1991 BMW M5

I’ve talked about opportunity costs before, and when considering a car such as yesterday’s 320is it bears reminding. There are plenty of people, myself included, that spend a fair chunk of the day dreaming about what super rare car they’d import from Europe if given the chance. And we’ve be Mr. Feelgood for you, supplying a steady stream of somewhat attainable European market goodies over the past few weeks. But does all this dreaming overlook something that’s right at your fingertips? In the case of the E34 M5, I think that might be true. This chassis is still generally overlooked compared to the E28 and E39 models, but those that have spent some time behind the wheel of these well engineered, hand built Q-Ships proclaim they’re one of the best BMW products made. They’ve got plenty of the right ingredients – the last of the S38 motors producing 315 horsepower, Motorsport details throughout, a great subtle look which still is commanding of respect, and limited numbers – only 1,678 were imported. It’s the right recipe for a future classic:


Year: 1991
Model: M5
Engine: 3.5 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 83,078 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

Offered Up for Sale:

A Very Rare 1991 BMW “M5” 4 Passenger – Finished in “Brilliant Red” with Black Leather & all of the BMW options. This is a fully loaded model. Complete Power Package as Standard. In addition – 4 Passenger Seating, Turbine Fin Wheels, & Carbon Fiber Trim. All Options and still has its original BMW Pioneer Stereo with CD Changer.

Interior: Leather is Perfectly Soft and Supple with no rips, tears, etc. Bolsters are firm and not worn. Dash Board is Perfect and Crack Free. Headliner was replaced with the Correct BMW Fabric. Everything in the car works – Power Seats / Head Rests, Windows, Locks, Sunroof, & the Airconditioning Blows Cold

Exterior: Body is as nice as it can get for a 25 year old BMW Body is Rust Free and Paint has been professionally touched up to make it perfect. Some of the paint appears a little of lighter / darker red from I believe fadding / weather, but it is hardly noticable. Tires are new as well as all 4 headlights. No Expense has been Spared on this M5. All repairs completed at Strictly BMW in Bellevue.

This is a Very Nice Example for Someone Desiring this BMW M5, They are nearly impossible to find with Original 83K Miles and a Washington Car where they are well Preserved.

Please Reply with your phone number / e-mail and I will get back with you.

Happy Bidding and Good Luck. Look forward to meeting you!!!

As with the 1991 M5 Paul wrote up a few weeks ago, it’s always great in my eyes to see the original M-System 1 wheels. Brilliant Red admittedly wouldn’t be my first choice, and outside of the “touch up” the ad discloses the incorrect rear badge may be an indication of further respray that needs to be investigated. However, overall it does seem to be a generally good example and unlike Paul’s car, this one has quite reasonable mileage, new tires and dealer servicing. The reserve is still on but bidding has only crested $13,500 – some $10,000 less than the 320is from yesterday. Is this a better car to get? Perhaps not if you’re interested in what’s hot in the marketplace, but if you’re looking for a more affordable car you can enjoy driving with the hope of holding or gaining value, this seems like a much better overall prospect.


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  1. A fantastic, real M car!

    The e39, while such a complete and solid car – and SO full of guts! – was a departure from M-ness, to my mind, in the engine department. Was it the S38’s short stroke or individual throttle bodies that made it so good and sing that nutty, glorious song?

    Original M cars were built around high-revving plants that loved bouncing around redline. Like a GT3 or the e60 V10 did later (thank God). This is the domain and fortè of euro exotics. It’s why we love them. The US e36’s S52 was a departure too. Pardon me, but mine winced & tappeted if spun up too long. Nothing like the ripper S54 the ROW enjoyed and we got later, finally. 😉

    Of course I’m not alone feeling melancholy about our sweet Germans. Turbos and big displacement actually are NOT a replacement.

  2. This car belongs to a friend of mine. I’ve driven it a few times and can vouch for the seller and accurate representation of the car in the listing. The hood and bumpers have been resprayed but you have to be an expert or know what you’re looking for to see it. The interior in general and the seats in particular look fantastic…better than you’d expect even given the lower miles.

    There are only a couple issues that i noticed:
    There is a malfunctioning aftermarket alarm system installed in the car that trips every time the car is unlocked. Thankfully the siren is disabled but the parking lights flash and a hidden button under the dash has to be pushed before the car will start. Shouldn’t be a big deal to get it removed.

    The clutch pedal is quite heavy/stiff. I’m not sure if this is normal for these cars as this is the only e34 M5 I’ve driven. In my experience this can be an indication of a clutch that’s nearing the end of its life, but when the seller first got the car he took it to Strictly BMW, gave them a blank check and said, “make it perfect.” I’d imagine if the clutch were indeed an issue they would have addressed it.

    In my decidedly less-than-expert opinion this is a solid, honest example of the breed. If I had the funds this car never would have made it to eBay…it would be in my driveway.

  3. As the owner of a 1990 euro spec M5 I hope you’re right about them becoming a classic someday. No mention of the SLS system? Car looks like it’s in good shape overal. Very original. Mine is much more modded.

  4. As the owner of a 1990 euro spec M5 I hope you’re right about them becoming a classic someday. No mention of the SLS system? Car looks like it’s in goods shape overal. Very original. Mine is much more modded.

  5. Though the M5 badge on the back is a little wonky

  6. My e34 M5, which I bought used in ’97, had this same carbon fiber trim. I always wondered if it was aftermarket or a factory option. Anybody know?

    I’ve also heard – but never confirmed – that the split rear seats with center console came only in early ’91 models (in the US). Anybody know about this?

  7. @Kurt, from M Registry:

    U.S Specification:
    Leather trim: Standard on seats only
    Fixed rear console: Standard before 09/90 production, then deleted
    Heated seats: Optional
    Driver’s airbag with knee bolster: Standard
    Driver’s three-position seat memory and power steering column adjustment: Not available

    There’s no mention of carbon fiber trim.

  8. Thanks for the personal report, markiteight. Was the trunk also repainted, or just the badge replaced?

  9. Thanks, Carter.

    The 1993 cars were very special to me with the shadowline (matte black window trim), sport mirrors and “thowing star” in place of “turbine” wheel covers. Not many ’93s around. Would still love to drive a Euro 3.8 with 6 speed — yes, please!

  10. @Kurt, yes, only a reported 261 ’93s, interesting that ’92s are actually more rare. I particularly like the later Granite Silver lower bits, too, and especially want a Avus Blue example. Still a dream!

  11. ah this almost makes me wax nostalgic about my e34 that I sold almost 2 years ago…
    first off not to be the wet blanket but as we all know that service is everything on the S38 and all M motors for that matter….if a blank check was given to the dealer why didn’t the seller point out all that was addressed??
    2nd: no mention at all about the suspension??..is the SLS still in there?
    3rd: 9 times out of 10 when the badge(s) are positioned wrong or the wrong badge all together like this one…it is usually a sign of paint work.
    4th: the carbon fiber interior bits are not OEM, wood grain came in the E34 M5, only in the E39 M5 was there anything other than wood offered (brushed aluminum)
    If this car is indeed as represented with no BS, it should trade for close to 20k, brilliant red is a polarizing color on these.
    I sold mine in Aug 2014 for a little over 20k with just over 100k on the odo…I had service records since 1995 when I bought it and it had some practical upgrades done to it (SLS delete, brakes, rims, injectors etc)

  12. @MDriver:
    1) The car was never taken to the dealer during its current ownership. If you want to know what was done, just ask the seller!
    2) Suspension was thoroughly gone through by Strictly BMW and it drives as it should. I’m not 100% sure but I believe the SLS is still there and fully functional. Again, ask the seller!
    3) Paintwork was fully disclosed in the listing.

  13. @Mark the biggest problem with the internet is that people cannot discern tone from what is typed.
    I was not being critical, but objective. it was you who said a blank check was given to Strictly BMW to address any and all issues…so for a perspective buyer a seller would just list what was already addressed it actually shows transparency and moreover makes the car that much more appealing to a potential buyer…
    as far as suspension this is perhaps one of the biggest things among E34 lovers…SLS to keep or not to keep…and it is usually one of the first things addressed when the suspension needs to be re-done.
    when i had mine I opted not to replace the SLS when time for a change and instead went with a Bilstein set-up like so many other owners have done…so if the suspension was taken care of..the seller could just mention right off we kept the SLS or we deleted it…frankly it is usually not a deal breaker to anyone serious nor does it diminish value..
    lastly it was YOU who disclosed the respray…the seller ad says only touch-up and says the off shades are do to weathering….
    again it seems like a nice car…nothing a strong PPI and leak-down test can’t confirm…and if it comes up clean…this car should trade for MORE than 20k easy

  14. I disagree. If you want transparency nothing is better than speaking to the seller directly. “Please Reply with your phone number / e-mail and I will get back with you.” That’s the last line of the ebay listing. You’re right, it’s impossible to infer tone from what is typed, so what better than bypass the typing and speak directly? It is impossible to appease all people all the time. There will always be something left out/overlooked when composing an ad for something as complex as a used car. Listing what work was performed at one service out of a car’s 25 year history of services is hardly a shining example of transparency. Offering to speak directly to potential buyers is.

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