We have 15 years of archives. Links older than a year may have been updated to point to similar cars available to bid on eBay.
Back in February, I took a look at the E32 range-topping 750iL:
1990 BMW 750iL
Shortly after that model year, though, BMW introduced two new models with V8s under the hood. Following mostly traditional naming conventions, the M60 3.0 and 4.0 V8s slotted in to the new 730i and 740i models. Their all-aluminum construction mean that they were not any heavier than the outgoing venerable six, while being shorter and more compact. Power on the M60B30 was respectable and in line with the M30B35 inline-six; 215 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque, while the bigger brother had 282 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That was only a few horsepower short of the V12, and with its much cheaper price and better fuel economy it was no surprise that it was a hit. The formula would be carried on for the next few generations of 7s, but it’s become more rare to see the early cars still floating around. Let’s take a look at this ’93:
The E32 7-series is a rare sight on today’s roads. And that’s a shame. These big-body behemoths from Bavaria exemplify a design language that’s now firmly in BMW’s past: menacing yet restrained, large but well proportioned, mixing brawny lines with classic cues like round headlights, angular kidneys and the Hoffmeister kink. On Friday, Carter wrote up a 735i. It was, he admitted, a bit sad, with oversized wheels and a tired look. While the 5-speed manual transmission made it tempting, I’m not sure it was enough to redeem the car, especially given the asking price. A neat alternative would be a clean, late model, bone stock V8 740i, if you can find one. The 4.0 liter M60 engine is relatively stout (apart from the Nikasil problem, which by now is unlikely to be an issue) and, putting out about 282 hp, sufficient to propel the car quite nicely to cruising speeds. While it may not give you the bragging rights associated with the V12 in the 750, it’s generally less of a headache to maintain.
The California-based tuning company Dinan has been providing performance upgrades for BMWs since 1979. There’s no shortage of newer cars on the market that purport to have some kind of mods from the firm; 20 cars come up in eBay right now under a search for Dinan, and Carter wrote up this neat ’08 550i M Sport Dinan the other day, for example. But it’s even more interesting to stumble upon an example of an older car with some Dinan components, like this ’95 540i.
Consider this the latest in my series of “nowadays it’s really hard to find an early 90s BMW that hasn’t been trashed, but this one looks good” posts. I’ve always really admired the E32, the iteration of the 7-series built between 1986 and 1994. The very definition of a stealthy, executive express, it’s a big body car that dates from an era of BMW styling which combined angular lines, conservative, teutonic good looks and classic BMW cues like the wide kidney grille and four-lamp headlights. In many ways these cars look a lot like the E34, the 5-series of the same era, just bigger and brawnier.
I’ve posted a couple of non-M E34s recently (see here, and here), since I’m a fan of this iteration of the 5-series (I even daily drive one myself). I’ve noted before however that it’s quite hard to find one in good condition. While it’s relatively easy to find an inexpensive, equivalent-era Mercedes Benz in nice shape, BMWs of a similar age in the affordable sector of the market are often tired and worn. Perhaps it’s because Stuttgart simply made better cars during the period. Perhaps it’s because many Mercedes owners seem to feel it’s their responsibility to steward their cars into the future, and take care of them accordingly. In any event, when a nice E34 pops up it’s always a nice surprise.
Thanks to our reader Corbin for suggesting this Canadian 540i 6-speed. Not only does it look like a clean example, it’s a well equipped car with a few tasteful modifications.