The E38 7-series is perhaps the last classically handsome BMW. Its conservative, purposeful design has aged well and serves as poignant reminder of how things used to be, before the advent of Chris Bangle’s fussy futurism. Plutocratically expensive when new, today you can buy an early, high mileage, rough-around-the-edges example for a mere couple of grand. But the question is – would you want to? A $2k car that cost nearly $100k new is bound to be a ticking time bomb of wallet-rending catastrophe. To get a nice one you have to spend a little (but not too much) to get a lot (quite a lot, in fact). Around $10k will buy you a nicely sorted example – still not a lot of money, when you think about it – and just a smidge more will put you into a Sport model, like this one.
An interesting discussion developed around Andrew’s E39 540i post and my subsequent E12 520i post; what’s the best looking 5-series? One of our readers, William, suggested that it was the E34 – certainly a sentiment that I can appreciate. As his evidence, he submitted this car, probably the best example of how good a E34 can look – a European market M5 with the potent 3.8 liter S38. Whether or not you agree or contend that this was the best BMW, best E34, best M5 or best looking sedan ever, nearly everyone passing through these pages can appreciate that this is one great looking Teutonic piece of engineering; a driver’s car in true sleeper form. It might not be the definitive M5 for everyone, but it’s a pretty darn good example of how wonderful those two letters can be: