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It really does feel as though the market is finally waking up to the E34 M5, as values on nicer examples continue to climb. Bring a Trailer recently sold a U.S. spec ’93 with only 14,000 miles for what seems like a staggering $68,000! As they should have, considering the package. The E34 is a surprisingly great driver’s car, even in non-M guise. But in full blown M5 spec, it’s sublime, a throwback to an era of hand-built sport sedans that offer a satisfying analog driving experience. To make it, BMW sent the regular E34 chassis from the production line at Dingolfing over the geniuses at M GmbH in Garching, who dropped in the screaming, six cylinder S38 motor with six individual throttle bodies. In US-spec form, the 3.6 liter motor put out just over 300 hp, although a larger, 3.8 liter unit became available in Europe from 1991 onwards, which increased power output to 335 hp. The 3.8 never reached US shores by official channels, though these cars are now old enough to be imported without the need for expensive modification
I don’t think BMW has produced an attractiveÂ 7-series since the E38, offeredÂ between 1994 and 2001. Sure, laterÂ versions of BMW’s flagship sedanÂ are moreÂ impressive in other ways: larger, more powerful and more technologically advanced. But they aren’t whatÂ I would callÂ classically beautiful. The E38 on the other hand, with its conservative, angular styling,Â graceful proportions and purposeful stance, is an extraordinarily handsome car. Because of depreciation, you can pick oneÂ up for relative pennies these days. For example, I wrote up anÂ early model 740iL a few months ago advertised for justÂ $3,800.Â But a car that cheap is bound to have expensive repair needsÂ lurking beneath the surface. In truth, if you want a nice E38 that is mechanically sound, you have to spend a bit of money up front to save on potentially exorbitantÂ costs further down the road.