1993 BMW M5 3.8 Euro-spec

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:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW M5 3.8 Euro-spec on Craigslist

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2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat. The E39 BMW 5 series is the best looking sedan ever made. It is the pinnacle of balanced design and it’s beauty is only accentuated by the garish abomination that succeeded it. Show me someone who says they love their “Bangle Butt” 5 series and I’ll show you a person in serious denial. BMW tired to scale back the ugly on the F10 but it’s still a bloated boat compared to the clean, svelte E39.

Growing up I was obsessed with the hottest version of this beautifully thought out machine, the E39 M5. One of my favorite pro skateboarders had two of them and could be seen thoroughly enjoying them in his video parts. At age 15 a blacked out M5 with “peanut butter” interior was THE car and it remains a vehicle that I am still in lust with. However I’m a bit more educated than I was back then and I know that while the M5 is the lead, there is an equally impressive supporting player in the cast, the 540i M-Sport.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Tech on USE

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1987 BMW M535i

Enthusiasts as of late have complained that the “M” brand has been diluted; it’s now possible to get “M” styling bits on just about every variation of BMW, making them both much more common and a little less special to see than the “true” M cars from the 1980s. Well, the reality is that BMW has been doing this all along; one of the best early examples of this is the E28 M535i. Effectively a continuation of the thought behind the E12 M535i, the E28 version was effectively mechanically identical to the normal production 535i. It carried the same either catalyst or un-smogged M30 producing between 180 and 218 horsepower, depending on the version. The brakes, suspension and transmissions were all seen on other models, too. But outside, the M535i got the M-Technic body kit and special TRX wheels that helped to set it apart from the normal E28s. At the end of the day, though, the M535i was mostly an appearance package; a M5-light, if you desired. But, they’ve got “M” associated with them, they’re a 1980s BMW, and they were fairly limited production; in the case of today’s example, it’s one of roughly 1,000 “DC89” Japanese market models that were automatic only. It’s no surprise, then to see strong bidding on a car that isn’t even in the U.S. yet:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW M535i on eBay

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1988 BMW M5

When it comes to fan favorites, few cars tick the right boxes like the original M5. It has a mystique about it that really sets it apart from even its M siblings, as if it were somehow made from a different mold than the M3 and M6. Coupling a great shape, excellent driving characteristics and one of the most dynamic inline-6s ever made, the M5 was the stuff of legend right from launch. That’s why it’s particularly puzzling that it has not gained the star power of the M3 or M6; true, the M3 had a much more substantial racing history – but it’s quite hard to say that it would put a bigger smile on your face than the M5 would. Every one-ramp and exit ramp becomes an opportunity to get that rear end to step out just a bit; it’s so easy to catch, it almost feels like it was designed to drive at a 10% slip angle. I remember the first time I climbed behind the wheel of my father’s M5 – I felt like I was on top of the world. There was a ferocity to the way the needle climbed the tachometer coupled with a raw scream from the S38 that few cars I’ve driven since have been able to match – it was worthy of instant goosebumps. I’ve driven faster cars – much faster cars – but the M5 feels special in ways they just don’t:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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Learn to cope: RHD 1988 BMW 325i Touring

If I’m honest, I’m not a huge fan of the entire E30 scene. I think it’s a bit overplayed, over-hyped and over-priced. Granted, they’re nice cars, but even though they’re slower I’d take a clean 4000 Quattro or Coupe GT over a 325i any day. There are two exceptions, though; the E30 M3 is of course a favorite of mine but firmly out of reach in any meaningful condition. The other exception is the Touring model – I’d love it if Audi had made a B2 quattro Avant, but they didn’t. Sure, there’s the Quantum Syncro wagon, but park one next to this 1988 325i Touring and for me the clear winner in looks is the BMW. In fact, it’s so much better looking to me than a Quantum, even the steering wheel on the “right” side wouldn’t bother me:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 BMW 325i Touring on eBay

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1989 BMW 325i

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The E30s are indeed being snapped up, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some still hiding out there to be picked up by enthusiasts. Today’s is a pretty blue example with the M-Tech bodykit and has covered a reasonable 150k miles. It’s a little too nice to go the racer boys, but with a 5-speed manual and the classic 2.5l inline-6, it has years of fun weekends left in it. It will be very interesting to see where the bidding lands to give us a new baseline for decent, original E30 pricing.

Click for details: 1989 BMW 325i on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday M-Tech Edition: Tuner Accessories Roundup

There are some days that I really wish I had a BMW rather than an Audi, and a large part of that comes down to some of the cool items that you can easily get. Granted, I don’t like having what everyone else does – but that’s what’s nice about the mix and match OEM M-Tech pieces; you can customize your vehicle easily and without breaking the bank. Here’s a selection of M-Tech pieces I found this week on EBay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: E30 M-Tech Doorsills on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2001 BMW 540i Touring Dinan Supercharged

For generations, we in the United States have been unjustly denied the most versatile of the fast BMWs – the M5 Touring. From its genesis in the E34 Touring through its evolution to V10-powered monster E60, the M5 Touring has remained one of the most desirable unobtainable German cars to U.S. enthusiasts. However, U.S. fans shouldn’t feel too discriminated against, because the fan favorite E28, E39 and even the new F10 have no touring option – anywhere. What is a lover of fast BMWs with 2.2 children and a dog to do? Well, you could take your E39 Touring to Dinan, who would be more than happy to turn the wick up for you:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 540i Touring Dinan Supercharged on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1987 BMW 325i Euro-Spec Hartge/Weismann

I was joking around with our editor, Paul, saying that I was pretty sure we could just feature E30s all day long and everyone would be happy. There’s a seemingly endless supply of examples that come to the market every week. There are the normal S50/S52 swaps, some crazy turbo editions, mint condition original examples, tired daily drivers and everything in between. But occasionally something special pops up that really makes you take notice. Much like earlier’s H26 modified 325i, here is a 325i that was apparently originally modified by Hartge in Germany. Sporting some of the really tasty Hartge bits but not a full H26 conversion, the Coup de gras has to be the Weismann hardtop:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 325i Euro-Spec Hartge/Weismann on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1987 BMW 325i/Hartge H26 – REVISIT

The Euro-spec 1987 BMW 325i with period Hartge H26 modifications and M-Tech pieces is back up for sale on eBay. It’s not a huge surprise given the original quite high and optimistic asking price, but the new price is down 15% to $22,000. That’s still a lot of money for a non-M3 E30, but what price would you pay for this neat piece of kit?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 325i/Hartge H26 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site June 25, 2014:

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