Perhaps it’s fitting that if you hit the shift key on the keyboard when attempting the M-Stripes in script you get three questions marks. We’ve recently had a few features questioning whether or not you need the ///M Badge on your 5-series; most recently, Paul looked at the E34 lineup with his M5 v. 540i post. The question has remained throughout the various iterations of the 5-series; while there was a pretty big gap in performance between the E28 535is and M5, those gaps have narrowed in subsequent generations. Couple that with the increased costs of ownership of the M-branded 5 and the higher residual value, and there are some good arguments to look at the top-of-the-range normal 5 versus the Motorsports version. When it comes to the E60, that’s especially true in my mind; the M5 had that great screaming V10 motor and many are fitted with the 7-speed break-your-neck-shifting SMG gearbox. Those are great items to have when you don’t have to pay the bills to repair them, but now the best part of a decade on despite the inexpensive entry price for E60 M5s relative to the performance you’d get, they just seem like a nightmare to undertake ownership of. The answer, then, may be to find a lightly warmed over 550i:
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Though personally invested, I’m still skeptical of the recent prices we’ve seen E28 M5s being listed for. It seems like reasonable examples were going for high teens just a few months ago, yet all of a sudden it seems any clean sub-150k mile example is going for over $30k. Today’s example is one of the rare Canadian models with the all-black interior, which is a fun idea but much less appealing (to my eyes at least) than the tan interiors present on the other 99%. It has just 124k miles and appears to be in good working order, but it’s not like the shockingly clean examples we’ve featured recently. It’s lived through 4 owners and the maintenance history is disappointingly lacking. The E28 community seems to express a collective “meh” when black-interior cars are brought up, but some like the color and rarity. Have E28 M5 prices really gone up 100% over the last year?
Click for details: 1988 BMW E28 M5 on eBay
Is the E34 BMW M5 destined to be a future classic or a cult favorite? It’s an interesting question, since if you go back only a few short years ago there was a general lack of appreciation of its fore-bearers. Certainly many considered the E28 a watershed design and important performance leap for executive sedans, but the refinement and luxury added to the E34 design for many doesn’t seem to outweigh the perceived softening of the M5. Plus the E34 wasn’t a watershed car or design, rather an evolution of the proven blueprint. BMW offers the E34 M experience in a different and more affordable form V8 in the 540i M-Sport, too – something that wasn’t really done with the E28. Then there’s the problem with it’s successor – the E39 represents arguably a much better deal and good examples are continuing to fall in price. That leaves the ‘last of the handbuilts’ in an interesting predicament. They should be worth more, since they’re a M5 and limited production, right?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay
I’ll start this post with the bad news; our reader Z sent in an awesome Dinan S3 spec E39 M5 that was supposed to run in this slot. Unfortunately, although the auction was slated to still be running it ended early, meaning we don’t get to look at that car. Now the good news; because Dinan is a factory-backed tuner and the M5 is one awfully popular machine, here’s another to fill the void! This particular example isn’t quite as wild – without the supercharger, you’ll have to make due with only around 450 horsepower from the naturally aspirated S62 with a host of Dinan upgrades:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay
Usually, the M5 is the top dog of the BMW 5 series range. This model has been with us for almost a full three decades now, dazzling enthusiasts with supercar performance in a sedan package. When the E34 series debuted in 1988, the second car to wear the M5 badge would appear shortly thereafter, with a 3.5 liter inline-6 under the hood, good for 315 horsepower. The M5 would be pulled from the US market after the 1993 model year. Then, in the final year of E34 production, we would see a new model emerge for 1995: the 540i M Sport.
The 540i M Sport would be a sort of preview towards what BMW was planning for the M5 of the forthcoming E39 generation. With a new series of V8 engines in the BMW product portfolio, the company took it upon itself to create a sort of modified M5, with a 4.0 liter V8 under the hood mated to an available 6-speed manual gearbox with a few styling tweaks, firmer suspension and sports seats. Today we’ll look at two powerful E34s, beginning with this 1991 M5 for sale in Ontario, Canada.