E34 M5: A Handcrafted Marvel: The 1995 BMW M5, part of the E34 series, stands out as a meticulously handcrafted masterpiece, showcasing artisanal precision in automotive craftsmanship.
Engine Excellence: Featuring the S38B36 and later the S38B38 engines, the E34 M5 delivered outstanding performance with its 3.6 and 3.8-liter powerplants, offering power and torque in abundance.
North America's M5: North American enthusiasts were treated to the E34 M5 from 1991 to 1993, with slight variations in engine specifications due to catalytic converters.
Garching, Germany Production: Produced at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany, this exceptional vehicle's birthplace underscored its heritage of excellence.
Distinctive M-System Wheels: The M5's distinctive M-System wheels, later replaced by the M Parallel wheels, added a unique touch to its aesthetics, although the design evolved over time.
Precision Assembly: Each E34 M5 underwent meticulous assembly, a labor-intensive process where individual units bore the signature quirks of their skilled artisans.
Technological Advancements: Technological advancements like electronically controlled butterfly valves and Bosch Motronic fuel injection enhanced the E34 M5's performance.
Touring Version: In 1992, a left-hand drive (LHD) Touring version of the M5 was introduced, offering more options to enthusiasts.
Global Impact: The E34 M5 left an indelible mark worldwide, captivating car enthusiasts with its distinctive design and performance.
Evolution of Wheel Design: The M5's wheel design evolved over the years, with the M-System II covers and later the M Parallel wheels, each contributing to its unique appeal.
The E34 M5, a remarkable creation by BMW, graced the automotive world from 1989 to 1995. Although it was introduced in North America in 1991 and bid adieu in 1993, its legacy continues to captivate enthusiasts worldwide. Crafted with utmost precision at the BMW M GmbH facility in Garching, Germany, this marvel was a testament to meticulous craftsmanship. Its foundation rested on the solid 535i chassis, skillfully crafted at BMW's Dingolfing plant.
Every E34 M5 bore the distinctive mark of handcrafted excellence, as assembly was carried out by either a dedicated M employee or a team of skilled artisans. This painstaking process spanned approximately two weeks, resulting in a masterpiece that bore the distinct touch of its creators. Legend has it that the discerning test drivers of the E34 M5 could discern the hands behind each unit, owing to the unique quirks of its hand-built nature. Even the engines themselves were meticulously crafted by the skilled hands of BMW M technicians, each one meticulously built to deliver its promised performance.
The early E34 M5 boasted a refined version of the 24-valve inline-six engine found in its predecessors, the E28 M5 and E24 M635CSi/M6. Known as the S38B36, this powerplant retained its 3.5-liter capacity, albeit with a few significant enhancements. A forged steel crankshaft, alongside modified camshafts, pushed the boundaries of performance. A slight bump in compression (10:1 compared to 9.8:1) ensured enhanced power delivery. Notably, an electronically controlled butterfly valve in the intake plenum contributed to improved low-end and mid-range power. The engine also boasted an upgraded flywheel, Bosch Motronic fuel injection, equal-length stainless steel headers, and efficient three-way ceramic catalysts.
Under the hood of the E34 M5 resided the highly-tuned S38B36 engine, initially displacing 3.6 liters and delivering an impressive 315 horsepower at 6900 rpm, along with 266 ft·lbf of torque at 4750 rpm. For North American and Swiss markets, a slight variance in catalytic converter specifications resulted in 310 horsepower and 265 ft·lbf of torque.
In 1992, a significant evolution took place with the introduction of the S38B38 engine, increasing displacement to 3.8 liters. However, North America continued with the 3.6-liter engine. This upgrade translated to a power boost, now producing a commanding 340 PS (335 hp/250 kW). Additionally, a Touring version made its debut in left-hand drive (LHD) configuration.
The M5's distinctive wheel design is also worth noting. Initially, from 1988 to 1992, the M5 featured the M-System wheels. These 8x17J wheels came equipped with directional bolted-on wheel covers, concealing a stylish black 5-spoke alloy wheel underneath. Critics occasionally likened this design to having "white-wall" tires. In 1992, BMW responded to feedback by introducing a new cover design, the M-System II. The original intention behind the M-System cover was to enhance brake cooling by directing air towards the brake assembly. However, the M-System II covers, often referred to as "throwing stars," had somewhat reduced airflow directing capabilities. Finally, in late 1994, the M5 transitioned to M Parallel wheels, eliminating the need for covers and delivering a sleeker appearance.
These remarkable details paint a vivid picture of the 1995 BMW M5's meticulous craftsmanship and evolution. In subsequent sections, we will delve deeper into its performance, innovations, and unique features.