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:
My recent M5 v. Alpina B10 post took a look at two exotic versions of the E34. Of course, BMW offered their own alternative to the M5 late in the production cycle, as the introduction of the M60 V8-powered 540i produced nearly as much usable power as the more expensive M variant. Such was the success of the 540i that BMW initially judged the M5 dead in this market; it was removed from the U.S. in 1993 after slow sales and wouldn’t return until the new millennium.
As a result, the 540i flew the 5-series performance flag for two generations and still is very popular today. Especially in Sport versions, the E34 and E39 540is offered power, refinement and outstanding chassis dynamics in a package that was attainable for more people. So which is the better buy today – the first or second generation?