to a modified M5 that appears loved rather than abused and looks every bit the late-80s hot rod it was meant to be.
Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
Stare at a BMW E39 estate long enough and I’m pretty sure you’ll forsake all other wagons, perhaps even all other cars depending on your level of longroof love. This car was just one of those times when the designers got it so right it’s almost scary. The artists over at BMW took one of the greatest sedan designs of all time and molded it into the greatest family hauler of its time. The seller goes so far as to say the 540i Touring is the best looking wagon ever made, now or then. He certainly has a point if you focus on the competition of the era but as far as best looking wagon of all time, I’d have to give that to the beastly RS6 Avant. I will however give the 540i Touring the silver medal without a second thought. The proportions on this car are wonderful and it looks good from any angle, the hallmark of a truly exceptional design.
The positives extend far beyond the appearance of the vehicle, it is equally as impressive inside and under its skin. The 540i Touring is powered by a 4.4 liter V8 churning out 290 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque, not too shabby even by today’s standards. The superb handling dynamics of the E39 sedan carry over to the estate which makes the car even more desirable. It is by no means a canyon carver but from what I’ve read these cars handle with far better precision than one would think, especially since the damn thing weighs in at 5,043 lbs. When you consider that torsional rigidity was increased over the E34 5 series by 40 percent, the reasoning behind the affinity for these cars becomes quite clear. It’s a big steel caged missile that bests a car held in high regard for its handling capabilities. Having a hot rod that can haul will always be an attractive proposition to me and many other German car enthusiasts, the hard part is picking the right one. I’m always torn between the quintessential 90’s design of the E34 and the slightly more modern E39 but when push comes to shove, I seem to end up envisioning myself in the latter. I’m not sure why but the addition of a few more curves and rounded edges pushes the overall look of the elongated 5 series from great to all time classic.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Touring
As much as we discuss 80s M car values getting pulled up by the E30 M3, they aren’t insane yet. There are still some great drivers out there for the same price as a brand-new economy car, which will always be a great argument for getting adventurous and buying a fun classic. This 140k-mile example isn’t the cream puff some middle-mileage examples have been, but it’s pretty well sorted with enough minor blemishes to keep the price in check. Buying an E28 M5 for reasonable money has been one of the most educational and fun experiences in my car-loving life, and this one is a good opportunity to get a decent driver without breaking the bank.
Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay
However subtle the exterior modifications may be, the E39 M5’s enlarged front aperture and unique wheels still grab my attention from blocks away. As nice examples become the exception, these super sedans are hovering around the bottom of their depreciation curve, no longer going down but not shooting up as quickly as they soon will. With examples between 50-100k miles hovering around $25-30k, this looks like an enthusiast-owned driver that’s very nice but not perfect and being sold at a very reasonable price.