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I recently sold my E34 525i and replaced it with a W126 300SE. I’ll post a write up on my new car next week. I love it, but let’s just say I learned a fewÂ valuable lessons about buying cars sight unseen from the whole episode. As potential buyers came to view my BMW, a funny thing happened. The more I explained myÂ ownership experience while they test drove it, the more I began to wonder why I was sellingÂ it. In fact, I concluded, if space and money had allowed,Â I would have preferred to keep itÂ alongside the Benz. In one year of ownership, I put an unusually high number of miles on it while doing a mega commute. During that time,Â it never once failed to start or gave me any reason to worry. I replaced some suspension parts that were worn out.Â But other than that, all I did was drive it and feed it fuel and oil. It was remarkably fun to drive, which I credit to the 5-speed manual gearbox and sweet chassis setup. Sure, it wasn’t terribly powerful or fast, but it was certainly fast enough for me. And it made for a good commuter, getting 28 MPG on the highway.Â In all, I think the E34 525i is an under-appreciatedÂ gem. I’m sad I let it go.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote up aÂ 1995Â 530i.Â I notedÂ that despite classically handsome styling and a spot-on chassis, the E34Â 5-series has remained curiouslyÂ under appreciated, with the exception perhaps of the M5 variant. Â At the time, IÂ admitted that theÂ particular example I postedÂ (anÂ automatic with the relatively underpowered 3.0 V8) wasn’t exactly the best of the range. ThisÂ 525i probably offers a better all round package than the 530i, and is more likely to beÂ attractive to those looking for a cheap but dynamic daily driver.Â While it’s not in quite the sameÂ condition as that other car, this oneÂ arguably has a better engine and comes in a better color,Â with aÂ more competitive asking price. ItÂ also featuresÂ that all important thirdÂ pedal.
Here’s a delicious little E30 package. It looks perfectly stock right down to the 14-inch basketweaves, and the engine swap even shares the original displacement. Yet instead of the M20B25 it came with, it’s now the M50B25TU – the first update for the 2.5-liter inline-6s available in the E34 525i and E36 325i in the mid-90s. The addition of VANOS improved low-end torque, and even without a power bump it’s still producing E30 M3 levels of power. It may not be the racy swap we’re used to seeing in E30s, but in some ways that’s what makes it perfect. The car will maintain its standard composure, driving dynamics, and low-key appearance while providing plenty of power to keep up with modern cars and breed smiles like rabbits in the hills.
When I come across clean E34 wagons like this one I always wonder what kind of life it has lived, what allowed it go all these years unscathed when so many of its siblings get destroyed by time. At 21 years old this 525iT has fewer miles on it than the majority of used cars from the past decade that we regularly feature. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no garage queen. 72,600 on the clock is a fair amount but compared to the majority of examples out there with more than double that figure under their belt, this is a very low mile car indeed. Aside from the attractive odometer reading the car appears to be in fantastic cosmetic condition inside and out. TheÂ IcelandÂ Green Metallic paint over Parchment Leather is as classy as can beÂ and quickly becoming my favorite combo for old Bimmers. Whomever this thing belonged to, they certainly babied it because the front seats show no sign of stress or wear. The rear seats and cargo area look like they’ve barely been used which is particularly unusual for these cars. I keep going back and clicking through all the pictures over and over again thinking I’m going to find something I missed. A tear in the carpet, a stain, a rip in the headliner, something that indicates that this car was used as intended over the past two decades. However there’s nothing there, no red flags, no catch. Just a damn fine example of a wonderfully designed wagon that is ready to serve for many years to come.