The Details

BMW E34 M5




  • Mileage: 133,350
  • Year: 1990
  • MOT Expiry: February 2021
  • Exterior Colour: Macao Blue Metallic
  • Interior Colour: Extended Grey Nappa Leather
  • Top speed: 157
  • 0-60mph: 6.4
  • BHP: 311
  • Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
  • Engine Capacity: 3535cc
  • Engine Configuration: Straight 6

Model History

The E34 M5 was the Motorsport-developed version of the E34 5-Series saloon and Touring. Introduced in September 1988, it was powered by the S38 twin-cam 24v straight six, an evolution of the engine used in the E28 M5 and E24 M6. It also had a BMW Motorsport-tuned chassis and a few special cosmetic features.

Unlike the normal 5-Series, M5s were hand-assembled at the BMW Motorsport facility in Garching, a suburb of Munich. Bodies were pressed at the normal Dingolfing factory and then sent to Garching where they were mated with the engine and interior trim.

The M5 was produced in two distinct versions, each with several variations. Early cars had a 3535cc 24v straight six known as the S38 B36. These M5s were built in both left-hand and right-hand drive configurations, as well as a North American-specification edition. A grand total of just 524 RHD European-spec cars were built.

The S38 B36 was rated at 311hp at 6,900 rpm and 266 lb/ft of torque at 4,750 rpm. Like the earlier S38 B35, it carried the "BMW M Power" inscription on its cam cover but the design of almost every component was different. Also, unlike the engine used in the E28 M5, the S38 B36 engine in the E34 M5 was created to meet all worldwide emission standards from the start. It was therefore equipped with a catalyst as standard equipment in almost all markets. All M5s built before May of 1994 utilised a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox. The limited-slip differential with a maximum locking of 25% was standard across all variants.

Like other M models, the level of standard and optional equipment for the E34 M5 varied significantly from year to year and market to market. Major exterior options included an electric sunroof, heated headlight and fog light washers, Shadowline window trim, and a body-colour rear spoiler. Interior options included many types of upholstery, electric front seats, heated front seats, automatic climate control, cruise control, and various audio systems. Like the E28 M5, the hand-built nature of the E34 M5 allowed for even more variation of the interior equipment than in a regular 5-Series.


Macao Blue Metallic paintwork (250), Extended Silvergrey Nappa leather (0319), 17-inch Throwing Star alloy wheels, Rear spoiler, Shadowline trim, Electric tilt/slide sunroof, Rear sunblind, Auto-dimming mirrors, Electrically adjustable front seats with driver’s seat memory, Headlamp wash/wipe, Automatic air conditioning, Alpine cassette radio, Central armrest with CD storage, BMW toolkit, Alloy spare wheel, Spare key.


The body is finished in striking Macao Blue Metallic with contrasting Sebring Grey side skirts. The gleaming paintwork presents to an excellent standard all round and is free from any major signs of wear and tear – our studio photos really don’t do it justice! Glancing along both sides the panels remain perfectly straight with even gaps, and at the front there’s barely a stone chip in sight. The rear spoiler has since been professionally removed for a more understated aesthetic, but is included with the sale and can be re-fitted should the new keeper wish.

Additional photos, videos, and an inspection report can be provided on request.


The well-appointed M5 cabin boasts extended Silvergrey Nappa leather covering the M sports seats, centre console, door pulls, and glove box lid. Other factory upgrades include fully electric front seats with driver’s seat memory, an electric tilt/slide sunroof, and automatic climate control air conditioning. The undamaged grey upholstery is still relatively supple having never been re-connolised, and all the electric adjustments appear to function correctly.

In the footwells you’ll find clean grey carpets protected by tailored black overmats. Leather trim covers the M Technic steering wheel, gear knob, and handbrake lever, all of which present to a good standard. The switchgear is also in fine fettle and remains feeling solid to the touch. At the rear of the car the vast boot space houses the spare wheel, BMW toolkit, and jack.


The venerable 3.5-litre straight six (S38B36) idles smoothly up to temperature, sounding great through the M5’s twin pipes. The engine bay presents in great original condition with no signs of any damage or poor repair. Better still, over the last 18 months the current owner has quite fastidiously spent an eye-watering £13k renewing many of the car’s mechanical components - all carried out by our trusted marque specialist. Recent engine and transmission works include replacing the ancillary drive belts, alternator belt, PAS belt and compressor belt, checking and adjusting all valve clearances, replacing the gearbox selector shaft seal, differential input and output shaft seals, replacing the gearbox mountings, propshaft coupling and centre bearing. The car was also treated to all new engine and heater coolant hoses along with a complete overhaul of the heater and ventilation system. The suspension and underside also received significant attention, full details of which are below.

In addition to all this the car is accompanied by a fantastic maintenance record all stamped in the original service booklet.


The 17-inch throwing star wheels look great and present with only a small amount of curb marking; new front tyres have also just been fitted. More importantly, the underside and suspension have been treated to an extensive refresh – recent works include replacing all rear brake, fuel, and hydraulic pipes and hoses, replacing the front dampers and springs, overhauling the rear shock absorbers and struts, and replacing the rear springs, top mounts, rear suspension accumulators and pressure hoses.

Having had the original self-levelling suspension (SLS) rebuilt to factory standard the car drives just as BMW intended. This system is often permanently ‘deleted’ when faulty and commonly replaced with a coilover setup, which not only loses the originality but also gives a much harsher ride far less suited to an M5 - pleasingly that's not the case here.

History File

This rare UK example (1 of only 524 in right-hand drive) was first registered in August 1990. It was supplied new by Bridgegate Limited who went on to carry out the running-in inspection at 1,002 miles. The next ten services were all undertaken at BMW, with the remaining entries in the service booklet stamped by independent specialists. The History File is complete with a raft of paperwork from very early on in the car’s life. Remarkably the current owner has spent in excess of £13k bringing the car up to his exacting standards, with particular attention paid to the engine, transmission, and self-levelling suspension system - considerable peace of mind for the new keeper! Freshly MOT'd she's good to go.

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